What the Bible Really Says about Adultery

One of the Ten Commandments expressly forbids adultery, but what exactly does God consider as adultery? What are the consequences of it, and how does one seek redemption? In this article, we will explore these questions and more. If you want to learn about what the Bible really says about adultery, read on.

Definition of Adultery in the Bible

What the Bible Really Says about Adultery

Adultery is defined as a voluntary sexual relationship between a married person and someone who is not their spouse. In the Bible, adultery is considered a sin and is prohibited in the seventh commandment found in Exodus 20:14. The commandment states, “You shall not commit adultery.”

In biblical times, the consequences of adultery were severe, including stoning the adulterers to death in some cases. Adultery was also grounds for divorce, as mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew 5:31-32.

It is important to note that the biblical definition of adultery also includes sexual relations between unmarried individuals. Sexual immorality and fornication are also frowned upon and considered sinful by the Bible.

The law of adultery in the Bible is not limited to physical relations. Jesus teaches in Matthew 5:27-28 that anyone who looks at someone with lustful intent has already committed adultery with them in their heart.

In today’s society, adultery is still considered a serious offense and can have devastating consequences for individuals and their families. Despite our human nature, the Bible provides guidance on how to avoid temptation and live a virtuous life.

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Passages in the Bible that Condemn Adultery

The Bible has a lot to say about many different topics, including adultery. The term “adultery” refers to a sexual relationship between someone who is married and someone who is not their spouse. Adultery is condemned in the Bible as a sin that goes against God’s commands.

Several passages in the Bible explicitly condemn adultery, including Exodus 20:14, which is one of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not commit adultery.” In addition to this commandment, there are numerous other passages throughout both the Old and New Testaments that speak out against adultery.

For example, Proverbs 6:32-33 warns, “But he who commits adultery has no sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.” This verse makes it clear that there are serious consequences for committing adultery, both in terms of damaging personal relationships and in terms of causing deep emotional wounds.

In the New Testament, Jesus himself also speaks out against adultery. In Matthew 5:27-28, for example, he says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” This passage emphasizes that even thoughts and desires can be sinful and that we must strive to be pure of heart and mind as well as of action.

There are many other passages in the Bible that speak out against adultery, and they all emphasize the importance of faithfulness and sexual purity in marriage. While the Bible is clear that adultery is a serious sin, it also offers hope for forgiveness and redemption. In the next section, we’ll explore some of these themes in more depth.

Consequences of Adultery in the Bible

Adultery is a grave sin in the Bible, and it carries significant consequences for those who commit it. The Bible makes it clear that adultery is a direct violation of God’s law and that it can have severe penalties.

Here are some of the consequences of adultery in the Bible:

  1. Damage to the Relationship with God

When a person commits adultery, they are breaking one of the Ten Commandments that God gave Moses on Mount Sinai. Adultery damages our relationship with God, and it can separate us from Him. The Bible tells us that God is holy and cannot abide sin. When we sin, we separate ourselves from Him.

  1. Emotional Consequences

Adultery can have severe emotional consequences for both the person who commits it and the person who is cheated on. It can cause feelings of anger, betrayal, hurt, and rejection. These emotions can cause long-lasting damage to relationships, and they can take a lot of time to heal.

  1. Physical Consequences

Adultery can also have physical consequences. It can lead to sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, and even death in some cases. It can shatter families and ruin lives.

  1. Legal Consequences

In the Bible, the law of adultery is clear. Leviticus 20:10 says, “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.” While this law is not enforced today, adultery can still have legal consequences, such as divorce and the loss of alimony or custody.

  1. Consequences for Children

Adultery can have severe consequences for children. It can break apart families and cause emotional trauma that can last a lifetime. Children can feel betrayed, confused, and abandoned, leading to trust issues in their future relationships.

While the consequences of adultery in the Bible are severe, God is merciful and forgiving. He offers forgiveness to all who repent of their sins and turn to Him. Through prayer and repentance, a person who commits adultery can receive forgiveness and begin the process of healing and restoration.

Jesus’ Teachings on Adultery

When it comes to adultery in the Bible, Jesus had a lot to say on the subject. In fact, he spoke about it explicitly in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:27-28, he says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

What does this mean? Essentially, Jesus is saying that adultery is not just an external act, but also an internal one. It’s not just about physical infidelity, but also about the thoughts and desires that lead to it. In other words, even if someone hasn’t acted on their lustful desires, they have still committed adultery in their heart.

Jesus’ teachings on adultery go beyond just the physical act and into the realm of the heart and mind. He’s not just concerned with our actions, but also with the intentions behind them. This means that even if someone has never technically committed adultery, if they have entertained thoughts of it, they are still guilty in the eyes of God.

It’s important to note, however, that Jesus is not saying that every fleeting, lustful thought or temptation is the same as committing adultery. He’s talking about a deliberate, ongoing pattern of behavior that is leading someone down the path to adultery.

So what does this mean for us? It means that we need to be vigilant about the thoughts and desires that we entertain. We need to take every thought captive and bring it under the authority of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). We need to guard our hearts and minds against lustful temptations, knowing that they can lead us down a dangerous path.

Ultimately, Jesus’ teachings on adultery remind us that sin is not just about external actions, but also about the condition of our hearts. We need to be continually surrendering our hearts to God and seeking his strength and guidance to resist temptation and live holy lives.

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Forgiveness and Redemption for Adulterers

Adultery is a serious sin according to the Bible, but the good news is that forgiveness and redemption are available for those who have committed this sin. Here are some key points to keep in mind.

  1. Confession and Repentance: The first step towards forgiveness for adultery is acknowledging the sin and confessing it to God. This requires genuine repentance, which means turning away from the sin and not returning to it.

  2. God’s Grace and Mercy: Despite the seriousness of adultery, God’s grace and mercy are available to those who seek forgiveness. This means that even though we cannot earn forgiveness through our actions, God offers it freely to those who come to Him with a contrite heart. Bible verses like Psalm 103:8-12 remind us of God’s compassion and willingness to forgive:

    “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

  3. Reconciliation with Spouse: Adultery not only hurts the individual who committed the sin, but also the spouse and family members involved. Part of seeking forgiveness for adultery may involve the process of reconciliation with a spouse. The Bible acknowledges the importance of maintaining healthy relationships, and offers guidance for how to navigate the process of reconciliation in Matthew 5:23-24:

    “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”

  4. Moving Forward: Once an individual has sought forgiveness and reconciled with their spouse, it is important to work towards healing and moving forward. This may involve seeking counseling, making amends with any individuals affected by the adultery, and establishing healthy boundaries in the future to avoid falling back into temptation.

While forgiveness and redemption are available for those who have committed adultery, it is important to remember that the consequences of the sin may still have lasting effects. Seeking forgiveness does not mean that all past hurts and pain will be immediately erased. However, with God’s grace and mercy, individuals who have committed adultery can find healing and restoration in their relationships and spiritual lives.

Practical Advice for Avoiding Adultery

When it comes to avoiding adultery, there are a few practical steps that can be taken. One of the most important things a person can do is to prioritize their relationship with their spouse or partner. This means making time for each other, communicating openly and honestly, and showing appreciation and affection on a regular basis. It also means being intentional about avoiding situations that could lead to temptation, such as spending time alone with someone of the opposite sex or participating in activities that promote promiscuity.

Another important step is to be mindful of the media and entertainment one consumes. Many movies, TV shows, and songs promote infidelity and glamorize casual sex, which can lead to confusion and disillusionment in relationships. It’s important to be discerning and intentional about what kind of media one allows into their life, and to seek out positive and uplifting sources of entertainment and information.

Yet another practical step is to seek out accountability and support. This can come in the form of a therapist or counselor, a support group, or a mentor who can offer guidance and wisdom from their own experiences. It’s also important to be accountable to one’s partner or spouse, and to be willing to have difficult conversations about temptation and boundaries.

Finally, it’s important to cultivate a healthy understanding of sexuality and the purpose of sex within the context of marriage or committed partnerships. The Bible teaches that sex is meant to be a physical expression of love and intimacy between two people who are committed to each other for life. By understanding and valuing the sacredness of sex within marriage, a person can cultivate a mindset that is less susceptible to temptation and more focused on building a strong and enduring relationship with their chosen partner.

By taking these practical steps and cultivating a healthy perspective on love, relationships, and sexuality, a person can avoid the pain and devastation that often accompanies adultery. Instead, they can build a marriage or partnership that is fulfilling, meaningful, and lasting.


It is clear that the Bible takes a strong stance against adultery and recognizes it as a serious sin with severe consequences. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, there are many passages that condemn adultery and warn against its destructive effects on individuals and society as a whole.

However, the Bible also offers hope and forgiveness to those who have committed adultery. Jesus himself showed compassion to the woman caught in adultery and offered her redemption and forgiveness. This serves as a reminder that no one is beyond forgiveness and that God’s mercy is available to all who seek it.

It is important to note that the Bible’s teachings on adultery are not meant to be restrictive or puritanical, but rather practical advice for leading a fulfilling and satisfying life. By avoiding the destructive behavior of adultery, individuals can build strong, healthy relationships and avoid the pain and suffering that come with betrayal and infidelity.

In conclusion, the Bible teaches that adultery is a serious sin with far-reaching consequences. However, it also offers hope and forgiveness to those who seek it, and provides practical advice for avoiding destructive behavior. By adhering to these teachings, individuals can build strong, healthy relationships and lead fulfilling, satisfying lives.