The Plain Meaning Of Scripture
Most of the time, our problem with the Bible isnt trying to understand it, but trying to follow it in our daily lives. Love God and love your neighbour are simple and straightforward. But we keep on trying to obey, and keep on failing, and keep on throwing ourselves on Gods mercy.
Understanding is straightforward, doing is hard so hard we need grace.
Theres the grand protestant tradition of expecting everyone, not just priests or academics, to read scripture, relying on its plain meaning. And most of the time, that is right.
Most of the time but not every time.
If we apply our modern, cultural understanding of sexuality when we read the Bible it will mislead us.
Occasionally, we can get tripped up, and not even realise that how we understand the plain meaning of a passage is utterly different from what people in the first century would have understood to be the plain meaning.
Q11 How Should Christians Treat People In Same Sex Relationships
We should treat them with the same love and grace that God has shown to us. All of us are sinners. Our sins may vary, but it is all rebellion against God. We have been and are being rescued from sin. That should allow us of all people to be able to relate with compassion and true care. The love of Jesus did not leave people where they were, but it did meet them there.
Christians should not expect those who are not believers in Jesus to live like they were followers of Him . While we may not condone sin or become involved with it , we should pursue friendships with all people like Christ did. There is no room for partiality, disdain, disrespect, or unkindness. There is only plenty of room for showing the same grace of God that we are receiving.
Christians should help those who are believers to live like followers of Him. Growth is a lifelong process. The kinds of issues believers struggle with varies from person to person and at different times in life. Regardless, we should continually be available to assist, disciple, encourage, counsel, challenge, and rebuke as needed. This availability should be throughout the course of our lives and involvements with each other. For the one claiming to be a Christian and persisting in living this way the normal process of church discipline should be exercised . In this way, homosexuality is no different than any other persistent sin. In all of this our actions must be done with humility and in love .
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V Conclusion: Loving In Truthmy Background
The Bible is realistic about human nature. It tells us that we all fall short of Gods standard of righteousness, and thus none are righteous before Him . All other religions of the world somehow offer the hope that by self-effort heaven may be achieved. The Bible does not do that. Instead the Bible gives us Gods humanly-impossible-to-attain standard.
But then God intervened. While it was impossible for me to overcome, it was not impossible for God. He used a combination of His Word that I was reading, and of messages that I heard on the radio to open my eyes to the rest of the truth.
My journal at this time goes from records of my continual failures each day, of my heart being so hard against God, of my struggling anguish, of the realities of my sinfulness, of knowing that I needed to repent yet could not in my cold-heartedness to all of a sudden ecstatically thanking God for His amazing love.
What happened? Over time I had realized my sinfulness in its awful self-destroying reality. I realized fully my incapability. I could not fix my life on my own. I could not earn Gods love, approval, or forgiveness. In my pride and self-sufficiency I needed to see the realities of my situation before I would or could humble myself enough to throw myself entirely on Gods grace. But as I did see those realities and surrendered myself to Him, He opened my eyes to also truly realize His love and grace.
Homosexuality In The Pauline Epistles
Epistle to the Romans 1:2627 :
For this reason , God gave them up to passions of dishonor for even their females exchanged the natural use for that which is contrary to nature, and likewise also the males, having left the natural use of the female, were inflamed by their lust for one another, males with males, committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was fitting for their error.
The context is Paul’s mission to the gentiles, the gospel being “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” , followed by a description of pagan idolatry in verses 1:2125. The phrase “passions of dishonor” translates ,‘atimia’ meaning “dishonour, ignominy, disgrace”.In the expressions “natural use” and “contrary to nature”, “nature” translates , i.e. Physis. The term “error” translates , ‘plan’ .
The authenticity of the passage is in doubt scholars and theologians have proposed its being part of a larger non-Pauline interpolation. Furthermore, many contend 1:18-32 represents not Paul’s own position but his summary of Hellenistic Jewish legalism. Calvin Porter, for example, concludes that “in 2:1-16, as well as through Romans as a whole, Paul, as part of his gentile mission, challenges, argues against, and refutes both the content of the discourse and the practice of using such discourses. If that is the case then the ideas in Rom. 1.18-32 are not Paul’s. They are ideas which obstruct Paul’s gentile mission theology and practice.”
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The 6 Bible Verses On Homosexuality And Differing Interpretations
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There are six direct references to homosexuality in the Bible — three in the Old Testament and three in the New Testament.
Some Biblical scholars say the passages needs to be taken at face value. Other theologians say it’s much more complicated.
Here are the references and what scholars say, based on Kalamazoo Gazette interviews with theologians from Notre Dame, Western Michigan and Central Michigan universities, Kalamazoo and Calvin colleges.
Genesis 19: The story of Sodom and Gomorrah
This has been held up as a cautionary tale about the sinfulness of homosexuality. However, many scholars point to Ekezial 16:49 as indicating that the cities were destroyed by God for not helping the poor and needy. Some also say the sinful sex occurring in Sodom and Gomorrah was rape, which means it doesn’t apply to teachings on consensual same-sex relationships.
Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13
The Book of Leviticus in the Old Testament has two references condemning homosexuality: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman that is detestable” and “If a man lies with a man as one lies with woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death their blood will be on their own heads” .
While condemnations of gay sex are unequivocal in Leviticus, it also is part of a long list of Jewish laws, some of which are not followed by Christians today.
Leviticus also advocates the death penalty for adultery.
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Background To The Verses
So whats going on in the two verses that were looking at? First of all, these verses are addressed only to males there is no mention here of two women. Secondly, how are the Israelite people going to be distinct from, different from their neighbours by putting these into practice?
Well, in the surrounding cultures, the major socially acceptable form of same-sex activity was with male shrine prostitutes as part of temple worship to pagan gods and goddesses. And there is repeated rhetoric against these shrine prostitutes at different parts of the Hebrew Bible .
Looking wider afield, there were cultures like Ancient Greece, where the dominant form of male-male intercourse was men with boys pederasty. And did you notice that the verses said a man lying with a male, not a man lying with a man?
Now, occasionally Ive seen some commentators claim that this is trying to link it back to Genesis , but if so it is rather strange that female isnt used its as with a woman and not female.
I think it more likely that male is used here precisely because it can include lying with boys as well as men.
So two main contexts for the Israelite people to be different from male-male intercourse linked with pagan temple goddess worship, and pederasty.
Note how different these are from what we are looking at today with faithful, loving, committed relationships.
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.
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Q4 Is It True That All Of The Times Homosexuality Is Referenced In The Bible It Is Bundled With False Worship Rape Prostitution Or Abuses And That This Combination Was The Problem/sin Before God
It is true that the main references to homosexuality in the Bible do mention other sins in the immediate context . However, as far as the rest of the claim that it was homosexuality mixed with other activity that made it sinful this is completely inaccurate. If one simply reads the passages talking about homosexuality one will note that the specific acts of homosexuality are explicitly described as being wrong. For instance, in Romans 1 natural relations are exchanged and abandoned . Shameless acts are committed . Homosexuality is contrary to Gods creational design. Since all sin is idolatry and rebellion against God it should come as no surprise that those elements are seen in the context. See the resources footnoted in the Romans 1 section of this article for further discussion of this issue. Particularly note Guenther Haass article entitled, Hermeneutical Issues In The Use Of The Bible To Justify The Acceptance Of Homosexual Practice Global Journal of Classical Theology, Vol 1, No. 2 ,
Second The Bible Unequivocally Speaks Against Homosexual Behavior
This is the most important point. Whether English had developed or used the term homosexual is really an unimportant point, because homosexual behavior is described and prohibited in Scripture. For example, the term homosexual is not used in Leviticus 18:22 or 20:13, but it is clearly what is in view, since the sexual relationship described is compared to how a man lies with a woman.
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman it is an abomination.
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.
The very fact that Leviticus 20:13 speak against both active and passive partners shows that it is the homosexual act itself that is condemned, not a certain aspect of it. Historically pro-LGBT scholars have tried to argue against this point by theorizing that Leviticus 20:13 was a later update of the original law, Leviticus 18:22. Although there is no evidence of such an update, obviously it is necessary to argue that way since the text is problematic the way that it reads for a pro-LGBT viewpoint.
Some pro-LGBT scholars argue that the Levitical prohibitions against homosexuality are outdated and the church has moved beyond those antiquated notions. The problem is that Paul utilizes Leviticus both in Romans 1 as well as 1 Corinthians 6 to formulate his sexual ethics.
What About Leviticus 1: 22
The next text typically cited on our subject is Leviticus 18:22, and it is far less ambiguous: Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman that is detestable. The Hebrew is as clear as the English translation.
The obvious sense of the command seems to be: homosexual sexual relations are forbidden by Scripture. This is the way the text has typically been understood by Jewish and Christian interpreters across the centuries. It is the way most read the text still today.
But those who advocate homosexuality as an acceptable biblical lifestyle have found ways to dissent. Dr. Walter Wink admits that this text unequivocally condemn same-sex sexual behavior. But he theorizes that the ancient Hebrews saw any sexual activity which could not lead to the creation of life as a form of abortion or murder. He adds that the Jews would have seen homosexuality as alien behavior, representing yet one more incursion of pagan civilization into Jewish life.
And thats not all. Other critics see the Levitical laws as expressive of worship codes, not universal moral standards. And they argue that all such laws were intended only for their day and time, such as kosher dietary laws and harvest regulations.
The Queen James Bible
After hearing such self-justifications, many pro-family Christians wonder what bible the homophiles are getting their information from.
Believe it or not, there is an actual Gay Bible. The Queen James Version alters the eight verses in the 1769 King James Version that deal with homosexuality in a way that makes homophobic interpretations impossible.2
A person may disagree with the Bible on what it says about homosexuality, but it is just flat dishonest to produce a new version and then pretend that it is genuine. Perhaps this is why the editors of the Queen James Bible have wisely chosen to remain anonymous.
In reality, few sins are condemned by the Bible as explicitly as sodomy. Both the Old and New Testaments contain passages stating quite plainly that people who engage in homosexual activity will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
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Forgiveness: Confess Homosexuality Is Sinful
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.
25. Father, I believe Jesus Christ died on the cross to forgive my sins. I dont want people to go to hell and the USA destroyed. You say homosexuals, lesbians and transgenders are sinful and have vile affections. I agree. May pastors and everyone love people and teach Your truth. In Jesus name. Amen.
What Does The Bible Really Say About Homosexuality
Actually, a whole lot less than you might imagine! That may be hard to believe given the fierce rhetoric Christians often employ when talking about homosexuality, but there are really only seven passages in the Bible that refer directly to homosexual behavior, and none of them are associated with Jesus. Compare that to the more than 250 verses on the proper use of wealth or more than 300 on our responsibility to care for the poor and work for justice, and you appreciate quickly that homosexuality was not exactly a major theme of the Bible.
Nevertheless, these seven passages have been poured over by conservative and liberal scholars alike and have occasioned considerable conversation and controversy. In order to review what the Bible actually says about homosexuality, as well as what others are saying about it, I’ll group similar verses below and give a brief summary of the major differences in interpretation. Then, I’ll outline the four most common stances Christians take regarding these biblical passages in general, as these positions greatly influence how one interprets individual verses.
Old Testament Narrative
The Holiness Code of Leviticus
New Testament Ethics
The three passages in question read as follows:
Four Basic Views
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