FORNICATION ITS MEANING
By Pastor G. Reckart
Copyright 2001 All Rights Reserved
May Not Be Posted On Any Other Web Site
The general meaning of fornication held by most Pentecostal Churches is an act by an unmarried person. But what does the Bible say?
Many are to much King James Version interpretation and do not know there were Bibles before the King James. Since the King James was translated from Greek are we to assume the Greeks who understood fornication and adultery one way for 1611 years were wrong and the King James interpretation is now to be different? Was it the same Holy Ghost that led the Greeks to understand fornication as it meant to them in their language? Why are many afraid of the Greek? God chose the Greek to preserve his Word for 1611 years before there was a King James. Did the world need to wait 1611 years before it could get the right interpretation? Let's examine the act of fornication from the Geeek meanings and apply the word correctly.
When Jesus spoke the words fornication and adultery can they continue to mean what they have always meant to those who heard him? I have ask many for the Greek and Hebrew meaning of fornication so we would get that understanding. Many refuse to do this because their opinions cannot be found in either language. Their opinions can only come from private interpretation of different text. Some think I am correcting the Bible when I oppose their private interpretation. No, this is false! I am not correcting the Bible, but correcting error about the Bible. Do we not correct false interpretations about water baptism using this method? When some say it means to sprinkle do we go to a dictionary first to establish the basis for our doctrine? If we go to Webster's it will say sprinkling is a mode of baptism. But do we accept Webster all the time? No, we go to the Greek and there we find baptism means to immerse, to dip. Why can we go to the Greek to settle this argument, but many get all steamed up when we go to the Greek to settle the correct interpretation of the word fornication?
Does the word fornication mean sexual relations only between single persons? No! It does not mean this in the Greek or Hebrew and for a shocker, not even in Webster's. If the Greek was the language the New Testament was originally written in and there are Greeks today who read the same language, does God change the meaning he inspired the writers to write? Greek will not go away so easy just because there is a King James Version interpretation by someone. The Greek meaning will ALWAYS be greater than any interpretation of the King James Version.
Many give a skimpy rendering of the Greek and obviously on purpose to ignore the weight of the evidence that would come forth. I am going to post the entire meanings from Strongs #4202, 4203, 4204, & 4205:
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.
Does the Greek allow for fornication to be sex only by single persons? NO!
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.
We can see that the word fornication includes a whole range of sexual conduct not connected to single persons who have unmarried relationships.
The Greek language is still spoken and read by over 30 million Greeks today. The same meaning these Greek words had 2,000 years ago mean the same thing today to these 30 million souls.
Is there any indication in the Greek that this sin is by single persons only? No! Such meaning or interpretation is not in Strongs at all.
Now for the Hebrew:
Again, many give only a skimpy version I will post it all.
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.
Is there any indication in Hebrew that this sin is by single persons only? No! Such meaning or interpretation is not in Strongs at all.
I only want to point out that zana which 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. The very first meaning of the Hebrew word states this.
What is not stated in all these Greek and Hebrew meanings is that fornication is sex ONLY by unmarried persons. If this meaning is absent from the Greek and the Hebrew meanings and these meanings have been in the word the Greek for 2,600 years at least, and the Hebrew for 3,600 year at least: then some interpretation since 1611, just 391 years, that is contrary to the original meaning is simple FALSEHOOD & FALSE DOCTRINE.
Again, it is not the Bible that is false, it is the interpretation of the words in the Bible that is false! So do not accuse me of saying the Bible is false. I am saying that as man has falsified the meaning of the word baptism so has he falsified the meaning of the word fornication!
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 who is man to come 2,500 years later and say it is impossible and not true?
Many give a skimpy Webster's on fornication also. I will give the whole meaning: "Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman not married to each other" (Webster's New College Dictionary, 1995, p 440).
Some claim that fornication is lewdness of single people. This is false!
Lewdness need not at all in a legal sense mean sexual relations. There are "lewd and lascivious" acts where men and women expose themselves and no relations ever occur. Lewdness when a woman shows her body to other men is an act of fornication. The fact is, fornication is a sex act between two people who are not married to each other and it may or may not include actual relations.
Fornication can also be between unmarried persons. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that if two people are single and not married to each other they can commit fornication. 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. Is it possible? Must be because Jesus said so 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 of 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 relations" can be applied to married persons.
Many keep thinking that since there are two words "fornication and adultery" that these must mean a married person cannot be guilty of both. It is not even true that only married persons can commit adultery. 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.
Have you noticed that in the 10 Commandments there is one that says "Thou shalt not commit adultery." The Hebrew word for adultery is Strongs 5003 and means to "break wedlock". How does one break this wedlock? But the act of fornication.
So, there is a Biblical need for two different words but they do not mean as you and many others give them.
What does the Word of God say here? Let's take a look:
---Romans 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
I would 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 it and not man.
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. And, although many will not answer the question if covenants can be canceled, ended, or broken, I will: all covenants that are broken cease to exist unless they are reaffirmed (reconciled and renewed). As I said in another place, we 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 go to hell. The covenant of marriage is the same. 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 condemn or change what Jesus authorized. And if any man preach contrary to what Jesus preached he is not a true messenger of God.
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. If you have specific situations and or questions, please feel free to write to me. I will engage in answering questions, but not in debate. It is settled, Jesus authorized divorce and remarriage for the cause of fornication.
Back To Study Page