Homosexuality--What Does the Bible Teach?

Note:  Before doing this study, it is essential that you master the material found in Chapter 8, God's Standard For Marriage. If you do not understand the TRUE, you will never recognize the FALSE.  If you do not understand the STANDARD, then you will not recognize that which deviates from the standard.

Homosexuality is contrary to God's original plan for a man and woman. It is a serious deviation from what God originally designed and established for the good of mankind. As the Lord Jesus said, "…from the __________________________ it was not so" (Matthew 19:8). Homosexuality is a violation of Rule #2--The marriage partner must be the opposite sex. Throughout the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, homosexuality is strongly condemned by the living God.

Some Passages Where Homosexuality is Mentioned in the Bible

1. The Sin of the First Sodomites (Genesis 18:20; 19:4-9).

"And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous....But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, 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 them [in a sexual way]. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door" (Genesis 18:20; 19:4-9).

Several observations need to be made:

(1) God's evaluation of the enormity and weightiness of the sin of Sodom: "And the LORD said...their sin is very _______________ [heavy]" (Genesis 18:20).

(2) The Sodomites, thinking the two angels were men, lusted after them: "bring them out unto us, that we may _____________ them [carnally]" (Genesis 19:5).

(3) Even Lot's offer of his own daughters could not satisfy their unnatural desires (Genesis 19:8-9).

(4) This terrible and dreadful sin was repeated in the land of Israel during the period of the judges, when every man did that which was right in his own eyes (Judges 19:22-30).

(5) The seriousness of the sin is seen by the severity of the judgment. The Sodomite men were struck with blindness (Genesis 19:11) and their city was destroyed by fire (Genesis 19:28-29).

(6) Their sin was forever memorialized by the terms "Sodomite" and "Sodomy."

(7) The sin of the Sodomites also involved pride, prosperity and abundance of idleness (Ezekiel 16:49) and such things most often lead to moral looseness and lewd immorality.

(8) The sin of the Sodomites is mentioned twice in the New Testament as warning to those who should live ungodly today (2 Peter 2:6 and Jude 7).

We are sometimes told that the sin of the Sodomites was not homosexuality, but it was homosexual rape. Those who justify homosexuality try to argue that it is not wrong for a man to engage in sex with a man, but it is wrong for a man to force himself upon another man who is not consenting.  Does God allow consensual homosexuality? [Consensual means by mutual consent.]  Is it permissible and lawful for a man to engage in sex with another man?  Consider the next point:

2. The strong prohibition against homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22).

"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination" (Leviticus 18:22).

For a man to lie sexually with another man is here strongly forbidden. In the following verse (v.23) bestiality is forbidden because it is a perversion. These were the very sins being practiced by the heathen in the land of Palestine (v.24-25).

In verse 22 we have the phrase "Thou shalt not." This is the strongest way in the Hebrew language to tell a person not to do something. This is the same formula found in many of the 10 Commandments. It is an absolute prohibition and it could be translated, "Thou shalt never." Literally the verse says, "Thou shalt not [never] lie with a male as one lies with a female" (that is, in a sexual way).

What does God think about homosexuality? The verse says, "It is an abomination!" This means that it is detestable, loathsome, repulsive and heinous. It is one of the strongest words to describe God's hatred of something. It is a stench in God's nostrils like the smell of vomit! It is something that is disgusting, nauseating, revolting and sickening to God. The reason it is an abomination is that it is so contrary to what God has designed and established for the good of mankind.

To understand more fully the seriousness of this sin and others like it, read the remaining verses in Leviticus chapter 18 (verses 24-30). It is these very acts that defile the land (v.24-25). Because of these abominable practices God removed (vomited out) certain nations from the land of Palestine (v.27-28). God warns His people that if they should practice any of these abominations, they would be cut off from among the people (v.29).

Gentile nations of the past have been severely judged by God because of such practices: "And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants" (verse 25). Americans would do well to heed this serious and sober warning.

3. The Penalty for Homosexuality under the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 20:13).

"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 term "mankind" is the Hebrew term for "male." If a man lies with a male as one lies with a female, both of them have committed an abomination. This repeats the teaching of Leviticus 18:22, only now the penalty is given: "they shall surely be put to _____________." If you were living in the days of Moses, under the law of God, homosexuality was punishable by death.  The death penalty was demanded. The Hebrew construction "they shall surely be put to death" is very similar to that found in Genesis 2:17-- "...for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou [Adam] shalt surely die." Under the Mosaic law, those caught in the act of homosexuality would surely, most certainly be put to death (unless this law were to be disobeyed).

The expression "their blood shall be upon them" is highly significant. A similar phrase is found in Matthew 27:25-- "Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children." What did these words mean? The Jews who demanded Christ's death by crucifixion were saying this: "We take full responsibility for Christ's death. Pilate, His death and His blood will not be upon you, but upon us. We assume full responsibility for this death."

In Leviticus 20:13 God tells us that those men who engaged in a homosexual act were fully responsible for this deed and had to bear the consequences of it, namely, the death penalty. These men were fully responsible for this sin that they committed. Homosexuality is not some inborn, innate tendency over which a man has no control. Rather it is something that a man chooses to do, and God holds him fully responsible for that action. A man can never legitimately say, "I could not help it. I was born this way. I have no control over my sexual conduct. I am not responsible for my actions and I should not be punished for something that I could not help. I cannot change what and who I am." No, this man was fully responsible for his own death ("[his] blood shall be upon [him]") because he chose to commit a crime worthy of death.

Note:  The fact that homosexuals were to face the death penalty under the law of Moses does not mean that this penalty is to be inflicted today.  In Exodus 21:17 we learn that under the law of Moses the death penalty was in force even for a person who curses his father or mother:   "And he that ________________ his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to ___________."   Even thought the severe penalty is no longer enforced, such passages from the law show us the seriousness of the sin in God's eyes, whether it be homosexuality or parental disrespect. 

4. No Sodomites Allowed in the Land (Deuteronomy 23:17-18).

"There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God" (Deuteronomy 23:17-18 with emphasis).

This verse deals with what was a common practice in the heathen world, namely temple prostitution. The heathen temples were cesspools of immorality and fornication and prostitution. A man could enter such a temple and for a price could choose either a female or a male sexual partner. The term "whore" refers to a female prostitute, and the term "sodomite" refers to a male prostitute. The term "dog" of verse 18 refers to the sodomite of verse 17. The term "sodomite" comes from a Hebrew root which means "holy." How could such an unholy prostitute be called "holy"? The answer is found in the fact that the basic meaning of the term "holy" is "set apart," and this man was set apart, not for holy purposes, but for very immoral purposes.

The term "sodomite" is "employed in the Authorized Version (KJV) of the Old Testament for those who practiced as a religious rite the abominable and unnatural vice from which the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah have derived their lasting infamy" ( Smith's Bible Dictionary). This term is used repeatedly in the books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings. In the days of Rehoboam, Solomon's son, we read this: "And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel" (1 Kings 14:24). In Deuteronomy God said that there must not be any sodomite among the sons of Israel (Deut. 23:17). In the days of Rehoboam there were sodomites among the sons of Israel. It was a time of great spiritual decline: "And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked Him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done" (1 Kings 14:22).

Later, there were certain godly kings in Judah who rectified this problem of temple prostitution. Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord (1 Kings 15:11), and the first recorded right act that he did was to banish the sodomites from the land (1 Kings 15:12). Later this abominable practice again took root but in the days of Jehoshaphat the sodomites were again banished from the land (1 Kings 22:46). In the days of Josiah these sodomites had brought their tents or huts or ritual booths right into the courtyard of God's temple, but godly king Josiah got rid of them (2 Kings 23:7).

5. Homosexuality is a Result of Rejecting the Creator (Romans 1:24-27).

"Wherefore GOD also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 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" (Romans 1:24-27).

In the above passage, notice the words and phrases which are used to describe the sin of homosexuality:

It is UNCLEAN, filthy, morally foul, morally polluted.

It DISHONORS THE BODY, it is degrading.

It involves VILE AFFECTIONS (dishonorable, degrading and disgraceful passions).

It is AGAINST NATURE, contrary to the original intention of the Creator.

It is UNNATURAL ("leaving the natural use"), contrary to God-ordained sex relations.

It involves BURNING LUST, being sexually inflamed, boiling with unnatural lust.

It is UNSEEMLY, shameful.

It is ERROR.

According to this passage, why do people do such things? It all begins with a rejection of the Creator: "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead [deity]; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened" (Romans 1:20-21).

The great error and sin of these people was twofold: (1) They did not honor God for WHO HE WAS; (2) They did not thank God for WHAT HE HAD DONE. They rejected both His Person and His work. As a result God gave them up to their own hearts' lust. They abandoned God and therefore God abandoned them and gave them up to the horrible sins mentioned in verses 24-32. The result was not evolution and progress but degeneration and regression. They became FOOLS (verse 22). Homosexuality, according to Romans 1, is the predictable result of a society that fails to honor God and recognize His truth (verses 18, 21).

6. Homosexuality is contrary to sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1:9-10).

"Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine" (1 Timothy 1:9-10).

Sound doctrine is that healthy teaching of the truths of God's Word which results in healthy living (living God's way for God's glory). The term "them that defile themselves with mankind" is the same term that is found in 1 Corinthians 6:9 ("abusers of themselves with mankind"). This term refers to a male homosexual, a pederast, a sodomite.

Consider the list of sinners mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:9-10. Notice that homosexuals are grouped together with the following: "the ungodly," "murderers of fathers," "murderers of mothers," "manslayers," "fornicators," "kidnappers," etc. If homosexuality were really a legitimate, alternate life-style in God's sight, then we would not expect homosexuals to be listed together with the worst kind of sinners imaginable. What is even more fascinating is that Paul groups himself with these sinners in verse 15. He says, of all the sinners, "I AM CHIEF (first)." Picture, if you would, the sinners listed in verses 9-10 forming a parade and marching down the city street. Marching in this parade are murderers, kidnappers, homosexuals, liars, etc. In verse 15 Paul was saying, "I want you to know that I was at the head of that parade. I am the CHIEF sinner, because I persecuted the church of God." Why was Paul's sin so great? Because he attacked the body of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Acts 9:4-- "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?").

Thus in this passage we find GREAT HOPE for homosexuals. Paul was saying that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Paul was saying, "If He could save me, the chief sinner, then He can certainly save a homosexual or a murderer or a kidnapper or an ungodly person." "Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting (1 Timothy 1:16). The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is far greater than the sin of homosexuality. Has the grace of God conquered your heart?

The Cure for Homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 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" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

In this passage two of the terms refer to homosexuals:

1. effeminate--one who is soft (Greek malakos; compare the English term "sissy"), effeminate, especially a catamite (a man or a boy who allows himself to be used in a homosexual way), a male who submits his body to a homosexual, taking the female or passive role. This is a PASSIVE homosexual.

2. abusers of themselves with mankind--a male homosexual, one who practices anal intercourse, a sodomite. Literally this Greek word ( arsenokoitoi ) is made up of two parts: (1) male; (2) bed (euphemism for sexual intercourse). Thus the term means one who goes to bed with a male. It carries with it the idea of a man lying with a man as one would with a woman (compare Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13). This is an ACTIVE homosexual.

Verse 9 teaches that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom. They will have no part in God's kingdom. They will be excluded. Compare Matthew 25:34 which describes the blessed state of those who inherit the kingdom and verse 41 which describes the cursed state of those who do not inherit the kingdom.

The term "unrighteous" in verse 9 is further defined by the list of life-dominating sins that are mentioned in verses 9-10. For example, adulterers will not inherit the kingdom. These are people whose lives are dominated by the sin of adultery. David committed an act of adultery, but his life was not dominated and characterized by this sin. He confessed this sin and turned from it (Psalm 32 and 51). In verse 10 it mentions "drunkards." Noah got drunk on one occasion, but his life was not dominated and characterized by this sin. Is there hope for those whose lives are dominated and characterized by the sin of homosexuality?

There is great hope to be found in a gracious God: " 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" (1 Corinthians 6:11). Notice that it says, "and such were some of you." It does not say, "and such are some of you." Some of the Corinthian believers were homosexual (and some of them were drunkards, adulterers, etc.). But they had changed. They were homosexual in the past, but after they met the Saviour they were homosexual no longer. Their salvation involved a change in their life-style and an abandonment of sexual conduct which was contrary to God's Word. Some of these Corinthian believers were at one time homosexuals, but now they were ex-homosexuals. This gives great hope to every homosexual or lesbian because this means that such a person can change. By the grace of God such a person can be justified (declared righteous in Christ), sanctified (set apart for God's service) and washed (judicially cleansed of all sin)--see verse 11. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

If a person is desperately ill, and refuses to go to the doctor or to take medicine, then who is to blame if he dies? _________________________ He refused to avail himself of the help that was at hand. Likewise, if a person continues in his sins, then there is no hope. He is on a collision course with the wrath of God (Colossians 3:5-6; Ephesians 5:5-6). On the other hand, if a person comes to the Saviour (the Great Physician who can heal the sin-sick soul), then God will do the wonderful threefold work as described in 1 Corinthians 6:11:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

1. They were once
but now they are W________________________!    (Cleansed by the blood of the Lamb!  Forever forgiven!)
2.They were once
but now they are S_________________________!
(set apart and separated unto the Lord !)
3. They were once
but now they are J__________________________!
(declared perfectly righteous in God's righteous Son!)

Has Christ made you clean?  Has He set you apart unto Himself?  Has He declared you to be righteous in His righteous Son?

If so, then you have a new life!  You also have the privilege of enjoying the blessings and benefits which come to those who live in harmony with God's Word, in harmony with God's standards, and in harmony with God's perfect plan for the man and for the woman!

Remember, God wants nothing less that the very best for you, both now and forever!

Back to Personal Relationships
Home Page