What Does Fornication Mean In The Bible

Definition of Fornication in the Bible

Fornication is defined as sexual intercourse between two individuals who are not married to one another. In the Bible, the Hebrew word for fornication is zanah, meaning to have unlawful intercourse with any person not one’s husband or wife. The Greek equivalent for fornication is porneia, which is derived from a word meaning a prostitute or harlot.

The Bible makes it clear that fornication is a sin. In the Old Testament, Leviticus 20:10 states that if a man commits adultery with a married woman, they shall both be put to death. In the New Testament, Romans 1:29-31 lists fornication as one of many sins that followers of the Lord should avoid. It also states that those who do so will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Not only is fornication a sin in the Bible, it is also a harmful practice. Studies have shown that fornication can increase the risk of developing sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. It can also have a negative impact on mental and emotional health, leading to feelings of guilt, regret, and anxiety.

In the Bible, fornication is treated differently from sexual sins such as adultery and rape. The difference can be seen in the punishments for each sin. Whereas the punishment for adulterers is death (Leviticus 20:10), the punishment for fornication is a more lenient approach that includes expulsion from the church (1 Corinthians 5:11-13) or public rebuke (1 Timothy 5:1-2). This difference suggests that the Bible views fornication as a less serious offense.

Another key difference between fornication and adultery is that while adultery involves two individuals who are married to one another, fornication involves two individuals who are not married. Because of this distinction, many Christian leaders believe that fornication is less of an offense than adultery and should be treated with a degree of leniency.

Overall, it is clear that while the Bible views fornication as a sin, it does so in a less severe way than other sexual offenses. While it is important to take biblical teachings on fornication seriously, it should also be remembered that fornication is not as harmful as other sexual sins and that a more lenient approach may be necessary to treat it.

Fornication and Biblical Wisdom

The Bible also gives us wisdom about how to avoid fornication, even though it recognizes that avoiding it is difficult. Proverbs 5:3-5 warns us to avoid the “evil woman” and to take heed to the words of understanding. This establishes a broader principle of being able to recognize potentially dangerous situations, one of them being fornication, and to try and avoid them.

The Bible also shows us how to handle temptation, even when faced with appeals to engage in fornication. 1 Corinthians 6:18–20 teaches that we must flee from fornication and that it is better to be alone than to have sexual intercourse outside of marriage. This establishes the principle of avoiding situations that might tempt us to fornicate. This is a principle that should be taken seriously, as it helps us to resist potential temptations that can lead us to commit a sinful act.

In other words, whilst the Bible might not necessarily be saying that fornication is an inherently bad act, it is certainly saying that it’s something to be avoided. It’s an act that can carry dire consequences, and something that we should seek to avoid. It’s an act that, even if committed in ignorance, can still carry eventual consequences, both in this life and in the afterlife.

The Bible also offers us words of comfort and hope after we’ve sinned. As 1 John 1:9 reminds us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. God understands that sinning is part of the struggle of our earthly lives, but it does not excuse us from His perfect standard. As long as we seek His forgiveness and repent of our sins, He will always forgive us.

Fornication and Common Misconceptions

One common misconception about fornication is that it is only an issue for unmarried individuals. In fact, the Bible speaks to all types of people regarding fornication, including married individuals. Even though those who are married are not to engage in fornication with anyone outside of the marriage (Exodus 20:14), they can still commit adultery if they engage in sexual relations with anyone other than their spouse. As 1 John 3:4 reminds us, “Everyone who commits sin is also guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness”.

Another common misunderstanding is that fornication is only an issue for heterosexual individuals. In fact, the Bible speaks to all types of individuals regarding fornication, regardless of sexual orientation. Those who engage in sexual relations with the same sex can still be guilty of fornication if they do so with a partner that they are not married to. This is why the Bible teaches that fornication is a sin regardless of who is committing it.

Finally, it is important to remember that fornication is not the only sin related to sex and sexuality. The Bible speaks to all types of sin that are related to sex, such as adultery, rape, and bestiality. In addition, the Bible speaks to all types of sins that can arise from our thoughts and actions, such as idolatry or coveting. As such, it is important to remember that all of these sins are equally serious and deserving of our attention.

Fornication, Marriage and Compatibility

When examining the relationship between fornication and marriage, it is important to consider the compatibility aspect. After all, the Bible speaks to several aspects of marriage, including the level of compatibility between two individuals. Compatibility is an important factor in determining whether a couple will stay together or break up. In addition, compatibility can influence the quality of a marriage, and can make it more stable and enjoyable. As such, it is important to consider compatibility before engaging in fornication or entering into a marriage.

In the Bible, there are several passages that speak to compatibility between two individuals. For example, Proverbs 19:14 states that “When wise people marry, they are careful to choose someone who is compatible”. This illustrates the importance of compatibility when it comes to marriage. It is important to find someone who you are compatible with if you are considering fornication or entering into a marriage. A good rule of thumb is to avoid entering into a relationship or engaging in fornication if you are not sure whether the other person is compatible with you.

In addition, the Bible speaks to the importance of communicating with one another when it comes to marriage. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 illustrates the importance of communication between two individuals: “Two people are better together than one, because they get more done by working together. If one of them falls down, the other can help them up. But if someone falls and there is no one to help them, then they are in trouble.” This passage speaks to the importance of communication between two individuals when it comes to fornication and marriage. Communication can help two individuals understand each other better, helping them to avoid incompatible relationships.


In conclusion, fornication is a serious sin that is addressed several times in the Bible. It is important to take this seriously and to recognize the potential implications of engaging in such behavior. The Bible offers us wisdom about how to avoid fornication, as well as how to handle temptation and repent of our sins when we have committed them. It also speaks to the importance of compatibility between two individuals when considering fornication or entering into a marriage. As such, it is important to remember these teachings when we are considering fornication.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

Leave a Comment