CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

‘But “Homosexuality” is Not in the Bible!’

Jun 14, 2019

As soon as Adam and Eve disobeyed God, the excuse-making began. And it has been that way ever since. Sinners who love their sin will do everything they can to try to convince themselves and others that their sin is not actually sinful.

Every lousy trick in the book is pulled out to justify, excuse and sanitise sin. The Devil is a specialist in all this, and he is a seasoned expert in deceiving millions of people. Indeed, consider the very first recorded words of Satan found in Scripture: “Did God really say…?” (Genesis 3:1).

That has ever been his strategy: getting folks to question God and his word. We see this perfectly illustrated when it comes to the issue of homosexuality. The Bible is 100 per cent clear that this is sin – end of story. But every idiotic and deceptive attempt has been made to try to convince us otherwise.

One of the most sophomoric and just plain laughable attempts is when the pro-gay activist tries to tell you that the word ‘homosexual’ is not really in the Bible. The sheer stupidity and full-on Scripture-twisting found here should be evident to anyone with half a brain.

Of course we fully expect Christophobes, atheists, secular humanists, and homosexual activists to push this sort of nonsense. But what we DON’T expect is when people who claim to be Christians do the very same thing. Whether completely brainless or just plain satanically deceived, I have heard this one being whipped out by those who pretend to be Christians far too often.

As just one example, consider this discussion from a few years ago on the social media. It was a debate I saw between a sin-defender, or Theological Revisionist (TR), and or God-defender, or Biblical Christian (BC):

TR “God’s love includes everyone. There are no passages in the Bible for us that forbid homosexuality. The ones we were TOLD were about it are taken out of historical context and biblical context.”

BC The word homosexual is not in the bible, but clearly the forbidding of the act! The act of two of the opposite sex sleeping together! This is what the world termed homosexual activity. So the word the world gave won’t be in the bible, but the abominable act is! Gods holy marriage is between a man and women! Holy covenant

TR If you believe the Americanized, western versions of the scripture, yes it says that. If you go beyond the false interpretation’s since the days of Luther and Calvin and King James version of the Bible, it unearths a completely wide open spectrum that God does not judge like we assume he does. You know how culture wars because of these false assumption. I urge you to watch the presentation on Wednesday. Strongly so in fact

BC No even today God forbids it! His word never changes! He is the same yesterday! Today! And forever! I bless you to see His truth! It’s in the New Testament where they were handed over to their sinful desires? Anyway we will have to agree to disagree.

TR How can his word forbid it when it was never in the bible to begin with??

Oh dear. There are so many just plain ludicrous and irrational things being said here by the TR that one hardly knows where to begin. And it could also be pointed out that the BC might have said or argued things a tad better, but at least he was seeking to stay true to Scripture.

Let me cut to the quick here however and do so by mentioning two ‘A’ words. The first is ‘apostate’. That has to do with someone who claims to have known and walked with God but later rejects and repudiates God and the clear teachings of Scripture. They have renounced the faith in other words. We have a good example of this going on here.

But the other word is ‘anachronism’. If it is a new term for you, it may be time for Christians to add it to their vocabulary. One dictionary gives us the following definition of anachronism:

1: an error in chronology; especially: a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other
2: a person or a thing that is chronologically out of place; especially: one from a former age that is incongruous in the present
3: the state or condition of being chronologically out of place

So what is my point? Simply this: Of course the word “homosexuality” is not found in the Bible – or at least in older, non-English Bibles. And that for the very simple reason that this English term did not appear until the early 1890s. So obviously no one used it before then – whether in a Bible or anywhere else!

More specifically, it seems the “first known appearance of the term homosexual in print is found in an 1869 German pamphlet. . . . The first known use of homosexual in English is in Charles Gilbert Chaddock’s 1892 translation of Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis, a study on sexual practices.”
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminology_of_homosexuality

And since a new word takes quite a while to circulate and filter throughout the rest of society, it is not surprising to find that the English term “homosexual” did not appear in an English Bible translation until 1946. But plenty of other perfectly good terms were used in English translations prior to that time.

The bottom line is this: it is pretty hard to find a particular word in older literature if it is in fact a somewhat recently invented word! So of course we will not find it in earlier Bibles – or any other literature. So these theological revisionists are simply clueless wonders here – or deliberately deceptive and disingenuous.

Now some of this can be due to the fact that most folks – including most Christians – do not know ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. They simply rely on modern translations in their own languages, and are rather ignorant about how languages and translations work.

While this is not the place to get into a major discussion of translation theory, textual criticism, and related matters, let me make a few brief points. First, most modern English-language translations are quite reliable and quite helpful in giving us the Word of God, especially for those with no knowledge of the original languages.

Sure, some translations might be a bit better than others, but that is another matter. See here for more detail on this and similar issues: billmuehlenberg.com/2011/06/23/on-bible-versions-and-translations-part-one/

Second, the English word “homosexuality” does now exist, and it can be an acceptable word to use to get the sense of what we find Scripture talking about. The Hebrew and Greek words that are used are quite clear and straightforward. Passages like Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1:26-27 leave us in no doubt as to what is being discussed – and condemned.

I have very carefully discussed the biblical passages and terms in my 2011 book Strained Relations. I urge you to pull it off your shelves and give it a read. Or buy it and then read it! But let me share just a short portion of that book here. On pages 209-211 I consider just one of these passages, 1 Timothy 1:9-10, which says:

“We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers – and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine”.

I wrote this, in part:

The term rendered by the NIV as ‘perverts’ is arsenokoitai, which, as we have already seen, means males who take other males to bed. As scholars point out, it is a rare word. It “does not appear to have existed before the time of Paul”.

After examining some contemporary Greek and Roman usages of the term, New Testament scholar Ben Witherington says this: “This word literally and graphically refers to a male copulator, a man who has intercourse with another man.”

The compound word is made of two terms, arsenos (= male) and koitain (= sleep with, lie in bed, have sexual relations with, from which we get the word coitus, ie., intercourse). ‘Male bedders’ would be a literal, if somewhat wooden, translation. Sex between men, or homosexuality, is clearly in view here.

Both of these two terms come directly from the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) version of the two Leviticus passages. Lev. 18:22 contains both terms, as does 20:13. So Paul clearly has the Holiness Code in view when he used this term. Scholars such as David Wright in fact believe that Paul coined this term from the two Leviticus texts.

The term clearly covers all aspects of homosexuality, not just some. As George Knight comments, the “word does not refer, as some writers have alleged, only to sex with young boys or to male homosexual prostitutes, but simply to homosexuality itself (so Paul explicitly in Rom. 1:26, 27).” Or as Quinn and Wacker argue, “the arsenokoitai are … understood to be all homosexuals, active or passive, old or young”.

One leading expert on the Pastorals, Philip Towner, says this about the term in question: “It denotes, unequivocally, the activity of male homosexuality, and the view of this practice adopted in this text corresponds to that of Paul elsewhere (Rom. 1:27).”

The simple truth is this: there are all sorts of terms found in modern English (and other language) translations of the Bible that never appeared earlier for the simple reason that they did not exist until rather recently. Paraphrases especially can make use of contemporary words, phrases and terminology to convey ancient truths.

But this need not diminish the truth of the original texts of course. It simply is about giving old Biblical passages new relevance or clarity by using more modern terms to help give the sense. So the issue is not what a contemporary English term says or when it was first coined or used.

The issue is: What do the original languages of the Bible say? What does the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament in fact say? That is the real issue here. And the various passages in question all quite clearly refer to what we today refer to as homosexual acts.

To say the Bible says nothing about homosexuality in terms of the older original languages is as dumb as saying that the Bible says nothing about computer porn, D&X abortions, puberty blockers, or human cloning. Since it is silent on such matters, then clearly these activities are just fine then, right? Duh.

In sum, to foolishly and ignorantly claim that the English term “homosexuality” is not found in any Bible until recently is not only being utterly anachronistic, but is being deliberately deceptive when it comes to the Biblical text. The Bible from start to finish condemns homosexuality while affirming the only divinely-mandated form of human sexuality: the one man, one woman marriage union.

[1850 words]

23 Responses to ‘But “Homosexuality” is Not in the Bible!’

  • Thank you, Bill, for another insightful article. One excuse many homosexuals use is “I was born this way” or even “God made me this way, so how can it be wrong?” The other day an openly gay man on television praised God for giving him his “husband” and same-sex soul mate. Well, God is not the Promoter of evil!

    Another way liberal theologians get around the idea of homosexuality being condemned in the Bible is to say Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of a lack of hospitality when the angels appeared and that was why God destroyed them with fire and brimstone. What a way to pervert the Biblical account of what really happened! I do look forward to reading everything else you have to say on the subject of homosexuality and what the Bible says about it.

  • Thanks Sheila. I discuss those matters you mention in great detail of course in Strained Relations.

    I also speak to this in many of my articles here. These are just a few of them:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2010/06/28/more-theological-revisionism/

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2004/11/01/responding-to-the-theological-revisionists/

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2017/08/16/the-sin-of-sodom/

  • Shiela, Even if they were “born that way” they need to be “born again”.

  • There is no point arguing over the interpretation of Greeks or Hebrews etc…
    When a person has a desire to find an interpretation that fits their heart they will find it in whichever way, in any Bible.

    If we study the Bible with a pure heart and seek the truth, accepting that the truth will cut us, then the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth no matter which Bible we read – Greeks or Latin or Hebrews.

    The Bible clearly forbids same sex acts as described in Romans 1:24-27.
    God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 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. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 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.

    I don’t believe we should argue over whether the “t” are crossed or if the “i” are dotted, that job belongs to the Accuser.

    The approach to God’s words is first obey, then He will give us understanding.

    Had Eve just opbey God and not seek her desire then sin would not have come into the world.

    Yes, the fruit is beautiful, it gives knowledge and open our eyes. It good to eat too. But God said not to eat then we simply don’t eat. Simple!
    If we start to analyse His words and start looking at this angle and that angle, we will fall like Eve because Satan is a good lawyer.

    Similarly, with the argument for women preachers or leaders.
    Yes, there are women who brings people to Christ, who done amazing things, but the Bible forbids women to teach or exercise authority over man.

    Of course, supporters would analyse the words, the timeline etc… and argue their point even when the Bible provides a reason, they still look for an interpretation that will fit their heart.

    For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, [i]fell into transgression. – 1 Timothy 2:13-14

    I say, those who have that kind approach towards God’s words – You win!

  • Thanks Tay. Yes I am mostly with you, but I would take things a bit further.

    -Is a humble teachable spirit vital to receiving aright God’s word?
    -Is a willingness to obey God’s word crucial to properly understanding it?
    -Is a deep reliance and dependence upon the Holy Spirit imperative here?
    Yes to all three of course.

    But it does not end there. If that were all we needed, then the place for careful study, the place for teachers, and the place for further biblical training would all be a waste of time. But they are not. The Word is not always crystal clear, and very real differences as to how we understand parts of it occur all the time. So there is a place for the teachers that Christ has given to the body, for careful study – including the biblical languages – and for using helpful Bible study tools, such as commentaries, concordances, biblical atlases and Bible dictionaries.

    It would be amiss to say we much choose either one or the other. Both are necessary. But I speak to this in greater detail in these articles:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2006/09/26/in-defence-of-theology/

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2014/07/31/yes-theology-matters-and-so-does-the-mind/

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2017/10/24/on-theological-education/

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2017/04/01/perilous-pitfalls-unteachable-spirit/

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2017/06/22/ten-theses-theology/

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2018/03/18/divine-or-human-teachers/

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2019/01/26/holy-spirit-only-christians/

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2019/01/28/difficult-bible-passages-1-john-227/

  • Thank you Bill for these insights.

  • Regarding the ‘born that way’ and praising God for a particular soulmate points. Can practicing paedophiles not make exactly the same points? If they are born that way what ground do homosexuals have to reject their orientation and right to equality? Christians of course can easily oppose the lifestyle, but the grounds they rely on are the same ones rejected by the LGBT crowd. Thus LGBTists deny Christians the ability\right to oppose paedophilia claiming such efforts constitute bigotry, discrimination etc, yet insist there is some special difference between their choice of lifestyle and paedophilia. Frankly their position seems illogical, inconsistent, and ultimately based on privileging their personal choices above all else.

  • Hi Bill,

    Thank you for reminding us again the importance of study the whole word of God…

    While the bible doesn’t mention the word, ”homosexual” scripture gives us clear understanding what God’s will on the subject, and that’s all that matters!

    We now entertain ”post-truth” and all kind of LBGTXYQZX, shortly running out of the letters in the alphabet!
    But then we can just start another one, that wasn’t mentioned in pre-history!
    Here are some sobering words of truth…

    In Genesis, God declares His purpose for Adam and Eve, that they
    unite together in marriage and “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis
    1:28).
    Stanton also notes that God designed this marriage union to
    be permanent, committed, exclusive and self-giving.3
    It is a complete
    union—emotional, spiritual and physical—with the possibility of
    producing new life (Genesis 2:23-24).

    C.S. Lewis writes of the marital union:
    The Christian idea of marriage is based on Christ’s words that a
    man and wife are to be regarded as a single organism—for that is
    what the words “one flesh” would be in modern English. And the
    Christians believe that when He said this He was not expressing a
    sentiment but stating a fact—just as one is stating a fact when one
    says that a lock and its key are one mechanism, or that a violin
    and a bow is one musical instrument. The inventor of the human
    machine was telling us that its two halves, the male and the female,
    were made to be combined together in pairs, not simply on a
    sexual level, but totally combined.

    Let’s not forget we’re all sinners, but for God’s amazing grace,
    He’s throwing ALL people a LIFELINE!

    Cheers & blessings

    Eric Hansen

  • Thanks Eric. Folks likely would appreciate the source of your quotes, so I did a quick search. They seem to come from here:

    https://studylib.net/doc/8361992/what-does-the-bible-say-about-homosexuality%3F

  • Homosexuality corrupts God’s creation. Men, Women, Marriage are all fluid concepts.

    More corruption. Consider the rainbow: https://www.biblestudytools.com/genesis/passage/?q=genesis+9:13-16
    (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet)

    Consider the symbol for Australia’s national capital Canberra:
    https://aidsaction.org.au/images/artilces/2018uploads/FD18_SponsorshipLogos.png
    (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) Six colours, not seven.

    ‘Pride’ goes before the fall. Proverbs 16:18

  • Trouble in Brazil:
    news.yahoo.com/brazil-supreme-court-criminalizes-homophobia-033900173.html

  • Bill,

    Thank God, the solid proof is in procreation. Impossible feat for gays!

    Genesis 1:27-28
    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

  • The bible records that God gave the law to Moses on sexual morality to pass on to all people, male and female. Leviticus 22 says ” you shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination”. Verses 11-23 give in blunt detail all the sexual sins and adulterous liaisons that are forbidden by the God the Father’s law.

  • Hypocracy comes in truck (or is it plane) loads.

    Australia’s most LGBTIQ friendly airport, located in Canberra, is extremely proud of its daily Qatar Airways flights to/from one of the most LGBTIQ un-friendly places on earth.

    Futher, Qatar Media Services (QMS) has the concession for all internal and external advertising at the airport, which includes a massive double-sided “landmark digital billboard”, being the only installation of this type in the ACT.

  • another one I have heard used is that God was condemning coercive homosexual relations or homosexual rape but not to homosexuals in a committed relationship. but sex doesn’t become ok because of the status of you relationship is is ok only when it is what God has intended meaning both a committed marriage relationship and that that is between one man and one woman. otherwise any committed relationship would be considered ok. beside I don’t think many if any homosexuals in those times were committed and most today aren’t either.

    but the “he didn’t specifically say” is used to justify anything. he didn’t specifically mention S&M yet I don’t think he approves of it. he doesn’t mention veggie-mite but I don’t think he has a problem with it. and while chocolate is not mentioned in the bible I would imagine he enthusiastically approves of it!

  • we were all born sinful but we have a way to turn from our sins. and most homosexuals when among themselves even admit that abuse or lack of a father etc lead to their being homosexual. some people are just too comfortable in their sin to leave it.

  • Sin sanitised is still sin.

  • I am afraid Bruce did not get my meaning when I said many homosexuals use the EXCUSE that “they were born this way.” The truth probably is that they spent so much time dwelling on their inadequacies and tendencies and whatever temptations they had that they cannot remember what they and their minds were like earlier in their lives. Although most people at times have feelings of inadequacy and insecurity, they often fail to trust God for spiritual fulfillment and to find a healthy, moral, and Biblically sound way of expressing themselves and having their emotional, social, and psychological needs met.

  • I don’t have the patience to debate this issue with the TR crowd, but none of them have ever been able to give me a satisfactory answer to this question. If a Christian is supposed to be called to submit all of their lives to Christ as an act of worship, doesn’t this also include their sexuality, with no exceptions?

Leave a Reply