What Does the New Testament Say about Homosexuality?

How effective are Christian apologetics?There are two primary places in the New Testament where homosexuality is a condemned practice.

Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9–10).

We’ve been here before.

The early Christians weren’t Christian. They were Jews, and they followed the Scripture (what we call the Old Testament). As I noted in the last post on this subject, Leviticus categorizes homosexuality as a ritual abomination—that is, something that’s bad by definition, not by its nature. Leviticus puts gay sex in the same category as eating a ham sandwich or sowing a field with two different crops.

Christians have rejected all of the Old Testament’s ritual abominations (animal sacrifices, kosher laws, and so on), and they can’t now come back to retrieve a few that they’re nostalgic for.

We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine (1 Tim. 1:9–10).

Ritual abominations like homosexuality are mixed in this list with actual crimes such as murder. This tells us nothing new, so it isn’t much of an attack. As an aside, however, it may be worth wondering who wrote this book. Though its first line says that it’s from Paul, this book is widely considered to be pseudepigraphical. So we have a book of unknown authorship with a wide range of possible dates of authorship. Though it’s part of the canon, that doesn’t make it much of an authority.

If we’re to find moral advice in these two books, let’s look at a few other things they say.

Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church (1 Cor. 14:34–5).

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner (1 Tim. 2:11–14).

For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man (1 Cor. 11:8–9).

(Yeah, it’s about time we got some old-fashioned Bible values back in society! Let’s correct society’s lax approach toward women.)

Let me suggest another source of advice. Romans 14 recommends that we be flexible about others’ ways. If someone has more or fewer restriction about what he eats, for example, just let it slide. As Ambrose said, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Maybe this advice applies to homosexuality as well.

I’ve heard some Christians say that we should treat homosexuals with sympathy. This sounds like giving sympathy to those pathetic individuals cursed with left-handedness in society.

The Catholic Church held for over a thousand years that being left handed made you a servant of the Devil and that anything left-handed was evil. (Source)

Sympathy might have been the best response in a world that saw lefties as evil or demon possessed, but society has gone beyond that. Left-handedness is irrelevant; no one cares. We don’t give sympathy because none is necessary. Shouldn’t that be the goal with homosexuals, another of society’s minorities?

While I know this sympathy is meant as a generous sentiment, it doesn’t come across that way. “Hate the sin; love the sinner” may be as distasteful for the homosexual as “I love you, but you’re going to hell” aimed at the atheist. In either situation, being told that you deserve an eternity of torture in hell for living your life in a way that is honest to who you are and that hurts no one else is simply offensive.

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs delivers a much-needed smackdown to modern-day Pharisees and Levites. It makes clear that the moral of the parable of the Good Samaritan isn’t “help people in need.” First, a bit of background: the Pharisee and the Levite in the story were ritually clean as they walked past the beaten man lying in the dirt. They avoided him because touching blood or a dead person caused ritual uncleanness. But the Torah didn’t forbid touching such things; it simply stated that you were ritually unclean after doing so and had to cleanse yourself. The Secret Diary concludes: “Jesus, your big hero, was saying that if you have some rule or conventional wisdom that causes you to do harm to people, violate the goddamn rule.”

Jesus broke lots of rules—going postal on the money changers, harvesting grain and healing on the Sabbath. Remember “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”? The prohibition against homosexuality is another that the Christian needs to break.

You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image
when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
— Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

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  • Garry Butler

    I have accepted Jesus as my Savior and try to adhere to his teachings along with the rest of the New Testament.. It seems the writer of this article wants to compromise the scripture to fit what he wants.. The entire Bible speaks out against homosexuality.. even though the “word” had not been used at that time .. That is just the writer playing with words , he knows as well as anyone who has read the entire Bible that men lying with men and women lying with women is an abomination unto God… The same for mankind lying with animals which will soon be acceptable to the ungodly.. Marriage is described in the scripture as one man and one woman… Homosexuality was worthy of death in the Old Testament when God dealt directly with mankind before the birth, life and death of Christ .. Now forgiveness is offered up by Jesus with the command , ” I forgive you also now go and sin no more” We are witnessing the great falling away described in the scripture that will happen before the end of time… Where the obvious ” wrong ” will be considered right and the obvious “right ” will be considered wrong… I try to love everyone even though I strongly disagree with the sin itself….

    • No, it seems that you want to use the scripture as a sock puppet to make it say what you want.

      Search “homosexuality” in this blog and you’ll find several posts that critique the Bible passages and find very little biblical argument against homosexuality. You need to at least be presenting the Bible correctly.

      No, marriage is described in the Bible as one man and one or more women.

      • Anm

        God himself said a man shall leave his mother and father and cleave unto his wife and they two shall become one flesh. I think when two people are in live god sees the heart. But if there is fornication involved that is sin to god no matter whose committing it. Sin is sin in gods eyes. If we follow Jesus we leave the judging to the father.

        • 90Lew90

          Striking how God’s obsessions are very similar to our own. Sex, food, commerce, clothing. He’s got something to say about all those human things. And the god of horses goes, “Neigh-h-h-h!”

        • asmondius

          I don’t seem Him posting here about Christianity every day.

        • 90Lew90

          Maybe because he can’t? Any more than Zeus?

        • Egg

          If you don’t believe in God then the least you could do is stop disrespecting the God we believe in. You clearly don’t know what we believe, if you did you wouldn’t be trying to twist the nature of God because you would know that He wouldn’t have sacrificed Jesus to atone for the sins of the world (because the wages of sin is death) if He wasn’t full of perfect unconditional love. It just shows that your comments are by no means informed. Anyway man whether you believe in God or not, He still loves you unconditionally, wishing you all the best.

        • If you don’t believe in God then the least you could do is stop disrespecting the God we believe in.

          Model this for us. How do you treat Xenu, the intergalactic overlord of Scientology? How about Wicca—do you respect that as a perfectly reasonable way to view the world?

          You clearly don’t know what we believe

          Be a little clearer here. Tell us what Lew knows/doesn’t know about Christianity.

          you would know that He wouldn’t have sacrificed Jesus to atone for the sins of the world (because the wages of sin is death) if He wasn’t full of perfect unconditional love.

          (Wow. Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.)

        • hector_jones

          Stop disrespecting God. He can’t take it no more!

        • hector_jones

          If god loves me unconditionally whether I believe in him or not, then I guess I’m good. No one who loves me unconditionally whether I believe in him or not would ever let anything bad happen to me that he was capable of preventing, or send me to hell. It seems that the worst he does is send people like you around to give us the tongue lashing of unconditional love.

        • Gary Bucher

          He loves us, but he is going to torture those of us who don’t believe?? If that’s love I guess I’ve been doing it wrong for a long time.

        • You didn’t look up the posts on homosexuality, did you? The Bible very obviously does not speak with a unified voice on homosexuality. Gay Christians make the Bible sock puppet say what they want it to say, and you do the same. Conclusion: the Bible is no reliable source of truth.

        • John

          I will pray for you as the devil has a grip on you. The bible states very clearly, you are being defensive, and yes you are the one to switch the word to fit what your sinful heart wants, God loves you, and yes everything you do in life is a choice,

        • MNb

          How can something that doesn’t exist – the devil – have a grip on BobS? Btw the Bible also makes very clear that if they exist, your god is a much nastier guy than the devil.


          God’s love? Thanks, but no thanks.

        • hector_jones

          I’m sure the devil will let Bob loose thanks to your lovely prayers. While you’re at it, could you throw in a good word for me? My pinkie toe has been hurting lately and I think the devil might have a grip on it. Thanks.

        • Uh, that’s a nice thought, I guess. How do you know that it’s me who’s deluded?

        • Gary Bucher

          Yes he loves you sooooo much, that if you don’t love him back and believe in him he will torture you forever and ever. Damn why didn’t I think of that when I was raising my son, I’ll bet he would have turned out so much better had I just threatened him with torture of some form or another.

        • adam


        • asmondius

          Sodomy = death seems clear to me.
          And please don’t push that ‘sex is a ritual’ stone uphill once again.

        • Yes, lots of nutty stuff (that Christians reject today) is in the Bible, including death for some kinds of homosexuality (which Christians reject as well). I guess the Bible isn’t relevant in all that it says.

          I’ve discussed the Levitical prohibitions elsewhere, if that’s what you’re referring to.

        • The Old Colonel

          It sounds like you may not being doing it right. It’s not suppose to be fatal. I think you may need to read a book on it before trying it again. Have you tried KY Jelly?

      • asmondius

        One man and 50 women is strill not homosexuality Bob – what’s ypoir ppoint?

  • John

    Really? Have you ever heard of sin?

    • MNb

      If homosexuality is a sin your god s**ks. God’s love? Thanks, but no thanks.

  • 1stAfterburner

    This is written for spoiled children by a corrupted child. Like children,.they eat only what they like, but not what is also good for them.

    • Show the error in the post. All I hear from you is “Nuh uh!”

      • 1stAfterburner

        For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature (Rom. 1:26)

        Because they know in their seared subconscious (They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them. Rom. 2:15) that what they do is wrong, and in their conscious they feel it acutely to their core every time they see any straight person upholding heterosexual spiritual morals, just traditional values even though the vast majority of us do not demean, slam gays or even roll our eyes when the topic arises,..why?,..we are too dang busy being normal, they should try it sometime,..they might find it is a life style worth living!

        Wanting lingering garbage and the stink of it tossed out of your house does not make you trash-a-phobic,..just normal.

        • adam

          You know that the law is written on your heart…….

          But your conflicting thoughts even excuse you:

        • 1stAfterburner

          Conflicting thoughts? Nope,..just passing on God’s word,..You’re the one who seems to not be making a lot of sense there,.you seem to be full of confusion. However, as the Good Book says,..”Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.” Leviticus 18:23

          Now go and argue your case with Him,. He is the one both you and I are going to have to answer to. Jesus wraps His protective blood around me,..and will to you too, but only if we admit we have sinned and what is sin. Acting and even lusting for homosexuality without acknowledging it as sin and turning your back on it,.even it you fail and have to repeatedly repent, are clearly stated as non Christian in the New Testament as well. A Christian cannot be a real Christian and live this way and think there is no sin in it.

          Spiritual searing is the final result of intentionally creating and or believing such a tortured twisted absurd thesis to attempt to make the Bible state state what it does not When those who have eyes can clearly undestand what it states.

        • Quoting the Bible to an atheist? Smart!

        • adam

        • MNb

          “However, as the Good Book says”
          You only have shown that your Good Book is full of evil.

          “Now go and argue your case with Him.”
          I just tried. No dice. Nothing. Utter silence. I suppose because he is a product of your sick imagination.

        • adam

          So why pass on YOUR ‘gods’ ‘word’ when YOUR ‘god’ is very clear on stoning homosexuals to DEATH.

          Jesus wont protect you if you dont follow the ‘law’

        • Because they know in their seared subconscious

          I doubt it. You sure that you see gaiety as wicked? Or is it just disgusting? There’s a big difference.

          their conscious they feel it acutely to their core

          Not really. It’s people like you who tell them that they’re wrong. Why is your sexual passion OK but theirs is not when neither causes any harm?

          even though the vast majority of us do not demean, slam gays or even roll our eyes when the topic arises

          I like that attitude. You’re straight and they’re not. Not a problem. If it gives God the willies, that’s his problem.

          they should try it sometime,..they might find it is a life style worth living!

          And what do you say when they suggest that you follow your own advice? Walk a mile in the other man’s gay shoes—maybe you’ll like it.

          Wanting lingering garbage and the stink of it tossed out of your house does not make you trash-a-phobic,..just normal.

          You’re clearly a man who makes plain what he thinks. But let me offer food for thought. There are over 500 animals species in which homosexuality has been observed, but just one with homophobia. Which one seems abnormal now?

        • 1stAfterburner

          Your desperate diatribe reply has just proved my point,..your argument is ultimately not with me but God,..good luck with that.

        • So you’ve got nothing except threats?

          Yeah, your big brother sounds really scary. Thanks for the warning.

        • 1stAfterburner

          Why are you knocking at my door again?,..I already told you Who your real argument is with,.but yes, you are very correct, you should be scared: Hebrews 10:31

        • I reply to your comment in the (perhaps vain) hope that you will realize that bluster is no argument. You’ve got no argument, and that’s the currency here. We laugh at those who do the drive-bys, like you.

          You got an argument? Then give it. You don’t? Then go away and figure out the intellectual reason someone should adopt your worldview. And “Afterburner sez!” is no argument.

        • 1stAfterburner

          Your’e argument is with God.

          Bob, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

        • Yeah. I thought I could prod you into making a, y’know, argument for your position instead of just vacuously blustering about it.

          My bad.

        • MNb

          No good luck needed. Your god is imaginary. It’s bigot f**k-ups like you who manage to scare me.

        • CatoYounger

          Its seems more loving to get homosexuals out of a lifestyle that infects 1 in 10 of them with AIDS.

        • (1) What statistics are you using? Point to a reliable source to back that up.

          (2) You know that HIV is a sexually transmitted disease, not a gay disease, right? Look at the stats in Africa–it’s pretty evenly split between men and women.

          (3) If your point is that people need to practice safe sex, I agree. But in that case, your point was poorly worded. Maybe you should work on that for next time.

        • Greg G.

          If they could be open about their sexual preferences in a stable relationship, the more dangerous lifestyle of clandestine hookups would be reduced. It would be more loving just to be less hating.

        • MNb

          Yeah, I definitely would want stinky garbage like you out of my house. At the other hand I was very OK with living with my gay father and his partner for almost 7 years. They smelled good, unlike you.

          “they might find it is a life style worth living!”
          My father has been married to my mother for six years. The answer is no.

        • CatoYounger

          That’s fine, but the point is what does the BIble say. If you don’t like the Bible , or aren’t a Christian, that is one thing, but the Bible is very clear on homosexuality – as are most people throughout human history.

        • the Bible is very clear on homosexuality

          I doubt it. What passages are you referring to? The biblical case against homosexuality is pretty weak.

          And, as you note, what the Bible says is irrelevant if we’re thinking about public policy in the United States, where the First Amendment prohibits laws based on religion.

        • MNb

          Didn’t you get it the first time? Then fuck the Bible. Also fuck most people throughout human history.

  • amborghini

    Bob, you are probably very intelligent. You can to bend, twist, and falsify the Word of God and people might believe you because most people do not read the bible. A geyser of bible verses can gush from your mouth all day long demonstrating what atrocious people Christians are. But guess what? Christians, genuine Christians, already know that. They know what wretches they are. That is the difference between you and them. They know they are sinners in need of a savior. Do you? As far as homosexuality goes, it’s just like any other sexual sin including divorce, adultery, and fornication. For a Christian it’s all wrong. Just because President Obama changed his mind on gay marriage, or the majority of the entire world for that matter, does not mean God changed His. Christ said in the bible the world would change it’s mind about everything having to do with Him. But God did not, does not, will not, ever change mind His mind on anything and His Word will not change either. Remember that. Remember too that no matter what you write, say, think, or feel about Christians, you Bob, cannot change anyone’s mind on anything. Christ’s last words on the cross was “It is finished”. “It” is everything. Those who will accept Christ, those who will reject Christ, have already done so whether they know it yet or not.

  • @amborghini:

    You can to bend, twist, and falsify the Word of God and people might believe you because most people do not read the bible.

    But you do. So if I’ve got it wrong, make clear for us what the truth is.

    As far as homosexuality goes, it’s just like any other sexual sin including divorce, adultery, and fornication.

    How do you know it’s a sin? As I said, “Leviticus puts gay sex in the same category as eating a ham sandwich or sowing a field with two different crops.” Are the latter two sins? If not, don’t tell me that homosexuality is.

    Christ said in the bible the world would change it’s mind about everything having to do with Him.

    Can you imagine how furious Jesus must be? This is the Jesus who said, “until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” And now these “Christians” have decided to sift through the Law and reject the stuff they don’t like—eating shellfish, wearing mixed fabric. Wow—I wouldn’t want to be them!

    you Bob, cannot change anyone’s mind on anything.

    I’ll grant you that many Christians are pretty closed minded. Keep in mind, though, that Christians fall away by the thousands every day.