ArticlesBiblical answersMarriage and FamilyNew Life

What does the Bible say about Fornication and its Definition? What is the punishment?

Anyone who has ever studied the Bible or belongs to one of the many Christian denominations knows that the Bible strongly condemns fornication in both the Old and New Testament. Unfortunately, far too many Christians live in sexual immorality and debauchery, because they do not know the God-given limits regarding fornication or simply do not want to obey them. However, the punishment for fornication in the Bible is very severe which is why everyone should give much thought about it.

This article delves into the Bible’s definition of fornication to educate those who do not know what fornication is or where it starts and reveals what the Bible says about its punishment and penalty.

What is fornication according to the Bible?

According to the Bible, many sexual acts fall under the definition of fornication. Here you will find a detailed listing of Bible passages on the meaning of fornication from both the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible.

Definition of fornication in the Old Testament

Fornication is:

  • Adultery (compare Exodus 20:14, Moses 20:10)
  • lust for another’s wife (compare Exodus 20:17)
  • having sex with animals (compare Exodus 22:19, Leviticus 20: 15-16)
  • sexual intercourse with a woman or undressing her while she has her menstruation (cf. Leviticus 20:18)
  • when a man has sexual intercourse with a man (compare Leviticus 20:13)
  • when a woman is fornication (compare Leviticus 19:29)
  • when you touch a woman’s bosom or let a woman touch you (cf. Ezekiel 23:21)
  • when one shows oneself naked in public (compare Ezekiel 23:29)
  • sexual intercourse with family members
    • sexual intercourse with his father’s wife (compare Leviticus 20:11)
    • sexual intercourse or revealing the nakedness of your spouse’s children or their spouses (cf. Leviticus 18:17, Leviticus 20:12)
    • sexual intercourse with one’s wife’s mother (cf. Leviticus 20:14)
    • sexual intercourse with your siblings or half-siblings or their spouses (cf. Leviticus 20:17, Leviticus 20:21)
    • sexual intercourse with your uncle or aunt or their spouse (Leviticus 20: 19-20)

Definition of fornication in the New Testament

Fornication is:

  • divorce or marrying a divorced or indecent woman (compare Matthew 5:32, 15: 9)
  • looking at another woman and lusting after her (cf.Matthew 5:28)
  • when a boy is abused – pedophilia (cf. 1 Corinthians 6: 9)
  • when a man has sexual relations with a man or a woman has sex with a woman (compare Romans 1: 26-27)
  • sexual relations with your father’s wife (compare 1 Corinthians 5: 1)
  • when one lusts after the flesh of another (Jude 1: 7)
  • allure through the lusts of the flesh (2 Peter 2:18)
  • when a woman seduces men into fornication (Revelation 2:20)

Often, Bible translations also use the word wickedness instead of fornication, which is a suiting term as it describes the severity of the crime. Of course, the words whore and fornicator in the Bible also speak of fornicating people. Because a fornicator is a person who has had sex with several people.

According to the Bible, what is the definition of fornication?

All of these examples from the Bible make it easy to see what the definition of fornication is. Fornication refers to any sexual act practiced with a person or animal outside the guidelines God has given us. Sexual acts are made for the sole purpose of marriage between a man and a woman, according to God’s will.

You can read in detail what marriage is and when one has committed adultery in this article:

Porn is fornication as well, therefore it is not allowed for Christians

What most people do not know is that the word pornography is derived from the Greek word “porneia”, which translates to “fornication”. In the original Greek text of the New Testament of the Bible this word appears 25 times. In plain language: wherever the Bible would normally talk about fornication, the term “porneia” is used in Greek. Pornography means translated “fornication pictures”.

According to this, anyone who is married and watches pornography or fornication pictures is already committing adultery. For Jesus said that when someone looks at another woman lusting for her, has already committed adultery in his heart.

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)

But watching pornography (fornication pictures) is condemned not only within marriage, according to the Bible, but also in general. For, according to the New Testament, we should not be guided by carnal desires, but rather kill the deeds of the flesh with the Spirit of God.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:12-14)

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. (Colossians 3:5-8)

According to the Bible, fornication is forbidden and a deadly sin

Even if someone believes that God’s commandments are not valid anymore, which is certainly not the case, then he would still have to adhere to the prohibition of fornication. For Paul has said:

Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. (Acts 15:19-20)

Apostle Paul says several times how important it is that we abstain from fornication. Fornication is a particularly grave sin, as one sins against his/ her own body, which according to the Bible should be a holy temple for the spirit of God.

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5)

In addition, Paul even said that we should not even associate with fornicators.

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (1 Corinthians 5:11-13)

What is the punishment for fornication in the Bible?

The Bible speaks innumerable times about what will happen to people who commit fornication. The Old Testament of the Bible says that those who commit fornication must die (cf. Exodus 22:19, Leviticus 20:10, Deuteronomy 22: 20-21). That is why fornication is called a mortal sin.

God’s contempt for fornication is particularly evident in Numbers 25: 1-9 of the Bible. Because there it is reported that 24,000 Israelites perished because they committed fornication.

But also, in the New Testament of the Bible, the penalty for fornication is just as strict as in the Old Testament. For there, it is written that no one who practices fornication will enter the kingdom of God.

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, 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 21:8)

According to the Bible, the punishment for fornication is condemnation on judgment day because no indecent man and no indecent woman enter God’s kingdom.

Know ye 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, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. (Ephesians 5:5-7)

Only those who repent from fornication can enter God’s kingdom

So, since the punishment for fornication in the Bible is so severe, is there still hope for lewd people? Yes, indeed there is. Because with the mortal sin of fornication, it is the same as with all other sins. Only when one truly repents he can be forgiven.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

This of course also includes the fact that you will never commit fornication again. Because Jesus said that someone who has been forgiven, but commits the sin again, will fare worse than before.

Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. (John 5:14)

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. (2 Peter 2:19)

And anyway one would never really have turned away from his wickedness and walked on the right path if he were to indulge in fornication again afterwards.

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6)

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (2 Peter 2:20-22)

Conclusion – The meaning of fornication in the Bible and its punishment

So, as we can see, the meaning of fornication in the Bible is much broader than it is believed today. Things like pornography, lusting after someone else’s flesh, adultery, pedophilia, sexual intercourse during your period, and teasing other people define fornication. Also, fornication is a serious sin that has grave consequences if not repented. It is called mortal sin for a reason. Unto this day, the punishment for fornication in the Bible is still death and the refusal to enter the kingdom of God.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

If you liked the article, take a look at our Facebook Page.


  1. I’m enjoying your site and finding a lot of insightful info, but I believe that you miss the mark on Matthew 5:28; I recently came to discover that this verse has long been misinterpreted, to the detriment of young men the world over.

    1. “Adultery” referred to a very specific scenario in the Bible. It wasn’t a word used to describe just any and every illicit sexual activity.

    2. The Greek word for “woman” in that verse is actually the same word used for “wife.” So, when considering that the verse also refers to “adultery,” it becomes more clear what Jesus meant.

    3. The word used for lust in that verse is “epithumeó.” In Romans 7:7, Paul tells us explicitly that epithumeó = 10th commandment covetousness.

    The problem hinges on the fact that we read the word “lust” and internalize it in our minds with the modern definition, which includes and and all sexual fantasy. But that was not what it referred to back then; that was not the intending meaning. It was something much more intense. In short, 10th commandment covetousness is NOT the same thing as “fantasizing.”

    For a good explanation on covetousness, see this video:

    Jesus was making a direct reference to how breaking the 10th commandment (coveting a neighbor’s wife) happens before breaking the 7th (actually committing adultery with her). The “heart sin” in Matthew 5:28 is not mere fantasy for a few moments (about a woman that the man might not even know/may have no desire to actually sleep with – even if given the opportunity!), but rather a burning, insatiable desire to the point that the man has his eyes fixed on another’s property and hopes to take it.

    Think of the story of David and Bathsheba: What were his sins? When did he first sin? Was it when he first fantasized about her? When he obsessed over her to the point of planning to actually take her for himself? When he actually committed the act with her?

    I’d argue that the initial sin was the obsessive insatiable desire (coveting Bathsheba). And obviously the act itself was sinful. But see, there are 3 parts, not 2. People who condemn mere fantasy (which often happens with no hope of actually committing the sinful act), act like there are only 2 parts: any and all thoughts, and the act itself. I’d urge you to dig deeper into investigating other points of view regarding this passage, because no one ever seems to address this. But there is a big difference between thinking sexual thoughts, and actually thinking “Her husband is gone next week; I must have her!” Can the one lead to the other? Sure, but not always. Just as not every single glass of wine leads someone to be an alcoholic.

    1. Hi Billy,

      If I read you correctly do you mean that the first stage (fantasizing and sexual thoughts part) is absolutely fine as long as it does not develop into the second stage (obsession and covetousness) and that God is tolerable about it?

      The reason I am asking is I am worried it is the common scenario whereby people interpret the Bible to suit their own taste because they don’t like what the Bible is actually saying (now I am not saying you are that type of person, I like the fact that you don’t just blindly accept what the page is saying and instead ask questions and do research to clarify).

      There are two types of people in the compromising category in regard to bible. The first is they cherry pick bible verses: keep what they like and discard what they don’t like or pretend that it does not exist. The second group, instead of discarding verses, they interpret it to their own liking so that they can continue to indulge in the sins that they are not willing to give up.

      I totally get what you mean by the three parts process whereas majority of people just think of it as two parts. And I understand the distinction between the first stage (fantasizing) and the second stage (covetousness). But I have strong conviction that the first part is also sinful and to say that it is fine is to fall into a state of complacency and compromise. In case you differ it is not my intention to start an argument or something. Peace and cheers!

      1. Christs enemies boasted saying: We are of Aberham’s seed. We are not born of fornication. Our Father is God. Christs enemies were born of fornication wanting God with blood in him to be dead. Jesus said: you need to be born again. All Satan did through Christs enemies was argue with Jesus. God does not see age. God made the nude form. Adultery is human to human. Many wives and concubines will reduce the chances for adultery. We are mammals. Love people who love others keeping all of the laws of God. The doctrines the commandments of men made people to be like Christs death loving enemies. It was not a good idea to have sex with a woman when blood was coming out of her.
        Don’t turn God’s word into a lie. Romans 1:25. That will make people like unto the people Aberham had to kill being wicked like the Moabites. Romans 1:29 – 32. Ezekiel 23:21: She was extremely lose sexually having sex with any man. They were rich in the worldly wealth. She took advantage of that. Those men became poor trying to please her. Her end was not good because of that becoming poor herself. Christs mind was not in her. She was Unlearned, low hence vicious with her mouth. Lewd according to the Saxon. David was married to his sister. He loved her. Wanting a woman that is not yours is stealing. 1 Corinthians 6:9-1 has nothing to do with pedophilia. Stop having a militaristic mentality against them. Listen for the voice of Jesus through people. Christs enemies could not hear that voice. Aberham knew that voice. The church hates man and woman making laws against the sight of a man or a woman making clothing the only good thing to see. Testicles sheath and penis of mammals are made to be bad for children to see. God will not do that. What mind therefore is at work? Rehoboam Solomon and Jacob has sex with more than one wife. They were never said to committing fornication. Satan says porn when parts that can make life are seen.

        It is carnal mind. That mind does not think like God thinks. They are born or fornication needing to be born again. Pastors and priests say be born again having no idea what that means. Satan will not enter God’s kingdom existing in the mind of a person.

      2. Jesus did not walk about with a crucifix in his hands shoving it in the face of people in an attempt to get a demon out of a person. People who are born of fornication made people to think that Jesus did that. People will realize that Jesus did not do that had they stop and actually think. Demons don’t know what think, is.

      3. Jesus did not walk around with a crucifix in his hands, shoving it in the face of people in an attempt to get a demon out of a person. People who are born of fornication made people to think that Jesus did that. People will realize that Jesus did not do that had they stop and actually think. Demons don’t know what think, is.

      4. What do you become as to how you see scripture? That is the measure. Are you like Christ or his enemies. Christs controlled himself remaining even as older people who could no longer bear children. Jesus wants us to have that kind of control keeping their sex to the wife they are committed to. Jesus is not bothered had you have more than one wife. A bull has many cows.

      5. What do you become as to how you see scripture? That is the measure. Are you like Christ or his enemies? Christs controlled himself remaining even as older people who could no longer bear children. Jesus wants us to have that kind of control keeping their sex to the wife they are committed to. Jesus is not bothered had you have more than one wife. A bull has many cows.

  2. Rewriting the bible is as bad as lying so those who kept rewriting the bible have destroyed its original definitions and intentions. The newer bibles and rewrites are sins in themselves.

    1. Jesus is the judge not the Unseen Father. The mind of the Unseen Father needs to be in our mind even as it was in Christs mind. Blood was in Christs body at the time. Devils want to shed that blood. Condemning gives them an excuse thinking they are doing God a service. Those people don’t have Jesus ruling over them. They are the people who need to be slain.

    2. Legal system and Christ’s enemies are the same. The doctrines the commandments of men are taught. Those commandments make people to be bitter. Devils are bitter toward their best friend. The church made people to be bitter when a nude person is seen walking among people who are clothed. A godly person would not be bothered. A godly person will be peacful. They will obey God’s laws. People who are not peacful made laws to be against open nudity. Those same people made laws against zoosexuals, pedophilia people and gay sex being seen, and heterosexual sex being seen. That is extended to not allowing sheaths testicles and penises to be seen on a elephant, horse, deer, dog, rabbit, bear, beaver, goat, sheep or animated whatever. The Movie Red Notice had a Bull in it looking like a real bull. the bull in bugs bunny cartoon needs to be treated in the same way. It would not be bad had Bugs touch those parts or even helped him to get his rocks off. That would be one appreciative bull. Bugs Bunny would have a lifelong friend, instead of an enemy.

    3. The church perverted the words of the living God. That made people to teach the fear giving. guilt giving, good for nothing doctrines, the commandments of men. The church, now, is like Christs enemies with how they were in Christ’s day.

    4. The fornicating misinforming church made animation and illustrations in children’s books to look like the genderless, sexless, fallen Lucifer. There are talented artists in the furry fandom that can be used to draw animated whatever depicting their natural parts according to the age of the characters. That can be done in a book or animated characters in a movie. Sheaths will always narrower before the penis becomes erect. Some don’t show testicles showing a penis only when it comes out of the body. Their parts are internal. walrus’s, dolphins, whales, penguins, seals, and birds have internal sexual organs.

    5. Indeed, it is bad to rewrite scripture. Every step needs to be the right step. An errant step will make whoever to veer off of the narrow way. An errant step makes a person to high and lifted up within themselves. They have the righteousness of Christs enemies. The judging that Jesus used does not even enter their mind. Condemning Judging is the only kind of Judging that exists to them. Satan works through them trying to be like God through them. Jesus will judge all in that way. The Unseen Father who condemns no one needs to be in our mind. They that have that mind in their mind will be on the narrow way.

    6. Indeed, it is bad to rewrite scripture. Every step needs to be the right step. An errant step will make whoever to veer off of the narrow way. An errant step makes a person to be high and lifted up within themselves. They have the righteousness of Christs enemies. The judging that Jesus used does not even enter their mind. Condemning Judging is the only kind of Judging that exists to them. Satan works through them trying to be like God through them. Jesus will judge all in that way. The Unseen Father who condemns no one needs to be in our mind. They that have that mind in their mind will be on the narrow way.

  3. All sin and blasphamy will be forgiven when the non condeming loving Unseen Father God come’s into your mind. The person becomes a new creature. That cannot happen when people blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. Lies will be taught as if they are true. It is blasphemy to say that money is somthing. Blasphemers made the Legal system. People make themselves to be supreme when Jesus is he that is supreme. Ask and receive is person to person. God giving what is requested by another person.

    The body is in sin. It dies. The body has not yet put on incorruption.

    Jesus is the only one who is perfect living in our mind.

    Ejaculation is a normal bodily function. Satan is a guilt giver.

    Whoever is not like the Kind Jesus will be immoral. Those people will not have Jesus ruling over them. Satan is ruling over church leaders.

    The church made the showing of clothing that sinful hands made to be good. The body that people did not make is seen as being bad.
    God has perfect peace in him thus is not offended by anything. Satan, a colorful being described in Ezikiel 28 is offended by everything that God made. That being cannot keep God’s laws. The catholic church is the same way, thus does not teach Gold’s laws. The catholic church teaches the doctrines the commandments of men just like Christs enemies.

    Abortion and money came at the same time. No money. Sacrifice the baby. Money in abundance, not wanting to have less. Sacrifice the baby. A deadly double-edged sword.

    Real witches run the catholic church. Paul went to a witch. Paul wanted to communicate with a dead prophet of God. Dead people or whatever cannot hear you. They are in a dreamless sleep.

    `1. Guit giving from people who run the equivalent of the den of theives.

    2.There is no such thing as sex before marriage. Two become one. God sees what people do in secret. No masturbating is giving guilt. Jesus will not do that.

    3. Eucharist. Jesus is flesh and blood in a person who has Christs Spirit in them. We are flesh and blood. Communion would be cannibalism had bread and wine turn into flesh and blood.

    4.Confess your sins one to another. The church is sinning.

    5.Money compels people to kill.

    6.An embryo is destroyed when a woman has a period.

    7.Catholic church murdered indians in a 500 yearlong war. They caused them to die mining uranium. That church killed zoosexuals, gays, and Transexuals being like the sodomites around Lot’s house. Gays have never done what is recorded.

    8.Hate – anger made people to do what is typed on 7.

    9. Satan wants to freeze people in fear being afraid of looking for a sexual partner. Don’t knowingly engage in sex with a wife that is not yours.

    10: the church is proud of its misinformation. Money makes the church to be greedy. The church robs people of their funds. That is why the church looks like it looks.

  4. You have a lot of articles that I agree with and many are well written. However, you do have an understanding about Yahshua (aka Jesus) that is NOT Biblical. It is Christian theology, but that does not male it Biblical. The error you have is that you still believe that Yahshua was some type of sacrifice made to Yahweh in order to atone for sin. This is false. The Almighty Sovereign Creator of all, the essence of Life, as revealed to the ancient prophets, does not need or want any sacrific’se made to Him. Read Isaiah 1:11-13+. He does not need sacrifice to forgive sins. read Jeremiah 7:21-23. In fact he condemns human sacrifice. Jeremiah 7:31, The laws about sacrifice was made to make the false priest wealthy, read Jeremiah 8:8-9. This is very clear in the Hebrew Bible. all of these things are vain. read Micah 6:6-8. FYI, Paul/Saul was NOT an Apostle, he was selected by Yahweh for an Apostle by Yahweh to be an Apostle. This guy Paul/Saul was a Pharisee (enough said about him). You need to rethink your understanding about the false concept of Human or any animal sacrifice to the Almighty, since it is pure pagan.

  5. The “Peace Maker” pamphlet by Udney Hay Jacob that was published in 1842 in Illinois expounds Bible marriage laws. It explains that the fornication by a married woman that justifies divorce, and thus avoids adultery if she marries again, is not what is commonly called fornication (sexuality between the unmarried) but is the alienation of the married woman from the government of her husband. It makes perfect sense that if a woman freely agrees to a Bible based marriage where she is under the government of her husband, that if she becomes completely alienated from her husband and how he governs that she should not be forced to remain under his government. You can read it here:

  6. Thank you for your article – this one and the one that clearly states that Jesus is not God.
    Women need to stop dressing in such an indecent way to cause men to commit the sin of fornication, lust and adultery. It’s not just a few, it’s everywhere. It’s so sad that a man can’t even go food shopping or to his child’s school, without being violated by these indecently dressed women, ESPECIALLY IN THOSE TIGHTS “AKA LEGGING”: WITHOUT ANYTHING OVER IT. YOU’RE EXPOSING YOUR PRIVATE AREA TO THE WORLD. IT’S FOR YOUR HUSBAND, NOT TO PROSTITUTE YOURSELF TO EVERY MAN ON THE STREET. YES ,THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE DOING. LADIES, YOU THINK YOU LOOK GOOD, BUT YOU LOOK LIKE YOUR SEEKING SEXUAL ATTENTION – IT’S CAUSING A LOT OF MEN TO SIN, NOT ONLY SIN, BUT GET DEMONIZED BY THEIR SINS. IT’S VERY EVIL!! Shame on the men, that walk with your wives like that. You know what it’s doing to other married men. Have you no shame? Yes, I’m referring to Christians. Although, I will say, the Muslims, and orthodox Jews have it going on. They know how to dress that’s respectable to God, and teach their children the same.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *