Does 1 Corinthians : 9 Really Condemn Homosexual Sex
On “Worldview Wednesday,” we feature an article that addresses a pressing cultural, political, or theological issue. The goal of this blog series is to help Christians think about these issues from a biblical worldview. Read our previous posts on the Center for Biblical Worldview page.
“What if the word ‘homosexual’ was never meant to be in the Bible?” That is the question the new documentary 1946: The Mistranslation that Shifted a Cultureis dedicated to answering.
The documentary explores the linguistic history of the word “homosexual” and its appearance in the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, first published on February 11, 1946. In short, the film seeks to show that the RSV‘s use of the term “homosexuals” instead of “sexual perverts” is an inaccurate translation of the Greek words malakoi and arsenokoitai. According to the documentary, homosexual sex is biblically permissible, and the RSV‘s “mistranslation” has influenced subsequent English translations of the Bible, resulting in Western society believing that “sexual and gender minorities must choose between their faith and their identity.”
The filmmakers insist 1946 is “not an attack on Christianity or the Bible” but rather “a quest to discover biblical truth and honor God’s Word.” However well-intentioned the film might be, its ultimate claim does not stand up to linguistic and historical critique. 1946 undermines biblical sexual ethics under the guise of honest hermeneutics.
References For Further Study
Joe Dallas, The Gay Gospel? How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible, 2007 .
James B. DeYoung, Homosexuality: Contemporary Claims Examined in Light of the Bible and other Ancient Literature and Law, 2000 .
Robert A.J. Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics, 2001 .
Copyright 2008, 2014 Focus on the Family.
The Bible And Homosexuality
There are a number of passages in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament that have been interpreted as involving same-sex sexual acts, desires, and relationships. The passages about homosexual sexual practices in the Hebrew Bible are found primarily in the Torah . Some texts included in the New Testament also reference homosexuality, such as the Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of Luke, and various lettersattributed to the Apostle Paul originally directed to the early Christian churches in Asia Minor.
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Does The Bible Forbid Homosexuality
Gay-friendly clergy tend to use the terms love and acceptance interchangeably, claiming that we must love everyone, because we are all children of God.
It is certainly true that Jesus commanded us to love everyone, but it is not true that we are all children of God. And it certainly is not true that we must tolerate and accept evil behavior.
Scripture repeatedly refers to children of the Devil:
No one born of God commits sin for Gods nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. By this it may be seen who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not do right is not of God, nor he who does not love his brother .
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your fathers desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies .
Anyone who has seen cursing, blaspheming homosexuals simulating sex at a Gay Pride parade, or has read their hate-filled screeds against the Catholic Church, should have no problem discerning whether they are children of God or spawn of the Devil.
Of course, homosexual persons are to be loved and respected, and homosexual tendencies are not sinful if they are not wanted. But homosexual activity is immoral and absolutely anti-biblical.
How To Please God Despite Having Same
The Bible says: Dont be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. To kill wrong desires, which lead to wrong actions, you need to control your thinking. If you regularly fill your mind with wholesome thoughts, you can more readily dismiss wrong desires. While you may struggle greatly at first, it can become easier. God promises to help you to be made new in the force actuating your mind.Ephesians 4:22-24.
The same struggle is faced by millions with heterosexual desires who wish to conform to the Bibles standards. For example, those who are single with little prospect of marriage or who are married to a partner who is unable to function sexually choose to control their sexual urges despite any temptations they might face. They are able to live happily, and those with same-sex urges can do so as well if they truly want to please God.Deuteronomy 30:19.
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What Does This Mean In Practice
Most Christian churches hold the position that you should ‘Love the sinner, but hate the sin’. This is generally interpreted to mean that Christians should show love and compassion to homosexuals, but that homosexuals should not engage in sexual activity. This is because most churches teach that sex should only happen within marriage, which the Church defines as being between a man and a woman.
The Roman Catholic Church states:
quoteThis inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided…Homosexual people are called to chastity.Catechism of the Catholic Church 1992, paras 2358-9
view on homosexuality is accepting:
quoteWhere there is a genuine tenderness, an openness to responsibility, and the seed of commitment, God is surely not shut out. Can we not say that God can enter any relationship in which there is a measure of selfless love? …To reject people on the grounds of their sexual behaviour is a denial of God’s creation.Towards a Quaker View of Sex, 1963
Most Christians will take a position somewhere between these two views. Some churches offer support to homosexuals in leading a chaste life, while others readily accept openly homosexual people in positions of authority. However, few Christian groups will give a definitive statement on the issue as it would cause divisions within the community.
Insights From Other Bible Scholars
“The homosexuality the New Testament opposes is the pederasty of the Greco-Roman culture the attitudes toward pederasty and, in part, the language used to oppose it are informed by the Jewish background.”Robin Scroggs, Professor of Biblical Theology,Union Theological Seminary, New York City .
“One cannot be absolutely certain that the two key words in I Corinthians 6:9 are meant as references to male homosexual behavior.”Victor Paul Furnish, Professor of New Testament, Perkins Dallas .
“The strongest New Testament argument against homosexual activity is intrinsically immoral has been derived traditionally from Romans 1:26 , where this activity is indicated as para physin. The normal English translation for this has been against nature. Two interpretations can be justified concerning what Paul meant by the phrase. It could refer to the individual pagan, who goes beyond his own sexual appetites in order to indulge in new sexual pleasure. The second possibility is that physis refers to the nature of the chosen people who were forbidden by Levitical law to have homosexual relations.”John J. McNeill, Adjunct Professor of Psychology,Union Theological Seminary, New York City .
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So Really Does The Bible Condemn Homosexuality
The short answer, or those who like the cliff notes version, No. Ultimately the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. Wait, you want an explanation, dont you? In that case, here we go! The LGBTQ+ community has been demonized by greater American society for a long time. From the Hays Code enacted in 1934 to the response to the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s and 1990s, the LGBTQ+ community has always been on the marginalized side of things.
While we have come farther in terms of greater societal acceptance , the LGBTQ+ community is still routinely vilified in conservative circles, especially in the lucrative evangelical Christian voting block.
It’s incredibly painful but many of us have heard pastors of all church sizes- from the rural one room church in the middle of nowhere to behemoths like Bethel- speak from the pulpit, that queer people are unfortunate sinners at best all the way to terrible to the core . It’s especially degrading to hear some of them blame horrific tragedies that have happened in the world on having given the gays an inch, and God is angry.
It’s traumatic to hear another human blame my love for another woman on hurricanes that have ruined entire communities, earthquakes that have crushed families, and fires that have burned towns to the ground. Heck, even Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson blamed 9/11 on, the pagans, the abortionists, the feminists, the gays, and the lesbians.
Love, the thing that Jesus talked a lot about.
Does The Bible Condemn Homosexuality
What does the Bible say about homosexuality? There are a few verses that are relevant to homosexuality in the Bible, but how should we understand them, and how should we apply them today?
You can also see my annotated bibliography.
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Thentheres Leviticus 1: 22 Mosaic Law Prohibitions And Leviticus : 13 Mosaic Punishments For Violating Mosaic Law:
The ridiculousness of using Leviticus to condemn ANYTHING is simply in looking at what in the world the Book of Leviticus condemns.
Rules in the Bible were always tied to some sort of reasoning. In the case of this gay sex prohibition, a consistent thread in early Judeo-Christian understanding was that semen alone was considered unclean, because sex was ONLY meant to be procreative.
Check out what God does to Onan when he ejaculates outside of a woman in Genesis 38.
In the same passages where gay sex is condemned and punished, so is eating shrimp, crop co-mingling, eating rabbit, wearing linen and wool at the same time, and eating raw meat. So if youâre going to be a Biblical literalist, you might as well start sewing your own clothes and becoming a vegetarian.
Maybe The Bible Only Condemns Certain Kinds Of Homosexual Behavior
In response, some people suggest that all of these New Testament passages do not refer to all homosexual sex. Instead, these passages might merely be referring to one of the following:
- homosexual conduct between men and underage boys
- homosexual prostitution
- unfaithful homosexual relationships
- unnatural homosexual conduct by people who do not naturally have homosexual desires
However, none of these biblical passages make any such distinction. None of them give the slightest indication that they are only talking about certain types of homosexual conduct. And when no such distinction is made in the Bible anywhere, it is not a correct method of interpretation simply to claim that these passages have a limited scope and application. That is to twist scripture to make it mean what you want it to mean. The Bibles treatment of homosexual sex is not like, for instance, its treatment of worship. One can engage in worship that is honoring to God , or one can engage in empty worship that is merely a ritual , or one can engage in the worship of idols . In fact, one can see this in the Ten Commandments. God prohibits the making of idols, and then says, You shall not bow down to them or worship them .2
The Bible makes a distinction between different kinds of worship. Some worship is good, and some is bad.
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Isnt This Just An Old Testament Thing
I know what some of you might be thinking: In the New Testament those rules about homosexuality were abolished, like ritual washings, or the dietary laws against eating pork and shellfish, right?
Actually, no. The New Testament is just as clear as the Old Testament in condemning homosexual behavior. For instance, the Apostle Paul wrote:
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Paul states that the sexually immoral, thieves, the covetous, drunkards, revilers, swindlers, and homosexual offenders will not inherit the kingdom of God. And in the very next verse he adds, Such were some of you. The Corinthians had experienced a change of their identity.
Although homosexuality is a distortion of Gods original design, it isnt singled out in Pauls list. Paul includes heterosexual sin , sins related to possessions , and heres a broad one that hits close to home idolatry. Why is it, one wonders, that Christians loudly championing biblical morality on sexual matters are often strangely silent on the New Testaments teachings about money and possessions? Believe it or not, God actually puts greed in the same category as theft, drunkenness, idolatry, and sexual immorality.
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Applying This To Homosexuality
OK, so lets now apply this to the Bible and homosexuality. In Britain, there are committed, faithful, same-sex marriages. The Bible condemns same-sex activity in its contexts. But how similar are the two?
Is it like this?
Or is it more like this?
Over a series of videos covering different parts of the Bible, Ill be showing you why I think its the latter why what the Bible is talking about is vastly different from what were talking about today. If that interests you, subscribe to the channel. And if you want to find out more about Calvin and his approach to money-lending, you can go to the companion website bibleandhomosexuality.org
Ready to dive into the Bible in more detail? You can access my page explaining Genesis 1 and 2 here.
Ii Homosexuality In The Old Testament
In the Old Testament homosexuality is most explicitly discussed in four passages. Two are prohibitions in the law against homosexual activity. The other two are historical events: Sodom/Gomorrah and Gibeah. We will not attempt to answer every issue that could be raised about each text. This has already been done in a number of resources that will be referenced. However time will be taken to clearly establish the Bibles viewpoint, and therefore the perspective that the Christian should hold. In our discussion we will begin by looking at the treatment of homosexuality in the Law. Then we will look at the two narrative accounts.
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