Dictionary Of Christian Words, Copyright, all rights reserved.


Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman not married to each other" (Webster's New College Dictionary, 1995, p 440).


Greek4202. porneia, por-ni'-ah; from Grk4203; harlotry (includ. adultery and incest); fig. idolatry:-fornication.
Greek4203. porneuo, porn-yoo'-o; from Grk4204; to act the harlot, i.e. (lit.) indulge unlawful lust (of either sex), or (fig.) practise idolatry:-commit (fornication).
Greek4204. porne, por'-nay; fem. of Grk4205; a strumpet; fig. an idolater:-harlot, whore.
Greek4205. pornos, por'-nos; from pernemi (to sell; akin to the base of Grk4097); a (male) prostitute (as venal), i.e. (by anal.) a debauchee (libertine):-fornicator, whoremonger.

Hebrew2181. zanah, zaw-naw'; a prim. root [highly fed and therefore wanton]; to commit adultery (usually of the female, and less often of simple fornication, rarely of involuntary ravishment); fig. to commit idolatry (the Jewish people being regarded as the spouse of Jehovah):-(cause to) commit fornication, X continually, X great, (be an, play the) harlot, (cause to be, play the) whore, (commit, fall to) whoredom, (cause to) go a-whoring, whorish.

Fornication, Fornicator [Noun]

The general meaning of fornication held by most Pentecostal Churches is an act by unmarried persons only. Is this true? What does the Bible say?

Does the word fornication mean sexual relations only between single persons?

Does the Greek allow for fornication to be sex only by single persons?

Here are the persons who can commit fornication:

1.) Those who commit adultery (the act of adultery must also contain then an act of fornication).

2.) Those who commit incest (can only single persons commit incest? If a man has relations with his daughter that is incest and fornication. If a mother had relations with her son this is incest and fornication (1Cor 5:1). If a brother and sister (married or not) have relations it is incest. Incest is fornication married or not)!

3.) Idolatry is fornication. (Idolatry is in the Spirit what adultery is in the carnal. But what is it in the act of idolatry that makes it also fornication? The Greek meaning then and today in the same Greek language means some act of fornication has occurred).

4.) Unlawful lust. (unlawful lust includes the married and the unmarried. It is a falsehood to say that only single people can commit unlawful lust. Some claim "Lewdness is the unlawful indulgence of lust (porn is included in this)." So in their own words "lewdness" is a sin of fornication. If only single persons can be lewd and be involved in porn or the like: please, would someone PROVE IT )!

5.) A harlot or a whore. (can only single females be a harlot or a whore? It does not make sense to say that a married woman cannot be a harlot or a whore. The Bible is full of places where married women were harlots and whores. God accused Israel his wife of being a harlot (Jeremiah 3:1), a whore (Isaiah 57:3), a fornicator (Ezekiel 16:29), and an adulterer(Isaiah 57:3). These facts will not disappear.

6.) A male prostitute. (This classification of an act of fornication includes homosexuals and also single or married males who offered their services for hire. Fornication is identified here as sexual relations for money. We will take it that if it includes the male it also includes the female under the name whore, strumpet, or harlot).

7.) A female prostitute. (this is covered under harlotry).

8.) Whoremongers. (to be a whoremonger is to have sexual relations with a whore or more then one whore. What is a whore? A whore is a woman who will have sexual relations with any man she chooses. All prostitutes are whores but not all whores are prostitutes. Some whores think that because they give free and do not charge they are not whores. This is false. The moment any wife has sexual relations with a man not her husband she is a whore. The moment she exposes her body to other men for sexual purposes she is a whore. She is guilty of fornication and adultery and has broken her marriage covenant. The moment any husband has sexual relations with any woman or girl not his wife he is a whoremonger. If he also exposes himself to other women or a woman, he is a fornicator and guilty of adultery.

The word fornication includes a whole range of sexual conduct not connected to single persons alone.

Thou hast also committed fornication (#2181) with the Egyptians thy neighbors, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms (#8457), to provoke me to anger (Ezek 16:26).

Hebrew2181. zanah, zaw-naw; a prim. root [highly fed and therefore wanton]; to commit adultery (usually of the female, and less often of simple fornication, rarely of involuntary ravishment); fig. to commit idolatry (the Jewish people being regarded as the spouse of Jehovah):-(cause to) commit fornication, X continually, X great, (be an, play the) harlot, (cause to be, play the) whore, (commit, fall to) whoredom, (cause to) go a-whoring, whorish.

Hebrew8457. taznuwth, taz-nooth; or taznuth, taz-nooth'; from Heb 2181; harlotry, i.e. (fig) idolatry:- fornication, whoredom.

Fornication, whoredom, harlotry [noun]

Is there any indication in Hebrew that this sin is by single persons only? How then is the wife of God in covenant, accused of this sin?

Zana is the Hebrew word for fornication, means first to COMMIT ADULTERY!

There is something in the act of fornication that can also be an act of adultery. Adultery is breaking the marriage covenant. The very first meaning of the Hebrew word zana means the marriage covenant is broken by an act of fornication.

Is the Bible false or is it the interpretation of the words in the Bible by men that is false!

God accused Israel his covenant wife of both fornication and adultery (Jeremiah 3:8 & Ezekiel 16:26-29). Obviously if God shows us there can be fornication by a married spouse then it is possible.

"Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman not married to each other" (Webster's New College Dictionary, 1995, p 440).

Fornication can also be between unmarried persons. Fornication is all sexual conduct except that between a man and wife. If a married person has relations with anyone to whom they are not married this is fornication. A married person who commits fornication also commits adultery. Jesus said this in Matthew 19:1-10. In this text Jesus said a man could not put away his wife (he is married to a wife): except she commit fornication with someone outside her marriage covenant. If a wife cannot commit fornication Jesus could not grant a divorce for it! If there can be a divorce for a wife's fornication evidently the meaning of fornication as "sexual immorality" can be applied to married persons.

Jesus said if a person marries a woman that was not put away for fornication, he commits adultery. The adultery is the sin against the marriage union by the act of fornication with someone to whom they are not scriptually married. Adultery and fornication can be committed at the same time. But they represent a different sin.

So, there is a Biblical need for two different words but they do not mean what is being taught by many preachers today.

I point out that divorce and remarriage for the cause of fornication was granted by Jesus in Matthew 19:1-10.

What is fornication? Go back up the page and look at the sexual possibilities for this sin and you will find your answer. If God can divorce Israel for fornication in Jeremiah 3:8, saying she had played the harlot (Hebrew zana=fornication) then he sets the standard for marriage and divorce.

Regardless of the Pentecostal traditions that have come down from the Catholic Church, divorce and remarriage is allowed for sexual immorality against the marriage covenant. Many will not answer the question if covenants can be canceled, ended, or broken. All covenants that are broken cease to exist unless they are reaffirmed (reconciled and renewed). Apostolics do not believe in eternal security, once in the covenant of grace always in the covenant of grace. We believe a person can sin out of the covenant of grace and end the covenant relationship. The covenant of marriage is the same as the relationship Christ has with each member in the Church. There is no such doctrine as eternal security in the marriage union. A person can fornicate out of the grace of the marriage and be divorced away forever.

As men of God it is our place to see if there can be a reconciliation. And if there can be none, then the marriage was divided asunder both by the act of fornication and by God's law saying such a marriage could be dissolved. It is Jesus and his commandment concerning fornication and divorce that puts asunder a marriage union. NO MAN CAN DO THIS ON HIS OWN, SO LET NOT MAN PUT ASUNDER A MARRIAGE FOR HIS OWN CAUSES: LET JESUS DO IT!

Jesus gave the laws of marriage and Jesus can give the cause for divorce and remarriage. Jesus said "except it be for fornication." No man can change what Jesus authorized.

If a man or woman can prove their spouse has broken their marriage covenant by the sin(s) of fornication that are covered in the Greek and Hebrew meanings, they are free to DIVORCE and REMARRY. Of course we always pray there can be reconciliation. If there can be no reconciliation, then the innocent party has the right to obtain a divorce on the grounds of fornication and remarry. Jesus authorized this!

I advise that before this decision is made, a person contact their Pastor and obtain counseling. I also advise that should a divorce be the only solution to acts of fornication, that a person's Pastor issue the Bill of Divorce on scriptural basis and give it to the guilty spouse. Dissolution of a marriage by secular and governmental courts should follow the Bill of Divorce by a Pastor. This is keeping in harmony with the intent of Jesus in Matthew 19:1-10.

Divorce for fornication by espoused couples:

Some are now teaching that divorce for fornication can only apply to espoused couples.  This doctrine is not practiced or enforced by any Apostolic or Pentecostal minister I have known in the last 50 years.  I have never heard a Pastor or Minister have a doctrine that all engaged persons must marry their betrothed and the only cause for not finalizing the marriage was an act of fornication.  I have never heard a Pastor or Minister preach that if an engaged couple did not marry and there was no fornication, that if any one of them married someone else, this would be adultery.  Yet this is the interpretation they give to Matthew 19:1-10.  These do not enforce what they teach to be the doctrine of Jesus on marriage and divorce.

Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery...(Mat 19:9).