There are only a handful of passages in the Bible that directly mention homosexuality – but they are quite explicit. Where the Bible mentions homosexual behavior at all, it clearly condemns it. In the bible it is referred to as “Sodomy” which is variously defined as “sexual intercourse involving anal or oral copulation.” However, it can be described: Sodomy (or buggery in British English) is “generally anal or oral sex between people or sexual activity between a person and a non-human animal (bestiality), but it may also mean any non-procreative sexual activity.” The definition is imprecise. A sodomy law is a law that defines certain sexual acts as crimes. The precise sexual acts meant by the term sodomy are rarely spelled out in the law, but are typically understood by courts to include any sexual act deemed to be “unnatural” or immoral. Sodomy typically includes anal sex, oral sex, and bestiality. Bestiality is typically defined as: “sexual intercourse between a person and an animal.” but may include: “savagely cruel or depraved behavior.”
Old Testament – 2. Leviticus 18 and 20
Leviticus contains two well known statements about homosexual activity:
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.Leviticus 18:22
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.Leviticus 20:13
“An abomination” is often used to describe idolatry, and some suggest these verses are not condemning homosexual behaviour in general, but only the cultic prostitution connected to pagan temples. It is also often claimed that the fact that these prohibitions appear in a book full of other laws which Christians do not think they are expected to follow today suggests that they should not be taken as having abiding moral relevance. But to take the first objection, the language used is not that specific; it refers to lying with a man “as with a woman,” – that is, in very general terms. Secondly, the surrounding verses in each instance describe other forms of sexual sin (such as incest, adultery and bestiality), none of which is anything to do with pagan temples or idolatry, and which we would take as being applicable to Christians today. It is moral, rather than just pagan religious behaviour that’s in view. Furthermore, Leviticus 20:13 highlights both male parties equally, again suggesting general, consensual homosexual activity (as opposed to gay rape or a forced relationship).
Genesis has a passage that is in the form of a story which has a moral aspect:
The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please turn aside to your servant’s house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”
“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the square.”
But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.”
Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”Genesis 19:1-8 New International Version (NIV)
Generally, we should reject the old testament as it contains too much evil in the form of instructions for death and destruction to others. But there is still learning from some of these passages written thousands of years ago. Let us look at the New Testament. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, (Romans 1) had plenty to say about the nature and character of homosexual behaviour.
“For this reason, God gave them up to passions of dishonor; for even their females exchanged the natural use for that which is contrary to nature, and likewise also the males, having left the natural use of the female, were inflamed by their lust for one another, males with males, committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was fitting for their error. ”Epistle to the Romans 1:26–27 (English Majority Text Version, EMTV)
Jesus lets rip in ‘Corrintians’
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind”1 Corinthians 6:9-10 King James Version (1611)
The phrase: “abusers of themselves with mankind” translates arsenokoitai also rendered “sodomites” (YLT), or “men who have sex with men” (NIV). Jesus again berates those that act in ‘unnatural’ ways.
“Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine”1 Timothy 1:9-10 King James Version (1611)
The term referring to homosexuality: ‘that defile themselves with mankind’, is a translation from ἀρσενοκοίτης arsenokoitēs, which is the same term for homosexuals that is used in Corinthians. Other translations of the term arsenokoitēs include: “them that do lechery with men” (Wycliffe 1382), “those practicing homosexuality” (NIV), “those who abuse themselves with men” (Amplified Version, 1987).
Again in the New Testament we hear Jesus:
“Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”Jude 1:7 (King James Version)
The expression of “giving themselves over to fornication” translates ἐκπορνεύσασαι ekporneusasai, rendered as “sexual immorality” in both New International Version and ESV; the phrase “going after strange flesh” is a literal translation of ἀπελθοῦσαι ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἑτέρας, rendered as “perversion” in the New International Version and as “pursued unnatural desire” in ESV.
On the subject of marriage, Jesus is asked: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?” He answers:
“Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female’ [Genesis 1:27], and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ [Genesis 2:24]? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”Matthew 19:4-6, NRSV translation; Mark 10:6-9 is a parallel text
Although the question is about divorce, he quite clearly demonstrates that there is a two-sex requirement for marriage. Jesus is affirming that marriage is a union meant to be fruitful, ideally to result in children.
Jesus also discusses a class he calls ‘eunuchs’ which would appear to refer to more those who’s testicles or external genitalia had been removed or had been born without functioning genitalia:
But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. “For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”Jesus speaking in Matthew 19:11
An early Christian manual condemns the practice:
An early Christian teaching manual called “Didache” commands:
Thou shalt do no murder; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not commit sodomy; thou shalt not commit fornication; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not use magic; thou shalt not use philtres; thou shalt not procure abortion, nor commit infanticide; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods;Didache 2:2
Didache, although framed in the negative, which was not the way that Jesus spoke, illuminates his teachings by being extremely clear about the meaning of the instructions of Jesus:
“Commit no sodomy. Avoid abortion. Do not commit infanticide.”Didache