I wanted to write a post that addressed all the “Gay verses” of The Bible. I feel that too often these passages cause disharmony and hatred. Most of the anger is directed toward people who are gay and also internalized by gay people and results in deep depression and suicide.
The Bible is a book that is meant to promote harmony and love. I’ve mentioned in my blog several times where Jesus said, “God is Love.” This is my litmus test of if a Bible verse is being read correctly. We have to sometimes dig to get the true meanings out of this ancient book.
Regardless of your feelings on The Bible, I ask you to keep an open mind and allow my analysis on each of these verses, if nothing else, to show you that there is another way of looking at these words that have caused so much harm.
“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.
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.”
This is a classic story from the Old Testament about the downfall of Sodom and Gomorrah. The events above are what prompted the destruction of these cities, but is it really talking about homosexuality?
The New Oxford Annotated Bible states that the true error that the men in the above passage were guilty of is violating the hospitality of Lot toward his angelic guests.
The events that transpired here were an example of the chaos that was common in the city of Sodom. The fact that the men of the city attempted to rape Angels of God, who were under the protection and care ofLot, is an example of the consciousness of the people who lived there.
The Bible itself also brings this point across in Ezekiel 19:48-50:
”As I live, saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters.
Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.”
As it says here, the true sin of the city of Sodom was the consciousness of the people. Having a state of mind that promoted such behaviors as listed above.
Sex among people of the same gender was not the issue in this case. Also, it should def be noted, at the very least, this certainly wasn’t talking about gay couples in loving relationships.
“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”
“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.”
These verses, I don’t feel, need a lot of in depth explanation. The passages themselves seem pretty cut and dry, however, some other verses that are included among these are:
“If a man lies with a woman during her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has discovered her flow, and she has uncovered the flow of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from her people.”
“Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.”
“Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.”
“I won’t post the full chapter, but it is very specific on ways to eat. Definitely take a look at the chapter. It references lots of things we commonly eat today.”
Obviously it isn’t a good idea to single out the verses on “men lying with men” and focus on these passages alone, when we do have several other of the verses that obviously have no cultural significance today.
The book of Leviticus is considered a priestly writing. Some rabbis even refer to the book as “The Priests’ Manual.” The main context of the book is centered on different codes and rituals of the time. This is apparent from the cultural difference in some of the verses above in relation to how the world is today. It very much is a product of the culture and beliefs of the citizens who lived during that time.
“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.”
Back when I was an evangelical Christian at the temple of and coming to terms with my own feelings I had toward other men, this is the verse that troubled me the most.
Since then, I view this verse completely differently. The first thing that should be noted, it is a letter that Paul is writing to a church inRometo support his mission to Spain. I wonder how he would feel if he knew this letter would later be considered as scripture?
Some words in this verse that instantly pop out for me is “Natural” and “burned in their lust.”
Gay men and women are very clear on what is “natural” for them. For me, being with a woman feels unnatural and a man is what is natural. So could the verse be talking about going against, sexually, what is natural for you?
Also the term “burned in their lust” is important because this obviously isn’t about love, relationships, or anything that we see today in romantic gay couples.
At face value, it sounds as though it is condemning gay people, but I strongly feel this isn’t what is meant.
I love the translation of this verse given in Peterson’s Bible translation, The Message:
“Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either – women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men – all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh how they paid for it – emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.”
“all lust, no love” That is the true message of these verses.
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.”
We see in several other translations of The Bible the substitution of the word “homosexual” for effeminate.
The Greek word used here is “Malakos”, which means “soft to the touch.” When used in a negative sense, the Greek word is referring to those who are guilty of being addicted to the errors of the flesh.
Once again, this isn’t about Gay couples. This is about that “burning” that was mentioned in Romans. Being so consumed with desire and lust that we stop seeing people as humans and divine beings, but using them for our own gratification, just like what was done to the angels in Sodom.
In many instances it is good to really dig into some of the “theology heavy” words and see if the original greek supports that, or more importantly, or own inner soul.
In closing, I want to ask you what is a Christian? I feel that a true Christian follows the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself said nothing about homosexuality, but he did say plenty about lust, judging, and unforgiveness.
The problem isn’t with gay people, but it is with those who fail to see the greatest commandment given by Jesus, given in Matthew 22:37-39:
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Loving God means BEING Love, and trusting that Love. And we can never love our neighbors as ourselves, if we don’t first love ourselves. Also, as long as we are using The Bible to hurt others, we are also condemning ourselves.
Reference Books used:
The New Oxford Annotated Bible
Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words
The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary of The Bible
© 2012 – 2013, Michael Hamlin. All rights reserved.