Adultery, or infidelity, has always been considered as a grave sin in the Bible, both in the Old and the New Testament. However, considering the situation of the world in which we live today, many questions arise in the hearts and minds of believers on this subject. SpiritualRay throws light on what the Bible has to say about adultery.
Did You Know?
Adultery happens to be amongst the most mentioned sins in the Bible. It has been mentioned 52 times in total, including the Ten Commandments, all four Gospels of the New Testament, and ten other books.
People today have become somewhat indifferent towards cheating on their spouses. It is something that is seen almost everywhere, so it’s natural for people, including Christians, to become numb about the whole thing. While today adultery is considered to be an act of cheating on your partner, in the Bible, it has an in-depth connotation. Adultery is associated with having an extramarital affair, or engaging in sexual relationship with anyone else other than your wife or husband. It is a sin that one commits not only to his/her husband/wife, but also to their own body and soul. Note that according to the Bible, having sex before marriage, even with the one you are betrothed to, is a sin. Precisely, engaging in conjugal relationship with anyone else other than your lawfully-wedded husband or wife, is adultery.
Adultery is an act so condemned in its nature that it is a part of The Ten Commandments in the Bible. God has always been very clear about His outlook on adultery in marriage. Marriage is a sacred covenant, a bond of faith, trust, and purity between a man and woman that are brought together by none other than God Himself. Adultery and fornication are the sources that distort, pollute, and ruin the sanctity of this relationship. And this is the very reason why the Bible states it as unforgivable! In fact, in the Old Testament, the punishment for this sin is ‘to be stoned to death’.
Verses about Adultery in the Holy Bible
✝ Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
― Hebrews 13:4 (English Standard Version)
✝ If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
― Leviticus 20:10 (English Standard Version)
✝ He who commits adultery lacks sense;
he who does it destroys himself.
He will get wounds and dishonor,
and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
For jealousy makes a man furious,
and he will not spare when he takes revenge.
He will accept no compensation;
he will refuse though you multiply gifts.
― Proverbs 6:32-35 (English Standard Version)
✝ You shall not commit adultery.
― Exodus 20:14 (English Standard Version)
✝ Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.
― Genesis 20:3 (English Standard Version)
✝ If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel.
If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor’s wife. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
― Deuteronomy 22:22-24 (English Standard Version)
✝ You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
― Matthew 5:27-28 (English Standard Version)
✝ It was also said, “Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.” But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
― Matthew 5:31-32 (English Standard Version)
✝ Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works,
― Revelation 2:22 (English Standard Version)
✝ But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.
― Matthew 15:18-20 (English Standard Version)
✝ Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
― 1 Corinthians 6:18 (English Standard Version)
✝ Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
― 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (English Standard Version)
✝ The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
― John 8:3-11 (English Standard Version)
The verses included in the aforementioned section clearly display the severity of this act. God hates divorce for it breaks a sacred union of marriage that is made with an intent to last for life. The Bible states in Mark 10:6-9 (ESV), “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” However, the only exception that the Bible gives for divorce is if a woman (or man) is accused of adultery, as mentioned in Matthew 5:31-32.
Adultery leads to severe consequences. It allows mistrust, lie, hatred, jealously, and vengeance to seep into the relationship. It causes divorces, a permanent scar in the hearts of the spouse, and if there are any children in the picture, it leads them to a life that is deprived of ‘a healthy family’. In most cases, children from divorced families, or in families where adultery has caused bitterness, also cease to have faith in the union of marriage, or end up being adulterers themselves when they grow up!
The Scripture clearly states in 1 Corinthians 6 in the English Standard Version, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?”, and that, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” These words substantiate the fact that sexual immorality is a sin against God, and therefore, an offense of the highest degree.
While most of the verses above speak of condemnation and punishment, the last two verses―1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and John 8:3-11―convey forgiveness for adultery that comes only through God if someone seeks it with true repentance. This portrays the nature of our loving Savior, who is ever-willing to forgive us our trespasses, and renew our hearts, if only we allow Him to do so by keeping our bodies, minds, and hearts pure and faithful.
We are sexual beings at the end of the day, and are bound to be exposed to physical temptations. Our creator understands all our needs, including that of the body. Which is why, He has created a perfect companion for us―our spouse. This is remarkably explained in 1 Corinthians 7:2-5, which, according to the English Standard Version, states:
“But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
There can be innumerable reasons for one to take the road that leads to adultery, but there is only one reason as to why it is important to stick to the morals that make us ‘human beings’ in the true sense of the word. No marriage is easy and consists of various challenges and sacrifices. But what makes the union truly worthwhile, is the love, faithfulness, and honor that remains intact irrespective of all the temptations that come in the way. Everything about marriage is about what this union turns out to be in the long run, and if both, husband and wife, help each other stay steady, the rewards in the long run will surely be worth more than any other pleasure in the world.