This material is given in one long page so that you can more easily print it out to read and study and share with others. You can also move to each main section by clicking on the Scripture references:
Genesis 19:5 Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13
I Corinthians 6:9; I Timothy 1:9-10
In preparation for each passage, read the entire chapter. For Romans 1:26-27, read the first 3 chapters of Romans. Read Genesis chapter 38 for a clear picture of the Old Testament attitudes about women, sex, the necessity of producing offspring, the control of men over women, the double standard for men and women, and other sexuality issues.
"Bring them out to us that we may know them."
Author's Note: "Know" simply means know! No hint at homosexuality exists in the original Hebrew. No later Bible references to Sodom ever mention homosexuality as the sin of Sodom. Many modern translations add words to the text to create the lie that the people of Sodom were homosexual.
"SODOMY" is not a biblical word. Laws against sodomy not only violate the Constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state; they also use an incorrect and wrongly translated term for the laws. A "Sodomite" in the Bible is simply a person who lives in Sodom, which included Lot and his family. The term "sodomite" in the King James Version of Deuteronomy 23:17 and I Kings 14:24 is an incorrect translation of the Hebrew word for "temple prostitute." (See the recent book by Mark D. Jordan: The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology. University of Chicago Press, 1997.)
The average person assumes that the Bible clearly condemns male to male sexual intercourse as "sodomy" and that the city of Sodom was destroyed because of homosexuality, which is seen as the worst of all sins in the Bible. These assumptions are based on no evidence at all in the Bible.
No Jewish scholars before the first Christian century taught that the sin of Sodom was sexual. None of the biblical references to Sodom mention sexual sins but view Sodom as an example of injustice, lack of hospitality to strangers, idolatry and as a symbol for desolation and destruction. See Deuteronomy 29:22-28; 32:32; Ezekiel 16:49-50; Jeremiah 49:18; 50:41; Isaiah 13:19-22 and Matthew 10:14-15. In Jude 7, the term "strange flesh" is Greek hetero sarkos ("different flesh" and from which the word "heterosexual" comes) and refers to foreign idols or people. It is not homo ("the same") flesh or people. Sarkos is never used in the New Testament as a word for "sex."
The word "know" in Genesis 19:5 is Hebrew YADA. It is used 943 times in the Old Testament to "know" God, good and evil, the truth, the law, people, places, things, etc. It is a very flexible word, as are many Hebrew words. In Genesis 19:5, the word was used to express the request of the people of Sodom that Lot should bring out the strangers in his house so that they could know who they were. Sodom was a tiny fortress in the barren wasteland south of the Dead Sea. The only strangers that the people of Sodom ever saw were enemy tribes who wanted to destroy and take over their valuable fortress and the trade routes that it protected. Lot himself was an alien in their midst.
Lot's strange response to the request was to offer his young daughters to the men, an offer that seems to me to be far more reprehensible than any problem of sexual orientation. If the men were homosexual, why did Lot offer to give them his daughters? These hostile and violent people were heterosexual, and homosexual orientation had nothing to do with the incident.
Special note on YADA: The Hebrew word YADA "to know" is never used in the Old Testament to mean "to have sex with". People have been conditioned to think that "to know someone biblically" means to have sex. The use of YADA in Genesis 4:1-2 to say that Adam knew Eve and she conceived and gave birth to Cain is followed by saying that later she gave birth to his brother Abel without any reference to YADA. Why? Simply because YADA does not mean to have sex. It is a general term that describes many kinds of intimate relationships. I have studied all of the uses of YADA in the Old Testament, and my personal conclusion is that it never means what we mean by sexual intercourse. Just substitute a common slang expression for sexual intercourse instead of the word "know" in Genesis 4:1 and you will see how inappropriate the idea is. The Old Testament Hebrew writers never thought or wrote in those terms. The Bible never gives any details about sexual acts. The only clear Hebrew term for sexual acts is "to lie with," which is left without any further explanation.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN SODOM?
To twist the story to say what it does not say is to miss what it does say. The story does not deal with sexual orientation or with homosexuality and has no bearing at all on the issue of God's acceptance or rejection of Gays and Lesbians. The story of Sodom clearly teaches that evil and violent people who attack aliens and strangers whom they do not know or understand receive God's quick and terrible punishment.
The purpose of the story is to show that misunderstood, strange, or feared minorities in any community are in danger from violence by the majority when that majority is ignorant, ungodly, selfish and afraid. The real message of Sodom is backwards from the claims of homophobic preachers and teachers. The Gay and Lesbian minority in our society today is more like the guests in Lot's house who were protected behind closed doors ("in the closet") than like the frightened mindless mob that wanted to expose, humiliate and destroy people that they did not "know" and control.
Set the record straight! Genesis 19 is about the fear (like homophobia) and anger of a mob (like many misguided religious fanatics) directed against a small group of isolated strangers (like Gays and Lesbians today) in their midst. Sexual orientation is not the issue here or anywhere else in the Bible.
Read also the strange story in Judges 19:1-30 of the Levite in Gibeah, which was patterned after the story of Lot and the angels in Genesis 19. Jewish teachers before the time of Christ never saw either of these stories as having any connection with homosexuality or sexual orientation. Neither should we.
"You shall not lie with a male as those who lie with a female; it is an abomination."
"If a man lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination and they shall surely be put to death."
Author's Note: Both of these verses refer not to homosexuals but to heterosexuals who took part in the baal fertility rituals in order to guarantee good crops and healthy flocks. No hint at sexual orientation or homosexuality is even implied. The word abomination in Leviticus was used for anything that was considered to be religiously unclean or associated with idol worship.
Because these two verses in Leviticus (18:22 and 20:13) have been used more than any other Bible texts to condemn and reject gay and lesbian people, the following material is given to help you think objectively about traditional abusive use of the Bible regarding homosexuals.