silhouettecouple02I received the following question:

Nathan, I have been studying the word fornication because someone I love has decided to move in together. They will be getting married hopefully and I was surprised to find these meanings of the word. I would like your opinion. Thanks.

It becomes difficult to glean meanings from our English Bibles when one English word is used to translate multiple Greek words. It is clear our translators used “fornication” as a kind of “catch-all” word for multiple sexual sins. The Greek words seem to also be catch-alls in many cases, although they have different shades of meaning.

In the heathen worship of the day, male shrine prostitutes were quite common. These were probably bisexual at least, if not homosexual exclusively. These went along with the “priestess” shrine prostitutes that also accompanied much of pagan worship.

These terrible practices were common in many of the cities in which scattered Israelites sojourned, and when some of those who had formerly given up on following the LORD came back to the God of their fathers through faith in Jesus Christ, some of them came out of false religions where they had practiced these ungodly things. It was necessary, of course, for them to totally separate themselves from these things, and to live a life of godliness in purity.
Finally, “fornication” is, as I said, a catch-all word, and it is difficult to tie it down to one specific sin, like shacking up before marriage. That shacking up qualifies under some of the Greek and Hebrew words translated “fornication” is clear from examining all the passages.