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John Milton plays on the double meaning of the word in The Reason of Church-Government Urged against Prelaty (1642): "[She] gives up her body to a mercenary whordome under those fornicated [ar]ches which she cals Gods house." The Pauline epistles contain multiple condemnations of various forms of extramarital sex.The First Epistle to the Corinthians states "Flee from sexual immorality" and lists adulterers and "those who are sexually immoral"/practicing-fornicators in a list of "wrongdoers who... The Apostolic Decree of the Council of Jerusalem also includes a prohibition of fornication.

Elsewhere in First Corinthians, incest, homosexual intercourse (according to some interpretations) and prostitution are all explicitly forbidden by name.

1 Thess 4:1–8) was the straightforward message to Christians in a sex-crazed world." Attitudes towards marriage and sexuality at the time of Jesus stemmed from a blend of Roman and Jewish ideas.

For instance, during the lifetime of Jesus, there was a strong social disapproval among Romans of polygamy.

What makes sex moral or immoral is the context of marriage.

By contrast, a teleological view interprets porneia, aselgeia and akatharsia in terms of the quality of the relationship (how well it reflects God's glory and Christian notions of a committed, virtuous relationship.) The debate also turns on the definition of the two Greek words moicheia (μοιχεία, adultery) and porneia (el:πορνεία, with meaning of prostitution, from which the word pornography is derived).

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