Greek: πορνεία —transliteration: porneia —meaning: fornication; sexual immorality; illicit sexual intercourse in general; adultery; unchastity; incest; surrendering (or selling off) sexual purity; whoredom
Hebrew: זָנָה —transliteration: zanah —meaning: to commit fornication; to commit adultery; be a harlot/prostitute
also known as: sexual immorality, immorality, promiscuity
“The Greek word for ‘fornication’ (porneia) could include any sexual sin committed after the betrothal contract. …In Biblical usage, ‘fornication’ can mean any sexual congress outside monogamous marriage. It thus includes not only premarital sex, but also adultery, homosexual acts, incest, remarriage after un-Biblical divorce, and sexual acts with animals, all of which are explicitly forbidden in the law as given through Moses (Leviticus 20:10-21). Christ expanded the prohibition against adultery to include even sexual lusting (Matthew 5:28).” —Henry M. Morris, Ph.D.
Fornication is also mentioned many times in the New Testament (Matthew 5:32; 19:9; John 8:41; Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25; Romans 1:29; 1 Cor 5:1, 6:13, 18, 7:2; 10:8; 2 Cor 12:21; Gal 5:19; Eph 5:3; Col 3:5; 1 Thess. 4:3; Jude 1:7; Rev. 2:14, 20-21; 9:21; 14:8; 17:2,4).
- SEXUAL LUST outside of marrage—What does the Bible say about it? Answer
- What is LUST? Answser
- PURITY—Should I save sex for marriage? Answer
- What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer
- Is formalized marriage becoming obsolete? Answer
- How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer
- How can I deal with temptations? Answer
- My boyfriend wants to have sex. I don’t want to lose him. What should I do? Answer
- See many more answers in our section… Sex, Love and Relationships
- DIVORCE—Under what conditions may Christians divorce and remarry? Answer
- What’s wrong with being gay? Answer
- What about gays needs to change? (It may not be what you think.) Answer
- What should be the attitude of the Church toward gays and homosexuality? Answer
The word “fornication” is sometimes used in a symbolic sense in the Bible, for example, meaning a forsaking of God or a following after idols (idolatry—Isaiah 1:2; Jeremiah 2:20; Ezek. 16; Hos. 1:2; 2:1-5; Jeremiah 3:8-9).