Exegetical Thoughts on Homosexuality

This article will be in the relationship between the sexual orientation and act of homosexuality and that of the Bible. This will not fully encompass the Psychological views that AppliedTruth holds but rather the context of the Bible and what it teaches. 

This is always a hot-button issue for many people as they perceive that they are the judge and that we are able to decide what is morally right as if we are the moral law giver of the universe. That's just right off the bat, epistemologically, wrong. God is the law-giver, judge and performer of justice in this universe. Equality only happens if there is a supreme justice in God. 

The first reference to homosexuality in the Bible is found in Genesis 19. In this passage, Lot entertains two angels who come to the city to investigate its sins. Before they go to bed, all the men (from every part of the city of Sodom) surround the house and order him to bring out the men so that "we may know them." Hebrew word for "know" meant that the men of the city wanted to have sex with the visitors. "Know" in ANE context to people meant "intimate relationship". Therefore, any ideology that states that commentators misunderstand the reference here, will have to climb a massive tree in order to solve the linguistics. 

Now we will look at the Mosaic Law. Two passages in Leviticus call homosexuality an abomination. Leviticus 18:22 says, "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a women; that is detestable." Leviticus 20:13 says, "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable." The word for "abomination" is used five times in Leviticus 18 and is a strong term of disapproval, implying that something is abhorrent to God. Biblical commentators see these verses as an expansion of the seventh commandment. Though not an exhaustive list of sexual sins, they are representative of the common sinful practices of nations surrounding Israel.

Three key New Testament passages concerning homosexuality are: Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10. Of the three, the most significant is Romans 1because it deals with homosexuality within the larger cultural context.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Here the Apostle Paul sets the Gentile world's guilt before a holy God and focuses on the arrogance and lust of the Hellenistic world. He says they have turned away from a true worship of God so that "God gave them over to shameful lusts." Rather than follow God's instruction in their lives, they "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Rom. 1:18) and follow passions that dishonor God.

Another New Testament passage dealing with homosexuality is 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. " Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." Pro- homosexual commentators make use of the "abuse" argument and point out that Paul is only singling out homosexual offenders. In other words, they argue that the Apostle Paul is condemning homosexual abuse rather than responsible homosexual behavior. In essence, these commentators are suggesting that Paul is calling for temperance rather than abstinence. While this could be a reasonable interpretation for drinking wine (don't be a drunkard), it hardly applies to other sins listed in 1 Corinthians 6 or 1 Timothy 1. Is Paul calling for responsible adultery or responsible prostitution? Is there such a thing as moral theft and swindling? Obviously the argument breaks down. Scripture never condones sex outside of marriage (premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexual sex). God created man and woman for the institution of marriage (Gen. 2:24). Homosexuality is a violation of the creation order, and God clearly condemns it as unnatural and specifically against His ordained order. As we have seen in the discussion thus far, there are passages in both the Old Testament and the New Testament which condemn homosexuality.

The unrighteous, αδικοι, those who act contrary to right, cannot inherit, for the inheritance is by right. He who is not a child of God has no right to the family inheritance, for that inheritance is for the children. If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ,  Romans 8:17. There are here ten classes of transgressors which the apostle excludes from the kingdom of God; and any man who is guilty of any one of the evils mentioned above is thereby excluded from this kingdom, whether it imply the Church of Christ here below, or the state of glory hereafter. Several of the evils here enumerated will not bear to be particularly explained; they are, however, sufficiently plain of themselves, and show us what abominations were commonly practiced among the Corinthians.

The list is exetensive on purpose. They were in danger of being deceived. There, of course, is a counter list:

(1) That they were in danger of being deceived: (a)Their own hearts might have deceived them. (b)They might be deceived by their false opinions on these subjects. (c)They might be in danger of being deceived by their leaders, who perhaps held the opinion that some of the persons who practiced these things could be saved.

(2) it implies, that there was “no necessity” of their being deceived. They might know the truth. They might easily understand these matters. It might be plain to them that those who indulged in these things could not be saved.

(3) it implies that it was of high importance that they should not be deceived. For: (a)The soul is of infinite value. (b)To lose heaven - to be disappointed in regard to that, will be a tremendous loss.

Now, here is the KEY point to this entire article and what I believe is the entire argument. Homosexuality is another sin in the long line of fallen human sins. God designs us one way, we proceed to do it another way. Galatians 5:17 tells us that our inward flesh craves what is contrary to The Spirit of God. Therefore, that puts every single human in the exact same boat. We all fight contrary to the Spirit at times. Our inner flesh and the Spirit are at war with each other. 

We are all fighting a war with our flesh whether it be listed above in 1 Corinthians or in another scripture. In light of this, we should not ostracize the homosexuals that desperately seek God. This, like any other sin, when done with persistence is seen as Apostasy, but on the turn, if lived in the life of a repentant and confessional sinner, it is forgiven and washed by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. 

Often Christians believe that Homosexuality is somehow the unforgivable sin. When in fact, that is not the case. Scripture says, "what can separate us from the love of God?" and in this scripture, we see the life of a repentant, confessional believer who seeks the will of God above their own. Therefore, one who is actively seeking to battle their fleshly desires and repent of them, while putting trust in Christ, may be saved. This implies that a person can live with the fleshly desire of homosexuality (as well as drunkards, thiefs, etc) but refuse it for the Glory of God and be saved. 

In summary, 
Do not ostracize homosexuals. 
Do not practice ANY sin. 
We are ALL at war with flesh. 
We ALL need Jesus. 
We ALL need to Repent. 

 

Exegetical Note:  [See this sentiment illustrated in the notes at  Romans 7:15-19. The expression “cannot do” is stronger by far than the original, and it is doubted whether the original will bear this interpretation. The literal translation would be, “Lest what ye will, those things ye should do” ( ἵνα μὴ ὥ ἄν θέλητε , ταῦτα ποιῆτε). It is rendered by Doddridge, “So that ye do not the things that ye would.” By Locke, “You do not the things that you propose to yourselves;” and Locke remarks on the passage, “Ours is the only translation that I knew which renders it cannot.” The Vulgate and the Syriac give a literal translation of the Greek, “So that you do not what you would.” This is undoubtedly the true rendering; and, in the original, there is no declaration about the possibility or the impossibility, the ability or the inability to do these things.

It is simply a statement of a fact, as it is in  Romans 7:15,  Romans 7:19. That statement is, that in the mind of a renewed man there is a contrariety in the two influences which bear on his soul - the Spirit of God inclining him in one direction, and the lusts of the flesh in another; that one of these influences is so great as in fact to restrain and control the mind, and prevent its doing what it would otherwise do; that when there is an inclination in one direction, there is a controlling and overpowering influence in another, producing a conflict, which prevents it, and which finally checks and restrains the mind.]

Resources/Cites

Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Corinthians 6:9". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-corinthians-6.html. 1832.

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