A socio-historical overview on the ethical codes within Judaism, Hellenism, and early Christianity shows that very definite codes were in place. Sexual purity within Judaism was based on two aspects, namely a property code and an ethical code. Early Christianity inherited its sexual ethics from Judaism and has reinterpreted it in the light of the Gospel. The moral status of Corinth was to a great extent the outcome of its religious and social history. The Christian community existed within these circumstances, but experienced problems in coping with the moral situation of its time. The Jewish, Graeco-Roman and Christian communities existed alongside each other in the city of Corinth and each of these groups had a code of conduct for sexual purity. It would seem that the different ethical codes for sexual purity had much in common. Virginity was a prerequisite, especially for unmarried females. Within all three groups the parqevno~ (virgin) was of utmost importance. The perception each group had of the parqevno~ was however informed from various origins, for example culture, religion, social influences and history. Porneiva (sexual immorality) was duly defined within each group and all sexual activity outside of marriage was regarded as porneiva. The conclusion is reached that the first hearers would probably have understood sexual purity as excluding all physical contact before marriage.