What should an unmarried couple do when expecting a child? Such is hardly unusual in our day, and ministers are often asked the question. What counsel does the Bible give?
First, forgiveness is necessary. Fornication has been committed, which is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) and a sin unlike any other (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). God's forgiveness is precipitated upon repentance (Luke 24:47), which is change or conversion (Acts 3:19). It comes from genuine sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10). It is important that sinners be ashamed of their sins (Jeremiah 6:15).
In the case of those who have never obeyed the gospel, repentance must follow belief in Christ as God's Son (John 3:16) and accompany a public confession of Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10). It must be followed by immersion in water for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Baptism washes away the guilt of the sin of fornication, and all other sins, too (Acts 22:16). In the case of those who have previously been saved, the sin must be confessed to God in prayer (1 John 1:9; Acts 8:22) and to brethren who will also pray (James 5:16; Acts 8:24).
Second, abortion must not be considered. For many, abortion would be an appropriate escape from the consequences of their misbehavior, but this is nothing short of murder, which is, of course, a more grievous sin (Revelation 21:8). In God's Word, the occupant of the womb is consistently described, not as a fetus or an embryo, but as a child, a son, or a babe (Ruth 1:11; Job 3:3; Luke 1:36, Luke 1:41). Under the Old Testament, such a child enjoyed the full protection of the law (Exodus 21:22-25), and so it ought to be today. God still hates 'hands that shed innocent blood' (Proverbs 6:16-17).
Third, do not rush into a marriage. The prospect of marriage should be considered only with the greatest of caution. A poor choice in the matter of matrimony could very well serve to intensify existing trouble (1 Samuel 25:1; Proverbs 21:9, Proverbs 25:24; Proverbs 27:15). If the involved parties are so lacking in self-control that they cannot refrain from further sexual immorality, then marriage would be worth considering (1 Corinthians 7:1-2), but they must remember that divorce would not be an option (Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9). Marriage is a lifelong commitment (Romans 7:1-2), so wisdom should be sought (James 1:5).
Fourth, the father should not surrender his parental responsibility. It would be sinful to neglect the child's material needs (1 Timothy 5:8; Matthew 7:7-11). Children need fathers to provide discipline (Hebrews 12:7-11; Proverbs 13:24). Most important, fathers are duty bound to instruct their children in God's Word (Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:6-9). - Bryan Matthew Dockens, Las Vegas, NV