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Where does the Bible speak about fornication?

Is sexual intercourse outside of marriage ever condoned?

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What is fornication?

From the Oxford English Dictionary

Fornication – (of people not married or not married to each other) – to have sexual intercourse voluntarily.

When in doubt about a translated word’s meaning in the New Testament we can do 3 things.

1. Look up the Greek word using a Concordance (Young’s or Strong’s – both use the AV (KJV) text)

From Strong’s Concordance -Fornication4202 porneia from 4203; The word appears 26 times altogether. AV- translates it as ‘fornication’ every time it appears.

It means

1) illicit sexual intercourse. 1a) adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc. 1b) sexual intercourse with close relatives; #Le 18:6-23 1c) sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; #Mr 10:11,12

2) metaph. the worship of idols 2a) of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols

Using the Concordance we can see how the word is used in context elsewhere.

Matthew 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication <4202>, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Matthew15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,fornications<4202>, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication<4202>, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

Mark 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications<4202>, murders,

John 8:41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication<4202>; we have one Father, even God.

Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication <4202>, and from things strangled, and from blood.... 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication <4202>: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

Acts 21:25 As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication<4202>.

Romans 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication <4202>, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

1Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication <4202> among you, and such fornication <4202> as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

1Corinthians 6:13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication<4202>, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

1Corinthians 6:18 Flee fornication<4202>. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

1Corinthian 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication<4202>, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

2Corinthians 12:21And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication<4202> and lasciviousness which they have committed.

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication<4202>, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Ephesians 5:3 But fornication <4202>, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication<4202>, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

1Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication <4202>:

Re 2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication <4202>; and she repented not.

Re 9:21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication<4202>, nor of their thefts.

Re 14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication<4202>.

Re 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 <4202>.

Re 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<4202>:

Re 18:3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of herfornication<4202>, 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.

Re 19:2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication<4202>, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.

2. Using the Concordance we can see how associated words are used in context elsewhere.

Fornicators4205 Greek - pornos from pernemi (to sell); The word appears 10 times altogether. AV-translates it as fornicator 5 times, and whoremonger 5 times;

It means

1) a man who prostitutes his body to another’s lust for hire

2) a male prostitute

3) a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator

1Corinthians 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators<4205> of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator <4205>, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators <4205>, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

Ephesians 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger<4205>, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

1Timothy 1:10 For whoremongers<4205>, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Hebrews 12:16 Lest there be any fornicator <4205>, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers <4205> and adulterers God will judge.

Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers <4205>, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Revelation 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers <4205>, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

3. We can do the same with fornication 4203 porneuo and harlot4204 porne, to get a complete idea of the meaning encompassed in the Greek text.

Conclusion – The Greek word translated ‘fornication’ refers to engagement in any kind of sexual relations outside of marriage between a man and a woman.

Marriage between a man and a woman is God’s required norm. Any kind of unmarried sex, homosexual activity, bestiality etc. is classed in the New Testament as fornication and is sin; and if continued in will exclude from the Kingdom of God.

A man and a woman joined in marriage become ‘one flesh’ in the sight of God.

Matthew 19:5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Those that are baptised into Christ become members of his body.

1Corinthians 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot <4204>( porne) is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

When used metaphorically, fornication refers to the worship of (a joining together with) idols, gods of man’s own making rather than the one true God.

The verses from Revelation refer to the Church apostatizing and preaching a false gospel which has deceived the nations of the earth.

I hope this helps

I hope you have found this helpful.

God bless,


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