What Adultery Means In The Bible

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Published by Shannon Jacobs



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Adultery is a major sin in the Bible. It is a violation of the seventh commandment, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). The word translated as “adultery” comes from the Greek word moicheia, which can also be translated as fornication or sexual immorality.

What does adultery mean in the Bible? The Bible defines adultery as a sin and says that it violates not just the seventh commandment but also God’s covenant relationship with his people. Adultery breaks that covenant, which is why God describes it as both an act of unfaithfulness and marital infidelity (Jeremiah 3:20).

What Is The Meaning Of Adultery In The Bible?

The biblical definition of adultery[1] is engaging in sexual relations between a married person and someone who is not their spouse. The word “adultery” comes from the Latin word meaning “to deceive.” In other words, its biblical definition means being unfaithful to one’s spouse.

Both men and women who commit adultery are sexually immoral in the eyes of God. The consequences of being sexually immoral in God’s eyes are incredibly severe, so much so that many scriptures warn us to stay away from this sin at all costs.

In the Bible, adultery is defined as a sin against God and man. Adultery was punishable by death according to Deuteronomy 22:22–24: “If a man is found lying with another man’s wife, then they shall both die, both the man that lied with the woman and the woman; so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.”

Matthew 5:27–28 deals with adultery from another perspective: Jesus teaches that lusting after someone who isn’t your spouse is equivalent to having sex with them. In the same way that cheating is a sin against both God and one’s spouse, so too is lusting after someone who isn’t your spouse.

The Bible also mentions that adultery can affect your marriage. Proverbs 6:32 says, “He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.” This verse tells us that those who engage in adultery are hurting themselves and destroying their marriage.

This may sound harsh, but if you compare your spouse to another person, you no longer honor God’s design for marriage by loving them exclusively and unconditionally (1 Corinthians 7:2).

One of the most common questions people ask when they find out someone they know has committed this sin is, “Why?” Why would anyone want to commit such a horrible act against God? The answer is simple: lust! Lust brings about feelings of desire for something or someone apart from your spouse; therefore, it can easily lead to adultery. Lust is not only a sin but also a powerful force that can easily lead to other sins.

a ring and a hand and adultery meaning in the bible

What Is The Definition Of Adultery According To Jesus?

Jesus Christ defines adultery as any sexual contact outside of marriage. The Bible is clear in its stance against adultery and other forms of sexual immorality. The Book of Leviticus states that “you shall not commit adultery” (Leviticus 20:10).

Jesus also spoke out against adultery in the Gospels. In Matthew 5:27–28, Jesus told his disciples that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. You can find the same teaching in Mark 7:21–23 and Luke 17:1–2.

In addition to having sex with another person, there are other ways that a married woman or man can be guilty of adultery. For example, viewing pornography or masturbating while thinking about someone who is not your partner could be considered adulterous thoughts and actions.

Adultery can be forgiven in the eyes of God if you’re genuinely sorry for your mistake and accept God’s forgiveness. However, if you continue to be guilty of adultery after being forgiven for your first offense, you may no longer be eligible for salvation from eternal damnation in hellfire. This is because every sin must be repented of before God will forgive it.

In Matthew 19:3–9, Jesus was asked about divorce, which was considered adultery at the time. He responded by saying that he has committed adultery if a man marries another woman after divorcing his wife for any reason other than fornication (sex outside of the marriage bed).

If this man marries another woman and her husband divorces for any reason other than fornication (sex outside of marriage), they have both committed adultery.

The Old Testament law prescribed death as a punishment for adultery. But Jesus said that no one who divorces and remarries is free from sin (Mark 10:11–12). Only God can forgive sins against Him. Therefore, if anyone wants to be forgiven for their sins against God, they must repent of them and ask for His forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38; Romans 10:9–10).

What Are The Consequences Of Committing Adultery?

The consequences of adultery are varied and can be severe, depending on the circumstances. If you are considering an affair, it is essential to know that infidelity is not only a moral but also a legal transgression. The consequences of adultery vary based on the circumstances, but they can include the following:


In many states, adultery is considered grounds for divorce. Your relationship may be irreparably damaged even if your spouse does not file for divorce. Moreover, if your spouse files for divorce based on adultery and you deny the infidelity or try to claim that it was mutual when it was not, this can make matters worse for you in court and with your spouse. The Bible also says that divorce is permissible if a person’s spouse commits adultery (Matthew 5:32).

Child Custody Issues

If you are divorced based on adultery, it can affect child custody issues. In many states, a parent who commits adultery is not considered fit and may lose custody of any children. If you have children with your spouse and commit adultery, this may also be grounds for losing custody of your children.

Spiritual Warfare

In some cases, adultery can be considered a spiritual attack on your marriage. If you are struggling in your marriage and you find yourself tempted to commit adultery, it may be that the enemy is trying to keep you from knowing God’s best for your life. In fact, sin is the gateway to keeping you away from God and preventing you from knowing His plan for your life.

If you find yourself tempted to commit adultery, it may be a sign that something in your marriage needs to be changed—and if you don’t address the problem, you could lose your spouse and your belief system permanently.

4 Bible Verses About Adultery

“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”

1 Corinthians 6:18

“But one day, while he was in the house of the LORD, a woman came to him and caught him by the cloak and said, ‘Come and sleep with me!’ He left the house of the LORD and slept with her. In the morning, they both got up, and he went on his way. She conceived a child and sent word to David saying, ‘I am pregnant.'”

2 Samuel 11:2–4

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Matthew 5:27–28

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality (fornication), impurity (idolatry), and sensuality (sensuality).”

Galatians 5:19–21 (NIV)
man and woman fighting and adultery meaning in the bible


The word “fornication” is used to describe the act of having sex with someone other than your spouse. It is also used to describe sexual immorality in general, which could include adultery or premarital sex.

The Bible clearly states that it is wrong for married men and women to have sex outside of marriage. If you are married, your sexual relationship should be reserved for your spouse. If you are not married but live with someone, this is also considered immoral in the eyes of God.

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