Recently, a small set of billboards have cropped up around the country claiming the Bible accepts homosexuality as a lifestyle. Three verses are cited – II Samuel 1:26, Acts 8:26-40, and Matthew 8:5-13. Unfortunately, none of these passages back up the claim.
II Samuel 1:26:
I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.
This is the most convincing of the examples because of the lack of nuances in the English language when it comes to “love.” The Hebrew word here is ‘ohab, which carries with it an idea of affection or deep friendship. It does not necessitate a sexual relationship. David’s use of the kindred term ‘ach or “brother” here reinforces a family-like relationship rather than a sexual one, and this brotherly relationship is, to David, deeper than any lovers he has taken to this point.
…And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship…
The argument here is that a eunuch is likely gay.
This just doesn’t line up with the standard definition of “eunuch.”
eunuch |ˈyoōnək| |ˌjunək| |ˌjuːnək|<br />
a man who has been castrated, esp. (in the past) one employed to guard the women’s living areas at an oriental court.
…And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, saying, “Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.”
And Jesus saith unto him, “I will come and heal him…”
Was this servant really the centurion’s gay lover? The Greek word for servant here is ophelimos, meaning one who is helpful or profitable. This is obviously an employee/employer relationship and nothing else. He must have been a good servant, but nothing else is implied here.
The Harmony of Scriptures
I Corinthians 14:33:
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
This quote specifically refers to a confusing and contradictory atmosphere in worship, but I think it speaks to a broader truth. There is no duplicity in God. His will is consistent, so if we’re going to justify homosexuality through David (accepting that he was a man “after God’s own heart” in Acts 13:21-23), we have to reconcile this with Leviticus 20:13:
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
(Please note the distinction that God calls out the action. He does not call the person an abomination. There is a difference.)
When it comes to the New Testament, remember I Corinthians 6:9-11:
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Even if the eunuch or the centurion were gay before accepting Christ, Paul makes it pretty clear in this passage that such lifestyles are left behind afterwards. We were these things until we were washed, sanctified, and justified.
We are not to judge others unfairly (Mathew 7:1-2). We are treat all people with kindness and respect (Galatians 6:9-10), and Jesus always began teaching people where they were developmentally. However, respect for an individual does not necessarily mean approval of all his or her choices. The Bible’s message is one of love and peace, but we cannot haphazardly lift scripture out of context for personal justification – whether we are trying to justify doing what we want, hating who we choose, or loving in ways God has not ordained.