What Does The Bible Say About Prostitution

Definition of Prostitution

The Bible does not mention prostitution directly, however, the concept of virginity and its converse, sexual immorality, looms large throughout its literature. Prostitution can then be said to be a form of sexual immorality. The idea of illicit sexual relationships are historically and Biblically foreign, and this is the root of the church’s strong moral stance against prostitution.

Prostitution has been around since the oldest recorded civilizations and has been tightly linked to exploitation, poverty and public health concerns. Historically, prostitution had a connotation of immorality, and even in today’s progressive society many view it as an illegitimate career due to its nature of being an occupation that involves the exchange of sex for money.

Moral Perspective from the Bible

In the Bible, prostitution is commonly mentioned. In Exodus 22:16-17 we read, “If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to be married and lies with her, he must pay the bride-price for her and make her his wife. But if her father refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins.” This passage speaks volumes of the Biblical perspective on prostitution.

In simple terms, the Bible regards prostitution with disgust, as is evidenced by Proverbs 23:27, “For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another man’s wife preys on your very life.” To the Bible, engaging in prostitution is an act that goes against God’s plan for marriage and is therefore an inappropriate choice to make.

In 1 Corinthians 6:15-16 it is stated, “Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Shall I then take the parts of Christ and make them parts of a prostitute? Of course not! Don’t you realize that anyone who is joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.” The passage suggests that a person who chooses to engage in sexual activities with a prostitute makes himself “one body” with her, and this goes against Christian morals.

Relationship Between Substance Abuse and Prostitution

Substance abuse and prostitution are closely associated with each other in the Bible and have been for centuries. Studies have confirmed the link, and suggest that substance abuse serves as a driving force for a person to enter prostitution. In the Bible, we read in Galatians 5:19-21, “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Here, we can see that the Bible specifically mentions the association between substance abuse and prostitution.

We can also see that the Bible condemns these sinful behaviors as it mentions in Galatians 3:1, ”What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” This passage encourages believers to abstain from sin, and it speaks to the relationship between substance abuse and prostitution.

Views on Prostitution by the Early Church

The early church had a strong moral stance on prostitution. According to Saint Augustine, “Prostitution was a vice that dishonored the body and the soul of men, and it must be condemned.” The church also taught that it was a sin to engage in such activity and that it would lead to damnation. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, we read, “Those who are immoral, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexual offenders, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, slanderers, and swindlers — none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. ” Here, we can see that the early church saw prostitution as an immoral behavior that should not be engaged in.

The early church also stressed the importance of avoiding the appearance of evil. In Romans 13:12-14 it is written, “The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So let us stop going to darkness and start living in the light. Let us behave decently, as people who live in the light of day — no orgies or drunkenness, no immorality or indecency, no fighting or jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.” This passage encourages believers to abstain from activities that are seen as immoral, such as prostitution.

Modern Context of Prostitution

Today, the modern society has adopted more lax moral codes and has become more permissive than it was in the time of the Bible. Thus, the moral strictures set by the Bible are tempered by a greater acceptance of sexuality in the general public. However, that does not discount the Biblical perspective on prostitution. The Bible’s condemnation of prostitution still stands, albeit in a more muted tone.

In practical terms, the Church has shifted its focus from the moral aspect of prostitution to addressing the social and economic causes of it. For instance, in 1 Timothy 5:8, we read “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” Here, we can see an emphasis on providing financial assistance and economic opportunities to people in need.

The Church has also taken a more compassionate view of sex workers, encouraging outreach programs in cities where prostitution is rampant. In Mark 10:45-46, Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The passage emphasizes the importance of serving those who have been hurt by prostituion, and it encourages a more understanding approach towards sex workers.

Views of Government on Prostitution

The government’s views on prostitution have evolved over time. In the United States, prostitution is illegal in most countries with the notable exception of certain counties in Nevada. The government has also taken a harsher stance on prostitution and sex workers, as evidenced by the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. The act sought to curb human trafficking and exploitation of individuals, especially women and children, through strict enforcement of laws relating to prostitution.

The government has also enacted measures to discourage prostitution. For instance, most countries have adopted the “Swedish model” which criminalizes the act of buying sexual services rather than selling, a measure aimed at eliminating demand for the services.

On the other hand, some countries have opted for a more progressive approach. The Netherlands, for instance, has legalized prostitution and requires brothels to obtain permits from the government. This ensures that the government has some control over the industry and is able to protect the rights of workers and customers.

Implications on Street Prostitution

Street prostitution carries many risks, including exposure to drug abuse, physical abuse, and even the risk of contracting more severe diseases, such as HIV and AIDS. In the recent years, the government has taken measures to curb street prostitution, such as increasing patrols, imposing more severe penalties, and introducing prostitution diversion programs to help sex workers find alternative employment.

In addition, the Church has taken a more active role in helping sex workers by providing resources and spiritual guidance. The Church acknowledges that sex workers are individuals with rights and dignity, and that they should be treated with respect and compassion.

The Church also understands that the causes of street prostitution are complex and multi-faceted, a combination of social, economic, and political factors. Therefore, it is important for churches and other entities to work together to address these issues from a holistic perspective.

Effects of Prostitution on Society

Prostitution has not only been considered by the Bible to be immoral, but it also carries far-reaching consequences for the modern society. Prostitution can have many immediate and long-term implications such as infecting clients and prostitutes with STDs, contributing to a rise in human trafficking and forced labor, and decreasing the respect of sex workers.

Moreover, it is argued that prostitution facilitates the exploitation of vulnerable women and children, leading to physical and mental health problems. This can lead to an increase in poverty and social exclusion, as well as an increase in violence against women.

It is also argued that prostitution threatens the institution of marriage and can breed a strong sense of insecurity among couples. Furthermore, prostitution serves to strip women of their gender and sexuality, reducing them to stereotypes and depriving them of their autonomy and dignity.

Links Between Religion and Sex Workers

The Church has been working to decrease the stigma and discrimination faced by sex workers. Churches across the world have established programs that offer spiritual guidance and practical assistance to sex workers. Some churches even provide employment opportunities or vocational training for them.

The Church has also established programs that provide education, mentorship, and counseling to individuals at risk of engaging in prostitution. These programs have been successful in helping sex workers to find other forms of employment and to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

The Church has also been working to foster better relationships between religions and sex workers. This includes encouraging churches to be more open and compassionate towards those engaging in prostitution, and to support them in their efforts to find other means of earning a livelihood.


The Bible has a strong stance on prostitution, treating it as an immoral act that should be avoided. The Church, meanwhile, has shifted its focus from condemning to supporting and helping sex workers. The Church has also been working to foster better relationships between religions and sex workers and to reduce the stigma and discrimination faced by sex workers. In conclusion, it is clear that the moral perspective of the Bible has not changed significantly, but the Church has taken a more compassionate and supportive stance towards sex workers.

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.

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