Porneia Definition and Meaning in the Bible
In ancient Greek culture, the word “porneia” was a reference to prostitution and was not necessarily considered a moral violation.
The biblical city of Corinth openly accepted porneia, as well as loose and open sexual lifestyles. To “live like a Corinthian” was a reference to living a sexually provocative life.
In the New Testament, however, it has always been immoral. Porneia referred to all extra-marital and unnatural sexual intercourse, including homosexuality.
The word porneia has an obvious connection with the word pornography. They are both related to illicit sexual immorality.
So the word “porneia” was a Greek word and you will only find it in the New Testament.
In the Old Testament the Hebrew word was “taznuth”, but it had the identical meaning.
Today the word has been translated into “fornication” in our English Bibles.
START HERE: Here is a quick video explanation of porneia (3 minutes).
The English language has translated the word “porneia” to the word “fornication”.
The Greek word for fornication, which is “porneia”, is found 36 times in the New Testament.
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Matthew 5:32 “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication (porneia), causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”
Matthew 19:9 “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication (porneia), and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”
John 8:41 “Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication (porneia); we have one Father, even God.”
Acts 15:20 “But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication (porneia), and from things strangled, and from blood.”
Acts 15:29 “That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication (porneia): from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.”
Acts 21:25 “As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication (porneia).”
Romans 1:29 “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication (porneia), wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,”
1 Corinthians 5:1 “It is reported commonly that there is fornication (porneia) among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.”
1 Corinthians 6:13 “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication (porneia), but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.”
1 Corinthians 6:18 “Flee fornication (porneia). Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”
1 Corinthians 7:2 “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication (porneia), let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”
1 Corinthians 10:8 “Neither let us commit fornication (porneia), as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.”
2 Corinthians 12:21 “And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication (porneia) and lasciviousness which they have committed.”
Galatians 5:19 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication (porneia), uncleanness, lasciviousness,”
Ephesians 5:3 “But fornication (porneia), and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;”
Colossians 3:5 “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication (porneia), uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:”
1 Thessalonians 4:3 “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication (porneia):”
Jude 7 “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication (porneia), and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
Revelation 2:14 “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication (porneia).”
Revelation 2:20 “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication (porneia), and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.”
Revelation 2:21 “And I gave her space to repent of her fornication (porneia); and she repented not.”
Revelation 9:21 “Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication (porneia), nor of their thefts.”
Revelation 14:8 “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication (porneia).”
Revelation 17:2 “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication (porneia).”
Revelation 17:4 “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication (porneia):”
Revelation 18:3 “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication (porneia), and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.”
Revelation 18:9 “And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,”
Revelation 19:2 “For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.”
So the word PORNEIA is a Greek word, directly related to sex outside of the covenant of marriage.
You may also want to read our article: “What Does the Bible Say About Shacking Up?“