What Does The Bible Say About Gays?

By lan Warner


When this conversation comes up, you always have to ask whether you would rather sit in a comfortable lie or deal with an uncomfortable truth. If you seek to know what the Bible says about gays and believe that God's word is accurate, you have to dig into scripture.

What makes this harder and harder is that culture rarely ever agrees with scripture. Jesus was perfect, and he came to save sinners, and what did culture do? Culture decided to kill him.

John 15: 18-19 says, "If the world hates you, know that it had hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own, but I chose you out of the world because you are not of the world. Therefore the world hates you."

The truth is that people hated Jesus, and if you follow him, people are going to hate you too. That is a reality, and with controversial topics like homosexuality, you see this more than ever.

The church has also mishandled this entire topic, and it has caused a lot of pain. We will also discuss this. 

What Culture Says About Gays vs What Does The Bible Say About Gays?

Culture says that everyone needs to be inclusive of all people, no matter what. Culture has created a hierarchy of sins similar to the legal system that we abide by. Things like murder and rape are unacceptable, but stealing and being an addict is not as bads so it's forgivable.

Our culture is hyper-sexualized. You see sex everywhere, like in movies, music, shows, and magazines. You get on social media and feel like the things that are most sexualized rise to the top.

The idea that sex is something that should be saved for marriage is scoffed at. People are encouraged to do what they want to do.

When it comes to gays specifically, culture says it does not matter who people love, and that love is love. God is love, so there should be no problem because God loves everyone.

God does not make mistakes, so who people choose to love or whatever gender they feel should be is fine. Culture says that you should let people be who they are and that you should never judge.

You have to ask yourself if you want to let culture dictate what you believe or the word of God.

The Truth Gets Twisted 

People like to leave out the part about his love being made manifest through God's work through Jesus Christ. Every single person on this planet has not loved someone before. That makes us all sinners, which means that we can't even know God unless we do it through Jesus. 

Love does not stem from us, but it flows from God, and because of what he did for us, we are urged to love others. This verse is not saying that God loves everyone and everything people do because God is nice. 

People Want to Do Their Own Thing

Romans 10: 2-3 says: "For I bear them witness, that they have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge. For being ignorant of the righteousness if God and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness." 

You have to understand how much rebellion against God is in our hearts. We often don't want to turn to what scripture says because we feel better than God. We seek to establish our righteousness. We want to say what is good or bad. 

When you meditate on this scripture, it should be of no surprise how homosexuality is seen as ok by so many people. People don't want to submit to the ways of God. Instead, we would rather find submit to our ideas. 

Only God Can Judge

Saying that only God can judge is problematic for a few simple reasons. The first problem is that God will judge, and his judgment is harsher than any person because God has a standard of perfection.

The wages of sin are death! If you know a brother is in sin, you should do everything you can to help them and get them to confess them and be right with God again. 

The second problem with people who use this is that it is often a way to get out of hard conversations. You could see someone living in heaps of sin daily and know that you should go and talk to them. Your excuse not to is because you don't want to come off as judging. 

What Does the Bible Says About Gays 

When we dig into what the Bible says, you have to understand a bit of context on how the human heart approaches rules. People naturally want to find workarounds or loopholes.

In the Old Testament, Moses was given the ten commandments. The ten commandments had to be broken down more and more until there were 613 laws.

Humans are always asking what does God mean by having no other Gods? What does God mean when he says, don't lie. A lot of understanding of the Bible's view regarding homosexuality takes knowledge that "You Shall Not Commit Adultery" casts a much wider net than many belief.

1 Tim 1:8-11

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

These laws line up perfectly with the 10 commandments after the God laws. 

10 Commandments

1 Timothy

Honor your father and mother

Strike their fathers and mothers

You shall not murder

Murders

You shall not commit adultery

sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality

You shall not steal 

Enslavers

You shall not bear false witness

Perjurers 

You shall not covet 

Anything contrary to sound doctrine

Paul is laying out what many of these things look like. But one thing you have to notice is how it says sexually immoral and then also mentions homosexuality. He was expanding on it what it means to be sexually immoral. The call to run away from homosexuality is clear. 

1 Corinthians 6 + 7

I'm not going to put the scripture here, but I strongly suggest that if you care about this topic, you give the entire chapter a read because it touches on both sexual immorality and then leads right into marriage principles in chapter 7. 

When speaking on sexual immorality, it breaks down what that means, further discussing adultery and homosexuality. The translation here is controversial for some, but we will get into that a bit later. 

It makes the call to freedom from sexual immorality because it's a sin against the own body, and that comes with substantial costs. Other crimes happen outside of the body, but as a Christian, you receive the Holy Spirit. That makes your body a temple, and sexual sin harms that temple. 

Could Homosexuality Be Translated Wrong?

The New Testament was originally written in Greek. Paul used the Greek word arsenokoitai. For reference, here is what Crossway.org had to say. 

Its a compound word that many believe he made up, and it means men who bed with other men. Paul is explicitly pulling this from Leviticus 18 and 20. 

Where this can be further complicated is in the fact that homosexuality was not even an English word until 1906. Whereas the first English Bible came to be in the 1400s. That is a lot of years where there was not a word to describe homosexuality in English. 

What Jesus Had to Say

Some make the argument that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. That is not true either, but you have to do some reading and work on your own to figure that out.

Matthew 5:17-19 says, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

What this means is that Jesus did not come to make the whole old testament obsolete. He came to fulfill that entire thing so that all of our sins are covered. You can't be too quick to get rid of Old Testament moral teachings like the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament. 

Where The Modern Church Has Done Gays Wrong

This article would not be fair or just if it didn't speak on some of the pain and harm caused to gay people because of the church. It's one thing to say that homosexuality is a sin, but the church has magnified this sin.

Sin is Sin 

Jesus came and died for sin, which includes the sin of homosexuality in the same way that those who fornicate before marriage can still be saved. We all have a massive list of sins piled up under our names. The more we look at the sin in the face, the better we understand our need for Jesus.(1 John 1: 8-10)

Christians have hurt gays because the church has put a spotlight on this sin. It's always been pitted as the church vs. gays. But we would never say the church vs. divorced people and treat them how many gays have been treated.

All sin is disgusting to God. From the smallest lie to murder, but it's all seen the same to God. Even just one sin is enough to separate us from God. His standard is absolute perfection, and we can't meet that. Some may think that the small lies they tell do not require a savior, but they need to be covered just as much as murder. 

James 2: 10 says: " For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty. 11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law."

To Understand what the Bible Says About Gays You Must Separate Homosexual Acts vs. Feelings 

The other thing that the church has gotten wrong is condemning people who even confess they have feelings towards the same sex but have not acted on them.

This is no different from a man who says he has lusted for a woman but never took action. In Matthew 5, Jesus calls this out as sin, but nonetheless the church shows partiality. 

People need to confess all of their sins, lay them down at the cross, and still be accepted. We are all broken people and sending people off to exile because they sin differently will never make sense. 

The church needs to be a place for all to come as they are. We need to trust in the transforming work of Jesus Christ.

How Does One Turn Away from Sin? 

How does this look for the Christian? If being gay is a sin, then one must turn away from sin, but how? 

Romans 6 - 8 

It would help if you read the whole book of Romans but chapters explicitly 6-8. They paint a beautiful picture for all Christians on our response to sin.

Chapter 6 - is saying that you should be dead to sin and alive to God. The goal is not to continue living in sin because you know you're covered by grace.

When we accept Jesus into our hearts, we die with him on the cross, and we get to be raised new in him. We have been set free from sin and the things that used to bring us shame. 

Chapter 7 - Sets up a struggle that we face. The more you dive into the word and see what God desires for us, the more our rebellious hearts want to turn and seek our ways. We end up with a desire to do what is right and the inability to carry it out. 

Chapter 8 - Introduces the magnificent gift of the Holy Spirit. The reality is that we can't turn away from sin on our own. The Christian faith is built on the principle of being dependant. The world loves independence and proving you don't need anyone. Christianity says you don't NEED anything but Jesus. 

Romans 8: 5-8 says, " For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God."

The Christian can walk through this life like Jesus ONLY by leaning in on the Holy Spirit. If we try and do things our way, we will fail! The same scripture applies to anyone trying to turn away from any form of sexual immorality.

The Goal is Not Marriage

Culturally the one thing that is often messed up by our cultural views is that the point of life is to get married and have kids. Too many Christ-followers are made to believe that being married is better than being single, but the text does not say this.

Marriage is just a blessing from God because sexual sin's temptation is so high (1 Cor: 7). When a man and a woman get married, they grant each other their conjugal rights.

Our culture acts as if marriage or maybe even having a wedding is the goal in life. We put so much emphasis on the wedding and not enough on the marriage. We focused on having sex and giving birth but not enough to raise God's children.

Ephesians 5 talks about how husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church. Husbands should sanctify their wives. In this text, it's explaining how Christ's relationship to the church is reflected in marriage. But marriage still is about Christ and not our lovey-dovey feelings or finding a soulmate.

If marriage is not the point, then what is?

The Goal is to Serve Jesus Christ 

That is it! Keep this simple; we are made to Glorify God. To make sure more people know who he is and just how good he is to us. Our job is to go and make disciples of all nations and baptize them in the name of Jesus Christ. 

lan Warner

About the author

Ian Warner is a believer, husband, and father of three. He grew up running track in Toronto before earning a scholarship to Iowa State University. At Iowa State, he became an All-American and made the 2012 Olympic team. He currently helps people to build better habits and follow Jesus Christ.

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