10 Forbidden Sexual Acts in the Bible

10 Forbidden Sexual Acts in the Bible

God created sex to be a blessing in marriage. But did you know that there are certain acts that are considered sexual sin?

This week, our daily devotions will focus on Romans 1:18-32 where the theme of God’s wrath is spoken of in relation to the idolatry of sexual sin, including the clearest prohibition against homosexuality and only mention of lesbianism in the entire Bible.

Before we do, it is important to make note of all the sexual acts forbidden in the Bible.

  1. Fornication

    1. Gen. 38:24 Now it was about three months later that Judah was informed, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has prostituted herself, and behold, she is also pregnant by prostitution.” Then Judah said, “Bring her out and have her burned!
    2. Lev. 21:9 Also the daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by prostitution, she profanes her father; she shall be burned with fire.
    3. Deut. 22:21 then they shall bring the girl out to the doorway of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death, because she has committed a disgraceful sin in Israel by playing the prostitute in her father’s house; so you shall eliminate the evil from among you.
    4. 1 Cor. 6:18 Flee sexual immorality. Every other sin that a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
    5. 1 Cor 7:2 But because of sexual immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.
    6. Heb. 13:4 Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers.
  2. Adultery

    1. Ex. 20:14 You shall not commit adultery.
    2. Deut. 5:18 You shall not commit adultery.
    3. Prov. 6:32 One who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense;
      He who would destroy himself commits it.
    4. Matt. 5:27-32You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 Now if your right eye is causing you to sin, tear it out and throw it away from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand is causing you to sin, cut it off and throw it away from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.31 “Now it was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away is to give her a certificate of divorce’; 32 but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
    5. Matt. 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, acts of adultery, other immoral sexual acts, thefts, false testimonies, and slanderous statements.
    6. 1 Cor. 6:9-11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor those habitually drunk, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
  3. Polygamy

    1. Gen. 2:1-8 And so the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their heavenly lights. 2 By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because on it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven. 5 Now no shrub of the field was yet on the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. 6 But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living person. 8 The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.
    2. Matt. 19:4-6 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no person is to separate.”
    3. Gen. 4:19-24 Lamech took two wives for himself: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other, Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and flute. 22 As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron; and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.23 Lamech said to his wives,

      “Adah and Zillah,
      Listen to my voice,
      You wives of Lamech,
      Pay attention to my words,
      For I have killed a man for wounding me;
      And a boy for striking me!
      24 If Cain is avenged seven times,
      Then Lamech seventy-seven times!”

    4. 1 Ki. 11:1-9  Now King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations of which the Lord had said to the sons of Israel, “You shall not associate with them, nor shall they associate with you; they will certainly turn your heart away to follow their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. He had seven hundred wives, who were princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned his heart away. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away to follow other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of his father David had been. For Solomon became a follower of Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and of Milcom the abhorrent idol of the Ammonites. So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not follow the Lord fully, as his father David had done. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the abhorrent idol of Moab, on the mountain that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abhorrent idol of the sons of Ammon. He also did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.Now the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice,
    5. 1 Tim. 3:2,12 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, skillful in teaching,  Verse 12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife, and good managers of their children and their own households.
  4. Rape

    1. Gen. 34:1-31
    2. Jdg. 19:1-30
    3. 2 Sam. 13:11-14  When she brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, sleep with me, my sister.” 12 But she said to him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this disgraceful sin! 13 As for me, where could I get rid of my shame? And as for you, you will be like one of the fools in Israel. Now then, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” 14 However, he would not listen to her; since he was stronger than she, he violated her and slept with her.
  5. Incest

    1. Lev. 18
    2. Lev. 20
    3. Lev. 27
  6. Homosexuality

    1. Lev. 18:22 You shall not sleep with a male as one sleeps with a female; it is an abomination.
    2. Lev. 20:13  If there is a man who sleeps with a male as those who sleep with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they must be put to death. They have brought their own deaths upon themselves.
    3. Rom. 1:26-27  For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged natural relations for that which is contrary to nature, 27 and likewise the men, too, abandoned natural relations with women and burned in their desire toward one another, males with males committing shameful acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
    4. 1 Cor. 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,
  7. Bestiality (Ex. 22:19; Lev. 20:15-16; Deut. 27:21)
  8. Prostitution (Lev. 19:29, 21:9; 1 Cor. 6:16).
  9. Sexual Immorality “porneia” referring to numerous sexual sins including porrnography] (Matt. 19:9; 1 Cor. 6:13, 6:18; Eph. 5:3; 1 Thess. 4:3)
  10. Pagan sexual activity (Ex. 32; Is. 57:7-8; Hosea 4:12-14; Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5)

As we read this list, the truth is we are all guilty of sexual sins in varying ways and to varying degrees. I was guilty of the first category before becoming a Christian and repenting of my sin by the Spirit’s power. All of us has at some point violated the ninth category with lustful thoughts about someone other than our spouse. The point is not to excuse the sins of others because of our guilt, but instead to show that only Jesus Christ is without any sexual sin in His heart or hands, and the rest of us need his forgiveness, healing, and power to live as God created us to.

Which items on this list are you guilty of? 

To get daily devotions sent texted to you Monday-Friday, text DEVOTIONS to 99383. For the entire Romans series, click here! 

Mark Driscoll
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