What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality: Sodom and Gomorrah

Before I begin this post, I want to inform you that my intent is NOT to convince you of anything (say what?), yes that’s right.  I am not under some delusion as to my literary prowess’ ability to convince anyone of anything.  Nevertheless, what I do hope happens is that genuine curiosity takes hold.  I pray that this information gives you a spring board from which you, the concerned reader, will do further research. 

There is a reason why scripture instructs us to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” – 2 Tim 2:15. And as I write this I finally have no shame of who I am, for I have divided and been dividing God’s word on this issue and finally see the truth.  So let’s begin, because I am completely excited to share with you truth.  A truth that I hope will set you free to love yourself, and to love others who long for such affection.

Now there are 7 places in scripture that refer to homosexual acts

  • 2 refer to rape (Genesis 19:1-11Judges 19:22)
  • 1 refers to prostitution and pederasty (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
  • 4 are nonspecific (Leviticus 18:21-22Leviticus 20:13Romans 1:26-271 Timothy 1:8-10)

I will begin by sharing some truths concerning these passages and this week I’ll start in Genesis 19 and to some extent, judges 19:22.

GENESIS 19:1-11

In Genesis we find an interesting story to say the least (Genesis 19:1-11).  You can read this on your own, but I will give you a paraphrase of the story.  Lot, Abraham’s nephew is staying in sodom when he is visited by angels whom Lot treats as guests. However, men from the city come to Lots house, demanding that he give over the guests so that they (the men in Sodom) may “know” or have sex with them.  Lot refuses to hand the angels over because they are his guests.  

A similar story can be found in judges 19:16-30.  

Some claim that this is a clear representation of the homosexual sin of Sodom. And to be fair, the men of the town did want to have sex with the male guests.  A cursory reading could give you the impression that this story is truly about homosexuality and that the outcome of Sodom was a direct result of such action.  However, most scholars agree that the issue in this story is not homosexuality but rather that hospitality and justice were not being practiced. The blatant proof of this is found in Ezekiel 16:49 where it states “Now this is the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned, they did not help the poor and needy.  They were haughty and did detestable things before me.  Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” – Ez 16:49.  It’s important to highlight that nowhere in this passage is the sin of homosexuality mentioned or even alluded to.  Rather; arrogance, gluttony (overfed), apathy (unconcerned), discrimination against the poor and needy, pride (which we all know how much God hates) and detestable things.  If homosexuality was the real issue here, it would have been stated plainly.  But as it stands, it’s no where to be found in the passage that clearly outlines why God destroyed Sodom.

But wait, in Jude 1:7 we read “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion…” Indeed we do read this.  However, in spite of the fact that some will argue that this is a clear reference to homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah, scholars contest this claim. This verse talks about sexual perversion as a whole and in biblical times, there were many forms of sexual perversions.  It’s irresponsible to tack on homosexuality to a verse that does not specifically refer to it.  And to be clear, rape (which is what would have transpired in Sodom if the town men would have gotten a hold of the angels) is just as perverse and immoral (if not more) as sex outside of marriage, or prostitution, or temple sex worship, etc.  

So what exactly is going on?

When you look at the context of the jewish custom of hospitality you get a better account as to what exactly is going on in this Genesis story. 

In ancient Israel, hospitality was a moral institution which grew out of the harsh desert and nomadic existence led by the people of Israel. It’s difficult for us to picture this but the Jews took hospitality seriously…very seriously.  Biblical law specifically sanctified hospitality toward the stranger “for you were strangers in a strange land” (Lev. 19:34 and see Ex. 12:49), moreover, foreign travelers, although not protected by the law (Deut. 15:3; 23:21), could count on the Jewish custom of hospitality.  

We see this hospitality taking place in many places throughout the old testament, for example: Abraham and the three men of Mamre, (Gen 18). In Gen. 24:28-32 we see Laban eager to welcome Abraham’s servant while Rebekah tended the camels. In Judges 13:15, Manoah di not allow the angel to depart before partaking in hospitably.  But perhaps the most extreme case of this hospitality is found judges 19:16-30 where we find the old man of Gibeah, prepared to sacrifice the honor of his daughters in order to protect his guests (who were to him complete strangers).  Does the account of judges 19:16-30 sound familiar?  It should, because it’s the same scenario happening in Genesis 19:1-11.  Which points to the fact that there is more going on in this Genesis account than just male to male sexual actions.  The issue in Genesis 19 is one of injustice, inhospitably, rape, and a particular outrageous disrespectful affront not only to Lot’s guests but also to his culture and his beliefs.  

I hope this gives you something to chew on. Again, feel free to disagree or agree, but ultimately search for yourselves.  And tune in next week for a discussion on 1 corinthians 6:9-10.



2 thoughts on “What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality: Sodom and Gomorrah

  1. “When you look at the context of the jewish custom of hospitality you get a better account as to what exactly is going on in this Genesis story.”
    i’d like to caution you to be careful when applying “context.”
    the immediate context of this passage cannot be jewish custom. at the time of this passage in genesis, israel, as a people group, did not exist. nor did torah nor any of their traditions or customs. it’s inaccurate to say that the context is jewish hospitality when israel’s desert & nomadic existence, being strangers in a strange land, etc. hadn’t happened yet and the laws you quote were not yet written. the jews may have taken something seriously, but is that a standard & context that can be applied to a non-jewish people that existed generations before them?

    abraham was not jewish. chosen by god, absolutely yes, but his presence in the torah doesn’t make him, or his customs, descended from the tribe of judah. if israel came from his seed, his narrative cannot be read from the context of generations of his great-great-great-grandchildren. attributing his actions to jewish custom would be similar to attributing his actions to christian customs because we see similarities.

    not writing to defend or dismiss any of your conclusions, but to add clarity the methodology used to come to the conclusions.
    glad to see you writing and fleshing through your thoughts.
    much love! ❤

  2. Hi friend! It has been a while since I have seen something from you, so I was excited to read this piece. Thanks for contributing to this discussion in a non-inflammatory way. I appreciate that. I would like to do the same, without “hating.” With all due respect, I think Ro. 1:26-27 is very clear. It’s the clearest reference to homosexuality as a sin in the Bible. This generation is trying to make the sin into non-sin. Not a good idea. Now, we know that we can be forgiven of any and all sins. Some sins involve greater problems (addictions, for example). But every sin can be forgiven, even murder and rape. But we must not un-sin the sin. I know that I am a sinner, so there is no finger-pointing here. You have been a friend for several years now, and I just want to add to the discussion, as a friend. Hope my comments are helpful. Sorry this is such a polarizing issue. Don’t mean to alienate or offend anyone.

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