Section #1

How Is Adultery Defined?

  1. Webster’s New World Dictionary Of The American Language, 2nd College Edition, p 19 says, Adultery—"Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and a woman not his wife or between a married woman and a man not her husband."
  2. The New Smith’s Bible Dictionary, p 9 says, Adultery—"sexual intercourse between a person and the husband or wife of another person."
  3. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p 34-35 says, Adulterer (MOICHOS)—"denotes one who has unlawful intercourse with the spouse of another."
  4. A Greek-English Lexicon Of The New Testament by Joseph Henry Thayer, p 417 says concerning an adulterer (MOICHAO), "to have unlawful intercourse with another’s wife."
  5. What did the early "church writers" say about adultery?  Each of these knew the ancient Greek language with a fluency better than all our modern Greek scholars lumped together.  Let's see what they said.


  1. Justin Martyr was one of the great, early theologians and apologists for the Church.  His "Apology for the Christians" was written to refute charges of sedition to the Roman state.  Justin was beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to pagan Gods.  He wrote this, "In regards to chastity, Jesus has this to say: ‘If anyone look at lust at a woman, he has already before God committed adultery in his heart.’  And, ‘Whoever marries a woman who has been divorced from another husband, commits adultery.’  According to our teacher, just as they are sinners who contract a second marriage, even though it is in accord with human law, so also are they sinners who look with lustful desires at a woman.  He repudiates not only one who actually commits adultery, but even one who wishes to do so; for not only our actions are manifest to God, but even our thoughts." (First Apology 15)
  2. A.D.208

  3. Titus Falvius Clemens, known as Clement of Alexandria, was a Greek theologian.  His writings were designed to guide mature Christians to a more perfect knowledge of God and a pure moral character.  He is listed as a martyr for his faith.  He wrote this, "That scripture counsels marriage, however, and never allows any release from the union, is expressly contained in the law: ‘You shall not divorce a wife, except for reason of adultery.’  And it regards as adultery the marriage of a spouse, while the one from whom a separation was made is still alive.  ‘Whoever takes a divorced woman as wife commits adultery,’ it says; for ‘if anyone divorce his wife, he debauches her;’ that is, he compels her to commit adultery.  And not only does he that divorces her become the cause of this, but also he that takes the woman and gives her the opportunity of sinning; for if he did not take her, she would return to her husband." (Miscellanies 2:23:145:3)
  4. A.D.248

  5. Origen is known as the most accomplished and significant theologian of the early church.  It is estimated that he wrote some 5,000 thesis, tracts, epistles and books in his lifetime of service.  Much of his work concentrated on refuting dangerous error and heresy.  Origen was imprisoned during the reign of Emperor Decius.  He was tortured to such an extent that he died from his ordeal after being released.  He wrote this, "Just as a woman is an adulteress, even though she seems to be married to a man, while a former husband yet lives, so also the man who seems to marry who has been divorced does not marry her, but, according to the declaration of our Savior, he commits adultery with her." (Commentaries on Matthew 14:4)


How Does The Bible Define Adultery?

In the 3rd century B.C. the Hebrew Old Testament was translated into the Greek language.  How is the Greek word MOICHEIA used in the Old Testament?  Also how is it used in the New Testament?

  1. Leviticus 20:10 "And the man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adultress shall surely be put to death." (1490 B.C.)
  2. Job 24:15 "The eye also of the adulterer waits for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and he disguises his face." (1500 B.C.)
  3. Proverbs 6:32 "Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul." (1000 B.C.)
  4. John 8:3-4 "Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery.  And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.’"  (The Greek term here is MOICHEUOMENE, a present tense participle.  She was in the process of committing adultery when apprehended, she was "in the very act".  What was the act? (29 A.D.)
  5. Hebrews 13:4 "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled: but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." (63 A.D.) (How do fornicators and adulterers defile the marriage bed?) 
  6. 2 Peter 2:14 "Having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls." (60 A.D.)  (Were they eyeing their marriage document in view of tearing it up?  No.  Also notice the continuing action of adultery, they "cannot cease from sin").

Notice that in all the above definitions that adultery is sexual intercourse with a person and the husband or wife of another person.  Adultery could be committed by having an extramarital affair while you are still married to your spouse or by divorcing your spouse who you are bound to for life and marrying someone else as we will see in the following sectionsAdultery is never defined as divorce.

 Questions Section 1

How Is Adultery Defined?
(Click on the button of the answer of your choice.)

1)  Adultery is

      Not a sin.

      Alright since many people are doing it.

      Unlawful sexual intercourse with the spouse of another.

2)  One can still go to Heaven if he continues in adultery.

3)  Some of the early church writers who wrote concerning adultery

      Tried to justify those loving in adultery.

      Said those who married someone else while their former spouse was living committed adultery.

      Said that adultery was alright.

4)  The early church writers said those who married someone who was divorced committed adultery.

5)  (Proverbs 6:32) One who continues in the sin of adultery

      The Lord will overlook it.

      Destroys his own soul.

      Is alright since so many others are also doing it.

6)  There is no such thing as adultery.

7)  (John 8:3-4) The woman caught in adultery was caught

      Tearing up her marriage license.

      Having just obtained a divorce.

      In the very act of committing adultery.

8)  The woman in the above reference was in the process of committing adultery when apprehended.

9)  (Hebrews 13:4) Those who commit fornication and adultery

      God will judge.

      God will overlook it.

      God thinks it is alright.

10)  The bed is undefiled in a scriptural marriage.

11)  (2 Peter 2:14) When one has his eyes full of adultery he

      Is alright if he only thinks about it.

      Will not be condemned for it. 

      Will not cease from the sin of adultery.

12)  Those who have their eyes full of adultery will entice unstable souls to commit adultery with them.

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