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What Is Infidelity? Definition and Meaning in the Bible

Discover the biblical meaning and modern consequences of infidelity. Learn why the Bible emphasizes the importance and virtue of keeping sex within a committed marriage for happiness and stability.
Christianity.com Editorial Staff
What Is Infidelity? Definition and Meaning in the Bible

Although “infidelity” is not explicitly referenced in the Bible, it is synonymous with terms and ideas frequently mentioned throughout scripture. Synonyms of infidelity include adultery, cheating, unfaithfulness, and betrayal; commonly associated in the context of marriage. Infidelity is also used in meaning a lack of faith within Christian belief. 

Infidelity Definition

As according to Dictionary.com, listed below are the definitions of infidelity:

1. Marital disloyalty; adultery

2. Unfaithfulness; disloyalty

3. Lack of religious faith, especially Christian faith

4. A breach of trust or a disloyal act; transgression

Bible Verses about Infidelity and Adultery

Matthew 19:9 - And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.

Hebrews 13:4 - Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Isaiah 47:10 - You felt secure in your wickedness, you said, “No one sees me”; your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me.”

Matthew 5:31-32 - “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Matthew 5:28 - But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

1 Corinthians 6:18 - Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

Genesis 2:24 - Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Romans 7:2 - For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.

Proverbs 6:25 - Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;

1 Timothy 5:8 - But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Dangers of Infidelity in Marriage

According to biblical teaching, God intended sex to be experienced within a committed marital relationship; to separate sex from that setting is to corrupt its use and harshly limit its delight. When God brought Adam and Eve together in marriage, He created the “one flesh” relationship. Genesis 2:24 tells us that a man should leave his family, join to his wife, and become “one flesh” with her. This idea is carried through the New Testament as well; we see it in Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:5 and Mark 10:7. Paul elaborates on the “one flesh” idea in 1 Corinthians 6:12–20. He says that when a man has sex with a prostitute, they have become “one body” (verse 16). It’s clear that there is something special about the sexual relationship; it is not simply a biological function.

Marital infidelity is profoundly harmful to a marriage because two people becoming “one flesh” means more than just fleshly affection. During sex, the most intimate of human encounters, a person can be said to truly “know” someone else. The level of trust required for this act makes one greatly vulnerable, and this is one reason why sex should be confined to the marital relationship. Marriage provides a stable setting for vulnerability without fear; each spouse is protected by the other’s commitment. To dishonor that trust through infidelity is destructive to the individual and to the marriage. It is the treachery of a confidence, the violation of a vow, the collapse of security, and the destruction of a union.

The New Testament requires believers to deny physical and spiritual lusting after people and false gods and to conduct their behavior at a high moral and spiritual level. Sexual activity is to be confined to the marriage relationship, and if a married man or woman has sexual intercourse with someone other than the spouse, that person has committed adultery. To be most satisfying for the Christian, sexual activity must reflect the values of self-sacrificing love and the unity of personality to which the Christian's reconciliation to God by the atoning work of Jesus brings the believing couple.


Why is marital infidelity so destructive? - gotquestions.org

Infidelity Definition - dictionary.com

Image Credit: Pxhere

Originally published November 21, 2019.