What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
June 1, 2002 § 54 Comments
Let me say this before I begin: it is hard to write about such a subject. It is a very sensitive topic, and many people can be offended, not just those who practice homosexuality. But I think it relevant to have a look at Bible verses that talk about the topic, if you believe in the Bible. I invite you, the reader, to make up your mind about what you will believe for yourself.
When we talk about homosexuality, I think it’s important to drop the label and name-calling, and simply call those who are homosexuals, people. We are all people, first and foremost.
The practice (or lifestyle, if you like) of homosexuality is nowadays more mainstream than ever. Whereas it was hidden in the past, it is now pushed out into the open.
Another trend can be seen these days: the practice of legitimizing homosexuality within organized religion. There are churches that will admit openly homosexual members and what’s more, tell them that God still loves them even if they remain homosexual. Does the Bible support that stance?
In the hope of shedding some light on this subject, what I thought I’d do is to go through the Bible, from the Old Testament to the New Testament, and present every verse that talks about the subject of homosexuality. Please understand that I am simply going to cite these verses, lay them before you with little explanation, and let you draw your own conclusion. Before I begin, I must make it clear that my purpose is not to condemn or judge the practice of homosexuality, and neither should you. Let each of us live as he or she sees fit.
The introduction to homosexuality occurs in the first book of the Bible, in Genesis Chapter 18. The Lord is talking to Abraham just after He promised him a son. “And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.” (Genesis 18:20,21)
Let’s look in Chapter 19 and see just what these people were doing: “But before they lay down [to eat], the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter. And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know [have sex with] them.” (Genesis 19:4, 5) If you are confused about the meaning of the verb “know” in the Bible context, look at other translations or look it up in a Bible Concordance and it will be made clearer to you.
Lot, knowing full well that the men in his house were the angels of God, even went out and tried to offer his own daughters to the mob in order to appease them: “And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly, Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.” (Genesis 19:6-8)
I question Lot’s judgment in wanting to allow his daughters to be gang-raped, but who knows how men regarded women during those times… It’s certainly very strange to me, but let’s move on. You can read for yourselves in order to find out the details of the story, but in the end, God’s judgment was clear: “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.” (Genesis 19:24, 25)
“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22) And lest you think it is simply condemned and not punished, read on: “Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you. And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.” (Leviticus 18:24, 25)
The same is stated further in the chapter: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13)
Paul writes here about the continued rejection of God’s will: “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” (Romans 1:26-28)
The apostle Paul is very direct in this book. He writes: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?” (1 Corinthians 6:9) And then he clarifies just what an unrighteous person is: “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind [homosexuals], nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10)
Notice how homosexuality is grouped with other mainstream sins such as idolatry, fornication and drunkenness. Beware, fellow Christians, lest you are found guilty of one of these other sins while you think yourself righteous because you aren’t a homosexual…
Here we all are given hope. We are all sinners, and that is why we have been given the law of God. What we choose to do with it is what will save or damn us. Paul writes: “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind [homosexuals], for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.” (1 Timothy 1:8-10)
In his one chapter epistle, Jude writes to a church where certain sinful members had been admitted. The verses that mention homosexuality read as follows: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.” (Jude 7, 8)
The Bible is fairly clear on the subject of homosexuality. The law is laid down in the Old Testament, and is renewed in the New Testament.
Yet the apostle Paul writes further about this in Corinthians, in verse 11: “And such were some of you [homosexuals, etc.]: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11)
In other words, the Corinthians were able to stop such practices, or Paul wouldn’t have said that they were “washed, sanctified and justified”. A homosexual who would continue to practice the sin cannot be justified in the eyes of the Lord. Still, I would strongly caution against programs advertised by some questionable churches to “rid men of homosexual tendencies”. Those sorts of brainwashing sessions never work and can be deeply offensive and demeaning to sincere Christians whose only desire is to find salvation and acceptance.
:arrow: Updated 7/6/2008: I would also encourage you to read through two of my comments (here and here) if you happen to disagree. I clarify my stance even further there, and I hope it’ll help you understand that I’m not condemning or discriminating, just pointing something out. We have no right to judge — only God can do that.
:arrow: Updated 10/26/2008: I’ve received a couple of fairly mean comments on this article over time — which I have removed — but they were so filled with anger and venom and curses, that I wonder what drove their authors to write and submit them. The thing to remember here is that I’m expressing my personal opinion. It is not meant to be made into civic law, nor am I suggesting any such thing. I am not condemning the practice, I am simply quoting verses from the Bible. If you happen to feel condemned by this article, may I suggest that it’s perhaps a pre-existing internal conflict? Perhaps at some level you know that what you’re doing is wrong, and you have been wrestling with feelings of anger and frustration, and this article has simply brought them to the surface once more. The thing to do is not to take it out on me, but to take it out on God. Go ahead, kneel down in prayer and argue with Him. Or at least go and seek counseling. But cursing me out is no way to solve your own internal conflict.