This post is replacing one published on 9/3/10. The changes include the additional verse from 1 Timothy, along with an additional paragraph referencing Ezekiel 16: 49-15 and Jude 7.
There are several passages in Scripture that are unequivocal in their condemnation of homosexual behavior and yet those who support such perversion twist these passages to say something totally different. I’m going to just address a few of these passages in this article, and all will be from the English Standard Version:
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
1 Timothy 1:10
Let‘s look at the first passage, Lev.18:22: You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
Now, this is pretty strong in the verbiage used to describe how God sees the act of homosexual behavior - an abomination. Now let’s look at the context.
Chapter 18 starts with God saying, I am the Lord your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. From this point God lists all sorts of sexual practices which were done in Egypt and Canaan, and which God found detestable. There are no other topics in this chapter; God just says don’t do any of these things because these are a reason why God is punishing the nations by having Israel drive the people out of the land. It was these practices which made the land unclean. The Scripture is very, very plain: God says all the listed sexual behaviors are an abomination to Him, and that those who practice these things are worthy of severe punishment.
Now here is the second passage, Lev.20:13: If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death.
Notice the same strong verbiage God uses to explain His revulsion to such behavior; it is an abomination. Again, let’s look at the context.
Beginning at 20:10, God again lists numerous sexual practices which He forbids. And again, God gives the reason why at verse 23: And you shall not walk in the customs of the nations that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things and therefore I detested them. God said that the pagan lands where he was bringing them were detested - another strong word - because of these sexual practices.
Leviticus has many ceremonial laws and social order laws which are meant only for Israel as a way to set the nation up as holy - separated - to himself. Scripture tells us these laws were just for Israel (Deut. 4:7-8; Lev. 27:34; Ps. 147:19-20, et al). However, in His discussion about sexual practices He found abhorrent, God says these are behaviors that those outside of Israel are even disallowed, and because they practice such abominations they are being destroyed.
The point is that the Leviticus passages aren’t just relegated to some ancient prohibition for some people. These passages speak of these sexual practices as something that God detests among people—no matter when or where.
There are some claims by those promoting homosexuality that we misunderstand these passages. They say that it is only about homosexual behavior in conjunction with idolatry. But this leaves a problem: Does God then condemn incest, adultery and bestiality ONLY if they are done in conjunction with idolatry - that at any other time they are okay?
Okay, now let’s look at Romans 1:26-27, but start at verse 24 to get more of the context: Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 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.
Other versions get a bit more descriptive so there is no doubt what “natural relations” mean:
For even their females exchanged natural sexual intercourse for what is unnatural. The males in the same way also left natural sexual intercourse with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another. HCSB
Women no longer wanted to have sex in a natural way, and they did things with each other that were not natural. Men behaved in the same way. They stopped wanting to have sex with women and had strong desires for sex with other men. CEV
Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. NLT
Let’s begin with this question: Who is the “them” that God gave over to their lusts? Verse 18 says it is those who “suppress the truth” about God. Continuing on in the passage Paul says God made Himself known to these people who suppress the truth about God and yet they do not honor God or thank Him. Instead of giving glory to God, they give it to animals and man, and worship created things instead of worshiping God (the way evolutionists do today). These people who suppress the truth about God did not just exist at the time Romans was written - these people have always existed. Everywhere you look you will see people who suppress and deny the truths of God.
Then at vs. 24 it says “therefore,” which means it is because these people suppress the truth about God and refuse to honor Him and what He has revealed that he gives them up to sexual impurity which dishonors their bodies. God calls it “dishonorable passions.” And it is because they would rather accept a lie than the truth of God. Verses 26 and 27 then describe exactly what Paul means when he says they are given over to impurity which dishonors their bodies: homosexual behavior.
This Scriptural passage is clear: homosexual relations for any reason are considered dishonorable and impure. There is no room for claiming that it is only about those whose “natural” inclinations are for members of the opposite sex and not about those whose “natural” inclinations are for members of the same sex. There is no such thing as “natural” sexual desires for members of the same sex.
Let’s now look at 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: 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, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
The English Standard Version combines two terms from the Greek and interprets them as “men who practice homosexuality.” The NIV translates the passage as “male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders,” the NASB says, “nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,” NKJV says, “homosexuals, nor sodomites,” and the KJV says, “nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.”
With this many versions, let’s look at the original Greek to know exactly what was said here. The first word is arsenokoites. Where does this come from and what does it mean?
When looking at the Septuagint’s Greek translation of Lev. 18:22 we have the following: meta arsenos ou koimethese koiten gunaikos. Arsenos means “male” and koiten means “to have sexual intercourse.”
Next, when looking at the Septuagint’s Greek for Lev. 20:13 we have this: hos an koimethe meta arsenos koiten gunaikos.
Notice in both these passages the use of arsenos and koiten, and especially the latter passage where the two words are together. It becomes obvious where Paul got this word which means a man who has sexual relations with another man. He is referring back to the Levitical commands against homosexual behavior. It is this word which is translated as “homosexual offenders,” “homosexuals,” “sodomites,” and “abusers of themselves with mankind.” It’s meaning is “male bedder.”
What about the word translated as “male prostitutes,” “effeminate,” and “homosexuals?” This is the Greek word malakoi, which literally means “soft ones.” Supposedly this refers to those who were usually a passive partner in homosexual relationships (or should we say, the one who plays the receptor?)
Nevertheless, both terms are used by Paul to describe those who practice homosexual behavior, and he states without equivocation that these people will not inherit the kingdom of God. Again, it is very plain that Paul is here saying that those who practice homosexual behavior are among the “unrighteous.”
There is nothing in any of these passages that allows for twisted interpretations to claim God permits homosexual relations as long as they are conducted in a committed relationship. The relations are not permitted at all.
But notice vs. 11 ends with good news. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. Paul says that some of those among the Corinthian church were practitioners of homosexual behavior before they became Christians, and that now they no longer are. So much for the claim that change is not possible!
Now let’s look at 1 Timothy 1:10 in context, beginning at verse 8, with the germane phrase italicized: Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. Paul uses the same word here as in the 1 Corinthians passage.
Some people will cite Ezekiel 16:49 to “prove” that Sodom’s sin (Genesis 19) was lack of hospitality and not homosexual behavior, for it says, Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. But they fail to continue reading into the very next verse: They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it. Notice the word, “abomination,” which is referring to the homosexual behavior of the people of Sodom. And if that isn’t clear enough, Jude 7 is unambiguous as to the sin of Sodom: just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,[a] serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Here is the clear conclusion about the Bible’s instruction on homosexual behavior: it is an abominable sin before God, is an unnatural and dishonorable use of human sexuality, and is not practiced by those who have become Christians. Only by twisting of the passages beyond their context could anyone claim God sanctions such behavior.