What does the Bible teach about fornication? What is fornication as used in the Bible?
What is fornication?
From the world dictionaries fornication means;
Sexual intercourse between two people not married to each other.
The word fornication as used in the Bible carries a different meaning than in world dictionaries.
As said in how to study the Bible, the Bible uses some words meaning differently than in world dictionaries.
One good example I revealed is the word ‘week’.
According to world dictionaries, a ‘week’ is 7 days while in the Bible a ‘week’ is 7 years. See Daniel 70 weeks.
The Old Testament uses two Hebrew words for fornication.
- ‘zanah’ meaning sexual immorality or idolatry
- ‘taznuth’ meaning idolatry.
The New Testament was first written in Greek and the Greek word for fornication used is ‘porneia’ meaning sexual immorality.
Therefore, the word fornication in the Bible is used to either mean sexual immorality or idolatry.
Sexual immorality covers all illicit or unlawful sex (sex which does not conform to accepted morals). This includes adultery, homosexuality, beastiality, incest, sexual intercourse with false gods, prostitution or harlotry, whoremongering, etc.
Some Bible versions use the word ‘sexual immorality’ instead of the word ‘fornication’. This was done by Bible translators but the original word is fornication.
What the Bible teaches about fornication
Let’s first tackle pre-marital sex
The Bible does not speak of ’pre-marital sex’ in any place and the usage of the word fornication does not mean ‘pre-marital sex’. There is ‘pre-marital sex’ in the world but in the Bible, in the eyes of God, there is no ‘pre-marital sex’.
This is because when two people have sexual intercourse, they become one flesh thus man and wife in the eyes of God.
Deut 22:28-29: If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found. Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.
The first time you have sex, you become man and wife in the eyes of God with whoever your sex partner is, and thus you are supposed to do what custom dictates. If it’s paying bride price pay and do not divorce one another all your days because divorce is sin.
Reason Paul said,
1 Cor 7:36: But if any man think that he behaves himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sins not: let them marry.
If you’re virgins, never had sex, and the need so require, do so (have sex). You have not sinned but married one another.
Reason the first person you have sexual intercourse with becomes your husband/wife in the eyes of God. And that is not a sin as also stated by Paul (1 Cor 7:36) but a starting of a marriage.
Marriage is not constituted by a ceremony, a ring, a certificate, etc but by two becoming one flesh. See what constitutes a marriage.
Any other person you have sexual intercourse with after the first person is committing adultery. See what the Bible teaches on adultery.
Therefore, since a marriage starts when two people for the first time become one flesh, there is no ‘pre-marital sex’ in God’s kingdom and the Biblical usage of the word fornication does not mean ‘pre-marital sex’.
Fornication meaning sexual immorality as used in the Bible
As earlier revealed, one meaning of ‘fornication’ as used in the Bible is sexual immorality.
Sexual immorality includes all forms of sex that do not conform to accepted morality. Adultery is one form of fornication. See what the Bible teaches on adultery.
Remember that some Bible versions use the word ‘sexual immorality’ instead of the word ‘fornication’ but the original word is ‘fornication’.
To avoid fornication (sexual immorality) every man and woman should have his/her own husband/wife.
1 Cor 7:1-2: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
Your own husband or wife means that s/he is the only sex partner you have.
And you (both) should render due affection to one another
1 Cor 7:3 let the husband render unto the wife due affection: and likewise also the wife unto the husband
Reason a husband has no authority over his body but his wife and vise-versa.
1 Cor 7:4 the wife has not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband has not power of his own body, but the wife.
This is to ensure that the woman gets the sexual satisfaction she deserves/wants and vise-versa.
Reason Paul said that you should not deny each other sex unless you both agree.
1 Cor 7:5: Do not deprive one another, except it be with consent for a time … so that Satan does not tempt you not for your lack of self-control.
And it is better to marry, have your own sex partner, if you cannot exercise self-control than to burn with passion.
1 Cor 7:9: But if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
All this is to avoid fornication (sexual immorality).
If every person has his/her own husband/wife, none of them ruling over their bodies but their partners for sexual satisfactory, fornication (sexual immorality) can be avoided.
When Jesus talked about divorce, He used the word ‘fornication’ (sexual immorality) not adultery.
Mt 19:9: And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, commits adultery: and whoso marries her which is put away does commit adultery.
If you say fornication as used by the Bible is sexual intercourse between two unmarried people, then from the above verse how can a married person commit fornication?
Biblical fornication means sexual immorality including adultery.
The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit not for fornication (sexual immorality).
1 Cor 6:13 Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
Flee fornication (sexual immorality) 1 Cor 6:18
Put it in your mind that fornicators will not inherit the kingdom of heaven
1 Cor 6:9: Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.
Bible verses using fornication meaning idolatry
2 Ch 21:11: Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication, and compelled Judah thereto.
Isa 23:17: And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth.
Rev 2:14: But I have a few things against you, because you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
Rev 17:2: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
Rev 17:4: And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
Rev 18:3: For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
Rev 18:9: And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
Rev 19:2: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he has judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
Remember that there is no pre-marital sex in the Bible. The first person you have sex with, become one flesh with, is your husband/wife.
If after your first sex partner you had sex with other partners, that is committing adultery. Repent. See what the Bible teaches on adultery.
If you have realized now that you married the first sex partner when you had sex with him/her and you are not with him/her now but you have moved on to another person or the other partner moved on. Repent. Jesus Christ is able to break the bond you formed with your sex partner(s) and let you free to marry again. For this reason He died on the cross.