Sex

Fornication (porneia):

Porneia, typically translated as fornication, sexual immorality, or sometimes just immorality is defined as follows:

"Porneia, which is relatively rare in classical Greek (Moulton-Milligan), originally stood for "prostitution" ... In other, later contexts it denotes "unchasity, illicit sexual relations" of any kind ("fornication" is a somewhat archaic but common translation)." [The Complete Biblical Library].

Illicit sexual intercourse:
  1. adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals, etc.
  2. sexual intercourse with close relatives; Levitcus 18
  3. sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mark 10:11

[The New Testament Greek Lexicon]

Porneia (fornication) "is used of illicit sexual intercourse…." [W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words]

Fornication: "illicit sexual intercourse in general … distinguished from adultery (moicheia) in Matthew 15:19 … used of adultery … in Matthew 5:32; 19:9 [Henry Thayer, Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, pg. 532].

Fornication: "The New Testament is characterized by an unconditional repudiation of all extra-marital and unnatural intercourse" [Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol. 6, pg. 590].

You can also go through the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament to see what Hebrew words were translated to porneia to get an idea of what the word meant. You will find:

  • zanah - to lie down like a prostitute (Jeremiah 2:20; Micah 1:7)
  • zenunim - Harlotry, prostitution (Hosea 1:2; Nahum 3:4)
  • zenuth - Unfaithfulness, prostitution (Numbers 14:33; Jeremiah 3:2; Hosea 4:11)
  • taznuth - Harlotry, lust (Ezekiel 16:15; 23:7, 11)

 

  • Ge 34:31; Ge 38:15; Ge 38:24; Ex 34:15; Ex 34:16; Le 17:7; Le 19:29; Le 20:5; Le 20:6; Le 21:7; Le 21:9; Le 21:14; Nu 15:39; Nu 25:1; De 22:21; De 23:18; De 31:16; Jos 2:1; Jos 6:17; Jos 6:22; Jos 6:25; Jg 2:17; Jg 8:27; Jg 8:33; Jg 11:1; Jg 16:1; Jg 19:2; 1Ki 3:16; 1Ch 5:25; 2Ch 21:11; 2Ch 21:13; Ps 73:27; Ps 106:39; Pr 6:26; Pr 7:10; Pr 23:27; Pr 29:3; Isa 1:21; Isa 23:15; Isa 23:16; Isa 23:17; Isa 57:3; Jer 2:20; Jer 3:1; Jer 3:3; Jer 3:6; Jer 3:8; Jer 5:7; Eze 6:9; Eze 16:15; Eze 16:16; Eze 16:17; Eze 16:26; Eze 16:28; Eze 16:30; Eze 16:31; Eze 16:33; Eze 16:34; Eze 16:35; Eze 16:41; Eze 20:30; Eze 23:3; Eze 23:5; Eze 23:19; Eze 23:30; Eze 23:43; Eze 23:44; Ho 1:2; Ho 2:5; Ho 3:3; Ho 4:10; Ho 4:12; Ho 4:13; Ho 4:14; Ho 4:15; Ho 4:18; Ho 5:3; Ho 9:1; Joe 3:3; Am 7:17; Mic 1:7; Na 3:4;
  • Ge 38:24; 2Ki 9:22; Eze 23:11; Eze 23:29; Ho 1:2; Ho 2:2; Ho 2:4; Ho 4:12; Ho 5:4; Na 3:4;
  • Nu 14:33; Jer 3:2; Jer 3:9; Jer 13:27; Eze 23:27; Eze 43:7; Eze 43:9; Ho 4:11; Ho 6:10;
  • Eze 16:15; Eze 16:20; Eze 16:22; Eze 16:25; Eze 16:26; Eze 16:29; Eze 16:33; Eze 16:34; Eze 16:36; Eze 23:7; Eze 23:8; Eze 23:11; Eze 23:14; Eze 23:17; Eze 23:18; Eze 23:19; Eze 23:29; Eze 23:35; Eze 23:43
  • Matthew 5:32
  • Matthew 15:19
  • Matthew 19:9
  • Mark 7:21 - Thoughts about fornication is also wrong
  • John 8:41
  • Acts 15:20
  • Acts 15:29
  • Acts 21:25
  • Romans 1:29
  • I Corinthians 5:1 - Includes incestuous relations
  • I Corinthians 6:13
  • I Corinthians 6:18
  • I Corinthians 7:2
  • II Corinthians 12:21
  • Galatians 5:19
  • Ephesians 5:3 - Talking about fornication is also wrong
  • Colossians 3:5
  • I Thessalonians 4:3
  • Revelation 2:21
  • Revelation 9:21
  • Revelation 14:8
  • Revelation 17:2
  • Revelation 17:4
  • Revelation 18:3
  • Revelation 19:2

Adultery (moicheia):

"Moicheia is the word for 'adultery'; i.e., 'illicit intercourse in which one of the parties is married.'" [The Complete Biblical Library Greek - English Dictionary]

  • Matthew 5:32
  • Matthew 15:19
  • Matthew 19:9
  • Mark 7:21
  • Mark 10:11-12
  • John 8:3
  • Galatians 5:19

There are cases where adultery becomes a representative of a class. One of the Ten Commandments: "You shall not commit adultery" doesn't only condemn acts of sex with a married person. Sex between unmarried people is also condemned because is in the same class of sins. If adultery is wrong because the two people are not married to each other, then other equivalent sins are also wrong. Sex with someone engaged, but not yet married was an application of "You shall not commit adultery" (Deuteronomy 22:22-24). Sex with an unmarried person is also covered because it can be considered a sin against the person's future spouse (Deuteronomy 22:13-14, 20-21).

Uncleanness (Greek: akatharsia, Hebrew: tame'):

Akatharsia can refer to the unclean animals and behaviors mentioned in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament in some contexts, such as here in Ephesians 5:3-5, it is broadened to mean morally impure behavior, particularly of the sexual nature. "Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves" (Romans 1:24). Examples are given in Ephesians 5:4. "Filthiness" is what we commonly call dirty talk today. It is talking about sex or sexual practices for the purpose of getting another person sexually aroused. "Foolish talk" is treating what should be a serious matter as if it was a joke. "Coarse jesting" is telling jokes where sex is involved in the punch line. All of these would be examples of uncleanness because they are morally impure behavior. Particularly telling in Ephesians 5:3 is that Paul talks about "fornication and all uncleanness;" thus, those sexual acts that are considered fornication and all the related morally impure sexual acts.

  • Genesis 34:5, 13
  • Romans 1:24
  • Romans 6:19
  • II Corinthians 12:21
  • Galatians 5:19
  • Ephesians 4:19
  • Ephesians 5:3
  • Colossians 3:5
  • I Thessalonians 4:7

Sexual Touching (Greek: haptomai; Hebrew: naga', chabaq):

Haptomai means to touch particularly in the sense of holding on. Thus, it doesn't refer to an accidental brushing against someone, but a purposeful touch or grab. In the context of I Corinthians 7:1 it is talking about the sexual touching between a man and woman, such as what goes on in foreplay, but it would also include the touching of genitals that takes place in mutual masturbation or hand jobs. "So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent" (Proverbs 6:29). Where I Corinthians 7:1 is focused on the sexual touching between men and women, it doesn't mean such is permitted between men and men or women and women.

  • Proverbs 5:20
  • Proverbs 6:29
  • I Corinthians 7:1

Lust (Greek: epithumia and epithumeo; Hebrew hamad):

Epithumia is a noun referring to strong desires or cravings, particularly for things that are not lawful. Epithumeo is the verb form of the same word. "This lust is characterized by a longing for what is forbidden, a deep burning, a covetous desire, and sometimes can be irregular or even violent" [Dr. Gary M. Gulan, Lust: A Desire For Fulfillment].

  • Mr 4:19; Lu 22:15; Joh 8:44; Ro 1:24; Ro 6:12; Ro 7:7; Ro 7:8; Ro 13:14; Ga 5:16; Ga 5:24; Eph 2:3; Eph 4:22; Php 1:23; Col 3:5; 1Th 2:17; 1Th 4:5; 1Ti 6:9; 2Ti 2:22; 2Ti 3:6; 2Ti 4:3; Tit 2:12; Tit 3:3; Jas 1:14; Jas 1:15; 1Pe 1:14; 1Pe 2:11; 1Pe 4:2; 1Pe 4:3; 2Pe 1:4; 2Pe 2:10; 2Pe 2:18; 2Pe 3:3; 1Jo 2:16; 1Jo 2:17; Jude 1:16; Jude 1:18; Re 18:14;
  • Mt 5:28; Mt 13:17; Lu 15:16; Lu 16:21; Lu 17:22; Lu 22:15; Ac 20:33; Ro 7:7; Ro 13:9; 1Co 10:6; Ga 5:17; 1Ti 3:1; Heb 6:11; Jas 4:2; 1Pe 1:12; Re 9:6;

Lust (Greek: hedone):

Self-gratification or sensual pleasure. "It is characterized by a never ending and unfulfilled desire, often identified in pornography and materialism" [Dr. Gary M. Gulan, Lust: A Desire For Fulfillment].

  • Luke 8:14
  • Titus 3:3
  • James 4:1,3
  • II Peter 2:13

Lust (orexis):

Orexis refers to a very strong desire or lust. It is an over extending, a reaching after, a stretching for, an indulgence in, a devotion to something that is typically sinful. "It is characterized by an ignoring of limits, a disregarding of any restraints, and an excitement of the mind that quickly raises the intensity of the pursuit" [Dr. Gary M. Gulan, Lust: A Desire For Fulfillment].

  • Romans 1:27

Passion (pathos):

Pathos is emotional lust that are seemingly stronger than a person can control. "It is characterized by a very strong desire, often develops as a sudden arousal" [Dr. Gary M. Gulan, Lust: A Desire For Fulfillment].

  • Romans 1:26
  • Colossians 3:5
  • I Thessalonians 4:5

Lust (dzeloo):

To have a strong affection toward, jealousy, or envy. "It is characterized by two things: by a slow and gradual increase which then intensifies (the root word for this word means "to boil"); and by zealous pursuit where one doesn't give up easily" [Dr. Gary M. Gulan, Lust: A Desire For Fulfillment].

  • James 4:2
  • Acts 13:45
  • Romans 13:13

Use (chresis):

Chresis started out as a general meaning of use. But in Aristole and Polybius' usage "chresis is 'intimacy' or 'acquaintance;' and Isocrates (Fourth Century B.C.) where literally hai oikoi chresis, "the use of houses," means practically sexual 'intercourse' with women" [The Complete Biblical Library Greek - English Dictionary]. This was the meaning commonly used at the time of the New Testament.

  • Romans 1:26-27

Sexual Relations (Greek: koite; Hebrew: shakab):

Koite is the Greek word for bed, but it is also the word for what takes place in bed. It was used in a way similar to how we say that Jack was sleeping with Pam. Thus this is a word for sexual intercourse.

  • Genesis 34:2
  • Romans 9:10
  • Romans 13:13
  • Hebrews 13:4

Lewdness (aselgeia):

Aselgeia refers to shameless behavior, particularly in regards to sex. It is behavior that is involved in pure self-enjoyment or behavior characteristic of an animal.

  • Mark 7:22
  • Romans 13:13
  • II Corinthians 12:21
  • Galatians 5:19
  • Ephesians 4:19
  • I Peter 4:3
  • II Peter 2:7
  • II Peter 2:18
  • Jude 4

Nakedness (Greek: gumnotes; Hebrew: 'ervah)

  • Genesis 9:22-23
  • Genesis 42:9, 12
  • Exodus 20:26
  • Exodus 28:42
  • Leviticus 18:6-19
  • Leviticus 20:11, 17-21
  • Deuteronomy 23:14 - "unclean thing" is literally "the nakedness of a thing"
  • Deuteronomy 24:1
  • Deuteronomy 28:48
  • I Samuel 20:30
  • Isaiah 20:4
  • Isaiah 47:3
  • Lamentations 1:8
  • Ezekiel 16:8, 36-37
  • Ezekiel 22:10
  • Ezekiel 23:10, 18, 29
  • Hosea 2:9
  • Nahum 3:5
  • Romans 8:35
  • II Corinthians 11:27
  • Revelation 3:18

Genitals (Hebrew: ma'or)

  • Habakkuk 2:15

Know (Hebrew: yada')

Intimacy

  • Genesis 4:1
  • Judges 19:25

 

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