Over the past several days, I’ve been researching the introduction of the word “homosexual” into the language of God’s 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 (Lev. 18:22; 20:13), as well as Paul’s writings in the New Testament (e.g. I Cor. 6:9-10), have to do with pederasty—adult men having sex with young boys—what today we would call pedophilia.
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 the language and teachings of the Bible. 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 lens, that 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 implied as the sinfulness of sex between two men. A professor of church history from a prominent denominational university told me that we need to speak in the language of today’s culture. To that I would ask; Isn’t God’s Word relevant for all time?
I’m not a scholar or academic, but considering my passion for proclaiming God’s Word and His promises, it’s vital that I do the needed research. Perhaps you too 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 the one to whom you listen.
It is from the standpoint of much prayer, reading, research, and contemplation that I share my findings.
First, speaking to those readers whose perspective might be neutral, even skeptical, 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, which declares 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 the Reformation principle of “sola scriptura” (the Bible alone as our rule of faith and practice). We sometimes want alternative solutions or applications that would be easier or less painful to apply. Considering Romans 5:8, God is considerably patient with us as we fumble around, seeking our own truth 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.
Old Testament Evidence
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 God’s holy and good intentions from the beginning remain intact today. Diet, marriage, life without disease and death, will all flourish as we adhere by God’s grace to God’s commands. By contrast, 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.
New Testament Evidence
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.” The Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) rendering of the Hebrew reflects upon and confirms the understanding in Leviticus of the sinfulness of sexual relations between two men.
Paul is confirming the inspired, moral teachings of Leviticus. If the direction Paul received from God in writing First 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 sexual love of adult males for boys. Paul’s word “arsenokoitai,” by contrast, refers to same-gender sexual intimacy 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,” as some describe the agenda of those Christians seeking to defend homosexual practice, attempts to make the Word say something it doesn’t say. After contemplating the relationships referenced above dealing with men, one might want to then take a look at similar references to women, as in Romans 1.
Those seeking to excuse or promote same-sex relations begin to make a case that there were no romantic, genuinely loving examples of homosexuality in Paul’s time, so he didn’t know how to write about them. Others analyze 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 nowhere identifies in His Word the notion of “sexual orientation” as a Bible doctrine. 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 human history 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 reveals 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 doesn’t glorify God. Too often, out of pride, man has ignored or twisted the words of Jesus as a means of accommodating sin. God’s call is to 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 through 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 say. 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 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
Wayne Blakely has experienced same-sex attraction since childhood. He grew up in the Adventist denomination with no denominational solutions to the LGBT+ dilemma. As a result, he left the church at eighteen years old and lived in the gay community for nearly forty years. As a result of the prayers of his parents, God began to intervene and reach his thirsty heart.
In 2009 he gave his heart to Jesus and discovered God’s call for ALL his children to develop intimacy with God, instead of the world and the flesh. He is the retired co-founder of ‘Coming Out’ Ministries and an active speaker and Director of Know His Love Ministries.
He has participated in many television and radio interviews and educational programs around the world, teaching others about restoration and reconciliation with Jesus. He has authored scores of articles and is currently writing an autobiography as well as a theological Exposé.
You may reach Wayne at email@example.com