"Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." Hebrews 13:4
The above verse has been so abused that it is used to give a virtual "anything goes" approach to sex between married couples. It is often misinterpreted to read, "Everything sexual between married people is okay, but any sex between people who are unmarried is forbidden."
Yet, the distinction that this verse is dealing with married vs. unmarried individuals is a false one. Does not adultery involve someone who is married? Sure, they are not married to the person with whom they are committing adultery, but they are in a marital relationship. The command against being an "adulterer" is relevant for the married person; so also is the command against being a "whoremonger".
The entire verse is addressing how the marriage bed is to be kept holy. God is giving an admonition for married couples to keep their marriage bed undefiled by avoiding sexual perversion and adultery. Several other Bible translations make the meaning of this text more evident:
"Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous." English Standard Version, Hebrews 13:4
"Let marriage be held every way in honour, and the bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers will God judge." Darby Translation, Hebrews 13:4
"Let marriage be held in honor (esteemed worthy, precious, of great price, and especially dear) in all things. And thus let the marriage bed be undefiled (kept undishonored); for God will judge and punish the unchaste [all guilty of sexual vice] and adulterous." Amplified Version, Hebrews 13:4
The latter half of Hebrews 13:4 is not primarily for the unmarried, but for the married. It is possible to be married, yet be an adulterer. It is also possible to be married, yet be a whoremonger. In both instances, the marriage bed is defiled and brings about the judgment of God.
"But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints...For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." Ephesians 5:3, 5
fornication". Fornication - as appearing in the Scriptures - is not simply a reference to sex amongst unmarried persons. The word for fornication in the New Testament is the Greek word porneia. It is where we get the English word pornography from, and it is detestable to God.
As early as the 6th Century B.C., Greece had a flourishing sex trade which comprised of their setting up porneias or houses of prostitution. The word porneia literally means "illicit sexual intercourse" and refers to all acts of sexual perversion including adultery, sodomy, bestiality, incest, etc. - anything which the Lord our God has condemned as an abomination (Leviticus 20:10-21).
Scripture not only condemns illicit sexual relationships, but also illicit sexual acts. Who's to say what is an illicit sexual act? God is to say.
For example, although sex was given as a gift by God to be enjoyed in marriage, even the union between a husband and wife during times of her menstruation was determined by God to be unclean (Leviticus 20:18). Clearly God has never had the view that "anything which is done in the marriage bed is holy and acceptable". Similarly, while same sex attraction is condemned by God, so are the "unclean, vile, unnatural, and unseemly acts" performed in such relationships, i.e. oral/anal sex (Romans 1:24-27).
When Christians practice acts of porneia - even in the bounds of marriage - they become whoremongers according to Hebrews 13:4. The word for "whoremonger" is pornos which means "one who practices porneia or unlawful sexual intercourse". Such acts are not to be found among the saints of God (Ephesians 5:3).
"I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within?" I Corinthians 5:9-12
The mind of man has become so perverted, that even that which God calls unclean and defiled is justified in the modern day churchworld. Man has wandered so far from God, that many can no longer even recognize what is holy vs. what is profane...even in the midst of the church!
I pray that those with a heart to truly serve the Lord in Spirit & in Truth seek Him in this matter and ask for spiritual wisdom regarding how to honor marriage and keep the marriage bed holy.
"Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." I Corinthians 6:18