“HOMOSEXUAL” 1946: Was There a Mistranslation That Shifted Culture?


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EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 160 books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

Let’s call this the 1946 Project of the LGBTQIA+ Community. They say that this film will is portraying “A journey which unveils the mystery of how theology, history, culture, and politics led to a Biblical mistranslation, the man who tried to stop it, and the impassioned academic crusade of the LGBTQIA+ Christian community-driven to discover the truth.” We will take a moment to consider their comments and then present what the Bible really says. I would preface this with it seems like more of the same; that is, not digging for the truth but rather trying to redefine the truth to fit their ideology and worldview. Their offense is nothing more than self-centeredness, refusing to wrap their mind around the idea that the Creator of all things chose the setting, the language, the words, and time in which his Word was to be introduced to humans. It will help us to begin by looking at several literal and semi-literal translations side-by-side. Then, we will look at a brief history of how the term “homosexual” came into existence. That history will expose the 1946 Project, as we are calling it, as having a predisposed agenda of not giving their readers and listeners all the facts and even bending the information to fit their narrative. This author does not believe they are truly seeking the truth. Lastly, I will over some thoughts in between the sections of their claims.

1 Corinthians 6:9 English Standard Version (ESV)

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,

1 Corinthians 6:9 LEB

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Neither sexually immoral people, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor passive homosexual partners, nor dominant homosexual partners,

1 Corinthians 6:9 New American Standard Bible (NASB 2020)

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,

1 Corinthians 6:9 Revised Standard Version (RSV 1946)

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,


1 Corinthians 6:9 Revised Standard Version (RSV 1971)

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts,


1 Corinthians 6:9 English Revised Version (ERV) 1881 (UK)
9. Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [μαλακοὶ], nor abusers of themselves with men [ἀρσενοκοῖται],

1 Corinthians 6:9 American Standard Version (ASV) 1901
Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [μαλακοὶ], nor abusers of themselves with men [ἀρσενοκοῖται],

1 Corinthians 6:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
Or 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 men of passive homosexual acts [μαλακοὶ], nor men of active homosexual acts [ἀρσενοκοῖται],[25] 

You will notice that the argument from the 1946 project is false based on the 1881 English Revised Version published in Britain and the 1901 American Standard Version and the history of the term “homosexual.” You can see two things clearly from these translations prior to 1946. They are saying the same thing the new translations are saying but softening their words because of the times. The Bible authors would use a euphemism, that is, a mild word substituted for a harsh or direct one that may be found offensive or suggest something unpleasant. Or, they say it in a less offensive way of expressing it but saying the same thing. Literal translations are word for word and carry those euphemisms over into their translations. An example is sexual relations. In the Bible, the Bible authors in the Old Testament and the New Testament would say that ________ knew _______. This meant that _______ had sexual relations with _________. This was because of the times. Modern interpretive translations do not do this. Let’s look at an example of this: Leviticus 18:19.

Dynamic Equivalent Interpretive Translation

Leviticus 18:19 New Living Translation (NLT)
19“Do not have sexual relations with a woman during her period of menstrual impurity.

Word for Word Literal Translations

Leviticus 18:19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
19 “You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness during her menstrual uncleanness.

Leviticus 18:19 American Standard Version (ASV) 1901
19 And thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is impure by her uncleanness.

Leviticus 18:19 English Revised Standard Version (ERV) 1881
19 “And thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is impure by her uncleanness.

Notice that what is being talked about is ‘sexual relations‘ and ‘period of menstrual impurity.’ This is where wording to say the same thing but not so plainly but clear enough not to miss the point. Notice too that the older literal translations are saying the same thing: “thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is impure by her uncleanness.”

The older pre-1946 literal translations words are very clear, “effeminate [μαλακοὶ] [soft men], nor abusers of themselves with men [ἀρσενοκοῖται] [liers with men],” and the newer translations: “men of passive homosexual acts [μαλακοὶ], nor men of active homosexual acts [ἀρσενοκοῖται].

The same euphemisms were used in the 1980s for the homosexual community. As homosexuality of the 1980s had come out into the open, so there has been a joint effort to present a new image to that manner of life. The word “homosexual,” with its accent on “sex,” has been seen disapprovingly. Into prominence instead was the term “gay.” The Concise Oxford Dictionary notes that this word, used in this sense, is a euphemism, a mild word substituted for a harsh or direct one. The same can be said of “homophilia” and “homophile,” as sometimes used.


Brief History of the Term Homosexual

The term Homosexual was coined in German in 1869. It was not used outside of  German psychiatrists and psychologists until we get into the 20th century. The first known use of the term homosexual in English is in Charles Gilbert Chaddock’s 1892 translation of Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis, a study on sexual practices. The term was popularized by the 1906 Harden–Eulenburg Affair. The word homosexual itself had different connotations 100 years ago than today. Although some early writers used the adjective homosexual to refer to any single-gender context (such as an all-girls school), today the term implies a sexual aspect. So, when the 1946 Project claims that the term homosexual was not used in the Bible before 1946, this is true because it was not a common word at the time, and it had a different meaning in the early days when the 1901 American Standard Version (ASV) was published or the 1881 English Revised Version (ERV). I mean, the ERV had only been around a few years after the word homosexual was coined. Another reason is this, we had had growing knowledge of Koine (common) Greek (Biblical Greek) from Desiderius Erasmus’ Greek Text in 1536 up unto the 1901 American Standard Version, but our understanding grew exponentially from 1900 to the middle of the 1950s. There was a discovery of 500,000 Greek papyri written in Koine.

In January 1897, a trial trench (excavation or depression in the ground) was dug, and it only took a few hours before ancient papyrus materials were found. These included letters, contracts, and official documents. The sand had blown over them, covering them, and for nearly 2,000 years, the dry climate had served as a protection for them.

It took only a mere three months to pull out and recover almost two tons of papyri from Oxyrhynchus. They shipped twenty-five large cases back to England. Over the next ten years, these two courageous scholars, Grenfell and Hunt, archaeologist, and papyrologist, returned each and every winter, to grow their collection. They discovered ancient classical writing, along with royal ordinances and contracts mixed in with business accounts private letters, some from Christians, shopping lists, as well as fragments of many New Testament manuscripts. Our understanding of Greek increased more and more rapidly over the next few decades. This is why the 1946 Revised Standard Version could now use the word homosexual because of a better understanding of Greek and the word was more common by then and understand as two persons of the same sex having ongoing sexual relations with each other. So, the 1946 Project is misleading their listeners when they make the claim that “homosexual” was not used in the Bible before 1946. Moreover, the 1971 Revised Standard Version committee simply folded under pressure, as has been the base with the New Revised Standard Version.

They Claim that In 1946, Theology, History, Culture, and Politics Led to a Biblical Mistranslation of Catastrophic Proportions

They write,

This is our quest to uncover the truth.

More than 45,000 churches today still preach that homosexuality is a sin, citing biblical references that condemn “homosexuals.” What would change if churches discovered the truth — the word “homosexual” was added to the Bible in 1946 by mistake?  

Executive produced by the director of the 2007 award-winning film, For the Bible Tells Me So, 1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted a Culture is a new documentary that investigates how the word “homosexual” was entered into the Bible, how one man tried to stop it, and how a team of researchers recently unearthed evidence that challenges deeply-held beliefs about LGBTQ+ people and their place in God’s kingdom.



The first time the word “homosexual” appeared in any bible was in the Revised Standard Version (RSV) published in February 11, 1946. In the RSV’s translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9, the word “homosexual” was used in lieu of the Greek words “malakoi” and “arsenokoitai.” Researchers agree today these words translate loosely to “effeminacy,” and “pervert,” or “sexual pervert.” The decision to use the word “homosexual” instead of the accurate translations was voted on by the RSV committee. 1946 explores how this mistranslation ignited the anti-gay movement within American conservative Christians.

RESPONSE: We already covered this. The word “homosexual” was not used in English until 1892 and the meaning was not the same that we have today. Because of discovering 500,000 Koine papyri in the dry sands of Egypt, our understanding of Greek rapidly increased from 1900 to 1946. The only literal translations prior to the 1946 RSV were the 1881 ERV and the 1901 ASV.



Kathy Baldock and Ed Oxford have dedicated their lives to researching the roots of anti-gay theology. As part of their extensive research, they uncovered 90 boxes of notes from the archives at Yale University. Filed in these boxes for over five decades, was a letter sent to the RSV translation committee, written by a young seminarian named David S.

In the letter, David points out the dangerous implications that could come with the mistranslation and misuse of the word “homosexual.” Dr. Luther Weigle, the head of the translation committee, wrote a letter back to David S. to acknowledge their mistake and commit to correcting their grave error.

Unfortunately, the revised version of the RSV which replaced “homosexual” with “sexual perverts” wasn’t published until 1971 — 25 years after the mistranslation occurred. By then, other translations of the Bible had applied the RSV’s use of “homosexual” in biblical texts.

RESPONSE: We should not that Bible scholarship has taken the same path as our secular society over the past 150 years, especially so from 1950 to 2021. The liberal-moderate scholarship is about 80% of all scholarship today. They are constantly seeking to please our society which has grown more and more liberal-progressive each decade.


Today, the misuse of the word “homosexual” appears in most translations of the Bible, namely in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10. Sadly, this has become the foundation for much of the anti-gay culture that exists today, especially in religious spaces. Many conservative religious leaders have used these biblical texts to condemn and marginalize LGBTQ+ Christians. And society at large has been shaped — at least in part — to believe the idea that sexual and gender minorities must choose between their faith and their identity. We hope the evidence and stories in this film will not only challenge our assumptions, but change our hearts.

From the Director of 1946 “As a lesbian Christian, I have been navigating a religious environment that views me as ‘other,’ ‘less than,’ and ‘not equal,’ for too long.”

These beliefs, held by many dear to my heart, have cast a dark, dangerous shadow over my life. After years of searching for my voice, and calling, as a storyteller, my path has led me here. It is my goal to change the Christian narrative and liberate the many LGBTQIA+ people living in the dark; oppressed by bad theology. I want us all to live and be acknowledged as equals, under God’s love. There are truths that must be shared. We are here to share those truths.” — Sharon “Rocky” Roggio

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The Truth about 1 Corinthians 6:9

1 Corinthians 6:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
Or 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 men of passive homosexual acts, nor men of active homosexual acts,[25]

The two Greek terms (μαλακοὶ … ἀρσενοκοῖται) refer to passive men partners and active men partners in consensual homosexual acts.

Literal Greek: μαλακοsoft [men] οτε nor ρσενοκοται liers with males or male bed partners

Greek Terms

  • μαλακός malakos; a prim. word; soft, effeminate:—effeminate, soft
  • ρσενοκοίτης arsenokoitēs; sodomite; homosexuals

Lexical Sources

  • μαλακός (malakos), ή (ē), όν (on): adj.; ≡ Str 3120 2. LN 88.281 homosexual, passive partner in male-to-male sex act. [1]
  • μαλακός, ή, όν pert. to being passive in a same-sex relationship, effeminate[2]
  • ἀρσενοκοίτης (arsenokoitēs), ου (ou), ὁ (ho): n.masc.; ≡ Str 733—LN 88.280 male homosexual, one who takes the active male role in homosexual intercourse (1Co 6:9),[3]
  • ἀρσενοκοίτης, ου, ὁ a male who engages in sexual activity w. a pers. of his own sex, pederast 1 Cor 6:9[4]

These are the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts at 1 Corinthians 6:9. God condemning the practice of homosexuality at 1 Timothy 1:10, and the condemnation and prohibition of homosexuality in New Testament times by referring to the historical example of Sodom and Gomorrah at Jude 7.

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First Century Bible Background of Homosexuality

Clinton E. Arnold, 1 Corinthians 6:9

Paul uses specialized terminology here.[5] Roman law, in particular the lex Scantinia of the mid-second century B.C., legislated about homosexual behavior.[6] Such laws protected Roman citizens against homosexual acts. Corinth as a Roman colony would thus consider homosexual acts with fellow citizens as illegal, but not with noncitizens (i.e., non-Romans) and slaves.

Male prostitutes (6:9). This expression translates malakoi. The Greek word malakos transferred to the Latin malacus. It means in effect “a soft person” and took on the meaning of somebody effeminate. The fact that Latin has no indigenous word for such a person may suggest that a passive participant in a homosexual relationship was not condemned by Roman law so long as he was not a Roman citizen.

Homosexual offenders (6:9). This expression translates the Greek word arsenokoitai. This may be a word derived from the LXX [Septuagint] of Leviticus 18:22: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” The malakos (see previous comment) is probably the passive participant, whereas the arsenokoitēs is the active participant. Thus, both stand criticized by Paul within the Christian community. Note, however, that these are but two areas of life that Paul highlights, and the church has not always had the right balance.[7]

David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians 6:9

Pederasty [i.e., man who has sex with boy] was the most common male homosexual act in the ancient world (Schrage 1991: 432). That is because sexual propriety was judged according to social values: “The ancients did not classify kinds of sexual desire or behavior according to the sameness or difference of the sexes of the persons who engaged in a sexual act; rather, they evaluated sexual acts according to the degree to which such acts either violated or conformed to the norms of conduct deemed appropriate to individual sexual actors by reason of their gender, age, and social status” (Halperin, OCD 720; cf. Dover 1978: 277). A person’s rank and status determined what was considered acceptable or unacceptable. On one side were free males; on the other side were women and slaves. A free male was free to choose women, men, or boys as sexual objects without the majority taking offense as long as he did not demean his status as a free male. A free male could not “indulge in passive acts of love like a woman or a slave” without incurring a stigma (Stegemann 1993: 164). But he could use boys, slaves, or persons of no account with impunity as long as he remained “on top.” “Phallic insertion functioned as a marker of male precedence; it also expressed social domination and seniority… . Any sexual relation that involved the penetration of a social inferior (whether inferior in age, gender, or status) qualified as sexually normal for a male, irrespective of the penetrated person’s anatomical sex, whereas to be sexually penetrated was always potentially shaming, especially for a free male of citizen status [e.g., Tacitus, Annales 11.36]” (Halperin, OCD 721). Homosexual acts between free males were regarded with contempt because one partner would have to take on the passive role (insertivity) suited only to women and slaves (Veyne 1987: 204). We see this cultural attitude manifested in Petronius’s novel, Satyricon (91–100). Two close friends, Encolpius and Ascyltus, fight over the sexual favors of their slave boy, Giton; but they never engage in any homosexual act between themselves.


It should be noted also that “neither sexual desire nor sexual pleasure represented an acceptable motive for a boy’s compliance with the sexual demands of his lover” (Halperin, OCD 721). The younger partner was not to be motivated by, or express, passionate sexual desire for his senior lover, lest he compromise his own future status as a man. As a result, sexually receptive or effeminate males were ridiculed. Society would have considered same-sex sexual acts between two men of equal standing to be shameful. What some in modern society find acceptable—male same-sex eroticism between equals in a committed relationship—would have been condemned in ancient society. Dover (1978: 104) contends that penetration was not regarded as an expression of love but “as an aggressive act demonstrating the superiority of the active to the passive partner.” J. Davidson (1997: 169–82) challenges this interpretation as anachronistic but imposes his own biases on the evidence and does not win the argument. Paul differed from his society’s sexual mores in condemning all same-sex sexual acts.[8]

Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen

The next three categories are adulterers, homosexuals, and sodomites. The first Greek expression, moichoi (adulterers), describes the sexual sin which a married person commits with someone who either is or is not married; it results in breaking the marriage bond. The next Greek word, malakoi (homosexuals), relates to “men and boys who allow themselves to be misused homosexually.” This word connotes passivity and submission. By contrast, the third Greek term, arsenokoitai (sodomites), represents men who initiate homosexual practices (1 Tim. 1:10). They are the active partners in these pursuits. From Greek and Latin prose, pottery, and sculpture, we learn that preoccupation with sexual practices was prevalent among men in the first century. These men wallowed in homosexual sins and rivaled even the inhabitants of ancient Sodom (Gen. 19:1–10; see also Lev. 18:22; 20:13).[9]

Below we will investigate Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; and 1 Timothy 1:10. We have already covered Jude 7 above, so, it will not be necessary to go over that material again. We will quote some top New Testament scholars extensively.

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Ungodly People Inexcusable

Romans 1:24-32 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.[10] Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged natural relations[11] for those that are contrary to nature, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males committing the shameless deed, and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give wholehearted approval to those who practice them. 


Wordplays in this text communicate that human sin is rooted in a rejection of the glory of God (Klostermann 1933: 6; Jeremias 1954: 119; Hooker 1966–67: 182). Human beings failed to glorify God (οὐκ ἐδόξασαν, ouk edoxasan, v. 21) and exchanged his glory (ἤλλαξαν δόξαν, ēllaxan doxan, v. 23) for idolatry. Because people did not honor God by glorifying him, he gave their bodies over to be “dishonored” (ἀτιμάζεσθαι, atimazesthai, v. 24), and they had “dishonorable passions” (πάθη ἀτιμίας, pathē atimias, v. 26). The parallels in 1 Cor. 11:14–15, 15:43, and 2 Cor. 6:8 indicate that ἀτιμία (atimia, dishonor) is contrasted with δόξα (doxa, glory; cf. Hooker 1966–67: 182). The disgrace that has invaded human sexual relations is a consequence of rejecting God. The same connection is forged with another word linkage. Those who “exchanged” (ἤλλαξαν, ēllaxan, v. 23) God’s glory and “exchanged” (μετήλλαξαν, metēllaxan, v. 25) his truth “exchanged” (μετήλλαξαν, v. 26) natural sexual relations for that which is unnatural. Once again, sexual immorality is evidently a consequence of human idolatry. Finally, those who did not see fit (οὐκ ἐδοκίμασαν, ouk edokimasan) to keep God in their knowledge have been handed over to an unfit mind (ἀδόκιμον νοῦν, adokimon noun, v. 28). An unfit mind is the fruit of seeing God as unfit. Paul is not referring to Adam in these verses, but he is saying that human beings have gone the way of Adam, and that they have lost glory in trying to retain it.

Some interpreters have understood God’s wrath as impersonal and described it in terms of cause and effect.[12]  They appeal to the handing over (παρέδωκεν, vv. 24, 26, 28) to sin as evidence that God is not personally angry but merely allows sinners to experience the full consequences of sin. This interpretation betrays the influence of Deism[13] and an Enlightenment worldview rather than explaining Paul’s worldview. The OT and Jewish view was that God was vitally and personally involved in his creation. In the OT the judgments inflicted on pagan nations and Israel are invariably the outworking of God’s personal decisions. So too here, the handing over to sin is not to be construed impersonally. Three times (vv. 24, 26, 28) it is repeated that “God” (θεός, theos) handed over people to sin. To think of “laws” operating impersonally apart from God’s personal superintendence reveals that many modern people think differently about his involvement with the created world than the ancient Jews did. The consequences that are inflicted because of sin are the result of God’s personal decision. The wrath of God, then, is to be understood in personal terms. God’s wrath is not, however, the arbitrary and capricious anger that was so characteristic of the Greek gods. It is his holy and righteous response to those who do not worship and esteem him as God.


Sexual sin is the first consequence of being handed over that Paul mentions (vv. 24, 26–27). Romans 1:24 speaks of being handed over “to uncleanness” (εἰς ἀκαθαρσίαν, eis akatharsian). Paul often uses ἀκαθαρσία (2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5; 1 Thess. 4:7) to refer to sexual sin. Paul is perhaps simply describing sexual sin in general terms in verse 24, although his more specific words in verses 26–27 suggest that homosexual relations may be in his mind in verse 24 as well. Why does Paul focus on homosexual relations, especially since it receives little attention elsewhere in his writings (1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10)? Probably because it functions as the best illustration of that which is unnatural in the sexual sphere. Idolatry is “unnatural” in the sense that it is contrary to God’s intention for human beings. To worship corruptible animals and human beings instead of the incorruptible God is to turn the created order upside down.[14]  In the sexual sphere the mirror image of this “unnatural” choice of idolatry is homosexuality (cf. Schlatter 1995: 43; Hays 1986: 191). Human beings were intended to have sexual relations with those of the opposite sex. Just as idolatry is a violation and perversion of what God intended, so too homosexual relations are contrary to what God planned when he created man and woman.


Although verse 26 is ambiguous regarding the precise sense in which women acted contrary to nature, verse 27 clarifies that what is unnatural is same-sex relations.[15]  That homosexual relations are contrary to nature, in the sense that they violate what God intended, is communicated in saying that women abandoned “the natural use for that which is contrary to nature” (τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν εἰς τὴν παρὰ φύσιν, tēn physikēn chrēsin eis tēn para physin, v. 26), and in saying that men “have left the natural use of women” (ἀφέντες τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν τῆς θηλείας, aphentes tēn physikēn chrēsin tēs thēleias, v. 27). The word χρῆσις is often used of sexual relations in Greek writings (BAGD[16] 886), while the word φύσις refers in this context to what God intended in creating men and women (Koester, TDNT[17] 9:273; Hays 1986: 196–99; cf. De Young 1988). The word φύσις does not invariably refer to the divine intention in Paul (cf. Rom. 2:14, 27; 11:21, 24 [3 times]; Gal. 2:15; 4:8; Eph. 2:3).[18] At least two pieces of evidence, however, indicate that an argument from the created order is constructed in Rom. 1:26–27. First, Paul selected the unusual words θῆλυς (thēlys, female) and ἄρσην (arsēn, male) rather than γύνη (gynē, woman) and ἀνήρ (anēr, man), respectively. In doing so, he drew on the creation account of Genesis, which uses the same words (Gen. 1:27 LXX [Septuagint]; cf. Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6). These words emphasize the sexual distinctiveness of male and female (Moo 1991: 109), suggesting that sexual relations with the same sex violate the distinctions that God intended in the creation of man and woman. Second, the phrase “contrary to nature” (παρὰ φύσιν) is rooted in Stoic and Hellenistic Jewish traditions that saw homosexual relations as violations of the created order (see below). The latter point is borne out by verse 27, which specifies in three ways what constitutes the unnatural activity for men: (1) in forsaking sexual relations with women (ἀφέντες τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν τῆς θηλείας); (2) in burning in desire for other men (ἐξεκαύθησαν ἐν τῇ ὀρέξει αὐτῶν εἰς ἀλλήλους, exekauthēsan en tē orexei autōn eis allēlous); and (3) in doing that which was shameful with other men (ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσιν τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην κατεργαζόμενοι, arsenes en arsesin tēn aschēmosynēn katergazomenoi).[19]  Verse 27 gives no indication that only specific kinds of homosexual activity are prohibited. Instead, homosexual relations in general are indicted.


Modern controversy over homosexuality has led to a reevaluation of this text. Some scholars argue that Paul does not condemn all forms of homosexuality, but only homosexual acts practiced by people who are “naturally” heterosexual (e.g., Boswell 1980: 109–12). According to this interpretation, to act contrary to nature involves engaging in sexual activity that is contrary to the personal nature or character of the individual. Thus, Paul should not be understood as implying that all homosexuality is contrary to what God intended from creation. He speaks only against homosexual acts that are practiced by those who are heterosexuals by nature.[20]

This interpretation should be rejected since there is no evidence that Paul understood the “nature” of human beings in the individualized and psychological sense that is familiar to us in the twentieth century. Instead, in accord with Stoic and Hellenistic Jewish tradition, Paul rejects homosexuality as contrary to the created order—homosexual activity is a violation of what God intended when he created men and women (Hays 1986: 192–94; Malick 1993: 335).[21]  Paul’s prohibition of all homosexual relations is also supported by the unanimous rejection of homosexuality in Jewish sources (see De Young 1990). For instance, Josephus (Ag. Ap. [Against Apion] 2.24 §199) declares that the marriage of a man and woman is “according to nature” (κατὰ φύσιν, kata physin), and proceeds to say that the OT law demands the death penalty for intercourse between males. Both Philo (Spec Laws [Laws On the Special Laws] 3.7 §38; cf. Abr. [On Abraham] 26 §§133–36) and Josephus (Ag. Ap. 2.37 §273) specifically criticize homosexual relations as παρὰ φύσιν. The author of the Testament of Naphtali (3.3–4) sees homosexuality as a departure “from the order of nature,” and his appeal to creation in verse 3 reveals that he understands this in term of God’s created intention.

Scroggs (1983: 109–18) attempts to minimize Paul’s negative remarks on homosexuality in Rom. 1:26–27 by arguing that he is simply drawing on Hellenistic Jewish tradition, that probably only pederasty [i.e., man who has sex with boy] is being condemned, and that the focus of the section is theological rather than ethical. The first point reveals the weakness of Scroggs’s case. There is no evidence that Paul reverses the unanimous Jewish conviction that homosexuality was sinful (e.g., Gen. 19:1–28; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Deut. 23:17–18; Wis. 14:26; T. Levi 17.11;[22] Sib. Or. 3.596–600; see also the above citations of Josephus and Philo; and Boughton 1992).[23]  Paul’s negative comments on homosexuality, even if they are traditional, signal his acceptance of the tradition. The claim that only an abusive form of homosexuality is prohibited, such as pederasty, suffers from lack of evidence. The wording of Rom. 1:26–27 is not restricted to a specific kind of homosexuality but is a general proscription [i.e., banning or prohibition] of the activity. In fact, no mention is made of homosexual relations between men and boys but of “males with males” (ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσιν, arsenes en arsesin, v. 27). Moreover, the idea that pederasty is in view is contradicted by the reference to the homosexual acts of women in verse 26 (Malick 1993: 339; Byrne 1996: 76), for pederasty, by definition, involves men and boys, and evidence is lacking that women engaged in sexual activity with girls. Finally, Scroggs artificially separates theology from ethics in Pauline thought, implying that the vices listed would not be part of Paul’s ethical exhortations. But theology and ethics are closely wedded in all of Paul’s letters. Any attempt to drive a wedge between them is unsatisfactory. The rejection of God theologically is concretely illustrated in evil that is promulgated by human beings.

Sheppard (1985) admits that Paul’s rejection of homosexuality cannot be explained away but argues that loving homosexual relations can be accepted in the light of the canon as a whole and the recognition that our understanding of the Word of God advances as we gain more knowledge about homosexuality. To say that the whole of Scripture supports homosexuality is weak, since there is no canonical acceptance of homosexuality. Sheppard’s argument depends ultimately not on the canon, but on his conviction that recent study and human experience validate homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle. Furnish (1985: 79–80; so also M. Davies 1995) is more straightforward in saying that we can no longer accept Paul’s view on homosexuality, for he was limited in his understanding of it.[24]  For those who accept the Pauline proscription as authoritative (as I do), avoidance of homosexual relations is the path of happiness and holiness.

The last clause in verse 27 has engendered some controversy. What is the “penalty” (ἀντιμισθίαν, antimisthian) that people receive in themselves? The context suggests that the “penalty” is not something in addition to homosexuality. The penalty is rather being handed over to the sin of homosexuality itself. The words ἣν ἔδει τῆς πλάνης αὐτῶν (hēn edei tēs planēs autōn, which was necessary of their error) point in this direction. The πλάνη here is not an inadvertent mistake but the rejection of the true God for idols (Byrne 1996: 77). Thus people had to be (ἔδει) handed over to punishment precisely because they had scorned God’s glory. Once again, the main theme of the text is driven home. The foundational sin of refusing to thank and glorify God leads to other sins.

The connection between rejecting God and human sin is forged again with the vice list appearing in verses 29–31. Vice lists are common in Paul (1 Cor. 5:10–11; 6:9–10; 2 Cor. 12:20; Gal. 5:19–21; Eph. 4:31; 5:3–5; Col. 3:5, 8; 1 Tim. 1:9–10; 6:4–5; 2 Tim. 3:2–4; Titus 3:3), and some of the vices are occasionally included because of problems in the church addressed. The list here, though, does not reflect ethical problems in the church in Rome. The list is a general and wide-ranging depiction of human sin. In introducing the vices Paul uses Stoic terminology (ποιεῖν τὰ μὴ καθήκοντα, poiein ta mē kathēkonta, to do things that are not fitting, v. 28). To conclude that Paul is charging every single Gentile of these specific sins (Räisänen 1983: 98) is unnecessary. Instead, he enunciates the principle that all Gentiles commit sin, in thought, word, and deed (see Laato 1991: 113–15).

The vice list is organized into three main parts. First, the participle πεπληρωμένους (peplērōmenous, being filled) introduces four words that all conclude with -ιᾳ (-ia). These words are all general descriptions of human sin: ἀδικίᾳ (adikia, unrighteousness), πονηρίᾳ (ponēria, wickedness), πλεονεξίᾳ (pleonexia, covetousness), and κακίᾳ (kakia, wickedness or malice). Precise distinctions should not be drawn among the various words; they are used for effect to denote in a comprehensive way the wickedness of human beings. Second, five words modify μεστούς (mestous, full): φθόνου (phthonou, envy), φόνου (phonou, murder), ἔριδος (eridos, strife), δόλου (dolou, deceit), and κακοηθείας (kakoētheias, malice). Assonance is present in the first two words. It is unlikely that Paul is being so specific as to indicate that the last four sins listed stem from envy (Cranfield 1975: 130). Murder, strife, deceit, and ill will too often exist where envy is not present, and thus more conclusive evidence would be needed to establish such a connection. Finally, twelve words or phrases all in the accusative, appositional to αὐτούς (autous, them) in verse 28, conclude the list. The first two sins describe those who destroy others’ reputations (ψιθυριστάς, psithyristas, gossips; καταλάλους, katalalous, slanderers), and once again we should not be overly specific in distinguishing these from one another. The next six expressions seem to be allied in terms of the shocking depth of evil. Θεοστυγεῖς (theostygeis, haters of God) could possibly be translated as “hated by God” (so Schlatter 1995: 44), but since the rest of the words in this list refer to human evil, the translation “haters of God” is preferable (Calvin 1960: 38). The words ὑβριστάς (hybristas, insolent), ὑπερηφάνους (hyperēphanous, arrogant), and ἀλαζόνας (alazonas, braggarts) are thematically related insofar as they point to the self-importance and rudeness of those who are convinced of their superiority. The next two vices are linked in that they are both two-word phrases: ἐφευρετὰς κακῶν (epheuretas kakōn, inventors of evil) and γονεῦσιν ἀπειθεῖς (goneusin apeitheis, disobedient to parents). Both signify the depth of evil. The former highlights their creativity in performing evil, while the latter reveals that sin ruptures relationships in the home. The list concludes with some rhetorical force by four terms that are joined together: ἀσυνέτους (asynetous, foolish), ἀσυνθέτους (asynthetous, treacherous), ἀστόργους (astorgous, without natural affection), and ἀνελεήμονας (aneleēmonas, without mercy). All four words begin with ἀ-, and assonance connects the first two. The first three words all end with -ους, while the -ας ending on the last word is closely similar in sound. Dunn (1988a: 53) nicely catches the sense and partially reproduces the effect in translating the four terms “senseless, faithless, loveless, merciless,” which I have adopted in my translation.

The depth and full weight of human sin is communicated with verse 32, which concludes this section. Flückiger (1954: 156–57) argues that verse 32 is not the conclusion of Paul’s indictment of the Gentiles but is addressed to the Jews. This interpretation should be rejected since οἵτινες (hoitines, who) and the reference to the sins just described in the previous verses show a close connection between verse 32 and what precedes. The διό (dio, therefore) commencing 2:1 suggests that the chapter break between the two sections in our Bibles is appropriate.

The people in view are those who practice the evil described in the previous verses (αὐτὰ ποιοῦσιν, auta poiousin, they do them; οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντες, hoi ta toiauta prassontes, those who practice such things). The things (αὐτά, τοιαῦτα) they practice probably include all the vices listed in 1:24–31. It is remarkable, despite their rejection of the true God and the darkening of their understanding (vv. 21–23), that they are still keenly aware of God’s disapproval of their behavior. In fact, their awareness is even greater than this. They know “the ordinance of God” (τὸ δικαίωμα τοῦ θεοῦ, to dikaiōma tou theou), which is specified in the subsequent ὅτι (hoti, that) clause. God’s ordinance is that those who indulge in such behavior are “worthy of death” (ἄξιοι θανάτου, axioi thanatou). It follows, then, that Gentiles, without specifically having the Mosaic law, are aware of the moral requirements contained in that law (cf. Thielman 1994a: 169; Wilckens 1978: 115). They not only know that God disapproves of their behavior but they also know that it deserves the punishment of death (cf. 6:23). Nonetheless, they continue to engage in such wicked behavior.

The depth of their evil is even greater. This is indicated by the οὐ μόνον … ἀλλὰ καί (ou monon … alla kai, not only … but also) structure of the text. Not only do they continue to practice evil that they know deserves God’s sentence of death, but they also “give commendation to those who practice these things” (συνευδοκοῦσιν τοῖς πράσσουσιν, syneudokousin tois prassousin). This verse manifests considerable diversity in the textual witnesses, presumably because many scribes (like many modern interpreters) questioned how encouraging others to practice evil was a graver evil than actually doing the evil (see the additional note on 1:32). But Cranfield (1975: 133–35) is right in arguing that the text is saying just what it appears to say. He notes correctly that the person who commits evil, even though his or her actions are inexcusable, can at least plead the mitigating circumstances of the passion of the moment. Those who encourage others to practice evil do so from a settled and impassioned conviction. Cranfield (1975: 135) says: “But there is also the fact that those who condone and applaud the vicious actions of others are actually making a deliberate contribution to the setting up of public opinion favourable to vice, and so to the corruption of an indefinite number of other people.” The full extent of the rejection of God becomes evident in such an attitude. His judgment is known, yet people are encouraged to pursue evil anyway. Those who encourage others to pursue evil commit a greater evil in that they foment the spread of evil and are complicit in the destruction of others. The hatred of God is so entrenched that people are willing to risk future judgment in order to carry out their evil desires.[25]  Once again, the text hints that the fundamental sin that informs all others is a refusal to delight in or submit to God’s lordship. God’s wrath is rightly inflicted on those who not only practice evil but find their greatest delight in it.[26]


1 Corinthians 6:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
Or 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 men of passive homosexual acts, nor men of active homosexual acts,[27]

1 Timothy 1:10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

10 the sexually immoral ones, men who lie with men,[28] kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,

1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10

Paul also speaks against homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10. In both texts he used the term arsenokoitai [male partner in homosexual intercourse] to designate the sin of homosexuality. Paul’s 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 koimēthēse koitēn gynaikos bdelygma gar estin (Lev. 18:22); kai hos an koimēthē meta arsenos koitēn gynaikos bdelygma epoiēsan amphoteroi thanatousthōsan enochoi eisin (Lev. 20:13). What Wright argues, and other scholars have followed him here, is that the Pauline term arsenokoitai [male partner in homosexual intercourse] is a Pauline innovation deriving from the phrase, arsenos koitēn 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.

Both 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10, also proscribe [ban or condemn] homosexuality in general. Dale Martin suggests that the term arsenokoitai [male partner in homosexual intercourse] refers to those who exploit others sexually, but cannot be limited to same sex relations.[30] Such a broadening of the term, however, does not fit with either the background of the term in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 or the basic meaning of the word: bedding a male. Furthermore, the pairing of arsenokoitai with malakoi in 1 Corinthians 6:9 indicates that homosexual relations are in view. Paul could have used the more technical term paiderastēs (a pederast [man who has sex with boy]) if he had intended to restrict his comments to exploitative sex. Furthermore, if the only problem in view were sex that exploits others, there would be no need for Paul to mention the passive partner as well since he is the one being oppressed, and not the oppressor.

Robin Scroggs suggests another interpretation. He argues that the word andrapodistais (slave-dealers) in 1 Timothy 1:10 intimates that arsenokoitai refers to the slave dealers who sell boys and girls as slaves for brothel houses.[31] Scroggs’s view is scarcely persuasive, it is hard to believe that kidnappers were exclusively involved in the sex-trade business. Moreover, the term for slave-dealers is lacking in the 1 Corinthians 6:9 context, and it can scarcely be imported there to explain the term arsenokoitai. Finally, there is no reason to think that the term slave-dealers casts any light on the meaning of arsenokoitai in the vice list in 1 Timothy 1:9–10. The sins listed represent particularly egregious violations of the ten commandments.

Alternative explanations are provided for malakoi as well. Scroggs thinks the reference is to effeminate callboys and prostitution.[32] In reply we can say that Paul’s indictment would include such activities, but there is insufficient evidence to limit what Paul says here to male prostitution. Dale Martin argues that effeminacy broadly conceived is in view, so that the malakoi adorn themselves with soft and expensive clothes, consume gourmet foods, are pre-occupied with their hair-style, wear perfume, engage in heterosexual sex excessively, masturbate, are gluttons, lazy, and cowards, and also accept phallic penetration by another male.[33] Martin thinks such a view is misogynist and should not be endorsed in our day. The Pauline evidence, however, does not verify Martin’s view. In 1 Corinthians 6:9 the word malakoi is paired with arsenokoitai, and the combination of the two terms indicates that same sex relations are in view, not heterosexual sex or effeminate behaviour in general. Paul, of course, in the very same verse says that those who live sexually immoral lives as heterosexuals will be excluded from the kingdom as well, but he does not have such a notion in mind when he uses the terms arsenokoitai and malakoi.


Sons and Daughters of Adam

As noted earlier, the biblical prohibition on homosexuality is questioned, because we allegedly have knowledge about homosexuality that was not available to biblical writers. For instance, it is sometimes said that homosexuality is genetic, and biblical writers were not cognizant of this truth. It is not my purpose here to delve into the question of the genetic character of homosexuality. The scientific evidence supporting such a conclusion, however, is not compelling. Most studies yield the rather common sense conclusion that homosexuality is the result of both nature and nurture, and cannot be wholly explained by genetic factors.[34]

However, I do want to look at the perspective of the Scriptures, relative to so-called genetic characteristics. Even if some sins could be traced to our genetics, it would not exempt us from responsibility for such sins. The Scriptures teach that all human beings are born into this world as sons and daughters of Adam, and hence they are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3). They are dead in trespasses in sins (Eph. 2:1, 5), and have no inclination to seek God or to do what is good (Rom. 3:10–11). We come into the world as those who are spiritually dead (Rom. 5:12, 15), so that death reigns over the whole human race (Rom. 5:17). Indeed, human beings are condemned by virtue of Adam’s sin (Rom. 5:16, 18). Such a radical view of sin in which we inherit a sinful nature from Adam means that sinful predispositions are part of our personalities from our inception. Hence, even if it were discovered that we are genetically predisposed to certain sinful behaviours like alcoholism or homosexuality, such discoveries would not eliminate our responsibility for our actions, nor would it suggest that such actions are no longer sinful. The Scriptures teach that we are born as sinners in Adam, while at the same time they insist we should not sin and are responsible for the sin we commit. We enter into the world as slaves of sin (Rom. 6:6, 17), but we are still morally blameworthy for capitulating to the sin that serves as our master.

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 God’s 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 (Rom. 5:1). They have peace with God and are reconciled to him through the cross of Christ (Rom. 5:1, 10). They are adopted as God’s children (Rom. 8:14–17). They are redeemed and liberated from the power of sin, so that they may be zealous for good works (Tit. 2:14). They are now saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). They have been born again through the Holy Spirit.[35] They are a new creation (Gal. 6:16; 2 Cor. 5:17). 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 (1 Cor. 1:30; 6:11), 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 (Eph. 1:14; Col. 2:11–14).

The Continuing Struggle with Sin and the Promise of Moral Perfection

We face two dangers here. We may under-emphasize our newness in Christ, so that the redemption accomplished for us is negated or trivialized. On the other hand, we may fall prey to an over-realized eschatology that underestimates the continuing presence of sin in the lives of believers. The already, but not yet dimension of Christian teaching is immensely practical when it comes to understanding sanctification. First John 3:1–3 makes it clear that believers are not all that we will be. We will be conformed fully to the likeness of Jesus only when he returns. Hence, in the meantime, believers continue to struggle with sin. We stand in the right before God by virtue of the work of Christ, but we are not perfected. The emblem of the continuing presence of sin in our lives is our mortal body. The NT regularly teaches that we will experience moral perfection when our corruptible bodies become incorruptible, when this mortal puts on immortality.[37] In the meantime, we continue the struggle against sin as long as we are in our bodies until the day of resurrection (Phil. 3:20–21). The resurrection of our bodies testifies that the bodies are not inherently sinful, but as sons and daughters of Adam we are born into the world with sin reigning over us as whole persons (Rom 5:12–19).

The tension of Christian experience surfaces here. We are new creations in Christ and liberated from the power of sin, but at the same time, we await the fullness of our redemption. The newness of our redemption in Christ does not mean that we are completely free of sin. Rather, as believers we continue to battle against, and struggle with sin every day. First Peter 2:11 says, ‘Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.’ Notice that the passions and desires from the flesh are still powerful in all believers. They are so strong that they war against us.

We might think that we will not have any desires to do evil as believers in Jesus Christ, but as long as we are in the [imperfect] body, desires for sin, sometimes incredibly powerful desires, will be ours. Such desires do not mean that we are failures, or that we are not truly believers. They are a normal part of the Christian life before the day of resurrection. We ought not to think, therefore, that the newness we have in Christ means that believers will have no desire to return to a homosexual lifestyle. The newness we have in Christ does not mean that we are freed from old temptations. There is a progressive and even sometimes slow growth in holiness in our Christian lives. Indeed, we can sin dramatically as believers, even if we have been Christians for a long time. Even when we sin in such a way, there is no excuse for sinning [i.e., living in sin], and we are called to a deep sorrow and repentance for the evil in our lives.

This explains why we must fight the fight of faith afresh every day. Peter does not upbraid his readers for having desires to do wrong, but he does exhort them to abstain from these fleshly desires that war against our souls. In Romans 8:13, the apostle Paul says that believers are to put to death by the Spirit the desires of the body. Again, from this verse we see that Christians still face sin since they live in corruptible bodies, and the battle against sin is so fierce that the deeds of the body must be slain. They must be put to death. This fits with Colossians 3:5 where we are exhorted to put to death our members that are on earth. The metaphor of putting these desires and actions to death demonstrates that we are not talking about something easy and simple here.

The NT, of course, does not simply leave us with the message: ‘Just say “no.” It trumpets the grace of God in Jesus Christ that liberates us from the mastery and tyranny of sin. Those who have died and risen with Christ are no longer slaves to sin (Rom. 6). The power and dominion of sin has been broken decisively, so that we are now free from the tentacles of sin and are enabled to live in a way that pleases God. Romans 8:13 exhorts us to conquer sinful actions by the power of the Holy Spirit. We realize that we cannot triumph over sin in our own strength. We call on the Spirit to help us in our hour of need, and we realize that we will not be full of the Spirit (Eph. 5:18) unless the Word of Christ dwells in us richly (Col. 3:16). We remember the truth of the gospel that we are loved because Christ Jesus died for us. We are adopted, justified, reconciled, redeemed, and holy in Christ. The exhortation to live a new live comes from a Father who has loved us and delivered us from final condemnation. It is from a Father who promises to complete what he has started on the last day (Phil. 1:6). We have the promise that we will be fully, and finally sanctified (1 Thess. 5:23–24). Hence, we trust his promises to strengthen and free us from the allure of sin. We are not yet perfected, but we are changing by his Spirit. And we are changing because we have been changed and will be changed from one degree of glory to another, just as from the Lord who is the Spirit of freedom (2 Cor. 3:17–18).[38]

From what lies above, we can clearly see that there is absolutely no ambiguity in the Bible at all. God designed Adam and Eve, to procreate, and sex is to be between one man and one woman. (Gen. 1:27, 28; Lev 18:22; Pro 5:18-19) Fornication in Scripture is a reference to sexual sin by homosexual and heterosexual conduct. (Gal. 5:19-21)[35] We have certainly overturned many of the arguments given by the LGBT homosexual community in the above. God had warned of those, who would twist (distort) the meaning of the Scriptures. Since Jesus does not directly mention homosexuality but the apostle Paul does so explicitly many times in a condemnatory judgment kind of way, the only recourse for those that favor homosexuality is to undermine Paul’s arguments, by twisting (distorting) the meaning of the text. The irony is that Peter said this very thing would happen. Peter wrote of Paul, “and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Pet. 3:15-16, NASB) We have followed the advice from Peter’s first letter. “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” – 1 Peter 3:15-16, ESV.


The Bible’s Viewpoint of Same-Sex Attraction

However, the Bible does not condone hating those who struggle with same-sex attraction, but we are to hate the sin. However, we are to make a stand against sin that is against the moral code of our Creator, and we are not to cave to public opinion. Our Christian lifestyle is reflective by the moral code within Scripture, and we have a right to our position, by the Creator himself. There is no reason that we should be ashamed of our viewpoint.

1 Peter 2:17 New Living Translation (NLT)

17 Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king.

Christians should not have an irrational hatred for those that struggle with same-sex attraction. We are to respect all people. Anyone who is spewing hatred, he is not truly acting Christlike. (Matt. 7:12) We are to reject same-sex relationships, the conduct, not the person. For those who are advocates for gay rights, this is their viewpoint, and we respectfully disagree, and respectfully articulate as to why. Nevertheless, we do not accept persons as being truly Christian, or members of a Christian congregation, who are living in any sin, which includes homosexuality. – Revelation 2:5; 1 Corinthians 5:5-13; 1 Timothy 1:19, 20; 3 John 9, 10.

If some make the argument that Jesus visited sinners and that he was tolerant of others, this is mixing some truth, but also misleading at the same time. Indeed, Jesus spent time with sinners, but he did not ever condone their sin, nor did he ever look favorably upon those who practiced sin, i.e., lived in sin. – Matthew 18:15-17.

Some may make the point I made in the above but take it a step further. They may say, “I am born this way, it is not my fault, why should I be punished or miss out on love, because of inheriting a genetic predisposition?”

We could respond that the Bible does not address the genetic predisposition of same-sex attraction, but then again it does not address the mental issues of bipolar either. It is not a science textbook, nor is it a mental health guide. Thus, we should not look for it to resolve the specifics. However, it does address certain thinking and certain actions. Therefore, the Bible might not explicitly address the genetic, but it does address same-sex acts.

Some have argued that addictive personalities are genetically predisposed (gambling, drugs, alcohol, intense opposite-sex attraction, and pedophilia), as well as anger and rage are also viewed as genetic. Giving these ones the same benefit of the doubt as to the leanings being genetic, would we approve of a man that beats his wife, or another man that sexually abuses women, because they may be predisposed to those desires. Certainly not, we would send him to Christian counseling and expect him to get control over his body and mind, by putting on the mind of Christ. Would we excuse a man who is genetically predisposed as a pedophile, who acts on his sexual desire for children? No, we would scream, lock him up and throw away the key. We would acknowledge that the wife-beater and the pedophile struggle with these desires, and we would expect that they would not put themselves in an innocent appearing situation. Moreover, we would expect them through redemptive therapy by way of biblical counseling to get and maintain control over themselves.

What the Bible offers is reasonable, and it does not condone homophobic mindsets. The Bible expects those who have same-sex attraction to apply the same counsel, as those with intense opposite-sex attraction.

1 Corinthians 6:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.[39]

There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of men and women, who suffer from intense sexual attraction and addition. The Bible expects them to get control over their body, not give into temptation. The same is expected with those with same-sex attraction.

Also, Consider Sean McDowell | April 28, 2021 HAS “HOMOSEXUAL” ALWAYS BEEN IN THE BIBLE?



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[1] James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

[2] William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 613.

[3] James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

[4] William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 135.

[5] B. W. Winter, “Homosexual Terminology in 1 Corinthians 6:9: The Roman Context and the Greek Loan-word,” in A. N. S. Lane (ed.), Interpreting the Bible: Historical and Theological Studies in Honor of David F. Wright (Leicester, U.K.: Apollos, 1997), 275–90 (ch. 14).

[6] This law was passed by the tribune Scantinius c. 146 b.c. See S. Lilja, Homosexuality in Republican and Augustan Rome (Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 1982), 112–21.

[7] Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Romans to Philemon., vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 132–133.

OCD Oxford Classical Dictionary, edited by S. Hornblower and A. Spawforth, 3d ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996)

OCD Oxford Classical Dictionary, edited by S. Hornblower and A. Spawforth, 3d ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996)

OCD Oxford Classical Dictionary, edited by S. Hornblower and A. Spawforth, 3d ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996)

[8] David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 217–218.

[9] Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, vol. 18, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 188–189.

[10] Lit into the ages

[11] Or natural sexual relations; Lit natural use

[12] So C. Dodd 1932: 21–24; Hanson 1957: 69, 85; MacGregor 1960–61: 103–6; Byrne 1996: 68; Mounce (1995: 36) rightly critiques this view. Cf. Calvin (1960: 30), who incorrectly concludes that there is no emotion in God. This judgment implies that emotion is a sign of weakness.

[13] Andrews Note: Deism is belief in God based on reason rather than revelation and involving the view, which God has set the universe in motion but does not interfere with how it runs.

[14] After writing this sentence I came upon this observation from Chrysostom (Homilies on Romans 4 [on Rom. 1:26–27]), “But when God hath left one, then all things are turned upside down.”

[15] Miller (1996) argues that verse 26 refers to unnatural heterosexual practices, not homosexuality. The close parallel with verse 27 renders this claim unlikely. Moreover, the restriction of the criticism to women in verse 26 would be strange since men and women together (according to Miller) were guilty of unnatural sexual behavior. Why would Paul indict only the women if men and women conspired to commit sexual sin? Miller’s creative reading should be rejected because it suggests a much more difficult reading that would be less accessible to the Romans than the view that homosexuality is censured in both verses. Some commentators have attempted to explain why women are discussed before men, but no significance should be read from the order.

[16] BAGD A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, by W. Bauer, W. F. Arndt, F. W. Gingrich, and F. W. Danker, 2d ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979)

[17] TDNT Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, edited by G. Kittel and G. Friedrich; translated and edited by G. W. Bromiley, 10 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964–76)

[18] The use in 1 Cor. 11:14 is in the midst of a difficult passage. Paul’s intention in this text is likely to preserve created distinctions between men and women as well (Fee 1987: 491–530; Schreiner 1991a: 137).

[19] D. Martin (1995: 339–49) argues that Paul indicts homosexuality not because it is contrary to nature but because in Paul’s mind homosexual sexuality involves “inordinate desire,” just as, say, gluttony is the inordinate desire for food. Martin understands Paul to say that desire for same-sex relations is not contrary to nature; it is proscribed because it is inordinate or beyond nature. Martin does not provide, however, a detailed argument supporting his view of “nature.” I am still persuaded (as argued in the exegesis and exposition) that Paul appeals to the created order to justify his proscription. For Paul the very desire for homosexual relations is inordinate and beyond nature.

[20] Countryman (1988: 110–17) argues that Paul does not classify homosexual acts as “sinful” but as impure and unclean. This interpretation has been decisively countered by T. Schmidt (1995: 64–85), whose entire discussion is extraordinarily useful.

[21] So also T. Schmidt 1995; Soards 1995. In surveying the evidence Scroggs demonstrates that in Judaism homosexuality is consistently rejected (1983: 66–84), while in the Greco-Roman world (1983: 17–65) there was significant acceptance of homosexuality.

[22] Levi Testament of Levi

[23] In fact, Scroggs himself (1983:66–84) demonstrates that the Jews of Paul’s day were distinct from Greeks in that they consistently rejected homosexuality.

[24] For helpful surveys of the issue along with practical ministry suggestions see T. Schmidt 1995; J. Taylor 1995.

[25] Calvin (1960: 38) remarks, “A man who feels shame may still be healed; but when such a lack of shame has been acquired through the practice of sin, that vice, and not virtue, pleases us and has our approval, there is no more any hope of amendment.”

[26] Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans, vol. 6, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 92–100.

[27] The two Greek terms refer to passive men partners and active men partners in consensual homosexual acts

[28] men who are sexually active with members of his own sex.

[29] David F. Wright, ‘Homosexuals or Prostitutes? The Meaning of Arsenokoitai (1 Cor. 6:9 1 Tim. 1:10)’, Vigiliae Christianae 38 (1984): 125–53. Dale B. Martin criticizes the interpretation supported by Wright in ‘Arsenokoites and Malakos, Meaning and Consequences’, in Biblical Ethics and Homosexuality: Listening to Scripture, ed. Robert L. Brawley (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1996), 119–23, In turn Gagnon defends Wright’s view and exposes the weaknesses in Martin’s interpretation (Homosexual Practice, 312–36).

[30] Martin, ‘Arsenokoites and Malakos’, 119–23

[31] Scroggs, New Testament and Homosexuality, 118–21.

[32] Scroggs, New Testament and Homosexuality, 106–109.

[33] Martin, ‘Arsenokoites and Malakos’, 124–28.

[34] See, e.g., Stanton L. Jones & Mark A. Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2000); Jeffrey Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996); Schmidt. Straight and Narrow?, 131–59; Gagnon, Homosexual Practice, 396–432.

[35] John 1:12, 3:3, 5, 8.

[36] Rom. 6:6; Col. 3:9–10; Eph. 2:15; cf. Eph. 4:24.

[37] Rom. 8:10–11, 23; 1 Cor. 15:52–54; Eph. 1:14.

[38] Thomas R. Schreiner, “A New Testament Perspective on Homosexuality,” Themelios 31, no. 3 (2006): 70–75.

[39] Help is available for all who struggle with same sex attraction and those who struggle with intense opposite-sex attraction. http://www.aacc.net/

[40] Paul began his conclusion to this section with an abrupt command: Flee … immorality. It is likely that the apostle had in mind Joseph’s example of fleeing Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39:12). Paul instructed the young pastor Timothy in a similar way (2 Tim. 2:22). Rather than moderate resistance to immorality, Paul insisted on radical separation.

Paul’s radical advice rested on the uniqueness of sexual sin. In contrast with all other sins, immorality is against one’s own body. The meaning of these words is difficult to determine. Many sins, such as substance abuse, gluttony, and suicide, have detrimental effects on the body. Paul’s words do not refer to disease and/or other damage caused by sin. Instead, his words are linked to the preceding discussion of 6:12–17. There Paul established that Christians’ bodies are joined with Christ so that they become “members of Christ” (6:15) himself.

Sexual union with a prostitute violates one’s body by bringing it into a wrongful “one flesh” union, and by flaunting the mystical union with Christ (6:15). It is in this sense that sexual immorality is a unique sin against the body. It violates the most significant fact about believers’ physical existence: their bodies belong to Christ. – (Pratt Jr 2000, 101)

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