But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
I've seen this verse used to destroy new Believers. It falls deeply into the realm of misunderstood verses.
This is the original language.
But - de, I - ego, Say - lego, Unto You - hymin, That - hoti, Whosoever - pas, Looketh - beplo, On a Woman - gyne, To - pros, Lust after - epithymeo, Her - autos, Hath committed Adultery - moicheuo, With her - autos, already - ede, In - en, His - autos, Heart = Kardia.
As it's written, if you have a passing thought to find a woman attractive, and want to be with her, then you've committed adultery. Doesn't matter if you're a woman, a man, a teenager, or saved. In fact, the way this reads, the only way to avoid committing adultery if you're a healthy male is to blind yourself. Even then, if you hear a voice, you might find her attractive ehough to have a fantasy and then you're doomed anyway. I once met a man who went weekly to repent for adultery, and later in life, I'll bet since he was comitting adultery in his mind every day, he didn't have much of a problem doing it for real. So this verse, as written, is a stumbling block.
So let's look at it.
Key words here are;
Say... Which means to teach, affirm, maintain, advise.
Looketh... Means to see, percieve by the senses, to see with the minds eye, to understand and have the power of understanding. It also means to contemplate, look at, weigh carefully, to turn toward something while looking at it.
On a woman... Gyne means a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow.
Lusteth... This word means to turn upon a thing, to have a desire for, long for, to desire. The word is a combination of two words. The first part of the root word means sort of like to follow after something, or chase something. The second part means passion, angry, heat, glow, ardour, wine of passion, inflaming wine (wine that drive the drinker mad or kills him with it's strength). Uses of the word in verses are, "reighous men have desired," "The days will come when you shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man..." It means in these contexts, strong overwhelming desire.
So far, it's looking really bad here. It's looking like it means what it says. Heck, as it's written it can mean that anyone that looks at a woman to have a strong desire to enjoy her company has comitted adultery with her. Pretty drastic! Considering that adultery is one of the sins that if not forgiven will keep you out of heaven, then it would appear that nearly every man who has ever lived, is not going to make it.
But slide back up and take another look. See the word Gyne? That's an interesting word. It has a very specific meaning and it helps make this verse understandable.
Gyne means a woman of uncertain marital status. If the verse had meant married woman, then it would have been written, "hypandros gyne," hypandros meaning being "subject to a man." So it's a little odd that Joshua would leave this out. But not really. Think about it a minute.
Have you met the guy that will sleep with anyone? Who makes rude comments to other guys concerning women and makes them into sex objects? The guy who pesters and chases every girl he can find and doesn't care if she's married or not?
Read the verse like this and see if it makes more sense...
Let me teach you something. Whoever strongly turns himself toward sleeping with a woman and doesn't care if she's married or not, has already committed adultery in his heart.
Now the verse doesn't mean looking at women and desiring them, which every normal adult male has done at one point or other. No, it's a lot more than that, and it makes more sense this way. The verse narrows it's scope to a specific action and group of actions that do hurt and damage to someone else.
Language is awesome!