How Might We Better Understand Some Challenging Bible Verses? Understanding the Six Most Often Referenced Passages

Let's look in detail at the six Scriptural passages most frequently used to discriminate against LGBTQ Christians. 

The Bible Verses

Let’s look at Scripture passages directly referring to same-sex behavior in order to determine what these verses might have to say. It's important to take into account the historical, social, and religious lenses of the times in which they were written, then investigate how they have been understood in the past, and finally, consider what the passages mean for us today.

For a more detailed study of the passages, I recommend:

Dr. James V. Brownson's Bible, Gender, Sexuality and Matthew Vines' God and the Gay Christian.

There are six biblical passages referring to same-sex behavior.
Three are in the Old Testament—Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13—and three are in the New Testament—Romans 1:26-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:10.

Doubtless, all six passages of Scripture depict negative views of males having sex with males, but can these verses be used as blanket condemnations of all forms of homosexuality, even long-term, monogamous relationships between equal-status partners? In order to answer that question, it’s vital to understand what those referred to by the passages as engaging in same-sex behavior were doing and under what circumstances. Awareness of that context may inform our application of the texts to modern-day questions of moral and sexual ethics.

In 1946, the creators of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of the Bible were the first put the word homosexual in the Bible.
They combined and translated two Greek words associated with and abusive form of same-sex behavior as “homosexual.” Some may argue that though prior translators and even those who wrote the original texts may not have known the word “homosexual,” they used the language they did have to convey the concept of homosexuality.

In 1971, the word "homosexual" or "homosexuality" was added in five more places in the Bible in The Living Bible Translation.
In original context, what do the word or phrases that were translated as homosexual/homosexuality mean? A discussion of each of those passages can be found by clicking on the corresponding box.

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