I will be conducting interviews in downtown Omaha, NE during the Heartland Pride Festival coming up on July 15th and 16th. The main question I want to submit for folks’ consideration will be this: Can the Bible and LGBT+ be reconciled? By this question I want to get people to consider for themselves whether one can agree with all the claims of the Bible and all the claims of the modern LGBT+ movement at the same time or whether some of the claims are mutually exclusive.
You will find both self-identified Christians and non-Christians who affirmatively answer that question. You will find both who answer negatively. It is not a question that divides along religious identity lines, it divides along interpretive lines.
As a resource in anticipation of this discussion, I want to provide the following biblical passages which are directly relevant to the topic. In fact, I think this is a complete list of all the directly relevant passages. Of course, I could be missing some and if so, please let me know! As you can imagine, there can be much hurt, bitterness, and animosity in conversations about Christianity and homosexuality, transgenderism, etc. My aim is to encourage cool, calm, and clear thinking and conversation about the topic. I encourage Christians and non-Christians alike to approach it as they would any other topic from any subject: with a reasonable approach to understanding the text, what it says, the implications it has for your life, and whether and why you will reject or accept the claims.
You might hear from both sides that there are word-meaning issues and that to understand a text, you need to have a certain understanding of the original word or that the term “homosexual” was not used in the Bible until the mid-1900s. I will not address or link anything referencing the original Greek and Hebrew, but to aid in avoiding any possible biases of particular translations, the verses will be hyperlinked to a parallel Bible which will give you five additional translations side-by-side for your comparison. The parallel reading provides multiple translations that were made prior to the mid-1900s. Another benefit of the parallel translation links is that they will take you to the whole chapter, providing fuller context to the verses I provide. The translation used for all passages provided in this article are from the NKJV version. This is for no particular reason other than it’s not included in the parallel Bible links and so provides more translations for you to read. Also, it’s just a translation I happen to have a paper copy of and use fairly frequently so I’m familiar with it.
The verses are simply provided in the order they appear in the Bible. I recommend arranging them on your own in order of “hermeneutical priority”, that is, which texts make more sense to ground a teaching/theology of the subject on. Find the passages which seem to be foundational on the subject and build from there. Let the peripheral passages be just that: passages which speak on the subject but aren’t teaching directly and clearly about the subject.
Without further ado, here are the passages of the Bible directly relevant to LGBT+ ideology:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
And Adam said:
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.”
So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly!
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.
A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God.
As they were enjoying themselves, suddenly certain men of the city, perverted men, surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!”
But the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brethren! I beg you, do not act so wickedly!”
And there were also perverted persons in the land. They did according to all the abominations of the nations which the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.
The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”
Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.
Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment. For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.
But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
I would love to hear two things from you:
- Have I missed any biblical passages directly relevant to this topic? If so, which ones? I’d love to add them to the list!
- What are your conclusions about the question at hand? Can the biblical claims be reconciled with LGBT+ movement’s claims? Please comment below, I’d love to know if you’ve given it some consideration!
I am not gay, although I love someone who is gay. I’ve come to a conclusion about this topic, being a Christian. The Holy Bible says “There is no one holy like the Lord…” in 1 Samuel 2:2. We cannot ever pretend to be completely without sin. That is why Jesus died for us. James 2:10 says, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” Therefore, if you think you are so much better than others because you are not gay. Then you commit the sin of pride. Therefore, you are guilty of all sins. I’m not pointing a finger at you. I had that finger pointing at me when I was studying. You see, it can be any sin… lying, judging others, gossiping, anything. We don’t need to be the judge. We just need to love the Lord our God and love everyone else as we love ourselves… and Jesus will work out the rest of it. Amen!
Thank you kindly for sharing your thoughts! I agree the Bible teaches Christians ought to humbly recognize they have the same need for Christ, the same sin nature that needs redeemed, as anyone else. But what did you conclude regarding the above passages? What do you think they teach us about God’s will for man regarding LGBT+ issues?
I thought I was clear in saying it is a sin, as there are many sins we live with daily. I do believe we should strive to be without sin. However, I believe in predestination. I believe God knows us before we are born. He placed those sins within us. The person I know could no more live a “straight” life than I could live a gay life, although he loves the Lord. It is a sin. It is not a condition of salvation.
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I have known many people who believe God elects His people, but never heard sins characterized as being placed within us by God. Your last statement is confusing too: you believe living a gay lifestyle is a sin and yet God cannot give the folks who live with that sin the freedom from living that way? What do you do with 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 where Paul says “such were some of you” in the past tense. Not to mention the witness of so much other scripture (e.g., Romans 6 where Paul teaches that our slave master changes from sin to righteousness after following Christ). But it sounds like you’re saying in the case of homosexuality, there is no freedom possible?
Isaiah 45:7 reads, “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil. I, the Lord, do all these things.”
So, yes, it is the same God who puts the evil inside us, or allows Satan to tempt us with evil, that puts us on the narrow way.
I do believe we can be changed by God, if that is His will. It must be His will alone, not ours. We cannot change things on our own. That is what I was attempting to say. Sorry for the confusion.
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You seem to know your Bible, so I’m going to mention people as if you do. Let me know if you have questions. David was called to be King as a child… called of the Lord. However, he later becomes a rapist, an adulterer and a murderer. Solomon is known for his wisdom. However, he was in the habit of making offerings at the high places which was forbidden and considered at the time to be sin. He also had a variety of foreign wives, despite God warning the Israelites against intermarrying with the pagan people. In fact, the Bible reads that out of his love for them, Solomon “did evil in the eyes of the Lord” by worshipping the gods of his wives and building alters for their deities.
We all know about how Saul was killing Christians until he is spiritually changed into Paul. He describes the battle he has with himself in Romans 7 of the spirit and the flesh. Once we are called, that battle still wages on for us. We aren’t miraculously changed and never sin again. We are lying if we say otherwise. If St. Paul could admit he still had to battle within himself, then I can, too. None of us are holy. It is a long war… this fleshly war. As time goes on, we pray to become more like Jesus Christ. If new believers are told it must happen in an instant, they will be let down and turn away from the Lord. Share the truth with them. AMEN!
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I don’t disagree with a word you’ve said!