The following statement has been regurgitated many times over social media, and in many sermons, “We ought to whisper about what the Bible whispers about, and we ought to shout about what it shouts about.’ And the Bible appears more to whisper when it comes to sexual sin compared to its shouts about materialism and religious pride.”
While this seems catchy, it is not accurate. The words for sexual immorality, the noun and words associated with it, are mentioned fifty-five times in the New Testament. For sake of readability, the references are listed in the footnotes, and are taken from a concordance. In light of this Scripturally-frequent evidence, it is clear the Bible not only speaks clearly on sexual sin, but also defines it, condemns it, and instructs how to be free from it.
Defining Sexual Immorality
The term sexual immorality, or πορωεια, has the semantic range of “1 unlawful sexual intercourse, prostitution, unchastity, fornication, 2 participation in prohibited degrees of marriage … 3 immorality of a transcendent nature.” Yet, Jesus also adds the definition of unlawful sexual desire, lust, to sexual immorality in his sermon on the mount (Matthew 5: 28). He also adds sexual immorality as the only reason for a divorce; otherwise, the divorce is adultery (5:32).
It is also true that homosexuality is considered to be a form of sexual immorality (Romans 1: 26 – 27, 1 Timothy 1: 10). The reference in 1 Timothy 1: 10 shows this is part of the moral law of God (Genesis 19, Leviticus 18: 18). It is clear homosexuality is a sin which is a symptom of unrighteousness, a condition which will keep people from entering heaven (1 Corinthians 6: 9 – 10).
Theologically, sexual immorality is anything which goes against the marriage covenant designed by God to be between a husband and a wife (Genesis 2: 24 – 25). This would include bestiality, polygamy, and prostitution (Leviticus 18). It is joining with anything sexually other than one’s spouse (1 Corinthians 6: 12 – 20).
Condemning Sexual Immorality
Many of the same verses which defined sexual immorality also condemned it:
- Matthew 5: 28 – 29: “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” (ESV).
- Romans 1: 18, 24: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, … Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.” (NIV).
- 1 Corinthians 6: 9: “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.” (ESV).
How To Be Free from It
Sexual immorality is not a sin that is unforgivable. It must be repented of, like all other sin (Acts 15: 19 – 20). Yet, it can be forgiven by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Look at the whole text of 1 Corinthians 6: 9 – 20:
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. “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 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. (ESV).
It is clear sexual immorality is a grievous sin, but can be forgiven by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus (v. 11). It is a sin against the body (v. 18). Yet, since Jesus has purchased the believer, he or she becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, and can glorify God with their body (vv. 14, 19 – 20).
The Bible does not whisper about sexual sin. It is very clear. It defines it as anything which goes against the marriage covenant. The Word of God condemns sexual immorality, all of its kinds. Yet, it tells how one can be free of sexual immorality. Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin and save His people from their sin to be reconciled to God (Matthew 1: 21, Romans 3: 23 – 26, 2 Corinthians 5: 20 – 21). If one repents of their sin and trusts in Jesus, they will be saved (Luke 24: 46 – 47, Acts 2: 38, 17: 30).
If you want to dive deeper in your understanding in biblical interpretation, check out the resources section at strivingforeternity.org/store. There are tons of biblical resources to help you grow in your faith. Lord bless you.
 J.D. Greear, “How the Fall Affects Us All: Romans 1: 24 – 32”. Quote used in Bud Ahlheim’s article, “Sex, Whispers, Sermon Swiping” June 5, 2021, https://strivingforeternity.org/sex-whispers-sermon-swiping/ , Accessed December 30, 2021.
 Πορνεια Matthew 5:32, 15:19, 19:9; Mark 7:21; John 8:41; Acts 15:20, 15:29, 21:25; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 6:13, 6:18, 7:2; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Revelation 2:21, 9:21, 14: 8, 17:2, 4. Πορνευω 1 Corinthians 6: 18, 10:8; Revelation 2:14, 2:20, 17:2, 18: 3, 18: 9. Πορνη Matthew 21:31, 21:32; Luke 15: 30; 1 Corinthians 6:15, 6:16, Hebrews 11: 31, James 2: 25, Revelation 17:1, 17:5, 17:15, 17:16, 19:2. Πορνος 1 Corinthians 5:9, 5:10, 5:11, 6:9; Ephesians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 12:16, 13:4; Revelation 21:8, 22:15.
 John R. Kohlenberger III, Edward W. Goodrick, and James A Swanson, The Greek – English Concordance to the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1997). 4514
 Frederick William Danker, A Greek – English Lexicon of the New Testament And Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition (BDAG), (Chicago, Illinois, Chicago University Press, 2000). 854