Question: "What is a whoremonger in the Bible?"

Answer: The word whoremonger in the Bible is one who “mongers” with “whores”—that is, one who involves himself with prostitutes. Whoremonger is an old-fashioned word found mainly in the King James Version and the Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible. In modern language, we would say the person is a “fornicator” or “adulterer.” Broadly speaking, a whoremonger is anyone who engages in sexual intercourse outside of marriage.

An example of the word whoremonger is found in Ephesians 5:5 in the KJV: “For this ye know, that no whoremonger . . . hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Most other translations simply say “immoral person.” The Greek word in this verse is pornos, related to porneia, from which we get the English word pornography. Essentially, all sexual immorality falls into this category, but the word changes depending on the person committing the act and his or her gender. For example, a woman who engages in sexual immorality is called a “whore” (porne) in the KJV, but a man who does the same is called a “whoremonger” (pornos).

These Greek words are interesting because they draw no distinctions among a) sexual immorality for monetary gain, b) sexual immorality for the sake of lust, and c) sex outside of marriage between two loving partners. This is difficult for us to comprehend because our culture considers paying a stranger for sex to be quite different from a dating couple “going all the way.” We tend to categorize a man who uses a prostitute (and the prostitute herself) entirely differently from a boyfriend and girlfriend living together. But God classifies both as porneia. A man sleeping with his longtime girlfriend is just as much a “whoremonger” as the man picking up prostitutes, according to the Bible.

Unrepentant, continued sexual immorality is an indication that a person is not saved (Ephesians 5:5). The sexually immoral in the church—those who claim to be saved but who live as whoremongers—must face church discipline, biblically: “Now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral. . . . Do not even eat with such people” (1 Corinthians 5:11). Sexual sin brings serious consequences, and there should not even be a hint of immorality among God’s people (Ephesians 5:3).