How Many Times Is Adultery Mentioned In The Bible (What Does The Bible Say About Adultery)?

As a church minister, counseling married couples is part of my docket. From my experience, I have noticed that infidelity has caused major problems in countless marriages, especially in recent times. The worst part is that the adulterous party is usually nonchalant about the situation and doesn’t understand the gravity behind the acts they committed or are committing. Not only does adultery drift spouses away from their partner, but from God too, according to the Bible. I have, therefore, made these types of counseling sessions a priority in my church. So, with that being said, how many times is adultery mentioned in the Bible?

Adultery is mentioned a total of 38 times within the King James version of the Bible. For example, it is mentioned in Exodus 20:14, 1 Corinthians 6:18, Hebrews 13:4, and many other verses.

I did extensive research and curated this well-informed article which will cover adultery in the Bible. I took an in-depth look at what the Bible says about this sin and what are its ramifications. For a better understanding of the topic, I also included great resources and Bible references.

What Is Adultery According to The Bible?

The Bible does not covertly define adultery. It is, however, forbidden in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:14). Biblical interpreters believe that since it was prohibited without an explanation of what the act entails, this is an indication that at the time of Moses, the meaning of adultery was widely understood. The Easton’s Bible Dictionary does, however, define adultery as “conjugal infidelity.” Additionally, there is another type of adultery called spiritual adultery. This is defined as unfaithfulness to God or the abandonment of His word to serve other gods. It is believed to include the sins of idolatry, covetousness, and apostasy (Jeremiah 3:6, Revelation 2:22, and Ezekiel 16:32).

What Does the Bible Say About Adultery?

How Many Times Is Adultery Mentioned In The Bible?
What Does the Bible Say About Adultery? Image source: Pixabay

The word ‘adultery‘ comes from ‘adulterate,’ which means to corrupt. Adultery essentially corrupts the institution of marriage. God created the marital union at the very beginning of time with Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:24). Since then, many Biblical couples were united by God. However, in Exodus 20:14, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, with the seventh one being, “You shall not commit adultery.”

The Holy Book also recognizes divorce and remarriage as a way of committing adultery. This is in Luke 16:18, where Jesus Christ said that anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman is guilty of adultery. Mark 10:11-12 as well reiterates the same notion and further states that a woman who does the same to her husband is also adulterous. This is because, according to the Bible and the Christian faith, marriage is a lifetime commitment. Divorce is not acceptable.

That is not all. Jesus also states that a married man who looks lustfully at a woman has committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28). Under this, pornography and flirting with other women are prohibited.

God says that those who participate in adultery will face grievous consequences. This is in Proverbs 6:32 and Hebrew 13:4. With that being said, the Bible is clear that this particular sin is not unforgivable. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 says that any sin committed by a Christian is forgiveable when that sinner comes to Christ in good faith.

Bible Verses About Adultery

Many Bible verses refer to the sin of adultery. Here are some of them:

  • 1 Corinthians 6:18 – Christians are encouraged to avoid all sexual immorality. This verse includes adultery as an act of sexual immorality.
  • Exodus 20:14 – this is the seventh commandment given to Moses by God, and it prohibits the sin of adultery.
  • Hebrews 13:4 – this verse speaks to how marriage should be honored and kept sacred. It is a sin to engage in adultery, and God will judge the sinners.
  • Luke 16:18 – this scripture explains how divorcing one’s spouse and marry another is sinful. Doing this is still considered adultery.
  • Proverbs 6:32 – the Bible says that an adulterous man is not in his right senses and he is destroying himself.
  • Romans 7:2-3 – these verses explain that marriage is a lifelong union and divorcing and marrying someone else is against Christian law.
  • Matthew 5:27-28 – here, Christians are warned against adultery and told that even looking at a person lustfully constitutes adultery.

What Is the Biblical Punishment for Adultery?

What Does The Bible Say About Adultery?
Biblical Punishment for Adultery. Image source: Pixabay

Leviticus 20:10 explains that the Biblical punishment for adultery is death. The verse says that if a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both he and the woman shall be condemned to death. This is in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament, Jesus brought in new laws. Romans 6:23 states that the punishment for the sin of adultery is eternal death and is not physical death anymore. The penalty for committing this sin is grievous in the Bible as it breaks one of the fundamental Ten Commandments. But with all that being said, adultery is not an unforgivable sin, as the Bible still reiterates that all sins can be forgiven if given unto Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:9 explains the grace that God can extend to sinners.

What Is the Difference Between Fornication and Adultery?

From the Easton’s Bible Dictionary definitions, the difference between fornication and adultery is that fornication is voluntary sexual intercourse between people that are not married to one another. In contrast, adultery is sexual relations between a married person and a person other than their spouse. That means that fornication can be a form of adultery. The Bible gives us better insight into these two sexual sins. The Holy Book also, at times, uses these two terms interchangeably to refer to idolatry (a form of spiritual adultery). For example, in 2 Chronicles 21:10, God punished Jehoram with illness because he was idolatrous. The Bible uses the word “fornication” to explain idolatry.

1 thought on “How Many Times Is Adultery Mentioned In The Bible (What Does The Bible Say About Adultery)?”

  1. Easton’s definition of adulterer and adulteress seem to imply that adultery only applies when a man commits sexual sin with a married woman. But not the other way around. When a married man engages in sexual sin with an unmarried woman, it is considered fornication.

    So, it seems, what makes adultery “adultery” is the crime of illicit sexual relations with a woman who is someone else’s wife…

    But I can’t find other sources on this. I may have to dig in to Hebrew, which I’ve never taken…

    The reason the definition is important to me is that it has implications for the spiritual reality that God created marriage to shadow – the reality of Christ and His church. If the sexual unfaithfulness of a married man is a different word than the unfaithfulness of a married woman (and any man who commits sexual sin with her), then that implies a difference in roles.

    I don’t know. I’m just thinking out loud. I need to dig further. If you have any insight, please share it.


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