What does the Bible say about homosexuality?
God has never been unenlightened, naïve, or intolerant.
Human sexuality is complex. It affects us physically, mentally and emotionally. After the fall, God gave us spiritual laws to ensure that sexuality could remain the blessing He intended it to be.
“God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.’ … Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one.” Genesis 1:27-28 and Genesis 2:24.
This relationship – between a man and a woman within a lifelong, faithful marriage – is repeated again and again throughout the Bible, and is the only sexual relationship sanctioned and blessed by God.
After the fall, however, people’s pure sexual instincts tainted by sin, and suddenly they were ashamed of their nakedness. (Genesis 3:7,10-11) Impure lusts were awakened, which would go on to plague their descendants throughout all the generations.
Lusts and sexual immorality
Our sex drive is not a sin. But sexual desires outside marriage between a man and a woman are what the Bible calls “lusts,” and giving in to them is sin. This includes premarital sex, extramarital sex, giving in to impure sexual thoughts, pornography – and practicing homosexuality. This is described in both the Old and the New Covenants. Some of these verses are listed at the end of this article.
God is the highest authority
Our personalities, inclinations, reactions, orientations, viewpoints, opinions etc. are complex. Some of these are hardwired in our genes, whereas others are influenced by our environment, circumstances, education, upbringing, and other factors.
Societies, cultures and norms are continuously changing and evolving, but God and His Word and the Spirit in the Word remain unchanged. When God specifically forbade homosexual activity and other sexual immorality, it wasn’t because He was unenlightened, naïve, or intolerant. The law was given because people had strayed from His original purpose and blessing. What was immoral by God’s standards then has not become moral today just because the majority tolerates and accepts it.
We are fortunate in this day and age that human rights and freedoms have been in focus, clamping down on oppression, abuse and injustice. Every person has the right to choose their own faith, outlook on life and way of life, and that must be respected. However, if we want to live as believing Christians, God’s Word cannot be ignored. The Bible gives us many promises, but also conditions, for a good and happy life. God is our Creator, and it is only His will, as expressed in the Bible, that is unchanging and perfect in time and eternity.
God will not let you be tempted beyond what you are able
All people meet trials and difficulties in life, both in their physical circumstances and in their spiritual life. Not living according to one’s innate homosexual orientation can require a huge sacrifice. But God blesses those who live wholly for Him. Nobody who has truly given up everything to serve God will regret it. He only wants the best for us.
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Even though God’s Word may appear radical, God also loves each sinner, no matter who they are, what their background is, or what they have done. (Romans 6:23) He loves each one of us more than we can comprehend. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who paid the price for our sins, and has shown us the way of escape.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.
“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” Romans 6:22. The battle may be hard, but it cannot be compared to the eternal, glorious life that God will give to those whose names are written in the Book of Life – those who have overcome. (Romans 8:18 and Revelation 3:5) There isn’t a sin that Jesus hasn’t died for; there isn’t a temptation that God cannot give us strength to overcome. He has reached out a hand – lay hold of it!
Sources/Bible verses regarding sexual immorality
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” Leviticus 18:22.
“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 homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28.
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18.
“Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Hebrews 13:4.
“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” Romans 1:20-32
You may also be interested in reading our theme page about relationships and sexuality, or in the selected articles below:
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.