An essay donated by John A. Dixon
"What I believe the Bible really says about homosexuality"
that I am a sola scriptura
Christian. I believe that the Bible alone is
our guide and resource to better know the Trinitarian God, and that the
Bible really does explain itself, revealing all we need to know about
our Creator. I have never, ever twisted what the Bible says to suit my
own personal agenda, for doing so would squelch any growth in Him and
would cut off the wonderful Spiritual Gifts He has given me.
I was taught that
God says that a man that lay with a man or a woman who lay with a woman
will surely die and that they are an abomination unto Him. What I
learned from reading the Scriptures more carefully, more prayerfully,
and even in their original languages, is that this teaching is simply
Let me explain
what the Bible really says.
First, we must
agree on a few basic rules that are common to most Protestant churches:
- The Scripture
must be taken and interpreted line upon line, precept upon precept. This
is to say that no single verse stands entirely on its own, but rather is
fortified by its surrounding text and by other Scripture within the
Bible. Taking any verse out of its context, without considering its
surrounding text and supporting Scripture, only twists the meaning of
- The Bible is
infallible as it was written. This does not preclude mistranslation of
ancient languages. The original language keeps the message intact, but
human translators, being human, sometimes err. Though many denominations
hate to admit this, I will prove that this is a definite problem.
- 3. We are called
to reason together (Isaiah 1:18).
That said, let's
look at the common passages that people often consider to be those which
Genesis 19: First there is
Sodom and Gomorrah, which is a classically held Scripture used most
frequently to "prove" how God hates homosexuality. It is a passage that
I contend is most often misunderstood. But I will let the Bible
interpret itself. It is written in Ezekiel 16:49,50:
"Behold, this was
the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and
abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she
strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and
committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw
The question I
know you will ask is, "What is this about abomination?" Indeed, what is
it? Let's look at the account of Sodom again:
The word rendered
here as "abomination" comes from "tow'ebah" (in Strong's, it's # 8441),
and is said in Strong's to mean "idolatry" or "idolaters". In the Hebrew
it is very clear that it does not mean "homosexuality".
In Luke 10:3-12,
Jesus talks to his disciples about what to do if they are not greeted
with hospitality, and tells what the consequence will be for such towns.
In verse 12, Christ says, "But I say unto you, that it shall be more
tolerable [merciful] in that day for Sodom, than for that city." He said
this after a full missive on inhospitality, so we must take verse 12 in
You may also look
particularly at Genesis 19:4-5, which reads:
"But before they [the
men in the house and the angels] lay down [to sleep], the men [Strong's
#582, Hebrew word 'enowsh] of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed
the house round, both young and old, all the people from every quarter:
And they called unto
Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this
night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know [Strong's # 3045, Hebrew
The Hebrew word
"'enowsh" is most accurately translated as mortals, and includes all
genders and all ages. Even in the context provided in the story, it is
clear in the Hebrew that it is the majority of the town population, male
and female, that is represented here.
The Hebrew word
"yada" has no sexual context, and means to become acquainted with
socially. By no means is yada translated elsewhere with a sexual
context, either. If sexual interaction were intended, the word "shakab"
(Strong's # 7901) would be used instead, which means to know sexually.
It is fascinating to note on the side that the NIV mistranslates yada
here as "we want to have sex with them".
That said, the
notion that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for homosexuality does not
hold up. The Hebrew is clear, and nowhere is homosexuality made an
interesting note is that historically it is the Roman Catholic Church that is guilty of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the Middle Ages, and
even after, the Church was always full of riches, with gold and rich
foods, and yet allowed thousands upon thousands of its own subjects to
starve and be subjected to slavery as paupers in the papal reign. To
escape being exposed for the hypocrite it was, the Roman Catholic Church
very likely chose to mistranslate and misconstrue the truth of the story
of Sodom and Gomorrah to escape the wrath of the people. What better
scapegoats than its own abundance of homosexual priests? By pinning
Sodom and Gomorrah on this population, the Roman Catholic Church
blackmailed its own priesthood into silence, threatening excommunication
if anyone spoke against her.
Leviticus 18: In Leviticus
18:22 it is written:
"Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman;
that is detestable." (NIV)
In and of itself, it seems very clear. But
look at the surrounding context, and something more comes to bear on
this verse. Leviticus 18:6-18 tackle having sexual relations with
relatives. Verse 19 says a man shall not have sexual relations with a
woman during the "uncleanness of her monthly period". (How many of
today's Christians actually obey this?) Verse 20 condemns having sexual
relations with another man's wife.
Then verse 21
changes gears a bit and begins a discourse on sexual relations that are
associated with Molech's worship. Molech, like many false gods of the
day, had temple prostitutes, and Molech's followers believed that having
sex of ANY kind in the temple would please Molech and increase the
fertility of themselves, their spouses, their livestock, and their
fields. Verse 21 mentions the sacrifice of children to Molech. Verse 22
should more accurately read "Do not have sex with the male temple
prostitutes," which would continue the admonition in idolatry. In fact,
the entire Chapter is about idolatry. Consider Chapters 17 and 19, which
both speak of idolatry. Why would a missive about sex be inserted
nonsensically in between two chapters on idolatry unless it also is
meant to address idolatry? If we look at Chapter 18 as a whole, and
verse 22 as part of that whole, then that verse must speak of idolatry
and false worship in some manner, or else it is a line and precept out
of place. Therefore, (come, let us reason together!), it is not a
blanket condemnation of homosexuality, but rather a condemnation of the
sexual promiscuity of the many idol-worshipping sects in the land the
Israelites were coming into.
If we hold to
Leviticus' statements as being a blanket condemnation of homosexuality,
do we then also obey the rest of the old law? It is written: "For whoever
keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of
breaking all of it [all of the law]." (James 2:10). So a person who
adheres to the law must adhere to the whole law, which is contained in
the whole of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. Those three books
contain the core of God's laws.
So let's look at
some of those laws:
||If a man has
recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid
on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring
happiness to the wife he has married. (Deuteronomy 24:5). Does ANYONE keep
this law? Could you manage a whole year without a paycheck? How would
the military react in the middle of a war when a soldier comes up to his
commander and says, "Sorry, sir, but my wife is pregnant and the book of
Deuteronomy demands that I go home for a whole year now"? Any man whose
wife becomes pregnant is here told that he must stay home for a year
without working or else he is guilty of breaking the law!
||Do not hate your
brother in your heart. (Leviticus 19:17). Don't hate your
siblings, even while growing up, or else you have broken the entirety of
||Do not cut the hair
at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard. (Leviticus
19:27). Don't shave!
||Rise in the presence
of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the
LORD. (Leviticus 19:32). If you do not
stand in the presence of your elders, or get snippy with someone older
than you, you have broken the law.
||No one born of a
forbidden marriage nor any of his descendants may enter the assembly of
the LORD, even down to the tenth generation. (Deuteronomy 23:2). So no one who has
been born out of wedlock or born from a marriage that was not approved
of may enter a church, nor may any of his or her descendants for ten
whole generations after. Who checks this? Who would know? How could this
one EVER be kept?
This essay continues below.
This is where it
becomes more interesting:
||If anyone curses his
father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or
mother, and his blood will be on his own head. If a man commits adultery
with another man's wife -- with the wife of his neighbor -- both the
adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:9-10). Anyone who talks
back to their parents must be killed for it according to the law!
Anyone caught in
adultery must be put to death also! It is in the law!
But in John
8:3-11 we see Jesus show what law we are truly under:
The teachers of the
law and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery. They made her
stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was
caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone
such women. Now what do you say?" They were using this question as a
trap, in order to have a basis for accusing Him.
But Jesus bent over
and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on
questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you
is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he
stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who
heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only
Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened
up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
"No one, sir," she
"Then neither do I
condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
In this Jesus
shows us that the law saves no one; all are guilty of breaking the law
of Moses. The fact of the matter is simple: nowhere does Christ Himself
say anything against homosexuality. He reiterates nine of the Ten
Commandments, lifting the Sabbath commandment, as it had become a yoke
upon the people. Consider Matthew 22:36-40:
"Teacher, which is
the greatest commandment in the Law?"
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and
with all your mind' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the
second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the
Prophets hang on these two commandments."
So the sum of the
law is in loving God and each other. How does this balance with the
Mosaic law we looked at only a page back? Again, according to James, if
we break even one law under the Mosaic laws, we break them all.
Romans 1: Another commonly
used Scripture that is often mistreated to condemn homosexuality comes
from Romans 1:26-27:
"Because of this, God
gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural
relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned
natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust one for
another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in
themselves the due penalty for their perversion."(NIV)
Again, on its
surface, it seems very straight-forward, but notice how this fragment
begins: "Because of this..." Because of what? This passage really begins
with Romans 1:18.
The wrath of God
is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness
of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness...
It goes on in
verses 22 and 23:
claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the
immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and
animals and reptiles.
taken in context and read for what it says ("exchanged the glory of...
God for images made to look like mortal man... and animals...") is
clearly about idolatry and pagan worship. To strengthen this point of
view, the Scriptures go on to say:
"They exchanged the
truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather
than the Creator..." (Romans 1:25)
Then it goes on
regarding the passage we first looked at, Romans 1:26-27. Taken in
context, and translated properly, this passage is clearly about the
pagan practices surrounding fertility worship and the sexual acts
associated with that worship, performed with the priest of that false
god, a "created" god. (Romans 1:25) There is simply no other accurate
way to construe this passage.
About eunuchs: Now that we have
covered the major passages commonly misinterpreted as condemning
homosexuality, let's look at what the Bible says about eunuchs. Before
doing so, we must define the term eunuch so that we are in agreement as
to what a eunuch is.
Thayer 1 a eunuch is not only someone who has been
castrated, but is also "one naturally incapacitated, either for marriage
or for begetting children." Thayer further defines the word eunuch as
"one who abstains from marriage". In his book Reverend
Samuel Kader writes:
"By no means did
the term eunuch have to be merely a castrated male. It was a broad term,
and since a chamberlain for a harem could be promoted, and was a person
trusted with the king's intimate things, the term often got generalized
to mean an official in the court. Ancient Judah's king Hezekiah was told
his sons would be eunuchs in Babylon. He didn't think this was bad news.
[2 Kings 20:16-19] He thinks this is good news. He apparently is not
worried that the royal line will be ended. Eunuch here, in king
Hezekiah's estimate, probably means his children will be officials in
the court of the Babylonians."
clarify the term eunuch, we can look at what Jesus said of them:
said to him. "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is
better not to marry."
"Not everyone can accept t his word, but only those to whom it has been
"For some are
eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by
men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of
heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it." (Matthew
In this context,
Paul is therefore a eunuch, for he remained single and celibate so that
he could fully concentrate on his mission for Christ, for the kingdom of
heaven. Reverend Kader writes regarding Matthew 19:10-12:
"In this situation,
Jesus and His disciples are discussing marriage and divorce, and the
conditions under which it is permissible to divorce[...] But then Jesus
goes on to say not everyone can receive His teaching on divorce and
marriage, because not everyone can get married.
"His reasons for
this are lumped under the category of being a eunuch. From the ensuing
description it is obvious more people are eunuchs than castrated males.
In the King James Version, Jesus says and there be eunuchs, which have
made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. No one was
ever required to castrate themselves for the sake of getting into
Kader goes on to
"So the Lord Himself
has expanded the meaning of eunuch to include the unmarried for a
variety of situations. Some were made this way by others. Some are born
this way. They are unable to get married because they have no natural
inclination to have sexual relations with a mate of the opposite sex
because of sexual traumas (abuse, etc.) in their past. For some it is
not an anticipated option. For others it is not an options at all. The
hurt and scars are too deep. For whatever reason, and there are many,
eunuch means anyone not likely to get heterosexually involved. At any
rate, this list expanded by Jesus certainly includes gay people and
others of either sex." 4
that gays fall into the eunuch definition given by Christ, let's look
further at what Scripture says about eunuchs. Isaiah holds several
prophetic scriptures for eunuchs:
Now that a clear and
stable definition has been established for what a eunuch is, we can see
clearly that homosexuals are, by God's Own definition, eunuchs. With
that fact established, let's look further at what God Himself says about
eunuchs and their place in Heaven.
"Let no foreigner who
has bound himself to the Lord say, "The Lord will surely exclude me from
his people." And let not any eunuch complain, 'I am only a dry tree.'
For this is what the Lord says: 'To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who
choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant-- to them I will
give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than
sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not
be cut off. And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to serve him,
to love the name of the Lord, and to worship Him, all who keep the
Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant-- these
I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of
prayer, Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my
altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations,
The Sovereign Lord declares-- he who gathers the exiles of Israel:
I will gather
still others to them besides those already gathered'." (Isaiah 56:3-8)
foreigners to God's temple when this was penned, due to Deuteronomy 23:1
("No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the
assembly of the Lord."). Isaiah here marks an illustration of how the
law of Moses cannot be kept by anyone, and how God Himself wipes away
the bonds of the Mosaic Law through His love, mercy, and grace. The
promise for eunuchs in this passage is not for all eunuchs, however, but
only for those who will observe and uphold God's way through His Son
It is important
to note that wherever the conditions of salvation are discussed,
sexuality is never mentioned. (Acts 4:12, Acts 16:30-31, Romans 10:9,
Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:16-17)
It is therefore
very clear that eunuchs, a population in which God Himself includes
homosexuals, have a place in heaven, and are given "a name better than
sons and daughters". It gets no better than that!
Christ says in Matthew 5:22...
"But I say unto you,
That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in
danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca,'
shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the
altar, and there remembers that thy brother hath ought against thee..."
The word to pay
attention to here is "Raca." According to Professor Halsall, 5 the word "Raca" is not the same as
(fool), as it is sometimes mistranslated. According to Halsall, a
renowned language scholar, the word Raca is common in many Semitic
languages and loosely means soft, but with an effeminate connotation.
The Akkadian word raq is used to indicate a woman's name or occupation,
and its symbol in Akkadian derives from a Sumerian symbol for woman. It
can be argued securely that Raca is an accusation of sissy or catamite.
works better if the word "moros" is considered. The word can mean fool,
but it also has the amply used connotation of sexual aggressor, or even
homosexual aggressor. LSJ19 confirms this, although Johannssen makes
much more of it. It could reasonably be argued then that Jesus' words
here condemn those who abuse others about their homosexuality. 6
If this is, in
fact, Christ's intention, as it appears to be, then those who are
critical of homosexuals are, in fact, to be criticized for their stand
Now it is made
clear. God made all people as they are innately. Sexuality is innate;
the Salk Institute has proven this by mapping the sexuality gene. The
Creator made genetics, and is therefore ultimately responsible for how
each one of us turns out via those traits that are genetic. It is also
very safe to say that God does not make junk, nor does He make people
just so He can hate them. After all, God is Love. The real truth is that
God not only loves His gay children just as much as He does His
heterosexual children, but He has seen the persecution we must endure,
and has set for us "a name better than sons and daughters" because of it
when we walk with Jesus Christ.
John S. Dixon
"Equal rights are not special rights unless you're the one who doesn't have them."
Do you disagree?
If you have a conflicting interpretation of the biblical passages that people
have used to condemn homosexuality, please
consider writing an essay on this topic. We will seriously consider publishing it.
- Joseph Thayer, "Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New
Testament: Coded with Strong's Concordance Numbers," Hendrickson Publishers, (Re-issued
1996), Page 260. Read
reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
- Rev. Samuel Kader, "Openly Gay, Openly Christian," Leyland
Publications, (1999). Out of print. However Out of
print. However, copies can occasionally be obtained from the Amazon.com online book store
- Ibid., Page 90.
- Ibid, Pages 91 & 92.
- Paul Halsall, "Homosexuality and Catholicism Bibliography: Section
XVI: Biblical Texts from King James Version & New Revised Standard Version
Cited in Full," at: http://www.fordham.edu/
Copyright © 2004 the author
Originally written: 2004-MAR-20
Latest update: 2004-MAR-20
Author: John S. Dixon