Popular Belief: Bible Approves Homosexuality

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Homosexuality, Christians, And The Church

Unlock 5 Astonishing Biblical Truths on Homosexuality

 

How many Americans think society should accept homosexuality?

If you guessed 50%, you missed it. A recent Pew Research Poll revealed that 60% of Americans believe that society should accept homosexuality. (1)

Less than 3% of American society caused a significant impact upon our culture with an astonishing weapon: the Bible. Yes, they turned a potential enemy to “support” their viewpoints.

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Numerous books and articles attempt to prove that the Bible does not prohibit homosexuality. These authors comment upon several Biblical passages that address same sex issues.

In every case, they deny that these Biblical references had any anti-homosexual or LGBTQ concepts in them. These writers reinterpret the references and assume that they have clearly proved that the Bible does not prohibit current homosexual practices.

The Bible does not support homosexuality in any form, even current practices, in spite of the monumental effort of same-sex advocates to prove otherwise.

Proper Biblical Interpretation

Proper analysis of the Bible begins with a clear understanding of its message. In it, God reveals Himself to mankind, in addition to His self-revelation in creation and Jesus Christ.

God’s self-revelation in the Bible discloses His plan for His creation, including humans. The entire contents of the Bible came from God to humanity through human instruments as directed and inspired by the Holy Spirit.

That makes the Bible inerrant and infallible in all matters to which it speaks. It gives us the wisdom of God as well as His commands for His creatures. The Bible describes His plans and purposes for people like you and me.

Therefore, you cannot interpret the Bible like a cafeteria menu, choosing what you like, and rejecting what you do not like.

A proper interpretation of the Bible and the interrelationship of one section with another must consider its overarching metastory.

Otherwise, misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the Bible occur. As a result, critics who attempt to reinterpret the Bible to their liking fail to achieve their conclusions, in part, because they fail to follow the Bible’s metastory.

Means of Biblical Understanding

Because of its self-attesting nature, the Bible stands above human criteria for its veracity. God used it as one of His means of self-revelation along with creation and Jesus Christ.

Therefore, it, and it alone, sets the standard(s) by which mankind must live in relationship to God, to creation, and to other humans. (2)

Because all humans possess a sinful nature, we cannot understand Biblical truths with our own capacities. They appear foolish to us, since the natural human cannot know its meaning.

God has provided His Holy Spirit to reveal His message to mankind. We gain understanding only by revelation to us by God’s Spirit.

As Paul wrote to the Corinthians,

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (3)

God’s self-revelation makes Him plain to humanity. But, our inherited ungodliness and unrighteousness cause us to suppress the truth of God.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (4)

Thus, mere human attempts to interpret the Bible result in error. The writings of the Apostle Paul provide a vivid example.

Example Of The Apostle Paul’s Writings Against Homosexuality

Currently, the homosexual community declares that the Apostle Paul did not denounce homosexuality in his writings.

In their minds, their interpretation of Paul’s comments confirms their attempts to legitimize homosexuality, even Biblically. Despite extraordinary efforts, their attempts fail.

Paul wrote three different passages in which he commented on homosexuality, a prominent practice in his day. The following sections evaluate Paul’s same sex teachings.

  • Romans 1.26-28

“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 recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient…”

  • Interpretation

To refute Paul’s statements on homosexuality, the LBGTQ (5) community bases their arguments on the meaning of the words “natural” and “unnatural.”

The gay society says that the word “natural” describes what comes naturally for a given person. Here, homosexuals assert their different orientation, same sex attraction, as their normal desire and behavior.

Therefore, for a person with same sex attraction, heterosexual behavior turns into unnatural sexual practice. They conclude that when Paul condemned unnatural behavior, he endorsed homosexual desires and conduct.

In support of its position, homosexuals fail to provide textual, contextual, or linguistic evidence to authenticate it. They rely upon their interpretation of these words to explain Paul’s comments, which eliminates what appears as Paul’s obvious condemnation of homosexuality.

A plain reading of the text reveals the true meaning of the words “natural” and “unnatural.” In verse 27, Paul described the unnatural exchange that men made when they abandoned the natural sexual intimacy between a man and woman and, instead, burned with lust for men.

The word “likewise” links this description of homosexuality back to the exchange of the natural for the unnatural that women of that day practiced with other women. In both instances, it describes homosexuality as the unnatural activity contrary to nature. (6)

Natural sexuality expresses the created order that God established when he created man and woman, and thus sexual intimacy between a man and a woman.

In fact, nowhere does the Bible approve of homosexuality or describe it as natural. God always describes same sex intimacy as unnatural and against His divinely established order.

  • Culture of Paul’s Era

Contrary to the LBGTQ community’s assertions, the culture of Paul’s day did interpret same sex relationships as “homosexual orientation” and they did not condemn it, as God did.

Paul’s society included those who believed what the same sex people of today call homosexual orientation. Some in that day chose homosexuality to express their love for others of the same sex. (7)

In fact, prior to Paul, Plato’s Symposium discussed these beliefs of homosexuality (orientation and loving homosexual relationships). (8)

Further, the Stoic and Hellenistic Jewish traditions of Paul’s era included definitions of natural and unnatural. They based their meanings upon the same ones expressed in God’s created order. (9)

When God created man and woman, He designed them to fulfill His purpose for sexual intimacy together through heterosexual marriage.

Therefore, when Paul addressed homosexuality in this text it included every expression of it in his culture, including but not limited to men with men, women with women, men with boys, and sexual orientation. To interpret it otherwise twists Paul’s intent, redefines words, and neglects the realities of culture at that time.

  • 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 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…”

The LBGTQ community attacks these references from Paul’s writings in a similar fashion as with the previous passage from Romans. They attempt to reinterpret the key words. In essence, it boils down to the interpretation of two Greek words translated “effeminate,” “abusers,” and “them that defile themselves with mankind.”

Paul, they say, did not know about sexual orientation or inversion. Additionally, they attempt to distinguish homosexual acts from orientation, as if Paul condemned homosexual acts but not orientation. (10)

In writing these texts, Paul relied upon the LXX, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. He referenced Leviticus 18.22 and 20.13, which clearly addressed same sex activity and God’s condemnation of it. In both of these passages from Paul’s writings, he merged the Greek words employed in the LXX passages from Leviticus for homosexual behavior. (11)

Summary

When Paul addressed homosexuality, he included every expression of it in his culture, including but not limited to men with men, women with women, men with boys, and sexual orientation. To interpret otherwise twists Paul’s intent and neglects the realities of culture at that time.

Contrary to the LBGTQ people, the records of nonBiblical writings prior to Paul and in his era confirm the presence of the full spectrum of homosexuality. This wide spread behavior included transvestism, cross dressing, homosexual propensities and orientation, and love between same sex partners. This refutes the argument presented that Paul did not know of homosexual orientation as currently defended to justify it. (12)

The arguments by the homosexual community against Paul’s statements on homosexuality fail. They interpret Scripture inaccurately. They neglect or ignore the nonBiblical sources that describe the prevalence of homosexuality and the orientation of those who practiced it in Paul’s day.

Paul condemned homosexuality without reservations. At the same time, he also reported the victories experienced by some who previously indulged in same sex relations.

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. “ (13)

Some found forgiveness and relief from their disobedience against God’s law regarding homosexuality. The Holy Spirit convicted them of their sin and pointed them to trust Jesus Christ to save them. In faithfulness to His promise, Jesus reconciled them to God who forgave them and accepted them as His children.

You may have already trusted in Christ and know of His saving power as these people did. If you have not yet trusted Him, trust Christ today. Trust His promise to accept all who come to Him.

I pray that the Holy Spirit will give you new life and bring you to faith upon Jesus Christ, God’s gracious provision to reconcile people like you and me to Himself. Only the Holy Spirit can enable you to turn from your sinful lifestyle and renew your life.

References

  1. Pew Research Center. You can view the poll results at this link: http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/06/04/the-global-divide-on-homosexuality
  2. Bahnsen, Greg L. Presuppositional Apologetics, Stated and Defended.The American Vision, Inc., Powder Springs, GA, and Covenant Media Press, Nacogdoches, TX. 2008
  3. 1 Corinthians 2:12-14.
  4. Romans 1:18-20 (ESV)
  5. LGBTQ: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning.
  6. Piper, John. “The Other Dark Exchange: Homosexuality, Part 1.” Available at this link: http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/the-other-dark-exchange-homosexuality-part-1
  7. Bahnsen, Greg. Homosexuality. Kindle Version, Loc. 951.
  8. Bahnsen, Ibid., Loc. 951.
  9. Schreiner, Thomas. “A New Perspective On Homosexuality.” Available at this link: http://s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-documents/journal-issues/31.3_Schreiner.pdf
  10. In the main, four writers espouse these views: O. Sherwin Bailey (Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition; Longman Green, London; 1975); John Boswell (Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality;University Press, Chicago; 1980); Robin Scroggs (The New Testament and Homosexuality; Fortress, Philadelphia; 1983); and W. L. Peterson (“Can ARSENOKOITAI Be Translated by Homosexuals? 1 Corinthians 6.9; 1 Timothy 1.10”; VC 40; 187-91; 1986).
  11. Schreiner, Ibid.
  12. DeYoung, James B. “The Source And NT Meaning Of ARSENOKOITAI, With Implications For Christian Ethics and Ministry.” TMSJ 3/2 (Fall 1992). 191-215.;Adddtional references on this issue: David F. Wright. “Homosexuals Or Prostitutes?”. Vigillae Christianae 38. 1984. 125-153. E. J. Grill, Leiden.; Mark L. Strauss and Peter T. Vogt. “A Biblical Perspective On Homosexuality.” Available at this link: http://people.bethel.edu/~pferris/ot101/a-Biblical-perspective-booklet.pdf
  13. 1 Corinthians 6.11.

© Thomas P Hill. Website: www.masterministries.org.