Homosexuality and the Bible - What God's Word Actually Says

October 20, 2021

Homosexuality and the Bible - What God's Word Actually Says

So what does the Bible REALLY say about homosexuality?

Does it actually say that it is wrong?

Or did that all just come out of a male-dominated early church that was trying to control things?

Well, yes...

...yes to the Bible saying it is wrong that is; not the other.

In this blog post, we will be looking at a few different books (all listed at the bottom of this blog post for your further study).

But the first we will be looking at is one that includes both sides of the argument on what scripture says about homosexuality, called "Homosexuality and the Bible" by Dan O. Via and Robert A.J. Gagnon, which is a great book to read if you are looking for both sides of the argument. 

Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

We are going to go into the scriptures that speak directly about homosexuality in the Bible. 

As always, you can skip ahead, using the Table of Contents below to any of the parts you want.

Table of Contents:

So first, let's just examine what the Bible actually says about homosexuality.

Let's just start with a couple obvious verses in the Old Testament that condemn homosexual acts.

 

Old Testament Verses

Old Bible - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

The most obvious Old Testament passages condemning homosexual acts can be found in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.

Leviticus 18:22 - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth
Leviticus 20:13 - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

OK, so not much debate there.

Young Man Reading - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

I think it is important to start with these Old Testament scriptures first, so then we can see what some of the New Testament is referring to when it talks about sexual immorality, or sexual perverse things in the word of God.

Some advocates claim that Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are "old laws" and are not relevant to the church today.

Or some claim that these verses do not relate to ALL homosexual behavior, but instead, only to cult prostitutes.

However, Dr. Gagnon notes that the word "male" (zakar) is used, not homosexual cult prostitute (qadesh) , NOT "boy youth" (na'ar), or even "your neighbor" (re'akah).

Furthermore, like the other sex rules of Leviticus chapter 18, 18:22 applies to the Israelites AND the non-Israelite alike (Lev. 18:26).

Leviticus 18:26 - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

Some people, again, try to claim that these laws are no longer applicable.

Pointing a Finger - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

But a basic study of the context will show that these prohibitions of homosexual behavior occur next to OTHER sex acts that we mainly continue to prohibit today (like incest, adultery, bestiality and child sacrifice).

Gagnon again points out that in Lev. 20, male-male intercourse appears in the midst of other first-tier sexual offenses punishable by a death sentence.

It is grouped together with the other sexual abominations toward God. 

These are adultery, sleeping with one’s stepmother or with one's daughter-in-law, male-male sex, marriage to mother and daughter at the same time, and human-animal sex. (Lev. 20:10-16). 

Again, you can see they are all grouped together here in Lev. 20:10-16.

Leviticus 20:16-20 - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

OK let's examine the claim that these condemnations of homosexual behavior are ONLY in the Old Testament.

GET INSTANT ACCESS TO LGBTQ ARGUMENTS WITH OUR TRUTH CARDS

Truth Cards - Truth Card - Welcome to Truth

New Testament Verses

In Rom. 1:24-27 Paul treats same-sex intercourse as the prime example of sexual uncleanness (akatharsia).

Romans 1:24-27 - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

OK, there's no debate, right?

Surprised man - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

Here's another one.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

So here we have "men sleeping with men" clearly being condemned in the New Testament.

Other New Testament scriptures that condemn this behavior are 1 Thessalonians 4:2-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Corinthians 12:21; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; Mark 7:21-23.

Now that we've looked at some of the scriptures condemning homosexuality, let's examine some of the arguments people have against a traditional reading of scripture on this topic.

 

Does Jesus Say Anything About Homosexuality?

Jesus On Homosexuality - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

So this claim, first of all, needs to be put into proper context, because traditional Christianity posits a Trinity, which means God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, Who are eternal and thus have existed forever.

God is One is essence and Three in Persons.  And they are in agreement with one another.

Therefore, if we read something in the Old Testament as far as a commandment given by Yahweh, or God the Father, we also need to understand that Jesus (God the Eternal Son) is also in agreement with that, at least at the time it was given.

If you don't believe that Jesus has existed forever, here are some scriptures to back up this claim.

John 8:58 - Jesus has existed forever - Welcome to Truth

John 1:1 - Jesus has existed forever - Welcome to Truth

And verse 14 says, "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.  We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, Who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

So if you believe in a traditional Christian view of the Trinity, then you also must conclude that the Son of God (who existed for all of eternity and eventually was born into this world in flesh in the Person of Jesus) was also in agreement with all the references to Yahweh in the Old Testament.

This means that people cannot say that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality specifically.

Because Jesus IS the God of the Old Testament (God the Son).

Therefore, whatever the Old Testament God speaks about can ALSO be attributed to Jesus (or more specifically, the eternal Son of God).

Don't forget Hebrews 13:8, which says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever."

What Did New Testament Jesus Say About Homosexuality?

Jesus and the Bible - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

Evidence for Jesus’ view can be found in the univocal stances of the Hebrew Bible, early Judaism and early Christianity.

Some people claim that Jesus did not really care about the Law, and its rules but that is not what we find. 

No first-century Jew could have spoken of porneiai (sexual immoralitites) without having in mind the list of forbidden sexual offenses in Lev. 18 and 20, particularly incest, adultery, same-sex intercourse and bestiality.

When Jesus declared that “it will be more tolerable on the Day (of Judgment) for Sodom” than for towns that do not welcome His messengers (Luke 10:10-12; Matt. 10:14-15), He was acknowledging Sodom’s role in scripture as the prime example of abuse of visitors.

The reason that Jesus did not speak explicitly against same-sex intercourse is obviously the same reason why He did not speak explicitly against incest and bestiality.

The position of the Hebrew Bible on such matters was so unequivocal and visceral, the stance of early Judaism so undivided, with the incidence of concrete violations so rare, that nothing more needed to be said. 

 

OK, let's discuss another claim that homosexual advocates make.

GET INSTANT ACCESS TO LGBTQ ARGUMENTS WITH OUR TRUTH CARDS

Truth Cards - Truth Card - Welcome to Truth

Let's Define Love

Love - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

 

The word "love" is used in so many ways today that it is hard to know what it actually means, and how it applies to the issue of homosexuality.

But Dr. Gagnon (pictured below) quotes (in his book, "Homosexuality and the Bible" (pictured above)) that love involves seeking and finding, humbly and patiently coming alongside, remembering one’s own failings, having empathy, readily forgiving repeat offenders who repent repeatedly, and, putting another’s best interests over one’s own. 

Robert Gagnon - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

That's a pretty thorough description, thank you Dr. Gagnon.

So here's the hard question though that is going to trigger some of you out there.

What does love NOT mean?

LOVE does NOT mean affirming homosexual behavior, or any other behavior that the Bible calls sin.

Now some people would say that it is not LOVING to make such a statement, but is that true?  Some would claim that it was bigoted of me to make such a statement, but they find themselves in a hypocritical trap then.

Bigoted Christians - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

Why?

Because they are claiming that I am a BIGOT for judging something to be wrong, and yet THEY are judging ME to be wrong.

So according to their own statement, THEY are a bigot as well (this is called a self-defeating statement).

Think about it logically, “Why can YOU recognize that BIGOTRY is absolutely wrong, but I am NOT allowed to say that homosexual behavior is wrong?"

See the problem?

Let me add something else that is super important for us to realize. 

Love By Itself Does Not Determine Rightness

Love - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

If love is involved in the process, some say that it must be OK.

But there are many other instances where we prohibit (don't allow) certain behaviors, even though love is involved, including consenual sex with one's parent (even though they might love each other), sex with one's sibling, a child, an animal, etc.

 

Difference Between Homosexual Desires and Acting On Those Desires

This cannot be overstated, and is perhaps the KEY ARGUMENT to this entire issue.

Let me state it again.

There IS a HUGE difference between homosexual DESIRES and ACTING on those desires.

Again, let's refer to the book "Homosexuality and the Bible" where Dan O. Via and Robert Gagnon each give opposing views on the homosexuality argument.

Homosexuality and the Bible Book - Welcome to Truth

Dr. Gagnon points out that the issue is NOT whether one should be for or against persons with homoerotic proclivities (or who is struggling with the sin of homosexuality).

The issue IS willful homosexual acts - or knowing something is wrong, and doing it anyways, and then trying to justify it.

There are people who struggle with homosexual temptations, just as there are people who struggle with alcoholism, or young married men who struggle with looking at other women or adultery, or married men who struggle with pornography.

But we are called to submit those struggles to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to change us supernaturally to allow us to walk more holy, and more righteous.

The person who is willfully acting in homosexual acts is sinning in the same way as someone who practices fornication (having sex outside of marriage) is sinning, or someone in an adulterous relationship is sinning.

There is forgiveness and grace for all of these individuals if they come to the Lord with a sincere heart and repent and turn from their ways, and ask the Holy Spirit for His divine intervention in the struggle.

 

 

What About the Separation of Church and State?

Separation of Church and State - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

Another book we will be covering is the controversial book, Correct, Not Politically Correct, by Dr. Frank Turek.

Correct, Not Politically Correct - Frank Turek - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

When confronted with the conundrum of calling something right or wrong, Turek notes that churches and the Bible ALSO teach that murder, rape, and child abuse are wrong, but one does NOT say that laws prohibiting such acts are a violation of the “separation of church and state.” 

If the government could not pass laws consistent with church or biblical teachings, then all criminal laws would have to be overturned because they are ALL in some way consistent with at least one of the Ten Commandments.

Furthermore, as Turek notes, some churches actually support same-sex marriage, so if there is a strict separation of church and state, then I suppose we also must remove any pro-same-sex laws as well, according to this rationale.

Here is Frank Turek's HIGHLY ACTIVE YouTube page, where he goes to colleges and universities, and is challenged with some of the most difficult apologetics questions college students face today:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCedYGs_lqq1uNet0u7qlSyQ

There is no scholar who can, in good conscience, tell us that the Bible is silent on its position on homosexuality, or worse, that it actually encourages such behavior.

 

ALL Laws Legislate Morality

Some people do NOT want Christians legislating morality, but ALL laws legislate morality.

THINK ABOUT IT - do not ALL laws legislate some type of morality?

The question is not whether or not we can legislate morality; but, “Whose morality should we legislate?”

All laws discriminate, but it is discrimination against behavior, not persons, and it is discrimination with cause, not without.

Dr. Frank Turek and Dr. Norman Geisler have a great book on this topic called, "Legislating Morality" I would recommend checking out.

Legislating Morality - Frank Turek and Norman Geisler - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

And all of the books we cover in this blog post will be listed at the bottom, so you can study further into these important topics.

 

Would St. Paul Call It Sin If Love Was Involved?

Thinking Man - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

Given the approach that Paul took toward the incestuous man in 1 Corinthians 5, St. Paul obviously did not think all adult sexual behavior, motivated by a loving disposition, should be considered morally clean.

1 Corinthians 5 - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

As Dr. Gagnon states, if Paul, along with the rest of the leadership of early Christianity, believed that he was following Jesus in viewing same-sex intercourse as the epitome of Gentile sexual uncleanness, then there is little or no chance that Jesus harbored a secret acceptance of such behavior.

Again, keep in mind that NO first-century Jew could have spoken of porneiai (sexual immoralitites) without having in mind the list of forbidden sexual offenses in Lev. 18 and 20, particularly incest, adultery, same-sex intercourse and bestiality.

 

Paul’s strong opposition to same-sex intercourse is no more an isolated view of the New Testament than his intense rejection of incest.

Historically speaking, it is the ONLY view.

Every narrative, moral exhortation, and metaphor in the New Testament that has anything to do with human sexuality presumes the sole legitimacy of opposite-sex unions.

Marriage is between a man and woman - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

The fact that Rom. 1:26 indicts female-female sex undermines the supposition that Paul was concerned only with certain exploitative forms.

In Rom. 1:27 Paul speaks of the mutual gratification of the participants: “the males were inflamed with their yearning for one another, males with males…”

Every kind of homosexual union imaginable existed in Paul’s day. 

It was within the conceptual framework of Paul’s time to distinguish between exploitative homosexual relations and caring ones.

The context (Rom. 1:26) is clearly between males who have sex with females and males who have sex with males – not between exploitative and non-exploitative forms of same-sex or opposite-sex intercourse.

When Paul said “these things some of you used to be” he was not guaranteeing former adulterers that they would never again experience sexual desire for people other than their spouse, or former thieves and swindlers that they would never again be tempted by material possessions.

Instead, he was saying that, with the Spirit, they would no longer NEED to live these out.

Just as Paul would not have accepted any kind of incestuous union – loving or not, adult or not, innately predisposed or not – so too, he would not have accepted any kind of male-male union.

In 1 Cor. 7 Paul discuses only male-female sexual unions because these alone are valid.

Married Couple - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

Sex is to be confined to male-female marriage.

Paul’s stance against same-sex intercourse was not an anomaly within early Christian circles.

It was the view shared by all New Testament writers.

 

The Progressive Church

The progressive church today (progressive means it is always progressing or changing with the times) is strongly against certain traditional Christian doctrines that believers have been following for hundreds, and in many cases, thousands of years.

These include doctrines of heaven and hell (especially hell (they are taught that "hell" is just another state of consciousness)), sin in general, the Bible being the authoritative Word of God, traditional marriage, Jesus being the only way to God, etc.

And these people call themselves Christians as well, so who's right?

I believe, at least in terms of the issue of homosexuality, this blog post delivers a satisfying response.

In the progressive church (not to be confused with the traditional church that Christ established and that has survived for over 2,000 years), Jesus is regarded as MERELY an example and a guide for us.

However, as Kruger explains, John 1:1, John 1:18, John 8:58, John 10:30 and Mark 14:62-64 are just a few of the Bible verses that paint Jesus as MUCH MORE than just a mere man, but as Son of God Himself.

In Conclusion

We have gone over what the Bible says about homosexuality, as well as many of the objections people raise to a traditional reading of the scriptures.

Which Bible verse do you feel is strongest in relation to the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality?  Do you think it is stronger in the Old Testament, or in the New Testament?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Recommended Books

Homosexuality and the Bible (2003)

By: Dan O. Via and Robert A.J. Gagnon 

Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

The Ten Commandments of Progressive Christianity 

(2001)

by: Michael J. Kruger 

The Ten Commandments of Progressive Christianity - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

Correct, Not Politically Correct (2008)

By: Dr. Frank Turek

 

Correct, Not Politically Correct - Homosexuality and the Bible - Welcome to Truth

The Bible and Homosexual Practice (2001)

By: Robert A. Gagnon

The Bible and Homosexual Practice - Welcome to Truth

Homosexuality and The Politics of Truth (1996)

By: Jeffrey Satinover, M.D.

 Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth - Jeffrey Satinover - Welcome to Truth

Same-Sex Matters (2000)

Edited by: Christopher Wolfe

Same-Sex Matters - Christopher Wolfe - Welcome to Truth




Leave a comment