Homosexuality and the Bible

Table of Contents

  1. How does the Bible define homosexuality?
  2. Is homosexuality a sin?
  3. Why is homosexuality a sin?
  4. Can someone practice homosexuality and still love Christ?
  5. Do genetics cause homosexuality?
  6. Is there repentance for homosexuals?
  7. Sources where you can find additional information and help

How does the Bible define homosexuality?

Romans 1:26-27 "That is why God abandoned them to degrading passions: why their women have exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural practices; and the men, in a similar fashion, too, giving up normal relations with women, are consumed with passion for each other, men doing shameful things with men and receiving themselves due reword for their perversion. In other words, since they would not consent to acknowledge God, God abandoned them to their own unacceptable thoughts and indecent behavior."

Homosexuality is the act of men and women having "exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural practices", men having sexual relationships with men and women having sexual relations with women. Notice that the writer says nothing about these acts being done in conjunction with or participation in pagan or idolatrous practices. It has been suggested by practicing homosexuals that the Bible is really speaking of pederasty. I would point out that the word pederasty comes from the Greek word pederasts which mean lover of boys. If the writer had this solely in mind as these proponents would have us believe, I don't think the writer would have used the broader term arsen which means male("men with men"), or thelus which means female("women have exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural practices"). The uses of these two words broadens the meaning to include all same sex relationships regardless of age. The writer equally could have qualified the practice discussed to pagan religious rites, but he did not. Yet in other places he does denounce pagan religious rites. It is important that we keep in mind that this passage is discussing the sin of homosexuality and not pagan religious rites nor pederasty.

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Is homosexuality a sin?

Lev 18:22
22 'You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.

As controversial as this subject currently is in many churces, the Bible is very explicit in what it says about homosexuality. In this text we clearly see that a man shall not have intercourse with a man as he would with a women. There is no way that this passage can be construed to say other than what it does. Leviticus 18, deals with sexual prohibitions. Just as adultery and fornication are sexual sins, homosexuality is also a sexual sin. This chapter does not refer to these sexual sins in the context of pagan or idolatrous practices. The only idolatrous practice mentioned in this chapter is the offering of one's children in sacrifice to the Canaanite god Molech. The subject is forbidden sexual practices. It is important to realize that these acts are sin, not because of association with pagan or idolatrous practices but because they are abominable acts in themselves.

In further attempts to rationalize the Biblical meaning of homosexuality, some have tried to restrict the meaning in the Bible to homosexuality with male prostitutes and not homosexuality as practiced by two people of the same sex in loving consenting relationships. Notice that there is no such qualification in the above passage. It says simply that "You will not have intercourse with a man as you would with a woman." This passage encompasses all homosexual relationships regardless of whether they occur between consenting adults, prostitutes or based upon the age of the participants.

In the passage quoted above, the Bible says that homosexual acts are an abomination. The Hebrew word used in this passage for abomination is the word toevah. It is applied to things which are impure and illicit by God's declaration. In the following texts, God states that these practices were done by the people who were in the land before the Jews. God further declares that it was for such practices that the nations inhabiting the land were to being cast out:

Lev 18:24
24 'Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled.

Lev 18:25
25 'For the land has become defiled, therefore I have visited its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants.

These passages declare that the sexual acts described in this chaptor are abominable. These acts defile the land and the nations who practice them were to be removed from the land because of these acts. This is in fact what happened in the land of Canaan. The peoples of that land were supplanted by the Israelites.

Notice that there is no issue here concerning two people who love each other or who are faithful to each other. These are rationalizations which are often proffered by homosexual couples. Equally, these same rationalizations could be used by those practicing sex outside marriage and by those who are involved in adulterous relationships. The issue is that such relationships are between people of the same sex.

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Why is homosexuality a sin?

Before telling the Jews which sexual practices were forbidden, God said this about his law:

Lev 18:4
4 'You are to perform My judgments and keep My statutes, to live in accord with them; I am the LORD your God.

Lev 18:5
5 'So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD.

It was within this context that God said "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind". Therefore, the prohibition against homosexual relationships is a law from God. Paul tells us in Romans that it is God's law that tells us what sin is:

Rom 7:7
7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law..."

So if we know something is against the law of God, and we continue to practice it, then we are breaking God's law. This is what sin is! John tells us that all sin is lawlessness:

I Jn 3:4-6
4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
5 And you know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.
6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.

In Leviticus 18:22, The Bible states that the act of homosexuality is abomination ( toevah). In Romans 1:26 , as an introduction to the description of homosexuality, the writer says, "...God gave them over to degrading passions." The writer further states that homosexual practices are "unnatural practices".

Paul says, "...their women have exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural practices, and the men, in similar fashion..."

So we see from the above that homosexual relationships violate the law of God. Secondly, we see that such relationships are based on degrading passions and are unnatural practices. This passage says that homosexual relationships exchange natural intercourse for unnatural practices. The natural order is male and female. This can be clearly seen in the creation of man.

In Genesis 2:20-22, "... but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. And the LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man."

When God sought to make a suitable helper for man, he created woman. This is the natural order as God intended. He didn't create another Adam! The point being that man's helper would have complementary traits rather than the homogeneous traits, this would constitute the natural order.

Jesus reaffirmed this natural order when answering the Pharisees concerning divorce:

Mark 10:6-9
"But from the beginning of creation, {God} made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."

Here, Christ affirms the sanctity of the sexual order as God intended, monogamous relationships between men and women. To set this order aside and to practice other relationships than what God created is to defile ourselves and our relationships.

Leviticus 18:26-27, "But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not do any of these abominations, {neither} the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you (for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled);" (NAS)

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Can someone practice homosexuality and still love Christ?

Many people say that they love Christ, and they are sure he loves them. This, of course, is true. However, I don't think that many of these people realize that there is a correlation between what we say, "We love Christ!", and what we do, "Practice sin/Renounce Sin". Jesus Christ made it very clear, it is not enough to say we love him, we must show we love him by doing God's will:

John 14:21, "He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me..."


John 14:23-24
23 Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.
24 "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.


Matt 7:21-23
21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.
22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'

These passages make it very clear that there is more to loving God than just our own personal proclamations of love. There must also be obedience! If we are not obeying then we are disobeying and thus practicing lawlessness.

If we are Christians and we see things in our lives that are identified by God's Word as sin, we are faced with a choice. We can continue to rationalize our sins away, in which case we prove by our actions that we do not love God the way Christ said. Or, we can acknowledge and renounce our sins. Christ made it clear that love involves obedience.

We fail to acknowledge God when we go against his commandments. If we rationalize his commandments so as to nullify what they say or intend, then, in essence, we remake him in our own image. We make a God who allows us to do what we want, in the way we want.

Rom 1:28
28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,

Base upon this, we see that those who practice behavior which is contrary to God's word, are given over by God to a depraved mind to do what they want. They can go through the motions of acting outwardly like Christians, or proclaiming themselves to be Christians, but they are doing so without God assent or approval, since, as this passage declares, they have a depraved minds.


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Do genetics cause homosexuality?

Did God make me a thief? Did God make me a robber? No! We do these things of our own volition. Some homosexuals are attempting to circumvent the issue of responsibility and sin by claiming they were born homosexual. If God made them homosexual, how could homosexual relations be sin and why would they need repentance and forgiveness? As was pointed out above, homosexual practices are against God's law and the created order.The fact that people practice such things is more proof that they have free will rather than that they were genetically determined. There is no "gay gene"! The greatest genetic determinant of all is the X and Y chromosomes which make us male and female, yet some among us, of their own free will, turn from these powerful genetic determinants of sex and chose to reject what these chromosomes clearly and genetically make them to be.

Unfortunately, we can't have it both ways. We are either determined or we have free will. If we are determined then no one is responsible for anything that they do. If we have free will, then we are responsible for all of our actions. We also cannot pick and choose which traits or proclivities are determined and which we do of our own volition. Laws, ethics, and morality are based on the ability of people to make choices. Many homosexuals tell me that pederasty is wrong, but homosexuality is not. Both of these are sexual behaviors. From the Christian point of view they are both wrong. How can you accept the genetic determination for homosexuality but reject it for pederasty? If pederasty is genetically determined then those who practice it are not responsible for their actions either. The fact that we can take on new roles, modify our behaviors and modify our likes and dislikes when we so desire, is proof that we have free will. As such, we are called to make a choice. Anytime we are tempted we have a choice. As Joshua set it out before the children of Israel, so must we decide.

Josh 24:15
15 "And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

In so stating this, I am not ignoring the strong environmental and societal influences which drive people to this or any sin. Nor am I denying that these influences are also responsible for holding people captive. I also realize that the drives in this area can feel so strong as to seem insurmountable. But, there is hope. Because we are not determined, because we do have free will, there is a way out.

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Is there repentance for homosexuals?

As has clearly been demonstrated above, homosexuality is sin. As sin, it defiles our walk with God. Sin makes us unrighteous. But we must keep in mind that homosexuality, like any other sin, is forgiveable. We donot have to continue in our sins. Paul explains this in I Corinthians 6:9-11

"Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?"

Paul goes on to describe the unrighteous:

"Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

Notice in the following passage that Paul says that some of those in the Corinthian church formerly committed these sins but had turned from them.

"And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of God."

The emphasis is on the past tense, "and such were some of you..." If we are to follow Christ we must obey his word, we must turn from our sins. For some, this will not be an easy thing to do. Homosexuality is an addictive sin. Because of this, you may find yourself lapsing back or desiring to lapse back in to this sin. Remember, God's Grace is sufficient for you. In I Corinthians 10:13 Paul writes:

"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."

God has promised to make away to escape. The important thing is to remember that as Christian we are in the process of being changed. We still sin, the difference is that we are no longer running after sin, we are now following after Christ. This is nothing less than a change in our nature.

"I am crucified with Christ, never the less I live, yet not I, Christ lives in me and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.."

Although we would like that change to be instantaneous, it doesn't always work that way. We still stumble. If I stumble, will that mean that I am no longer Christ's disciple? No, He realized that the struggle with sin can be difficult and so He became our advocate before the Father in those times we stumble.

"MY little children, I am *writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;"

Remember, you are not alone in your struggle to overcome sin. All Christians are in the same situation. Just as the Corinthian church was willing to accept and work with homosexuals who were trying to turn from sin in that day, the church is willing to do the same today.

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Sources where you can find additional information and help

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Albert L. Marzioli
Copyright @1996; [Truth Seekers]. All rights reserved.
Revised: January ,(, /),(