The Bible isn’t anti-gay and should not be read as such

Carly Matthews, Staff Writer

Anti-gay sentiments are founded on a severe lack of research needed to support these arguments. Christians denouncing homosexuality often use biblical passages for evidentiary support. While there are a handful of verses on homosexuality throughout the Bible, when looked at in context and analyzed more carefully, they do not actually condemn homosexuality.

In order to fully understand what the Bible is saying, readers must look not only at the context of the passages in the times that they were written, but also the original translations in the Greek and Hebrew in order to gain a more complete understanding of what the ancient authors actually meant. There are only around five verses that seem to directly condemn homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corintians 6:9-11, and 1 Timothy 1:8-10) and we will look at each one individually.

Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13 both say “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.” These two chapters discuss sins relating to sexual relations, and all of them have to do with either incest or beastiality, except this one. When looking at the Hebrew, the passage translates directly to “you shall not lie with another adult man as one lies with womankind.” The words “as one lies” as in this passage and in Leviticus 20 only appear one other place in the Bible; Genesis 49:9, when Rueben sleeps with his father’s wife, and should be understood to indicate an incestuous act. The context of this verse and the precise Hebrew language used actually translate this verse to say “you shall not sleep with male relations as you do with women.” This verse condemns incest, like all the other verses in the chapter. 

The passage in Romans 1:26-27 should start at verse 22, so that it is clear that the homosexuality that is being described is a direct result of idol worship depicted God as an animal. This form of idol worship connects with the cult of Isis in Rome, and Paul is describing the people in the cult, who “gave in” to their lustful idolatrous ways . This does not mean that homosexuality itself is evil, but rather engaging in idolatry and giving into lustful passions is to be condemned.

The last two passages (1 Timothy 1:8-10 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) are both vice lists, written to detail the ways in which people were sinning. Both use the words “arsenokoitai” and “malakoi” to describe homosexuality; these words describe male prostitution, a male owner sleeping with a male slave, a man sleeping with a young boy, or even rapists of people who are not able to defend themselves. None of these “forms” of homosexuality are the generally accepted definition when the term is used today. 

The Bible does not disapprove of homosexuality as it is viewed in modern terms. Two people in a monogamous and loving relationship are not sinning, even if they are the same gender. The Christian anti-gay movement is backed solely on misunderstanding biblical passages. When faced with the actual translations and context, you cannot use these verses to condemn modern homosexuality.