Chapter 1 What does the Bible teach about homosexuality and transgender people?

 

Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. Psalm 119:105 & II Timothy 3:16

This chapter may seem a bit tough on the LGBT community, but irrespective of this, those in these communities need to be loved. In accomplishing this, revealing God’s truth about what they are doing is a key part of expressing this love. Other parts include friendship, acceptance, grace, loving discipline, and forgiveness. These attributes will be discussed further in other chapters, which hopefully will give a complete picture of the love Christians are to have toward these individuals.

The following passages of Scripture, which claim to be inspired by God, reflect His view of homosexuality and all of its derivatives. These Scriptures may seem harsh, condemning, and even uncompassionate at times, yet each is necessary to get those struggling with these practices into His kingdom.

What specific passages mention or refer to homosexuality?

Nine key passages mention or refer to homosexuality. The most straightforward and validating are listed first. They appear in both the Old and New Testaments, five in the Old, and four in the New.

Passage 1-Leviticus 18:22-24

22 You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. 23 Also, you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion. 24 Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. 

Comment– In this Old Testament passage homosexuality is condemned and is specially called an abomination. In other words, it is something that is very shameful and loathsome to God and His design. It is mentioned alongside another revolting and forbidden act: intercourse with an animal.

Passage 2-Leviticus 20:13

If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them.

Comment– In this Old Testament passage homosexuality is a detestable act that was worthy of death in Israel. Even though such a punishment is no longer employed by Israel, or in most countries, it does not take away God’s condemnation of this sin.

Passage 3 I-Timothy 1:8-11

8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for the murderers 10and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

 Comment- This New Testament passage was written by Paul, the one whom God called upon to explain more about God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness than possibly any other writer of the Bible. By the end of his life and ministry, Paul had composed almost half the books in the New Testament. In this particular passage, he identified homosexuals as unholy and profane along with murderers, immoral men, kidnappers, liars, and perjurers.

Passage 4-I Corinthians 6:9-11

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [a forerunner to gender change], nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Comment- In this letter to the church in Corinth, Paul warns that those who commit homosexuality are unrighteous and unfit for the kingdom, as were fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, the effeminate, thieves, coveters, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers. Quite a list with which to be grouped, wouldn’t you say?

According to Paul, an unrepentant response or unbelieving heart in respect to a sin like this, or any other as far as that is concerned, would disqualify one from entering the kingdom of God. This means exclusion from salvation, exclusion from an abiding relationship with God, and exclusion from a heavenly reward.

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. Romans 2:5

Passage 5-Romans 1:20-32

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. 

Comment- Paul is very explicit here about homosexuality, showing the heart can spiral away from honoring God and His design. The foolish heart tries to reverse its own nature where men end up sexually attracted to men and women to women which is worthy of death.

As this passage closes, Paul again groups homosexuality with other detestable sins. This doesn’t mean those who claim to be gay commit all the other sins recorded here, but it does mean that homosexuality is no less sinful than the ones cited. These include reprobates, murderers, backbiters, covenant breakers, inventors of evil, haters of God, and being deceitful, insolent, malicious, covetous, disobedient, haughty, boastful, unmerciful, absent of natural affection, and full of envy.

Passage 6-Genesis 19:1; 4-7; 10-13; 24-25

1Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 4Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; 5and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.” 6But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, 7and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly.” 10But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway.” 12Then the two men said to Lot, “Whom else have you here? A son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city bring them out of the place; 13for we are about to destroy this place because their outcry has become so great before the Lord that the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” 24Then the Lord rained on Sodom, and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven, 25and He overthrew those cities, and the entire valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

Comment– This passage tells of an event in the Old Testament where men from every quadrant of the city of Sodom, young and old, showed up at Lot’s door one night demanding to have sex with the two men visiting him. The two visitors, though, were not men, but angels. They had come to rescue Lot and his family from impending doom. Sodom along with nearby Gomorrah was going to be destroyed because of their exceeding wickedness.

It cannot be ignored that homosexual lust and behavior in this account was highlighted as perhaps one of the greatest of sins in Sodom. So, God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of their many sins, including the sin of homosexuality.

Passage 7-Judges 19:22-23

22While they were celebrating, behold, the men of the city, certain worthless fellows, surrounded the house, pounding the door; and they spoke to the owner of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came into your house that we may have relations with him.” 23Then the man, the owner of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my fellows, please do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not commit this act of folly.”

Comment- In this passage, homosexuality was deemed wicked and an act of folly. Because it was not dealt with according to Leviticus 18 and 20, one event led to another which in turn led to the tribe of Benjamin being all but wiped out by the rest of Israel. The resulting event, however, is not the point; the point is that homosexuality was identified as wicked and full of folly.

Passage 8-Jude 6-7

6And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, He (God) kept them in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day, 7just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural (strange) desires, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (English Standard Version & RBK)

Comment– In respect to homosexuality, Jude recorded that the final judgment of the angels who had rebelled against God would be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. And, like Sodom and Gomorrah, the sin of these fallen angels involved unnatural sex. As previously stated, unnatural sex was deemed immoral and associated with being wicked and rebellious. (See Romans 1:26-27 above.)

What specific passages allude to gender change?

Along with Deuteronomy 22:5, I Corinthians 6:9 plays a complementary role in explaining the development of gender change through the Scriptures. I Corinthians 6:9 has already been referred to in passage 4, which brought out another condemning point about homosexuality.

Deuteronomy 22:5

A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God. [Forerunner to gender change]

I Corinthians 6:9

 9Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived…the effeminate… will not inherit the kingdom of God. [Forerunner to gender change] (RBK)

Comment– In the Deuteronomy passage, Israelites were condemned for deliberately dressing or acting opposite of the sex to which they were born. Such an act was an abomination to God because, in essence, it was like telling Him that He didn’t know what He was doing when creating a man to be a man or a woman, a woman. This was expressed in the Old Testament by cross-dressing, but, today, it has advanced to changing gender.

In the Corinthian passage, effeminacy is also condemned, because it carries with it the same idea of striving to be or act like the opposite sex. This is why it is a forerunner to changing gender in today’society because it rejects the sexual identity given to each of us by God at birth.

Effeminacy typically refers to a boy or man purposely acting or speaking like a woman, but the same could be applied to a woman trying to be like a man. The key, in either case, is the intent. If there is no intent or desire to be the opposite gender, then there is no reason to be overly concerned about one’s level of feminine or masculine characteristics.

Last Thoughts

The great importance and role Scripture plays in this book with the issues of homosexuality and gender change, can be seen in the following quote by Priscilla Howe:

The Bible is a book that contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the fate of sinners, and the joy promised to all believers. Its doctrines are right, precepts binding, histories true, and decisions irrefutable. The Scriptures contain the light needed to direct our paths and the spiritual food to support, comfort and cheer our hearts. It is a traveler’s map, a pilgrim’s staff, a soldier’s sword, and a Christian’s charter. In it paradise is revealed, heaven opened up, and the realities of loss and hell disclosed. Christ is its grand focus, and our salvation is one of its most important aims. The Scriptures can fill our minds with truth, rule our hearts, and guide our steps. 1

The Bible is God’s inspired and written Word on just about every subject in this life including homosexuality and gender change. Whether a man tries to be or act like a woman or a woman like a man, this very attempt says to God that He was mistaken when making some of us the way He did. God does not make any mistakes in His human design; it is we who make the mistake of trying to change or alter what He has done.