This behavior is forbidden throughout Scripture, receiving special attention twice in the 10 Commandments, first in Exodus 20:14 where it is written:
You shall not commit adultery
and again in Exodus 20:17 where it is written:
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.
The term Adultery, which is na'aph in Hebrew, means to have sex with anyone other than your own spouse. Covet, or chamad, means to desire or lust after another man's wife and to desire her because of her beauty, or to want to take pleasure in her.
These teachings are given special emphasis by Jesus in Matthew 5:27 when He said: You have heard that it was said, "Do not commit adultery," But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
I will not give attention to false teachers by naming them, but leading voices in their movement have claimed that polyamorous relationships where a married couple choose to "swing" with other married couples or allow each other to have sex with multiple partners are loving or even based on Jesus love-based ethic, etc. As it happens, the commandments not to commit adultery or covet are repeated in Romans 13:9. Do not commit adultery and Do not covet , where they are presented along with other relational commandments including Do not murder and Do not steal in the context of Love your neighbor as yourself. It goes on to say Love does no harm to a neighbor. The BIBLE defines loving your neighbor as NOT desiring his or her spouse and NOT having sex with them. And it defines adultery as harming your neighbor.
Liberals love to cite the fact that David took multiple wives and concubines (2 Samuel 5:13) and that his son Solomon took 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). But did you know that they were sinning? God's law in Deuteronomy 17 read:
Kings of Israel shall not multiply wives for themselves.
While it is true that some of the Old Testament patriarchs had more than one wife or concubine, it is not portrayed as desirable. For example, Abraham's taking of Hagar as a concubine was the result of a lack of faith. He was only remarried to Keturah after Sarah passed away. The simple fact is that after the Law was given through Moses, no one else in Scripture is recorded as having more than one wife unless it was in a sinful context. Even the Father of Israel, Jacob's own polygamy, was clearly forbidden to future generations by Leviticus 18:18:
You are not to marry a woman as a rival to her sister and have sexual intercourse with her during her sister's lifetime.
Since Christians are repeatedly referred to as brothers and sisters in Christ, this passage may be properly understood to forbid all plural marriages when applied to a New Testament context. It is disrespectful and mistreating to use one another this way. In fact, 1 Thessalonians 4 admonishes us not to take part in any type of sexual immorality or lust and shows that we are not to misuse our Christian brothers and sisters this way in verse 6 which delivers this stern warning:
And that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The LORD will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.
The Letter to the Hebrews which outlines the New Covenant in the same format as Deuteronomy declares in verse 13:4
Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers.
One of the major claims by the promoters of this wicked movement is that if a spouse gives their partner permission to have sex with someone else, then it isn't adultery. That is an outrageous lie. You can no more give someone permission to commit adultery with another person, than you can give them permission to steal from another person, or to murder another person. Marriage is a covenant before God, so it is God you are sinning against, as well as yourself and another person who you are either taking advantage of or causing to sin. The fact that adultery is a sin is upheld by James 2:11 which states For He who said Do not commit adultery also said Do not murder. These are both equally valid commandments for New Testament Christians.. 1 Corinthians 6:9 calls it wickedness saying:
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral....nor adulterers....nor covetous....will inherit the kingdom of God
This passage is immediately followed by encouragement that God forgives and saves people out of those lifestyles. But you cannot claim to be a follower of Christ and teach others to sin in this way. These are lifestyles Christians teach against and urge others to repent from. In fact, church leaders are forbidden from polyamorous and polygamous activity.
An overseer must be above reproach, the husband of ONE wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable and able to teach. (1 Timothy 3:2)
Adultery is any sexual relationship outside of one's covenant marriage between one man and one woman. Jesus said:
If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments: You shall not commit adultery....
There is no such thing as an "open" marriage. Polygamy and Polyamory are clearly and defiantly sins against God. Jesus clearly defined marriage and all who are His followers must accept Him as the absolute and final authority on the matter. He said:
From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his WIFE and the TWO will become ONE flesh, so they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate. (Mark 10:6-8)
Here are some helpful links on this subject:
Here is a link to a related post on this blog: