Over the past several days, I’ve been researching the introduction of the word “homosexual” in God’s Holy Word. My research was ignited, largely due to an article/interview circulating on social media called: “Has ‘Homosexual’ Always Been in The Bible?”
Ed Oxford, a self identified “gay Christian” who is interviewed, says that Latin Lexicons and German Bible translations, make a case for the idea that the Old Testament, as well as Paul’s writings in the New Testament, regarding Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13 and 1 Corinthians 6:9,10, have to do with pederasty, or adult men having sex with young boys.
As someone who lived and identified as “gay” for forty years, and now speaks from a position of conversion, it is crucial that I accurately represent God’s Word. I have received multiple emails asking for my thoughts regarding the contention that both Leviticus and 1 Corinthians 6 are referring to young male molestation.
The consensus one agrees with is directly related to the perspective, or the lens you apply. Revisionists and cultural views will often distort or redefine concrete data.
During the last ten years of ministry, I’ve had conversations with some who point out that the word “homosexual” doesn’t mean what is historically implicated as the sinfulness of sex between two men. A religion history professor from Andrews University told me that we need to speak in the language of the culture of the day. To that, I would ask; Isn’t God’s Word reliable for all time?
I’m not a scholar or an academic, but considering my passion for proclaiming God’s Word and His promises, it’s vital that I do the needed research. Perhaps you have pondered these postmodern conceptualizations.
Originally, I thought I would write from the somewhat obligatory academic/scholarly perspective but soon found in my research that much of it is slanted by the hermeneutic applied, depending on whom you are listening.
It is under much prayer, reading, research, and contemplation that I share my findings.
First, as a reader, and perhaps skeptic, I would like to ask some questions that may shape your conclusion. What do you want the Bible to say? Do you have faith in 2 Timothy 3:16, confirming that ALL scripture is inspired by Christ through the Holy Spirit? Do you believe God would allow His inspired servants to compile Holy Writings that would mislead us? Is God hiding something from us that would have provided joy, peace, happiness, and betterment to our lives?
Human nature is subject to cultural applications. When we love someone, it’s not always comfortable professing sola scriptura. We sometimes want alternative solutions or applications that would be easier or less painful to apply. Considering Romans 5:8, God is so patient with us as we fumble around, often of our persuasion, instead of His.
All this considered, I sought advice from a trusted friend and pastor, a student of scripture,…a seminarian, who helped point me to where I could find the answers.
The word “man” in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 comes from the Hebrew word, “Zakar.” The claim is that some translations state that a man should not lie with a young boy. However, the original Hebrew word “Zakar” means male. It does not have an age association.
Strongs Concordance confirms 82 references to the word male. Only two occurrences have to do with “male child,” and they are within the context of that which you would expect. Both are referencing “male child” circumcision in Genesis 17:12 and Genesis 17:14. There is no reference for male adults sexualizing a “male child.”
It is not clear why a foreign translation of the Bible would translate the Hebrew word “Zakar” into a context that is not present. You can’t make a verse about a boy unless the Hebrew had been talking about a boy.
All English translations of the Bible reflect the same use of “male” as used in the Hebrew.
Something important to remember is that how Gods Holy and good intentions from the beginning, remain today. Diet, marriage, life without disease and death, etc. When we contemplate sin and its effects, we can see the distortion and demise of God’s perfection across time.
In the referenced interview, Mr. Oxford makes this statement. “Since most people haven’t studied Greek or Hebrew, they have no concept of challenging a translation, and any potential errors that may have occurred during translation. Therefore, many people are unable to consider the implications of the text beyond the English translation in front of them.”
Exactly! So when a translation takes the liberty to change the original contextual Hebrew or Greek meaning, to mean sex with “young boys,” this would violate its Holy, intended purpose.
Mr. Oxford refers to other translations of the verses in question from Latin, German, Norweigan and Swedish. Along the way, what is clear in the original Hebrew and the Greek are misconstrued to have undocumented, unsubstantiated and alternative meanings of child molestation.
In the New Testament, Paul uses the Greek word “arsenokoitai,” which when translated into English, translates into two words. “male” and “mat” or “bed,” “marriage bed.” He has a Septuagint rendering in Greek of the Hebrew that reflects upon and confirms the understanding in Leviticus of the sinfulness of sexual relations between two men. And confirming once more that there was not an age definition to the use of the word “male.”
Paul is confirming the inspired, moral teachings of Leviticus. If the direction Paul received from God in writing 1 Corinthians 6:9 & 10 had to do with God’s displeasure of sex between adult men and young boys alone, a Greek word with that meaning already existed. “Paiderastia,” which means the love of boys. Paul’s word “arsenokoitai,” clearly reflects gender-inclusive, regardless of age.
Having investigated the original Greek and Hebrew words, I am confident in the English translations of the Bible that reflect the author’s original intent.
Queer theology attempts to make the Word say something it does not. After contemplating the relationships referenced above dealing with men, one might want to then take a look at the references to women, as in Romans 1.
Those seeking to excuse or promote same-sex relations begin to make a case that there were not romantic incidences of homosexuality in Pauls time, so he didn’t know how to write about them.
Some are analyzing Paul’s writings and his condemnation of same-sex relations, inferring that he had no concept of “sexual orientation.” So he would not have known how to write about it.
Such observations reveal further distortions. God, nor His Word ever suggest “sexual orientation” as a concept of His. He confirms that the gift of intimacy is designed for marriage between a man and a woman, as outlined in Genesis 2. Jesus never intended us to be “oriented” to sex but to be oriented to Him. Sex today is bannered as a rite of passage. Our thoughts and concepts on sex have been heavily influenced by sex researchers such as Alfred Kinsey, having nothing to do with God, Christianity, or His design and plan for us.
Given the soundness of God’s Word, I want to transition to some practical observations for all who profess Jesus.
As a Christian, a believer in Jesus, I believe it’s important for us to recognize the progressive effects of sin and sex from the beginning. Satan figured out early in humanity that people tend to respond to their “feelings,” instead of remaining faithful to God’s Word.
In recognizing the depth of degradation over time, Jesus, out of His amazing love for us, decided to come to earth and point us to His ways.
He provides hope, forgiveness, redemption, and restoration. History reflects, that even in this deeply compassionate act of our Savior the majority still reject Him and His ways.
Throughout the ages, many have sought to reinterpret the Word to accommodate that which God doesn’t glorify Him. Too often, out of pride, man has stricken the Words of Jesus, accommodating sin. God’s call is that of serenity, humility and denying ourselves for our Maker, instead of living for the flesh. He invites us to live in agreement with Him… for eternity.
Jesus tells us to reason together under prayer and the examination of His Word. When there are contrasts and elevations of science and man’s knowledge over or instead of God’s, we are on a perilous path. Scriptural counsel says; “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14.
As a teenager, I desperately wanted the Bible to read differently. I searched for explanations or scripture that would tell me what I was supposed to do with my situation. I went to meetings of a self-declared “Adventist” organization claiming to make the Bible say things it doesn’t. The hope was that I would be more be comfortable with myself. However, it didn’t do that at all. What was abundantly clear, was that they were as desperate as I was, and twisted scripture to gain approval.
I knew the truth. Rearranging or reinterpreting it in a way that God didn’t Author, places the focus on self, not Jesus.
In the world today, seeking “God’s love” is like searching for buried treasure in the Sahara desert. Jesus blesses all on the journey who genuinely seek Him.
We are ALL desperate for “love.”
As excruciating as circumstances have been for many, I find myself still asking the question: “Can you trust Jesus? Will you trust Jesus?”
Circumstances don’t give license to reinventing scripture. It is Holy. It is true. It is inspired. It is God speaking to us and making His requests known. Are they reasonable? Is God fair? Is He just? Remember, questioning God and His ways, is exactly what Satan does. He’ll do ANYTHING to gain your confidence if you let Him. His tactics are deceptively attractive and inviting. We must be on guard, guided under prayer.
Jesus has always wanted the best for you and me. Moreover, the best is yet to come.
As Christians, difficult times and challenges are before us. We will not face them alone if we will lean on Jesus, trusting His sovereignty. Our hope is in developing intimacy with Him and His Word.
I must conclude that given the trustworthiness and fairness of God, He would have provided us an example of what a perfect union of a same-gendered marriage would look like if that were His intention for those tempted with same-sex attraction. To condone such a relationship and not tell us, would be evil and unjust.
By believing in God’s “love in truth” to us, we will find it so much more beneficial to live in agreement with Him, instead of trying to rewrite His Word to accommodate our circumstances.
Real “love” is experienced in pointing people to Jesus, rather than taking exception to Him.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6