What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality?
I've done my best to grab as many verses as possible regarding the topic of homosexuality from the bible. The below is by no means an exhaustive collection, but I've tried to be a thorough as possible. All of the verses below are from the New King James Translation of the bible.
Genesis 19:4-5 NKJV
"Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. 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 know them carnally.”
Below is an excerpt from Reformed Baptist Minister, Matthew Henry's complete bible commentary describing the scene from Genesis 19:
"That they were all wicked, v. 4. Wickedness had become universal, and they were unanimous in any vile design. Here were old and young, and all from every quarter, engaged in this riot; the old were not past it, and the young had soon come up to it. Either they had no magistrates to keep the peace, and protect the peaceable, or their magistrates were themselves aiding and abetting. Note, When the disease of sin has become epidemical, it is fatal to any place, Isa 1 5-7.
II. That they had arrived at the highest pitch of wickedness; they were sinners before the Lord exceedingly (ch. 13 13); for, 1. It was the most unnatural and abominable wickedness that they were now set upon, a sin that still bears their name, and is called Sodomy. They were carried headlong by those vile affections (Rom 1 26, 27), which are worse than brutish, and the eternal reproach of the human nature, and which cannot be thought of without horror by those that have the least spark of virtue and any remains of natural light and conscience. Note, Those that allow themselves in unnatural uncleanness are marked for the vengeance of eternal fire. See Jude 7. 2. They were not ashamed to own it, and to prosecute their design by force and arms. The practice would have been bad enough if it had been carried on by intrigue and wheedling; but they proclaimed war with virtue, and bade open defiance to it. Hence daring sinners are said to declare their sin as Sodom, Isa 3 9. Note, Those that have become impudent in sin generally prove impenitent in sin; and it will be their ruin. Those have hard hearts indeed that sin with a high hand."
"But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their [c]proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the [d]vengeance of eternal fire."
Isaiah 3: 9
"The look on their countenance witnesses against them, And they declare their sin as Sodom; They do not hide it. Woe to their soul! For they have brought evil upon themselves."
"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination."
"Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as [q]I saw fit."
"Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their [i]women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the [j]men, leaving the natural use of the [k]woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, [l]sexual immorality, wickedness, [m]covetousness, [n]maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, [o]undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, [p]unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [b]homosexuals, nor [c]sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were [d]sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not [e]helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of [f]any.
"Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body [g]and in your spirit, which are God’s."
1 Timothy 1:8-11
"But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is [c]contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust."
Was I was born this way?
The short answer is yes, although not for the most commonly cited reasons. The answer is yes, because all human beings, regardless of genetic makeup and environment are born into sin. We've inherited this condition from Adam.
The most recent studies indicate there isn't a single genetic marker or "gay gene." However, much like alcoholism, there may be multiple genes which lead to a predisposition for homosexual attraction. This genetic predisposition, along with environmental factors, may be the cause.
So, we are faced with another question. If I'm genetically pre-disposed to behaving a certain way, is that sinful?
When I was addicted to drugs, I was dying for the answer to this question to be no. The problem was, my conscience wouldn't let me get away with that. I was not born into a Christian home, I had zero theological understanding, no relationship with God, and no desire to become religious by any stretch of the imagination. I had no framework for right and wrong, other than "be a good person." And yet, I still knew, at the deepest level, that my behavior was wrong. In order to avoid facing my wrongs, I did more things I shouldn't have. I did this long enough that I became addicted to doing things that were evil. I was physically addicted to drugs, and spiritually sick. I was enamored with sin. The progression was dark. Over time, it got worse, and worse, and worse. So it goes with sin, it compounds over time.
I had no real understanding of the evidence for my predisposition to addiction. However, I had heard enough rumors to consign myself to this fate. If my addiction was genetic, it wasn't my fault, and I needn't change. I was born this way.
I know what it means to believe something about yourself with every fiber of your being. I believed a lie about myself for many years. I used all of the celebrities who had died from drugs and alcohol as my heroes. I romanticized the idea of my tragic early death and my underappreciated talent.
Imagine now, if I was held up as a hero because of my behavior. I would have no incentive to change, and as a matter of fact, I would probably be dead, both spiritually and physically.
This comparison may seem harsh, but it is accurate. The parallels are there. When we celebrate sin, when we condone behavior that is expressly prohibited in scripture, we are not helping anyone.
What about the law?
"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."
"But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, [f]kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our [g]tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."
"...having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace..."
"Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”'
The 10 commandments were a summary of all the Mosaic laws set out in the old testament. Many of the laws were to set apart the people of Israel from the rest of the world. Christians are not bound by these laws. However, 1John 5:3 says:
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome."
"What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without [f]your works, and I will show you my faith by [g]my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is [h]dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made [i]perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was [j]accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only."
Being a believer, and a born-again Christian, is more than just an understanding of the Gospel. There must be repentance. A term which literally means to turn away from. Jesus says:
"Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."
One way to look at this is to understand that there must be an outward expression of our inward transformation. Yes, we are not bound by the law any longer, but we musn't continue on in sin. This does that mean that we will never sin again. What it does mean, is that our relationship with sin will now change. We should no longer be enslaved by our passions and desires. Our desires will change. If you are anything like me, this is easier said than done. Nowhere in scripture does it say this process of sanctification is easy. As someone who lead a life of habitual sin, it took me years to change. I'm still changing. Christ is the only way the necessary permanent change can happen.
Jesus really zeros in on the condition of our heart. This isn't about following rules.
During the sermon on the mount, he really get's to the heart of the issue (pun intended):
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[e] But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
The old man, who we once were, must die. We must be born again. A new creation.
The Two Extremes
The Westboro Baptist Church comes to mind first. (And by no means is the Westboro church the sole perpetrator, they are just an easy and obvious target). I won't get into their background here specifically.
This group is a cult, but unfortunately, they've received a plethora of media attention, so they've been lumped in with 'Christians,' in general. They made headlines in the '90's and I still remember seeing their antics on the news.
Their slogans are too vulgar to repeat. Much of their rhetoric is directed at homosexuals.
Most, if not all of what they do and say is not biblical. They have taken the Holy Scripture and used it for evil. The consequences for this type of behavior are significant.
First, when non-believers see these people on the news, claiming to be Christians, what do they think? I can tell you, because I was one of those people who saw these so-called Christians on the news. I thought they were all nuts. Right or wrong, I used that same broad brush on my view of all Christians. Seeing and hearing these things did have an influence on my perspective.
Second, when a homosexual person see this, what do they believe about the people of God? About God himself? How must it feel to know there are entire groups who have devoted their lives to hating you? What if he or she wanted to change, where would they go? Going to a church would be the last place on the list! What an incentive to continue to live in the world. At least there it feels safe. Safer than the church!
We have to know what the bible says. Completely and fully, so that we might know our creator and grow in His image. However, when we twist God's word, and cherry pick verses to fit our biases, we are wielding a dangerous weapon and growing in the image of something truly dark.
What about the church that affirms the homosexual lifestyle?
Consider this, if a church were to affirm stealing, what then? Sounds ridiculous, but it isn't different. If we go back to 1Corinthians 6 Paul lists thieves as those 'who would not inherit the kingdom of God.' Right along with the homosexuals.
Now, if we follow his logic and a church affirms this lifestyle, are we not actively condemning our brothers and sisters by endorsing the exact lifestyle which would exclude them from heaven? And if they are excluded from heaven, where would they go? They would go to hell.
Take a moment to understand the gravity of this situation. If we, as a church, condone those lifestyles the scripture explicitly forbids, are we not then actively participating in the condemnation of souls?
Now, I don't mean to say we are wholly responsible. But, I would argue, the leadership would be doing the work of Satan himself. No different from the Westboro Baptist church. I submit, the danger here is subtly catastrophic because of the ways sin corrupts from the inside out.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works."
So what now?
This is the tightrope we must walk. The only way, you, I, or anyone else is going to be saved is by the blood of Jesus Christ. That is where any and all discussion must begin and end.
The only way we might be brought into right relationship with God is through Christ. No matter what your sin. Rejecting this fact is the only sin which will condemn you for eternity.
The gospel is the only way.
Freedom does not come from unlimited pursuit of any passion or pleasure. It does not come from lawlessness and conformity to cultural norms. No. It is how our faith and willingness to stand firm in the transcendent laws written on our hearts, delivered to us in scripture, work together hand-in-hand. One strengthening the other. This and the revelation that we are now freed from the bondage of sin and promised an eternity separated from sin, it is this gift, from God, through Christ, that makes us free.
Book after book in the New Testament is contains guidance, from God himself, on the Christian ethic, our attitudes, and our behavior. How we are to stand out, to be in the world, but not of it. We are commanded to be salt and light. Exemplars, however failingly, of our Lord Jesus. For two millennia Christians, for better or for worse, are known by their love, charity, and efforts to live differently than the rest of the world.
We do not live this way because it is easier. No, we live this way because it is right. It is right, and just, and true, and God our gracious Father in heaven, commands it.