Love In Every Season: Understanding The Four Stages Of A Healthy Relationship
Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether youre single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.
The 6 Bible Verses On Homosexuality And Differing Interpretations
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.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:10
Homosexuality And Bestiality Are The Most Harshly Condemned Of All Sexual Sins Because They Deviate The Furthest From The One
Genesis 6-9: After the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and 1000 years of increasing sin by their descendents, God pours out His wrath in the form of a global flood which the ancient Hebrew rabbis taught was triggered by homosexual and bestial marriages .
The ancient scholars of Hebrew who wrote the Talmud stated expressly what Jesus Himself merely alluded to when He warned that in the time leading to His return, wicked people would be marrying and giving in marriage as in the days of Noah , when every intent of the thoughts of heart was only evil continually .
The main points here are that homosexuality in the Bible is equated with bestiality and that the human celebration of marriages based on these sexual perversions represented the final insult to God triggering Noahs Flood.
The common law crime of sodomy is still on the books in several U.S. States including Massachusetts. It does not emphasize specific sexual acts as in modern statutory law, but prohibits two types of sexual relationships: those between people of the same gender and those with animals, reflecting this same correlation in the Bible. President Thomas Jefferson addressed this crime in his restatement of the common law and observed that of the two forms, homosexuality was the greater threat to society.
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Seek The Intended Meaning Of The Bible
And so I must begin with an interpretive word.
When I taught principles of biblical interpretation at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, I often told my students, The Bible can never mean what it never meant. We must seek the intended meaning of the text as understood in its original context.
I also said often, The only word God is obligated to bless is his word. What matters to us today is not my opinions or yours, but Gods.
Such a position is not held universally on this subject.
For instance, Dr. Walter Wink states in his thoughtful booklet, Homosexuality and the Bible, Where the Bible mentions homosexual behavior at all, it clearly condemns it. I freely grant that. The issue is precisely whether that Biblical judgment is correct .
Dr. Wink then compares homosexuality to the issue of slavery: he argues that the Bible condones slavery, states that the Bible was wrong on that subject, and concludes that it is equally wrong on the issue before us .
I greatly respect Dr. Winks enormous contributions to New Testament studies, especially on the subjects of spiritual warfare and nonviolence. But I could not disagree more strongly with his assertion, The issue is precisely whether that Biblical judgment is correct.
For my purposes, the only question well seek to answer is: What does the Bible intend to teach on this subject?
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 .
What Does The Bible Teach About Same
The Bible defines marriage in Genesis 2:24 as a union between one man and one woman. Jesus Christ upholds this definition of marriage in Matthew 19:5, as does the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:31. Any and all sexual activity which takes place outside of this context is treated as sinful, what Jesus calls sexual immorality in Mark 7:21.
Further to this, same-sex practice is specifically highlighted as sinful a number of times in Scripture. In Gods Law, for example, condemnations of same-sex practice are given in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. Further references are made in the New Testament. For example, in Romans 1:24-32, amid echoes to the Genesis creation account, both male and female same-sex practice are treated as sinful. Further references to the sinfulness of same-sex practice can be seen in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10.
The Scriptures are, therefore, consistent in their prohibition of same-sex sexual activity, across different periods of salvation history and within different cultural settings. Although the Scriptures are clear on sexual ethics, they also tell us that the prospect of forgiveness and eternal life is held out for anyone who turns from sin and puts their faith in Christ , no matter how they may have fallen short of his good design for sex and marriage.
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.
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New Persons In Christ
When we think of a NT perspective on homosexuality, we must remember the proclamation of the gospel, the truth that those who are in Christ are new persons. In other words, we have substantial evidence that those who struggle with the sin of homosexuality can live a new life by Gods grace. We are enabled to live new lives because of who we are in Christ. Those who put their trust in Christ are justified by faith . They have peace with God and are reconciled to him through the cross of Christ . They are adopted as Gods children . They are redeemed and liberated from the power of sin, so that they may be zealous for good works . They are now saved by grace through faith . They have been born again through the Holy Spirit.35 They are a new creation . All people enter the world as sons and daughters of Adam and so are under the dominion of the old man. But now, by virtue of union with Christ, they are clothed with the new man.36 They have put the old man off and have been endowed with the new man. Those who are in Christ are sanctified , so that they stand before God as those who are holy and clean in his sight. Their sins are truly forgiven, so that they do not live under the shackles of the past .
Is The Bibles View Cruel
What about people who have homosexual inclinations? Were they born that way? If so, would it not be cruel to say that it is wrong for them to act on their desires?
The Bible does not comment on the biology of homosexuality, although it acknowledges that some human traits are deeply ingrained. Still, the Bible says that certain conductincluding homosexual acts
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The Good News Is That Homosexuals Can Be Healed And Delivered By Christ
1 Corinthians 6 warns that neither homosexuals can inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, but they can be saved and healed of homosexuality by Christ .
neithereffeminate, nor homosexualswill inherit the kingdom of God.
The simple, powerful truth of God is that He can heal homosexuals and deliver them from their bondage to sexual sin. It is a fact of Biblical history! In declaring that promise, this passage also reveals that former homosexuals were some of the earliest members of the church.
Thus, those who accept the lie of the modern age that homosexuals cannot change insult God and deny the truth of His Word. To these people, which unfortunately includes an increasing number of Christians, James warning is especially relevant:
You adulterous people, dont you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God
Consider further the implications of the lie that homosexuality is innate and unchangeable, especially for children who struggle with same-sex attraction due to sexual molestation or gender identity disorder frequently from Christian homes. Imagine trying to cope with the shame and fear of abnormal sexual orientation and then being told by the experts that you have NO HOPE of ever being healed of it. Is it any wonder that so many gay kids commit suicide.
But what is the implication for those who help perpetuate that lie?
Corinthians : 9 And 1 Timothy : 10
Paul also speaks against homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10. In both texts he used the term arsenokoitai to designate the sin of homosexuality. Pauls use of the term represents its first occurrence in Greek literature. David Wright is likely correct in suggesting that Paul derived the term from Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.29 When we look at both of these texts in the LXX, we can see the argument: kai meta arsenos ou koimthse koitn gynaikos bdelygma gar estin kai hos an koimth meta arsenos koitn gynaikos bdelygma epoisan amphoteroi thanatousthsan enochoi eisin . What Wright argues, and other scholars have followed him here, is that the Pauline term arsenokoitai is a Pauline innovation deriving from the phrase, arsenos koitn in the two texts from Leviticus. The term refers, then, to those who bed other males. In other words, it is a vivid way of denoting same sex intercourse between males. The other word used to designate same sex relations in 1 Corinthians 6:9 is malakoi. This word refers to the passive partner sexually, an effeminate male who plays the role of a female.
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The Alleged Case For The Naturalness Of Homosexuality
The basic claim made by those who defend the morality of homosexuality is that homosexuals are born that way. Homosexuality is alleged to have some genetic basis, and some scientific research has been conducted to try to establish the genetic link.^^ Thus Michael Bailey and Richard Pillard assert, Our own research has shown that male sexual orientation is substantially genetic.^^
Space does not permit a detailed response to these studies. Suffice it to say for now that the research alleging to show a genetic basis for homosexuality is far from conclusive.^^ The conclusions and even methods of these studies have been hotly contested, leading Columbia University psychiatrists Byne and Parsons to conclude:
There is no evidence at present to substantiate a biological theory, just as there is no compelling evidence to support any singular psychosocial explanation. . . .he appeal of current biological explanations may derive more from dissatisfaction with the present status of psychosocial explanations than from a substantiating body of experimental data. Critical review shows the evidence favoring a biological theory to be lacking.^^
Second, even if ones genetic makeup does cause or predispose one toward homosexuality, this again does not make such behavior good or morally permissible. Some people reason like this:
> Homosexuals genetic makeup predisposes them to engage in homosexual behavior.> > Therefore, homosexual behavior is morally permissible.
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 individuals and sexual relations in the Hebrew Bible are found primarily in the Torah . Some texts included in the New Testament also reference homosexual individuals and sexual relations, 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. Both references in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament have been interpreted as referring primarily to male homosexual individuals and sexual practices.
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What Does The Bible Say About Homosexuality
This article is an exploration of the specific passages that mention homosexual behaviour, but its important to remember that Gods blueprint for sexuality is interwoven throughout Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. The passages below need to be set in the wider biblical framework of teaching on sex.
It is a surprise to many people to discover that there are only a handful of passages in the Bible that directly mention same-sex relationships. Yet despite its infrequent mention, where the subject does come up, the Bible has some very important things to say about it. We need to understand them if were to avoid the twin mistakes of homophobia and thinking God is indifferent about how we use our sexuality.
The first two passages that directly mention homosexuality come from the Old Testament, the other three are from the New Testament.
Those Who Consider Themselves To Be Homosexual By Sexual Orientation Should Practice Sexual Celibacy
Many will counter that I have no idea how difficult such a lifestyle decision would be. Theyre right.
But given that I understand the Bible to teach clearly that homosexuality is an unbiblical lifestyle, the only conclusion I can draw is that the practice of this lifestyle will lead the person out of the will of God and into harmful behavior.
Abstinence is, by this logic, the option that is in that persons best personal interest. I can only hope that my heart is clear in offering this suggestion. My desire is not to condemn but to offer biblical truth as I understand it.
This article is offered with the prayer that the Lord of Scripture will use his word to bring healing, hope, and help to hearts and homes troubled by the issue of homosexuality. To the degree that these thoughts have shed more light than heat, my prayer will be answered.
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First A Translation Does Not Determine Meaning But Is A Reflection Of The Translator Understanding Of A Text Conveyed Through The Capacity Of A Target Language
This is a very important point at every level. Every translation is ultimately an interpretation by the translator, but it is also limited by the target language. Anybody who knows more than one language understands this. Each language has its own idiosyncrasies, common vocabulary, and idioms which must be accounted for. Most languages do not represent ideas in the same ways.
With regard to Bible translation specifically, there are plenty of examples where Bible translations convey a meaning which is not exactly in line with the original meaning of the Greek or Hebrew. For example, the use of James instead of Jacob in the NT, or even the KJVs use of Appearance in 1 Thessalonians 5:22. In other words, translation is not a simple issue, and there will often be differences in how translations are done.
I would argue the idea of using a particular word in a translation is less important than the question of meaning. Ultimately, the most important question to ask is, what does the text mean. In other words, what did the author mean when he wrote the original words in Greek or Hebrew. Our translations are supposed to be a window through which we can discern that answer, but translations can be imperfect . Regardless, the most important question relates to meaning of the original text. The issue of word choice in a target language is secondary because words change and develop in the target language over time.