Home / Articles by Kori Ashton / (cont.) What does the Bible actually say about homosexuality?

(cont.) What does the Bible actually say about homosexuality?

4th Passage Romans 1 Specifically 19-29 Take time out to read it >

Now look behind the scenes >>

From: Unlike the disciples who had traveled with Jesus, Paul was an intellectual. He had been schooled by the rabbis and had also been exposed to Greek logic. Before his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus, Paul (then known as Saul) had been a persecutor of Christian. However, God revealed His Truth to Paul radically changing his life and ultimately changing countless lives as God told him to go witness to the Gentiles – that means anyone who didn’t identify as a Jew. In all, Paul wrote 13 books in the New Testament that became premier documents of Christian theology.

To: Just like the title suggests this is a letter written to Romans – from Rome, Italy. Paul had never even seen Rome when he wrote to the several hundred Christians there. He had met a few of them traveling through other cities, but he wanted to introduce himself and his thinking to those who had only heard the gossip about him. Some of them were Jews who thought of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. Many were non-Jews sorting out what Jesus had to do with them. All debated how a follower of Jesus ought to live, and they were eager to hear Paul’s account first hand.

Re: Paul’s mind is so open to the wonderful plan of God’s salvation for mankind. Throughout this letter, Paul wrestles with questions about the role of Jews and Gentiles in the plan of God, the relationship between grace and the Law, the effects of Christ’s death and resurrection, and even with his own identity as a Jewish Christian and as God’s apostle to the Gentiles. In his effort to deal with these profound, thorny issues, Paul crafts a very complex argument and presents to his readers a foundation on Christian living and salvation as a gift of God that comes through grace and through having faith in Jesus Christ.

In verse 24 we see that these people Paul describe have taken up idol worship once again worshiping created things instead of the One True God. The specific verses of 26 – 28 tell us that “Refusing to know God” people became sexually confused and began to abuse one another and defile each other. They were filled with sinful lust and they had no love. The passage continues to say that because of their disobedient hearts toward God, they turned to murder and all sorts of hurtful things.

Common Misunderstanding: Same gender sex is a sin.

Truth: Ignoring God leads to a downward spiral. This passage clearly teaches us that any relationship outside of God that is full of abuse and no love will destroy you.

5th Passage 1 Corinthians 6 Specifically 9-10 Take time out to read it >

Now look behind the scenes >>

From: This is another one of Paul’s 13 books (letters) found in the New Testament. The more Paul came to grips with Jesus the more he wanted to take the Message to the very “pagans” he’d been raised to avoid. He asked God which parts of the traditional law that he’d been raised in were moral absolutes and which ones were cultural preferences that he could set aside when relating to non-Jews like the Corinthians.

To: This is a letter to the church in the port city of Corinth. This city was full of rich merchants and sailors all looking for a good time. Corinth’s temple of Aphrodite housed a thousand priestess-prostitutes. Corinthians had a reputation in the ancient world as an unruly, hard-drinking, sexually promiscuous bunch of people.

Re: As Paul began to share God’s truth with them, the people of Corinth found salvation through faith in Jesus Christ but they still had their old sinful and idolatrous ways about them. So Paul wrote this letter challenging their moral standards in hopes to bring them in line with God’s ways.

Paul seems frustrated at the church for their “higher-than-thou” attitude toward God’s commandments. In this letter he included other problems too like their attitudes toward the apostles (4:1-21), incestuous behavior (5:1-5), and lawsuits between Christians (6:1-9). Then Paul deals with other sexual sins (6:9-11). He talks about the people who ignore God and abuse each other and how they will not be a part of the kingdom of God. Homosexual is listed in among adulterers, prostitutes and a few others.

This is the first time we see the actual word “Homosexual.” But if the word “homosexual” was added to the Bible later – what was the original word used? There were two Greek words mentioned in this Scripture malakoi and arsenokoitai. Good luck pronouncing those – and no one is definite about their meanings either. There wasn’t a word in their dialect for homosexuality. They are thought to have meant effeminate or male prostitutes. Could this again be Paul referencing the cultic temple or shrine prostitutes he had seen who had male-male sex for idol worship? It certainly doesn’t reference a homosexual who has a heart for God and follows His teachings.

In verses 16-20 Paul continues teaching on sex telling us that sex is more than just skin touching skin. He asks them to consider the concept of the “two becoming one” and how sex is a spiritual mystery. He tells us “to not pursue any kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever – that kind of sex can never ‘become one’.” This book also contains the “love chapter” (13) that explains what love should look like and how we should love one another.

Common Misunderstanding: The Scripture uses the label “homosexual” condemning anyone engaged in same-gender sex.

Truth: We must not misuse our liberties in Christ. This passage clearly teaches us that sex is a beautiful intimate mystery designed by God and meant to be shared in a loving, committed relationship. Other Scriptures tell us that sex should be only shared in marriage.

6th and final passage 1 Timothy 1 Specifically 8-10 Take time out to read it >

Now look behind the scenes >>

From: Paul’s ministry was a team sport, not a solo performance. He joined with Barnabas on his first missionary trip and later took on other such as Silas and Luke. Timothy and Titus helped train new believers and carried letters back and forth between Paul, who was imprisoned several times, and the churches his team had planted. Paul loved these guys like they were his own sons.

To: This letter however was written to Timothy. Timothy was raised with his Jewish mother’s religion, but not circumcised in deference to his Greek father. An outsider among both Jews and Greeks in his Galatian town, the teenage Timothy embraced Paul’s news of Jesus, left home to travel with Paul, and even endured circumcision to become fully Jewish. Ouch!

Re: Paul had charged Timothy to stay in a city called Ephesus and become the leader of the church there. In this letter we see Paul encouraging and guiding the development of just such leadership. What he had learned so thoroughly himself, he was now passing on, and showing them, in turn, how to develop a similar leadership in local congregations. His consistent theme is Godly leadership in the face of internal opposition.

In verses 8 – 10 Paul again addresses that people are ignoring God and defying His authority. He lists several things that include murderers, liars, and anyone who perverts sex. It depends on what translation you read as to whether or not the word “homosexual” is used but again the original Greek language doesn’t have a word for this and the closest we can come to it in our modern English is “male prostitute.” This would also be consistent with Paul’s other writings referencing the temple male prostitutes.

Common Misunderstanding: The Scriptures use the word “homosexual” here condeming anyone engaged in same-gender sex.

Truth: Living as a Christian requires obedience to God in all we do. Leaders especially must not assume to be above God’s law. This passage clearly teaches us that we are in need of moral guidance and that left to our own agenda we quickly get off track.


Conclusion

The Bible is a beautiful, powerful collection of stories, letters and poetry authored by human hands and inspired of God. In the Old Testament Moses was used by God to give us the law that should, as Christians, set our moral compass. After the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, Paul in the New Testament, shows us that we have come into a “new day.” While we are to hold the laws as God’s authority, we should now embrace salvation through faith and grace – not works.

Nowhere in the Bible is a loving, committed same sex relationship condemned or approved. While the Bible is silent on sexual orientation (LGBT), it still remains our authority on sex. The Word of God teaches very directly about sinful, abusive sex and challenges us to abstain from those hurtful actions. It teaches us how we are to love each other and to live our lives to please God.

Ultimately, Jesus longs for a relationship with us. That’s why we were created. If the Word if God is silent on the subject of homosexuality, why is the church so loud about it? Seems just as in the Bible days the church, as a whole, still has their “higher-than-thou” attitude and spends too much time in turmoil with each other.

Embracing the label of “Christian” should move us to be a righteous example of God’s truth and challenge us all, as believers, to get back to the basics of loving each other and pursing Christ! We are surrounded every day with people who will die never knowing Jesus as their Savior. Our passion should be to live our lives as a daily example of God’s grace and redeeming power, growing closer to Him as we follow His ways.

Resources: The Bible, The Message Bible, www.americanbible.org, www.biblegateway.com

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8 comments

  1. Thanks for your scholarly article and your perspective of the Bible’s view of homosexuality. I don’t want to sound critical, but your argument on the Romans passage seems pretty weak. It gets a little wishy-washy when you try to say that the Bible condemns homosexuality, but not when its in a loving, committed relationship. Careful when you do this! Paul condemns promiscuity elsewhere, so he would have said promiscuity or pedophilia here if he meant it! But he very specifically refers to homosexual behavior (whether committed or not) here and I would encourage everyone to reread the passage for themselves.

    I too was in a loving, committed same-sex relationship. Only the Lord knows that walking away from the love of my life was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I still struggle, but there is one thing I know with certainty: God sees my struggle and my sacrifice. And the greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward. I truly believe that. His love has been sweeter than anything I could have ever imagined. The Bible never promises that life will be easy, but it does promise that we have Jesus Christ here to stand up under the struggle with us. Please don’t search the scriptures simply to find what you want to hear, but search them with a genuine thirst for truth. Please email me if you’d like to talk more on this perspective of the Bible and homosexuality.

  2. I have been open about my sexual orientation for almost 10 years, I am now 27. For as long as I can remember, I have been attracted to women. I have this draw to women that I just don’t feel when it comes to men. I am a new believer in the grace of God. I have just recently started studying the bible and the more I read The Word the more i’m confused about what the world has to say about homosexuality. Quite simply, I have become depressed thinking that my preference is breaking Jesus’ heart. BUT!!! I am heartbroken when I think about the opinion of others and how it makes me feel. When I think about the love of Jesus and the promise of salvation if we love Him, others and OURSELVES. He loves me, He forgives me, He saved me. My thoughts are all jumbled and I don’t know which way to turn, but I cannot believe anything other than He loves me. I am not seeking out another woman to help me disgrace God. I am patiently waiting for my “helper” that was created for me. I am rambling and confused, but one thing I know for certain is that He knows my heart and all the struggles inside. He knows the love I have for Him and how much I want my actions to be pleasing to Him. *agh…. Ok, ending now. THANK YOU for this presentation… With the love of Jesus in my heart, GOD BLESS. <3

  3. Oh wow im sure my pastor would disagree on a rhpusand different points here but to me I feel happier reading this as a bisexual christian. I totally get the point of not sleeping around promiscuously as it ruined my life. I struggle with op opinions that homosex is a nono as we are born like this and I cant understand how god would make me like this then deny me love and intimacy because I am.attracted to same sex also??? Thanks.for the article

  4. I have been struggling lately with my belief because I have been in a committed relationship with a woman. I love God and his love is strong in my heart and seeing this made me feel so much relief. I’d like to think that God would not have put her in my path if it was not meant to be, if I was not to experience this amount of love, thank you for this page. God bless!

  5. A family member linked me to this resource.
    Thank you for the information.

  6. love chapter 13 , if we say we have love and hate our brothers and sisters we lie…if we give up all things and not practice love we are like a sounding gong…and a clanging symbol…full of noise with no substance…in everything you do if love for souls and people and God are not the center , you have nothing that brings joy to Gods heart…

  7. As a lover and student of the Bible I really respect and appreciate this study; the simple, teachable way it is presented is indicative of the gospel, POWERFUL in TRUTH….. I would love to share this with the world! Blessings:)

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