Can two people of the same sex live in committed, loving relationship with the blessing of God?
As we grapple with this question, we will look at two sets of Scriptures: those that affirm gay and lesbian people, and those that are traditionally used to condemn gay people.
Affirmation in Scripture
We discuss five passages of Scripture that affirm gay people and their relationships.
These stories, which the writers of the Bible included under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are amazingly gay-positive. Odds are, you have never heard about these passages and their meaning for sexual minorities. The truth of these texts threatens some of our society’s deepest prejudices, and their positive messages are usually ignored. It is our hope they will bring comfort and refreshment to many.
Are there really only six?
Given how often some Christians preach against homosexuality, you would think there must be hundreds of Scriptures on the subject. In fact, there are only six traditional (negative) passages, and none of them speaks to the situation of twenty-first century gay people who desire to live in loving relationships with the blessing of God. On this web site, we carefully walk through each of these passages and document what they do and don’t say.
Prejudice can influence how we read the Bible — An example from the recent past.
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, young Huck’s father is thought to be dead, and a woman named Widow Douglas takes him in. Widow Douglas is portrayed as a kindly Christian who takes care of Huck out of goodness, with no thought of reimbursement. The Widow Douglas tries to “civilize” Huck, teaching him Bible stories and urging him to live a good life and pray often. She is a loving woman who studies her Bible and wants to always do the right thing. She is also a slave owner.
Later in the story, Huck runs away and happens upon Jim, a slave belonging to Widow Douglas’s sister, Miss Watson. The sister had intended to sell Jim to a trader in New Orleans. So, fearing he would never see his wife and children again, Jim runs away. He plans to escape to freedom, make some money, and buy his wife and children out of slavery. Huck and Jim’s adventures as they travel together down the Mississippi make up the rest of the book.
At every turn, Huck finds himself feeling guilty for “stealing” Miss Watson’s “property.” He believes he will go to hell for helping Jim escape, and it is clear his Christian education under Widow Douglas is part of the reason he believes this. For all her kindness and goodness, Widow Douglas reads the Bible the same way most of her friends do. She believes slavery is an institution approved by God. She probably believes all African Americans are descended from Ham and the curse recorded in Genesis 9:25-27 demonstrates why they deserve slavery. She sees nothing wrong with buying and selling people because her interpretation of the Bible tells her this is the proper role of those of European descent. In short, she allows her prejudices to mold the way she reads the Bible.
This may seem like an extreme example. Only the most bigoted Christian would argue today that the Bible endorses slavery or that Genesis 9:25-27 is a curse against Africans. But Huck’s story illustrates how thoroughly we are creatures of our culture and how that culture can create prejudices that get in the way of what God wants to teach us.
The information on this site will challenge some of the deepest prejudices of our culture, prejudices that even gay people have often internalized. We will look at Scriptures that dispute some of our most deeply held beliefs, and we must be willing to let God move. In the end, our response will decide if our prejudices mold the Bible, or if we are willing to let the Bible mold us.
The good news at the end of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is that Miss Watson, who always felt guilty for almost selling Jim, freed him in her will. Perhaps she was able to read the Bible with a fresh perspective. Perhaps she listened to the tugging of God’s Spirit on her soul. Whatever the cause, she and Jim were both finally free.
As you read the pages of this web site, try to set aside any prejudices you may have about the subject. Listen to the Spirit of God speaking through these Scriptures. And perhaps you, like Miss Watson and Jim, will be freed.
The Greek word that the Roman centurion uses in this passage to describe the sick man – pais – is the same word used in ancient Greek to refer to a same-gender partner. Get more information.
The same Hebrew word that is used in Genesis 2:24 to describe how Adam felt about Eve (and how spouses are suppose to feel toward each other) is used in Ruth 1:14 to describe how Ruth felt about Naomi. Her feelings are celebrated, not condemned. And throughout Christian history, Ruth’s vow to Naomi has been used to illustrate the nature of the marriage covenant. These words are often read at Christian wedding ceremonies and used in sermons to illustrate the ideal love that spouses should have for one another. The fact that these words were originally spoken by one woman to another tells us a lot about how God feels about same-gender relationships. Get more information.
Here Jesus refers to “eunuchs who have been so from birth.” This terminology (“born eunuchs”) was used in the ancient world to refer to homosexual men. Jesus indicates that being a “born eunuch” is a gift from God. Get more information.
In the ancient world, eunuchs were widely associated with homosexuality. Here a self-avowed eunuch is welcomed in to the early church without any concerns about his sexual orientation. He was welcomed on the same basis as other people — his faith in Jesus Christ. Get more information.
At Jonathan’s funeral, David declares that he loved Jonathan more than any woman. This is just one of several Bible passages that describe and celebrate an intense love between these two men that went well beyond friendship. Get more information.
In these verses, Paul condemns idol worshippers and God haters. According to Paul, these “God haters” experiment with gay sex only as a way of seeking new thrills or in cultic worship. Clearly, he is not speaking about innately gay and lesbian people, who love God and want to honor God while living with integrity as who they are. Get more information.
The chapters that contain these verses are clearly identified as speaking against practices involved in cultic idol worship. The entire passages are generally accepted as not applying to modern Christian life. Get more information.
The Genesis 19 account of Sodom and Gomorrah is a story of attempted gang rape of two “outsiders.” It says nothing about loving gay relationships, and actually condemns the sort of violence sometimes done to gays and lesbians. Jude 7 talks about a first century Jewish legend that the women of Sodom had sex with male angels. Since it is about heterosexual sex between angels and humans, it clearly has nothing to do with gay relationships. Get more information.
The words often translated “effeminate” and “homosexual” in these passages are obscure and difficult to translate. The first word identifies someone who is morally weak, and has nothing to do with nellie gay men. The second word probably means “people who use power to obtain sex,” though the word is so rare that a confident translation is impossible. Neither word refers specifically to gay men or lesbians. Get more information.