Homosexuality — What the Bible Clearly Says

The Church of Scotland now permits the ordaining of homosexuals.  In our Bible Study on the topic, we began by  comparing the purposes of marital intimacy to homosexual behaviour.  We then moved on to a broader view of Biblical teaching on the subject.

In this post, we’ll see many Scriptures on homosexuality, direct and indirect.  Whatever the world does, a church must follow Scripture or it doesn’t deserve the name “church.”  I’ve covered this in enough detail that those who missed last Wednesday can follow what we studied.  I’ve tried to cut through some of the confusion and overstatement that some use with these verses.

Homosexuality and the Purposes of Marital Intimacy (with related links)

Creation

Genesis 1:27-28

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

We looked at this verse previously.  From the first mention of humanity in creation, the union of men and women for procreation is in view.  The idea of homosexuality is foreign to the account of creation.

Genesis 2:18

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

“Help meet” means a fitting or appropriate helper.  When God decided to make a helper for the man, one that is appropriate, He didn’t make another man, He made a woman.

God did not make man and man, or woman and woman, He made man and woman.  Homosexuality did not exist before sin came into the world.

The Old Testament Law

Leviticus 18:22

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

This verse is probably quoted more than any other in regard to homosexual behaviour.  So I’ll take time for several points:

  • It is indisputably referring to homosexual behaviour.
  • Some claim it refers only to homosexual prostitution.  The text doesn’t say that.  It is a blanket ban on homosexual behaviour.
  • This is not merely an Old Testament prohibition, so the argument that it is no different from dietary laws cannot stand.  It gives God’s assessment of the moral quality of such behaviour, calling it “abomination,” a horrible thing that God hates.
  • The verse says “it is” abomination, it does not say “he is” abomination, or “they are.”  It does not say God hates the individual, it says He hates this action, this sin.

Further to that, some say, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”  That is not a Scripture quote, and somewhat over-simplifies, but it is based on verses such as Romans 5:8 — God, hating my sin, loved me and thus saved me from it.  Saving love reaches sinners, including homosexuals — that is the Gospel.  To twist this verse to say He hates homosexuals mars His message of grace.  God’s love saves all who come to Him.  His love draws unrepentant sinners (homosexual or not) to repentance, or no one would ever be saved.

It is certainly appropriate to distinguish between loving an individual and hating one of their actions.  On Wednesday, we discussed an incident the day before — a child went in water over her head.  Thankfully, someone pulled her out in time.  We talked of how a loving father would hate her action of going into the pond.  He would warn, teach, and if necessary use restraint to keep her from going in it again.

Thus our Father also hates any actions His children take which would destroy them.  When He tells His children that He hates a sin, He expresses His love for us, telling us to keep away from deep water that destroys.

Leviticus 20:13

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.

God sees this behaviour as so damaging that He said it should bring capital punishment in Israel so that it would not spread.

This does not excuse violence against homosexuals today.  This was the penal law of ancient Israel, carried out according to legal guidelines and with specific safeguards and procedures.  The Bible never endorses lawless violence.  To misuse this verse to excuse violence today violates God’s Word and civil law.  Even if a nation outlawed homosexual behaviour today, Christians should not engage in vigilante actions.  This verse teaches us just how seriously God takes homosexual sin, but its prescribed response was a matter of law, not of individual action.

Historical Narrative

Genesis 19:5

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 them.

This chapter describes the men of Sodom threatening homosexual rape, and God judging the city.  This passage, on its own, clearly condemns homosexual rape, but does not mention other homosexual behaviour.  But see below on Jude 7.

Judges 19:22

Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.

This is very similar to Genesis 19.  This time the men of Gibeah attempt homosexual rape.  Again judgment comes, both on them and those who defend them.

I Kings 14:22-24

22 And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done.
23 For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.
24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

Here, homosexual behaviour is linked to idolatry.  This apparently describes homosexual prostitution as an idolatrous religious ritual.  The text does not say if this only refers to prostitution, or whether it is referring to other homosexual behaviour as well.

I Kings 15:11-12

11 And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father.
12 And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.

Whichever behaviour was described in chapter 14, Asa is commended for stopping it.

II Kings 23:4-7

4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel.
5 And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.
6 And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.
7 And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.

Again, homosexual behaviour is described in a context of idolatry and false worship, and it is seen as  a good thing to put a stop to it.

Though historical accounts in  Scripture condemn homosexual violence and prostitution, it would be hard to prove they condemn all homosexual behaviour.  But neither are these verses silent.  Every case in Biblical history is negative, linked with violence or idolatry.  God recorded these accounts alone, portraying homosexuality as evil whenever it appears.   The historical accounts do not directly condemn all homosexual behaviour, but no one could read them and say God wants His people to commit homosexual acts.

Jesus’ Teaching

Mark 10:6-8

6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

Jesus taught that marriage and the “one flesh” relationship is man and woman, husband and wife.  The man leaves a man and a woman (“father and mother”) and marries a woman.  The Greek word for “wife” is also translated “woman” in other passages.  There is no such thing as a male “wife.”  Jesus could hardly have been more clear that God’s intent for the one flesh relationship is male and female in marriage.

Other New Testament Passages

I Corinthians 6:9-11

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: 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.

Several thoughts on this passage:

  • “Abusers of themselves with mankind” is similar language, in Greek, to what we saw in Leviticus.  It refers to those who lie with other men as with a woman.
  • It (along with many other sins) is incompatible with following God and His kingdom.
  • “Such were some of you” — some believers had engaged in homosexual sin in the past, but now they had been washed, sanctified, and justified!
  • This refutes those who say God hates all homosexual sinners.  He saves and washes people, and gives victory to overcome the sin (“sanctified”).  That is love, not hate.

 I Timothy 1:9-10

9 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,
10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

The law shows that sinful behaviour is contrary to God.  Homosexual behaviour is among the things the law of God condemned.  It, along with these other sins, is contrary to sound doctrine (teaching).

Jude 7

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, 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.

Genesis 19 only clearly condemns homosexual rape, but this verse give the rest of the picture.  They gave themselves over to immorality.  They were “going after strange flesh.”  They had made themselves slaves, given themselves over, to pursuing an immorality which was “strange,” a perversion.  Given what Genesis 19 tells us, this is obviously referring to and condemning their lust for homosexual actions.

Concluding

In creation, in the Old Testament Law, in historical narratives, in the teaching of Christ, and in other New Testament passages, we see that homosexual behaviour is outside of God’s plan, and contrary to it.  This is not merely an Old Testament prohibition, as some want to say, nor something that Paul alone condemned.  It is the consistent message of Scripture from beginning to end.

I did not include Romans 1 in this post.  Romans 1 is an important passage on this topic, and unfortunately, sometimes Christians read things into it.  Lord willing, I’ll get to Romans 1 in the next few days.

Next:
Romans 1 and Christian Errors on Homosexuality (part one)
Romans 1 and Christian Errors on Homosexuality (part two)
Romans 1 and Christian Errors on Homosexuality (part three)
Romans 1 and Christian Errors on Homosexuality (part four)
Romans 1:32 and Homosexuality

To My Homosexual Readers

About Jon Gleason

Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
This entry was posted in Rightly Dividing, The Christian and Culture and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Homosexuality — What the Bible Clearly Says

  1. Autumn says:

    “Jesus Never Mentioned Homosexuality”

    When gays have birthdays, they don’t mention everything they don’t want but say positively what they do want.
    Likewise, Jesus didn’t negatively list every sexual perversion He knew mankind would invent but positively stated that marriage involves only a man and a woman!

    • Jon Gleason says:

      That is correct.

      I have removed your “Google” statement. I consider telling people to Google for comments on other blogs a form of spam, and in this case, the comment would probably not be permitted here because it violates our responsibility to convey the message of repentance and redemption.

  2. Orphelia Wundfrie says:

    Thank you for sharing this analysis. I am reminded of (redacted by Jon).

    You say “a church must follow Scripture or it doesn’t deserve the name ‘church'”, but you’re still picking and choosing, somewhat arbitrarily, what suits whatever ideology you adopt. I fear your attitude towards homosexuality is informed by conservative prejudice, more than an adherence to scripture. To clarify, I’m not advocating fundamentalism, but instead proposing that it might be better to cling to values of social justice, equality, and love, that real life is offering right now, rather than selectively seeking oppression and hatred from an old book.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      I’ve removed a link to a YouTube video of a television show which uses inappropriate language and constructs a straw man argument for the purpose of mocking Scripture. That straw man argument (that this is no different from other Old Testament prohibitions) was already answered above. In typical propaganda technique, the television show gave only the straw man argument, but did not give equal hearing to the response.

      This blog’s comment policy of unacceptable comments:
      “Disrespect towards the Lord. This would include profanity, dishonouring the Bible, heresy, etc. — any form of “corrupt communication”. Those who are not believers are welcome to comment, but they must recognise that this blog is for Christians.”

      This is not a debate blog. I was asked in our church for a Biblical response to the Kirk’s recent decision. I’m covering it here for those who miss the study. I’ve not publicised this series. Others are welcome to read along, and discuss the meaning of specific Scriptures.

      Unwelcome: disrespecting the Bible as a mere “old book”; maligning motives; unsupported accusations of “arbitrary picking and choosing,” conservative prejudice vs. adherence to Scripture, or “seeking oppression and hatred”; etc.

      I assume you probably didn’t read the comment policy. If you want to discuss this in keeping with that policy, I welcome that.

  3. UK Fred says:

    @ Orphelia Wundfrie

    I do not believe that Pastor Gleason is picking and choosing from Scripture on this matter, but that his comments above fairly reflect what Scripture has to say. If you would like to discover what Scripture does have to say and you have the time to read a scholarly treatise on the subject, may I recommend a book from Professor Robert Gagnon, “Homosexuality and The Bible:Text and Hermeneutics”. It is available for inter-library loan within the UK if you do not wish to spend the £60 or so that it costs to purchase.

    Justice is best served by following the Law of God. If one were to follow Jesus command “Love the Lord thy god with all your heart and all your mind, and love your neighbour as yourself” and think through what the command to love means, then your comment about social justice would be redundant and equality would be out of the window. Love is not a matter of not hurting someone, but more a matter of not allowing someone to harm him or herself. An old farmer I know once described it thus: “The man who loves you does not watch the tractor reversing over you with its trailer and taking off your legs. He sees what’s happening and shouts at you and if you don’t move he kicks you so hard in the *?$% that you end up face first in the muck tip. You get up and shout at him, embarrassed and with your best suit ruined, but at least you have your legs to stand up on.” Love does not mean saying sin doesn’t matter. Love knows that sin matters, but it tries to keep you out of sin, or helps restore you to a good place, Love does not leave you wallowing in sin.

  4. UK Fred:
    Unless there are two different books, I think you are a bit mistaken on the title of Gagnon’s book. The book I have is titled, “The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics.” Just want to make sure the correct title is searched.

    Three shorter books with good exegetical examination of the Biblical texts referring to homosexuality are:
    “Scripture and Homosexuality: Biblical Authority and the Church Today,” by Marion L. Soards
    “Straight & Narrow? Compassion & Clarity in the Homosexuality Debate,” by Thomas E. Schmidt.
    “The Same Sex Controversy: Defending and Clarifying the Bible’s Message About Homosexuality,” by James R. White & Jeffrey D. Niell.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Thanks, Glenn. I have none of those books, though I’ve heard of Gagnon’s. It’s too bad this has to have books written about it. It’s not as if there is really any question about the essence of the Scriptural message. But a favourite tactic of false teachers and unbelievers is to challenge what is very clear and come up with “alternative” explanations.

      • UK Fred says:

        Thanks, Glenn. I was coming back to make that very correction and to point out that there are several authors called Robert Gagnon. This is Professor Robert AJ Gagnon.
        Professor Gagnon also has a couple of articles on this subject area published in Theology Matters, which are available on the web. I am getting old now and my memory is not quite what it was. I did have to research this area about 10 years ago and I’d like to apologise to all for my errors.

  5. It isn’t picking and choosing, it is adhering to the word of God. There is a downward progression of sin – as Idolatry takes hold, it will surely be followed by sexual immorality, and sexual perversion.

    I would ask Orphelia to point us to an expiration date on the word of God. It is not love to overlook such an abomination as homosexuality. All sexual sin outside the covenant of marriage is forbidden by God. I think it’s noteworthy as well to point out, from Genesis 19: 4-5, ‘Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.” This shows the rapid decline of society and the widespread depravity of this sin, this sin infected every man of all ages in that city. How depraved were they? “They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway.” Genesis 19:11 They were suddenly struck blind, you would think this would instill fear. Instead, they continued to grope in their blindness, still trying to gain entrance into Lot’s house because of their overpowering lustful desire for sex with Lot’s guests. This is a picture of the wickedness and depravity of sinful men, who reject God and His truth and relentlessly pursue their lust.

    Christ tells us that all sexual sin defiles in Matthew 15:19. From that verse, the word ‘fornications covers every sexual sin outside marriage – ‘adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.’ from Thayer’s Greek Definitions. That is crucial, especially for those who claim Christ never spoke out against homosexuality.

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Thanks, Lyn.

      I don’t know whether Orphelia will return or not. If so, I hope the next comment engages with the post and the Scriptural text. As you no doubt recognised, that comment was fairly standard talking points for a view which just isn’t consistent with Biblical Christianity.

  6. Janet says:

    those in power making laws to make what is unlawful lawful does not make it right
    The Word will not conform to the world the world must conform to the Word I get this from
    John 3:16-17
    We have some very unwise fokes in power

    “Those who are led by the Lord and serve Him will best lead and serve a nation and its people;But those who compromise the Sovereign Word of God jeopardize the sovereign foundation of a Christian nation” my quote

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Janet, I think we have to recognise that there are no Christian nations. This world is at enmity with God. There are those nations that have been greatly influenced by Christians and Biblical principles in the past, but they’ve gone away from that.

      The sad thing, and what triggered this series of posts, is that churches are abandoning the Word of God. If the churches won’t stay true, is it any wonder that governments don’t?

      • Marco says:

        Okay, this is sick. Everyone who believes this is more lkliey going to hell than me. I believe in god. God loves me. You can’t change anyone that was homosexual. They say they are, they are hiding it. Because of people like this. You make people feel like scum. Like they should not live. You are all sick. You belong in hell. You have no right to judge. If homosexuality is wrong. You have no say or not. Its gods. And if a god would lead me on thinking what i am doing is right and it really not be. I would say forget him. My god is the same god as yours. And i’m doing what i should. You are turning people away from god. You really should learn to see what is the TRUTH!

      • Jon Gleason says:

        Hello, Marco. For some reason, WordPress threw your comment into spam — perhaps because of some of the language you used, which I cleaned up.

        You are certainly welcome to comment, but please review the comment policy (link at the top of the page) before commenting again.

        I would ask you, before saying that I make people feel like they should not live, to read this post. https://mindrenewers.com/2013/07/19/to-my-homosexual-readers/.

        I don’t really have the right to decide what God says or whether your god is the same as the God I worship. All I can do is look at what the Bible says. If you don’t believe it, then the God I worship is very different from any god you follow. None of us have any right to decide what God is like. We need to look at what He Himself told us in His Word to find out what He likes, and what He approves and disapproves.

  7. Alexander Mackay says:

    I am the person who asked Pastor Gleason if he would teach on the subject of homosexuality and the Church. I asked about this topic because the Church of Scotland has allowed the ordination of homosexual ministers and there was also in the media the subject of same sex marriage. I have through the Bible study class that I attend at Pastor Gleason’s church and through the scripture, have come to understand that God never condoned homosexual behaviour; It is my understanding that God did not condone any kind of sexual behaviour out with the sanctity of marriage, which He clearly defines is between a man and a woman. I am a Christian and as a Christian I have to accept God’s judgement on all matters. We live in a country where political correctness is the accepted way of life, regardless of whether or not being pc is morally or legally right. We cannot come to God’s word with a social agenda and make it suit our way of life for the sake of those who want to be comfortable in their sin, we as Christians, have to accept the boundaries the Lord our God put in place for us. The scripture clearly states that marriage is between a man and a woman, so for a minister of the Church to marry people of the same sex defies God’s word and such an act would be blasphemous, it is my belief that any professing Christian who would condone such action in their Church is not of Christ. I would like to quote a couple of lines from Matthew 16:3 ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Thank you, Alex.

      I’ll only add one thing. Many professing Christians are in churches where they are not taught the Word of God and are not encouraged to read it themselves. If they encounter some of the Scriptures we see in this post, they will be told a variety of lies by the unbelievers / false teachers who lead their churches. Things like “the Bible is only condemning rape or homosexual prostitution,” or “Jesus never spoke against homosexuality,” or “the word ‘homosexual’ isn’t even in the Bible, so it doesn’t condemn it,” etc, etc. (The word “homosexual” wasn’t even INVENTED until the 19th century, I believe, so it is hardly surprising it doesn’t appear in a translation older than that.)

      Someone who doesn’t know any better and isn’t regularly reading their Bible is likely to accept those lies. So even a true believer, who is in the wrong church, could be confused by their false teachers for quite a while. Eventually, the Lord will open their eyes and/or get them into a better church, if they are truly His.

      This is one of the reasons believers need to be very careful about endorsing or in any way supporting apostate churches and teachers. Even if WE know the truth, and so might be able to avoid being deceived, we do not want to help them deceive others. We do not want our presence / support to give the impression that such churches are a safe haven for believers.

  8. Alexander Mackay says:

    Thank you, for your insight Jon.
    I give thanks to the Lord that He has delivered me to a Church where His word is still taught as the truth, I know that I am truly blessed. Lord I pray that you will guide those who are in darkness to the light of your word, I ask this in Jesus name.
    Amen.

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