One of the most complicated ethical issues facing religion is sexual diversity. Many Christians struggle with their faith when they are told the Bible condemns homosexuality.
Although it’s unlikely that any individual responsible for the writing of the Bible had any idea of the sexual diversity we would face today, the Bible has provided a way for us to honor and respect God; that applies to our sexuality as well.
Homosexuality is not a topic that is thoroughly discussed in the Bible. Of course, marriage is described as a union between man and woman but most accounts of sexual immorality refer to rape, incest, and lust.
Let’s further explore the topic of homosexuality in the Bible to see if we can come to a firm conclusion.
What Does the Bible Teach About Same-Sex Practice?
Before we begin to discuss what we “think” the Bible says or “means” in regards to homosexuality, let’s read some specific versus.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
This exact verse is repeated multiple times throughout the Bible with slight variations. You’ll find it in Matthew 19:5 and Ephesians 5:31 as well. While the text doesn’t condemn homosexuality, it says that a man should leave his parents and stay close to his wife.
Mark 7:21 says,
“For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,”
This verse is stating that all sexual acts that take place outside of the marriage are considered immoral.
It isn’t until the book of Leviticus where the scripture starts to touch more firmly on homosexuality.
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Leviticus 18:22
“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; their blood is upon them.” Leviticus 20:13
At this point, it becomes clear that the Bible is telling us that a man must not lie with a man as a man does with a woman. This conversation continues in Romans, Corinthians, and Timothy as well.
“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,” 1 Corinthians 6:9
As we can see, homosexuality in the Bible is consistently condemned while we are at the same time instructed to reproduce and be plentiful in the confines of a marriage. There is one caveat though if this is concerning or disappointing to you.
We live in a complicated world; one that seems to be a lot more complicated than it was in the past. Judgment is everywhere but the only judgment that matters is the one we get from our Lord and Savior.
The good news is that God is a forgiving God. Look to Mark 1:15 for this,
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
And Jeremiah 17:7
“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.”
No one is perfect. We all commit sin. These verses show us that all things are possible with God. He will forgive those who trust in him, repent of their sins, and follow the teachings of scripture.
What makes one sin worse than the other? Nothing. We are all human and will all sin, but what’s important is that we trust in God, repent, and understand that His will is the way.
Could We Be Misinterpreting Scripture?
The age-old debate about whether or not we’re misinterpreting scripture will likely never have a firm answer. But, for those who are concerned about their faith and want to walk with Jesus, it’s worth looking into and considering.
One story that is believed to be misinterpreted is Sodom and Gomorrah. In the story, men of Sodom intend to rape two men who are actually angels. Lot hides them in his house and when the men arrive at his home demanding the men, he offers his two virgin daughters instead.
This story is often interpreted as a condemnation against homosexuality but it’s actually against rape. The term “sodomy” is often misinterpreted as a homosexual term but it applies to a variety of heinous acts such as beastiality and necrophilia.
Another instance actually involves the two verses noted in the previous section from Leviticus (18:22 and 20:13).
These refer to a married man lying with another man as he does a woman. This would constitute adultery which is a mortal sin according to the scripture. It doesn’t necessarily speak of sexual orientation.
There are many cases throughout the Bible where things are considered an abomination, especially in the Old Testament.
Before Jesus came, people during Biblical times were instructed to not eat pork, have sex with their wives while they were menstruating, wear mixed-fabric clothing, interbreed animals, have tattoos, or trim beards. These were all considered a sin.
The New Testament showed a shift in a lot of the ancient belief systems, especially in terms of salvation. The people were no longer saved by their acts but by Jesus’ forgiving grace, so many of these ancient taboos were done away with.
The New Testament also ushered in a new way to view sin. We could repent, ask for forgiveness, and be saved through grace. People of the New Testament were no longer asked to make sacrifices for forgiveness or live according to ancient laws in order to be saved.
Religious leaders from all denominations are increasingly faced with a growing plea for acceptance of homosexual and LGBTQ communities. This has in many ways challenged them to turn to God and carefully consider how He would have us live in this modern age.
No matter what we might take away from the Bible’s stance on homosexuality, it’s important that we all walk with our own two feet in this life and follow our own conscience. That’s not to say you shouldn’t trust scripture or live according to what it says.
Rather it’s important to have a relationship with God, listen to His guidance, and to also trust what religious officials say as the trend seems to be going in the direction of sexual acceptance.
Though opinions on the subject are plentiful, and the answers are not always clear, we can find peace in knowing that God will always guide those who foster a close relationship with Him.