What does the Bible say about Homosexuality? By Jack Kettler
As in previous studies, we will look at definitions, scriptures, lexical, and commentary evidence for the purpose to glorify God in how we live. Today many so-called evangelistic churches are open to marrying people of the same sex. In the name of tolerance and love, age-old biblical standards are being swept aside. Being open and asking questions has taken the place of doctrinal certainty.
Doctrinal uncertainty about homosexuality is shocking in light of the numerous warnings in the Scriptures about homosexuality. How many of those that are taking a new tolerant view of homosexuality have read the Bible in its entirety? The problem is not with biblical clarity on this issue but with willful biblical illiteracy. Biblical ignorance is not an excuse that will work on judgment day.
What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Is homosexuality a sin?
Answer: In some people’s minds, being homosexual is as much outside one’s control as the color of your skin and your height. On the other hand, the Bible clearly and consistently declares that homosexual activity is a sin (Genesis 19:1–13; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26–27; 1Corinthians 6:9). *
“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)
From Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on the passage from Leviticus:
“Thou shall not lie with mankind as with womankind, By carnal knowledge of them, and carnal copulation with them, and mixing bodies in like manner: this is the sin commonly called sodomy, from the inhabitants of Sodom, greatly addicted to it, for which their city was destroyed by fire: those that are guilty of this sin, are, by the apostle, called “abusers of themselves with mankind”, 1 Corinthians 6:9, it is abomination; it is so to God, as the above instance of his vengeance shows, and ought to be abominable to men, as being not only contrary to the law of God, but even contrary to nature itself, and what is never to be observed among brute creatures.” (1)
“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)
The next entries are from the Apostle Paul:
“And the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:27 ESV)
From the Pulpit Commentary on Romans 1:27:
“Verse 27. – 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 recompense of their error which was meet. By the “recompense” (ἀντιμισθίαν) is meant here, not any further result, such as disease or physical prostration, but the very fact of their being given up to a state in which they can crave and delight in such odious gratifications of unnatural lust. It is the ἀντιμισθία τῆς πλάνης αὐτῶν, the final judgment on them for going astray from God. And surely to the pure-minded there is no more evident token of Divine judgment than the spectacle of the unnatural cravings and indulgence of the sated sensualist.” (2)
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality.” (1Corinthians 6:9 ESV)
Matthew Poole’s Commentary on 1Corinthians 6:9:
“That by the kingdom of God is here meant the kingdom of glory, the happiness of another life, is plain, because he speaketh in the future tense; this kingdom, he saith, the unrighteous, that is, those who so live and die, shall not inherit.
If we take the term unrighteous here to be a generical term, the species, or some of the principal species, of which are afterwards enumerated, it signifieth here the same with notoriously wicked men. But if we take it to signify persons guilty of acts of injustice towards themselves or others, it cannot be here understood as a general term, relating to all those species of sinners after enumerated; for so idolaters cannot properly be called unrighteous, but ungodly men.
Be not deceived, (saith the apostle), either by any false teachers, or by the many ill examples of such sinners that you daily have, nor by magistrates’ connivance at these sins.
Neither fornicators; neither such as, being single persons, commit uncleanness with others (for here the apostle distinguisheth these sinners from adulterers, whom he mentioneth afterward).
Nor idolaters, nor such as either worship the creature instead of God, or worship the true God before images.
Nor adulterers, nor such as, being married persons, break their marriage covenant, and commit uncleanness with such as are not their yokefellows.
Nor effeminate persons, nor persons that give up themselves to lasciviousness, burning continually in lusts.
Nor abusers of themselves with mankind; nor such as are guilty of the sin of Sodom, a sin not to be named amongst Christians or men.” (3)
“The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.” (1Timothy 1:10 ESV)
Again from Matthew Poole’s Commentary on 1Timothy 1:10:
“The two next terms express violaters of the seventh commandment, whether by fornication, adultery, incest, sodomy, or any beastly lusts.
Men-stealers; the word signifieth such as carry men into captivity, or make slaves of them in the first place; it signifies also any stealing of men. It is probable the first of these is the man-stealing principally intended, being the most common sin by pirates at sea, and soldiers at land; yet not excluding any other stealing of men from their relations, which he instanceth in, as one of the highest violations of the eighth commandment. By liars, he meaneth such as knowingly speak what is false, especially to the prejudice of others.
By perjured persons he means such as swear falsely. And cause it would be too long to reckon up all kinds of sinners, he comprehends them all in a general phrase, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, that is, the holy and pure truth of God, that is not corrupted, but judges aright of good and evil:
for these he saith the law is made, that is, to deter from such crimes, or to condemn for them; but not to terrify such who either never were guilty of such flagitious crimes, or if they have been guilty, yet are now washed, and sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God, as the apostle speaks, 1Corinthians 6:11. The law (as the apostle here saith) was never made to terrify, or to condemn and affright, these, for, Romans 8:1: There is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (4)
Jude the brother of James declares:
“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.” (Jude 1:7)
The New Testament passages along with the Levitical passages considered thus far, if taken at face value are overwhelming in answering the question of our study. What we have seen to this point on homosexuality seems irrefutable. The Bible states that homosexual activity is a sin.
In hermeneutics, the literal interpretation or face value reading of a text is usually correct. It is also similar to an approach known as Occam’s razor. This principle says a simpler solution is more likely to be correct. If the reader has read pro-homosexual interpretations of the Scriptures, the simpler face value interpretation is discarded. See the link below for interaction with pro-homosexual interpretations of biblical texts with theologian Greg Bahnsen.
From Strong’s Lexicon:
From a previous, study the definition of sexual immorality comes from the Greek word porneia. Porneia can also be translated as “whoredom,” “fornication,” and “idolatry.” It can include adultery, prostitution, sexual relations between unmarried individuals, and homosexuality.
Sexual immorality Πορνεία (Porneia) Strong’s Greek 4202: Fornication, whoredom, met: idolatry. From porneuo; harlotry; figuratively, idolatry.
The reader is encouraged to obtain the following book.
Selections from Homosexuality A Biblical View by Greg Bahnsen:
From the preface
“Historically Christians have taught that people do not have an unlimited right to do with their bodies as they please. Such a view is undermined today by defenders of three discernible and outspoken factions in our culture: feminists, abortionists, and homosexuals. Ethical questions pertaining to this last group are examined in the present study. While specific variations within sexual identity and orientation are recognized, the general term homosexual will be used here for any person, male or female (thus including lesbians), who engages in sexual relations with members of the same sex or who desires to do so. Homosexuality is an affectional attraction to or active sexual relation with a person of the same sex.
The ironic problem with the modern discussion of homosexuality is its virtually uncritical perpetuation of cultural prejudices — despite its espoused open mindedness and neutralized bias. Certain questionable assumptions in ethics, the human sciences, and political thought have misled our society toward tolerance for homosexuality in personal, ecclesiastical, and civil spheres. Study of the Scriptures should bring one to contest those popular assumptions and has convinced me that homosexuality ought to be challenged in all three of these areas. Individuals should disapprove of and oppose homosexuality rather than making it a civil right. We must equally insist that individuals not take a holier-than-thou attitude toward homosexual sin, that churches faithfully proclaim the goodness of deliverance to homosexuals, and that the state not persecute them by entrapment, invasion of privacy, or intentionally selective and uneven attention.”
From Chapter Two
“God’s verdict on homosexuality is inescapably clear. His law is a precise interpretation of the sexual order of creation for fallen man, rendering again His intention and direction for sexual relations. When members of the same sex (homo-sexual) practice intercourse with each other (expressed by the idiom “to lie with,” shakar eth), they violate God’s basic creation order in a vile or abominable fashion. Throughout Leviticus we see God’s absolute standards for purity; in the sexual realm one may not profanely use the creation of God, “uncovering the nakedness” of man, woman, or beast indiscriminately. Sexual relations must be conducted within God-given boundaries.
What was revealed in the creation account and the history of Sodom has been confirmed in statutory form. The Lord will not tolerate homosexuality. However, it is not surprising that those who suppress the implications of sexual differentiation at creation and who reinterpret the sin of Sodom have also attempted to mitigate the condemnation of God’s law regarding homosexuality.
Some attempts are hardly worth refuting. We are told that love is the only issue in any sexual relationship, and therefore it would be submitting to a double standard of morality for the Christian to condone heterosexual love-making and condemn homosexual love-making. As their argument goes, God surely would not expect the manner of attaining sexual gratification to be made important, setting down a standard that commends one sexual preference while condemning another. Such a rationale not only ignores the specific revelation of God in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, where it is clear that God does indeed regard the specific manner of one’s sexual gratification to be morally important, but also it easily can be reduced to absurdity (e.g., “surely God would not have a double standard regarding the attainment of money, distinguishing between work and theft”).
New Testament confirmation of the Old Testament ethic regarding homosexuality.
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire towards one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error . . . And although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things [the sins listed in verses 28-31] are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
In this context, Paul was teaching that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against those who turn from their proper relationship to the Creator; suppressing the truth of God, they resort to various forms of idolatry, serving the creature with darkened minds and foolish reasoning. In response, God gives them over to impure lusts and the dishonoring of their bodies specifically, to homosexuality, which in turn stimulates further depravities. Men who give up God and His law are eventually given up by God to wander in morally polluted practices that become a way of life. Specifically, the penalty for man’s rebellion against the true service to God is homosexuality, which Paul described with reinforcing disapprobation as “impurity,” “dishonoring of the body,” “degrading passions,” “indecent acts” (or “shameless deeds”), “error,” the “improper” activity of a “depraved mind.” Homosexuality exchanges the natural use of sex for unnatural sexual practices, thereby evidencing immoral perversion in the most intimate of human relations and being “worthy of death.” The best commentary on this teaching is found in the Old Testament, upon which Paul drew heavily.
Scripture’s most obvious condemnation of homosexuality as intrinsically immoral is found in this Romans passage. Nevertheless, there are those who seek to evade its straightforward indictment. In the first place there are those who maintain that Paul did not single out homosexuality as especially offensive among sins; it is not taken up as a subject in its own right but merely dealt with incidentally among the results of a perverted relationship to God presented simply as part of a broader pattern of pagan excesses.”
From Chapter Four
“An ever-increasing flow of rhetoric from unorthodox churchmen maintains that homosexuality should be normalized and that the church should side with homosexuals as an oppressed minority. The propaganda can get quite heavy in this regard: “homosexuals are the scapegoats for fears felt by the majority in the church,” “homosexuality is at base a heterosexual problem (inability to cope with one’s own inverted feelings),” “a condemning church and society are to blame for the promiscuity among homosexuals,” “homosexual marriage should not be precluded simply because there is no possibility of conception,” “it is a pitiful irony that the agency for proclaiming God’s gracious and loving activity should behave so ungraciously and unlovingly toward people who simply have a different sexual orientation,” and so on. These and similar charges are part of a campaign launched on the persuasive force of emotion rather than substantial exegesis, ethical reasoning, and good arguments. The aim of such accusations is, as many authors admit, to convince opponents of homosexuality that they are in fact the guilty party, persecutors of healthy and brave people who want only the normal rights of any human beings and acceptance in the church.
In contrast to such delusive personal opinions, Paul clearly and authoritatively placed homosexuals outside the kingdom of God. In 1Corinthians 6:9, 10 he wrote: “Do not be led astray; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Paul was very specific. Whereas all the other sins on this list are simply repeated from 1Corinthians 5:9-11 (a similar catalogue of sins), the sins of sexual immorality are amplified into specific forms: fornication, adultery, and homosexuality. And the latter category of sexual immorality is further detailed: Paul excluded from God’s kingdom both malakoi and arsenokoitai. The former (literally meaning “soft, gentle,” and in moral contexts “yielding, or remiss”) refers to those who allow themselves to be homosexually misused, taking the passive role; the latter is in the masculine gender and is a compound from the words for “male” and “bed” (English transliteration, “coitus,” from its Greek euphemism), thereby referring to men who have intercourse with men; it is analogous to the Old Testament reference to men who go to bed with (“lie with”) other males — i.e., those who take the active role in a homosexual relation.
Paul introduced this list of those who are excluded from God’s kingdom with the phrase, “do not be led astray.” This seems to have been a technical expression used by Paul to charge Christians not to participate in the sins of pagans. It parallels Old Testament passages such as Leviticus 18:24-30, where God’s people were instructed not to practice the abominations that characterized reprobate nations. “Do not be led astray,” indicates that it is precisely in such matters, as this that men deceive themselves, rationalizing that God cannot mean His moral demands seriously. This fundamental error is encountered increasingly today in the form of ingenious but wayward defenses of homosexuality.
It must be concluded that practicing homosexuals should not be admitted to the church and, even more certainly, to its ordained offices. Rather the church must declare with Paul, “The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord.” The bodies of those who belong to Christ are members of Christ, temples of the Holy Spirit, and they are bought with a redemptive price; therefore, Christians must flee immorality and glorify God in their bodies. Since homosexuals give manifest evidence that they are unsubmissive to these requirements and commit abominable sins against their own bodies, they cannot make a credible profession of faith in the Savior without repentance from and repudiation of this sin.
To those supporters of homosexuality who argue, contrary to Paul’s teaching in 1Corinthians 6, that homosexuals deserve to be accepted as such into the church and that Paul’s condemnation of them is not to be taken seriously today, we must point out Paul’s further warning in 1Corinthians 14:37-38. Anyone who does not recognize the things, which Paul wrote as the Lord’s commandment, is himself not recognized by the Lord, nor is he a spiritual man. By this, the church can know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error: the one who genuinely knows God will listen to the apostles, and the one who is not from God will not listen. As apostolic doctrine is a mark of the church of Christ, those modern assemblies that admit practicing homosexuals to membership and ordination jeopardize their Christian status — the very charge they level against churches that obey the apostolic instruction and “ungraciously” refuse admission to unrepentant homosexuals.
In conclusion, the response of the church to the homosexual must be that of Paul in Romans 12:1, 2, urging them by the mercies of God to present their bodies as living and holy sacrifices to God, not conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of their minds, so that they may prove the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. To that end, the church excludes unrepentant homosexuals and evangelizes them, showing the gospel to be the basis of forgiveness before God as well as the power of ethical renewal. When converted by God’s grace, the homosexual must be wholeheartedly received by the church as a person for whom Christ died, and the church must exercise the same care and admonition toward him as for all repentant sinners. Encouraging the converted homosexual in his new life includes instruction in the means of grace, active Christian fellowship, and informed and practical pastoral counsel.
In short, the church must both express strong disapproval of homosexuality as a vile sin and engage in an effort to bring God’s powerful and good news to bear on the lives of homosexuals. Here as always the Christian must strive in sincerity to speak Christ’s full Word as from God, manifesting the knowledge of Him in every place, and thus being either an aroma from death to death or an aroma from life to life.” (5)
Jesus never directly addressed the subject of homosexuality. To use this silence as an argument in support of homosexuality is to use a fallacious argument, namely, an argument from silence.
Jesus did speak to a topic that has implications on a relevant lifestyle question, that of marriage:
“And he answered and said unto them, have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” (Matthew 19:4-5)
In Matthew 19:4-5 Jesus is quoting from Genesis 1:27, 2:24.
Can someone genuinely repent from homosexuality and live life as a heterosexual or as a single person living chaste and struggling with acknowledged unwanted sexual desires? 1Corinthians 6:11 must be consulted for an answer to this question. In 1Corinthians 6:9 Paul mentions “the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality” inherit the kingdom of God.
Then Paul says:
“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.” (1Corinthians 6:11)
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible get right to the point on the phrase “And such were some of you:”
“And such were some of you, not all, but some of them; and of these everyone was not guilty of all these crimes; but some had been guilty of one, and others of another; so that they had been all committed by one or another of them. The Corinthians were a people very much given to uncleanness and luxury, without measure (i), which was the ruin of their state: and among these wicked people God had some chosen vessels of salvation; who are put in mind of their former state, partly for their present humiliation, when they considered what they once were, no better than others, but children of wrath, even as others; and partly to observe to them, and the more to illustrate and magnify the grace of God in their conversion, pardon, justification, and salvation; as also to point out to them the obligations that lay upon them to live otherwise now than they formerly did.” (6)
In conclusion, we believe that Paul is speaking the Word of God; and it is possible by the goodness of God, which leads men to repentance (Romans 2:4) that a sexually immoral person can be changed and live a pure life.
1. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Leviticus, 9 Volumes, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 279.
2. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Romans, Vol.18., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 13.
3. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 556.
4. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 774-775.
5. Greg Bahnsen, Homosexuality A Biblical View, (Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing CO.), pp. 5-6; 36-37; 48-49; 87-89; 98-99.
6. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, 1Corinthians, 9 Volumes, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 117.
“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)
Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: http://www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com
For more study:
* Homosexuality https://www.gotquestions.org/homosexuality-Bible.html
Greg Bahnsen, Homosexuality a Biblical View
Interaction with pro-homosexual interpretations with theologian Greg Bahnsen Use the following link to down load Homosexuality a Biblical View See; 4.The Response of the Church https://veritasdomain.files.wordpress.com/…/homosexuality-g…
Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, an English professor’s journey into the Christian faith
Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, Openness Unhindered
Rosaria Butterfield’s website is at https://rosariabutterfield.com/