Compressed Thoughts

A blog by Matthew Rease

1 Timothy

On Homosexuality and God's Word

A response to the mistranslation argument.

A particular verse of the Bible, which many quote when talking about homosexuality, is often refuted by claiming it is a mistranslation not present in other versions of scripture. Here I will explain why that is an ignorant response, and does not justify homosexuality.

This post is not intended to condemn those who practice homosexuality - God has already done that, and does not need my help in doing so. This post is simply intended to be a conclusive response (or as conclusive as I can be) to anyone who has ever argued against this, claiming that a "mistranslation" occured. This is for those who are not of sound doctrine, as well as those who simply need a refresher.

I believe the verse many point to, is 1 Corinthians 6:9, which states "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality," (all quotes from ESV unless otherwise stated). The reason I say "believe" is because, in the ESV at least, this is not the only verse that contains the word "homosexuality". Looking at other translations, the NIV says "nor men who have sex with men", the King James says "nor abusers of themselves with mankind", the NKJV says "nor homosexuals", the NASB says "nor homosexuals". It seems most translations explicitly say homosexuality, or mention men with men, only a few word it in such a way that doesn't seem clear.

This alone is enough evidence, though many will disagree. Unfortunately for them, this is not the only verse that condemns homosexuality - far from it. Let us look to Romans 1:27, starting in verse 26: "For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passions for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.". Even the King James, which previously had a rather strange translation (in my opinion), clearly states "And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly...".

Scripture makes clear what is natural and what is not, for mankind. Men are to be with women, and women with men. Yet again, 1 Timothy 1:9-10: "understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,".

Now, one may try to claim that, all this being from the old testament, it was not originally what God considered "natural". This claim is of course, heresey, as all scripture is breathed by God, and not by man, and all of his word holds true. However, we can find evidence of this in the old testament as well. Therefore let us turn to Leviticus, where I believe it has been put as plainly as possible. Leviticus 18 is about Unlawful Sexual Relations (referring to God's holy law), in verse 22, it states (speaking to men): "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination." If that isn't worded plainly enough, perhaps you will understand the NASB translation: "You shall not sleep with a male as one sleeps with a female; it is an abomination."

In the same book, we can turn to chapter 20, verse 13: "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." - once again using the language of lying with one thing in the manner in which you lie with another. Truly, those are not words to be taken lightly.

Fundamentally there is no logic in trying to claim that God does not forbid homosexuality. It is made explicitly clear throughout scripture that sex is between a man and a woman, and that, a married man and woman and no other. It is sacred.