The Bible
Old Testament
Gay Lesbian and Bisexual

What does the Bible say about homosexuality?

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05/10/2012

One view

In regard to homosexual activity, the Bible definitely condemns penetrative sex between men.

In addition, the Bible criticizes (but does not condemn) sex between women.

Further, men who have sex with men and women who have sex with women can rightly claim that their actions are not sinful providing that these actions are loving (caring and selfless) and do not harm others or themselves. This is because St Paul in Romans 13:8-10 says that people keep God's law and commandments if they love other people and do not harm them.

Another View

The Bible says very little about homosexuality. Most of it comes from Old Testament Levitical Law.

  • Leviticus 18:22 " Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination "
  • 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 "
  • There are other verses but these two should make the point.

If Christians obeyed these laws then they would also have to be circumcised, not eat pork or shellfish, not wear two sorts of cloth at the same time, put to death all adulterers and put women out of society when they were menstruating... Levitical Law was completely superseded by Christ except that the early church decided that Christians would have to follow the Levitical sexual laws (Acts 15:28-29).

Cherry picking the Bible, such as the verses cited above, to 'back up' one's own prejudices, is not particularly helpful and places the Church (which should share God's love for others and not condemn them) in a shameful condemnatory position.

There are three main passages which refer to homosexuality in the Bible - the Levitical ones, and the other two in one of Paul's letters to the Corinthians, and in his letter to the Romans.

There are some Christians who take these passages at face value and therefore claim that homosexuality is a sin. Some of this group even believe that homosexuality can somehow be 'cured' as if it were a disease. Others may believe that homosexuals should be ostracised and dismissed from Christian congregations, whilst others do not go this far but reluctantly accept that homosexuals should be, at best, tolerated.

However, the majority of Christians worldwide look at scripture in a different way. They realise that the Levitical passages are relevant as Christians are bound by the Levitical sexual laws (Acts 15:28-29). They also look at the passages in Paul's letters and, by studying the Greek in depth, come to the conclusion that Paul was not making Church doctrine to be set in stone for all time, but answering specific questions about specific problems the churches had in ministering to a world (especially centred round the den of vice called Corinth) where pagan practices - including child rape - were widespread. Nor was he ever referring to a loving homosexual relationship as we would know today. By his use of 'arsenokoitai' in the Greek (men who have sex with men), Paul was referring to pagan homosexual prostitutes, and condemning Christians who were trying to follow Christ but who were still drawn by the evil pagan practices associated with these pagan prostitutes. He was more concerned with the infiltration of paganism into the Christian Church than by any sexual practice or loving relationship.

Similarly in Romans, Paul set out his own theology rather than the teachings of Christ - and his theology differs quite a bit in many areas. But in his first chapter he deals with what he sees as a downward spiral when people turn from God. They replace love with lust. The nuances of the Greek make the meaning of Romans 1:27 very clear. Rather than men - and women - following their natural loving desires, they try out unnatural lustful desires. And Paul states this is wrong. Put simply, this passage does not just condemn straight men and women to be forced into lustful homosexual acts, but also homosexual men and women forced into lustful heterosexual acts. In other words, it condemns the forcing of people into committing lustful unnatural acts whether or not they are gay or straight. It says nothing about condemning homosexuality, nor heterosexuality - just the stepping outside what is natural to a person (whether gay or straight) and doing so with lust rather than love.

As for Jesus Christ, he is not recorded as saying anything on the matter.

It is very sad that there are those who cherry pick the Bible claiming that these few verses give them 'proof' that their own prejudices are justified, and ignore other passages where Jesus himself condemns Christians who judge others. It is even more sad that the Christian Church has torn itself apart over this issue in recent years, when it should be more concerned with poverty and oppression in the world, and by proclaiming God's love and acceptance of all people, black or white, male or female, gay or straight.

Another View

It's not so much what the Bible says as how you read it. Some people read the Bible literally, considering every word of it a truth. Some see it more as a whole parable, with a general message given through symbols and examples. Some see it as an imperfect testimony of the time when Christ was on earth. For them, the people who wrote the book are only humans, who made mistakes, and the perfect message of the Christ is to be found in this imperfect book.

If you are part of the first group, homosexuality is an abomination, and should be punished by death as is written in Leviticus (this is the position of many Baptists). If you see the Bible as a parable, then homosexuality is a problem, a sin, that you should try to avoid, but it's not your fault, it's a test put unto you by God (this is for example the position of the Catholic church). If you're part of the third group, being gay just happens, and as long as it does not prevent you from being good, accepting Christ and spreading peace, it is no problem (like says the Lutheran Church of Sweden, for example).

Another View

In these two verses, we are given by God an example and model for marriage and procreation between the male and female. It is a belief of mine, strongly supported in the Bible, that any sexual activity outside this example is called fornication. This, according to the Bible, includes man with man, woman with woman, whoredom, harlotry, prostitution, rape, incest, adultery and bestiality; none of which were apart of God's creation.

  • " So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him, male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them be fruitful and multiply "

Paul had this to say:

  • " 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 murders of father, for murders of mothers, for man slayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for men stealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that in contrary to sound doctrine ".
  • And this..."Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleaness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the creator, who is blessed forever, Amen. For this cause God gave them up into 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 women, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves recompence of their error which was meet ".
  • An example and warning...."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 ". And..." For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication ".

All quotes mentioned above came from Jesus, Paul and Jude; word for word from a King James version Bible.

Another View

Not much. In fact, the word 'homosexual' is not even used in the Bible and Jesus Christ never spoke a word against homosexuality. However, the Bible does condemn 'sodomy' (ie. anal intercourse) as being sinful.

There are only three (3) references to sodomy in the entire New Testament. None of them are in the Gospels, but only in the Epistles (or letters) of St Paul. Those three are: Romans 1:27, 1Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1Timothy 1:9-11.

Another View

It says very little.

There are three main passages which refer to homosexuality in the Bible - one in Leviticus, and the other two in one of Paul's letters to the Corinthians, and in his letter to the Romans. The first letter to Timothy above refers to the 'profane' or 'whoremongers' and not to homosexuals at all.

There are some Christians who take these passages at face value and therefore claim that homosexuality is a sin. Some of this group even believe that homosexuality can somehow be 'cured' as if it were a disease. Others may believe that homosexuals should be ostracised and dismissed from Christian congregations, whilst others do not go this far but reluctantly accept that homosexuals should be, at best, tolerated.

However, the majority of Christians worldwide look at scripture in a different way. They realise that the Levitical passages are irrelevant as Christians are not bound by Levitical Law (or else Christians would refrain from pork, be circumcised and subject to draconian punishment for minor offences). So, Levitical Law can be disregarded outright. They also look at the passages in Paul's letters and, by studying the Greek in depth, come to the conclusion that Paul was not making Church doctrine to be set in stone for all time, but answering specific questions about specific problems the churches had in ministering to a world where pagan practices - including child rape - were widespread. Nor was he ever referring to a loving homosexual relationship as we would know today. By his use of 'arsenokoi' in the Greek, Paul was referring to pagan homosexual prostitutes, and condemning Christians who were trying to follow Christ buit who were still drawn by the evil pagan practices associated with these pagan prostitutes. He was more concerned with the infiltration of paganism into the Christian Church than by any sexual practice or loving relationship.

Similarly in Romans, Paul set out his own theology rather than the teachings of Christ - and his theology differs quite a bit in many areas. But in his first chapter he deals with what he sees as a downward spiral when people turn from God. They replace love with lust. The nuances of the Greek make the meaning of Romans 1:27 very clear. Rather than men - and women - following their natural loving desires, they try out unnatural lustful desires. And Paul states this is wrong. Put simply, this passage does not just condemn straight men and women to be forced into lustful homosexual acts, but also homosexual men and women forced into lustful heterosexual acts. In other words, it condemns the forcing of people into commiting lustful unnatural acts whether or not they are gay or straight. It says nothing about condemning homosexuality, nor heterosexuality - just the stepping outside what is natural to a person (whether gay or straight) and doing so with lust rather than love.

As for Jesus Christ, he had absolutely nothing to say on the matter.

It is very sad that there are those who cherry pick the Bible claiming that these few verses give them 'proof' that their own prejudices are justified, and ignore other passages where Jesus himself condmns Christians who judge others. It is even more sad that the Christian Church has torn itself apart over this issue in recent years, when it should be more concerned with poverty and oppression in the world, and by proclaiming God's love and acceptance of all people, black or white, male or female, gay or straight.

Another View

Genesis 19 describes Lot telling a group of men that homosexuality is wickedness and offers the men his own daughters in an attempt to persuade them against being with other men. Because of the prevalence of homosexuality, Lot leaves Sodom so that the Lord can destroy it.

Leviticus 18:22-23 and Leviticus 20:13 say that homosexuality is an abomination, similar to beastiality and punishable by death.

Deuteronomy 23:17 says that homosexuals will not be counted as Children of Israel.

Isaiah 3:9 says that homosexuals cannot hide their sin.

Romans 1:27 says that homosexuality is unseemly and that they will receive consequences for their errors.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Timothy 1:9-10 lists homosexuals with muderers, kidnappers, liars, the ungodly, and others who act contrary to sound doctrine.

Jude 1:7 says that homosexuals will suffer the vengeance of eternal fire.


Homosexuality is not the design of God and is therefore wrong for mankind to engage in it as we fall short of God's mark for us of being perfect - a sin. Her is just one scripture about it:

Romans 1:27

New King James Version (NKJV)

27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the 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.