It is a surprise to many people to discover that there are only a handful of passages in the Bible that directly mention homosexuality. The first two passages that directly mention homosexuality come from the Old Testament, the other three are from the New Testament.
Sodom has become so associated with homosexual conduct that its name was for many ears a byword for it. But is 'sodomy' really what Sodom is about?
The account describes the men of the attempting to forcibly have sex with two angelic visitors to the city, who have appeared in the form of men. Later parts of the Old Testament accuse Sodom of a range of sins: None of these even Gods words on homosexuality homosexual conduct. This has led some people to wonder if we have read homosexuality into the Genesis narrative, when in fact the real issue was social oppression and injustice.
But a close look at the text makes it clear that homosexuality was in fact involved. Hence what happens next: What happened at Sodom is clearly meant to be something of a cautionary tale. Jude makes it clear that their ungodliness involved sexual immorality.
They were punished for sexual sin along with the other sins of which they were guilty. Jude also highlights the nature of their sexual desires: Some have suggested that this relates to the fact that the visitors to the city were angelic; Jude references angelic sin earlier in his letter.
Their desire was to have sex with the men staying with Lot. In other words, it was the homosexual nature of their desires, and not just the violent expression of them, that is highlighted in the New Testament.
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 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.
It is also often claimed that the fact that these prohibitions appear in a book full of other laws which no Christians think they are expected to follow today suggests that they should not be taken as having abiding moral relevance.
Secondly, the surrounding verses in each instance describe other forms of sexual sin such as incest, adultery and bestialitynone of which is anything to do with pagan temples or idolatry, and which we would take as being applicable to Christians today.
Turning to the New Testament, Romans 1 has much to say about the nature and character of homosexual behaviour. The particular details in the passage may indicate that Paul is using the Greco-Roman culture surrounding his readers as a case in point. In the verses that follow, Paul illustrates how this has happened, giving three examples of how what has been known about God has been exchanged for something else: For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions.
For their women Gods words on homosexuality natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Two important and sobering truths are apparent from these Gods words on homosexuality Homosexual desire is not what God originally intended. This is not to say that homosexual desire is the only thing that God Gods words on homosexuality not originally intend.
All of our desires have been distorted by sin. But this view cannot be supported by the passage itself. Paul may be highlighting it because it is a particularly vivid example, and may have been Gods words on homosexuality pertinent for his readers in Rome given their cultural context. Either way it is illustrative of something that is the case for all of us: This is as true of a heterosexual person as of a homosexual person.
There are no grounds in this passage for singling out homosexual people for any kind of special condemnation. The same passage indicts all of us. It is important to recognize that Paul is talking here in social rather than individual terms. He is describing what happens to culture Gods words on homosexuality a whole, rather than particular people.
It is not the only sign, and in everyone there is no doubt more than one sign or another - but it is a sign nevertheless. In response to the exchanges Paul has described, we see three instances of God giving us over to live in the outcome of our sinful desires. This is his present-day judgment against sin.