“Homosexual” And “Homosexuality” In The New Testament

The New Testament not only has a concept of homosexuality but a vocabulary to describe it

“The argument is sometimes made that Christian opposition to homosexuality is grounded solely in the Mosaic (Old Covenant) civil laws and thus, if Christians oppose homosexuality they must also seek to enforce the rest of the Mosaic civil and ceremonial legislation. If, however, there is clear teaching against homosexuality in the NT, that argument fails.”

 

Below are some notes I compiled as part of a broader discussion about how Christians ought to think about homosexuality. The argument was made that the Bible does not really speak clearly to the question of homosexual behavior. In response I offered a brief account of Paul’s language in 1Corinthians 6:9 and 1Timothy 1:10.

The argument is sometimes made that Christian opposition to homosexuality is grounded solely in the Mosaic (Old Covenant) civil laws and thus, if Christians oppose homosexuality they must also seek to enforce the rest of the Mosaic civil and ceremonial legislation. If, however, there is clear teaching against homosexuality in the NT, that argument fails. In fact, the Mosaic civil laws in the Torah, the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) were intentionally temporary and typological and the Christian view is that they were fulfilled by Christ. The NT opposition to homosexuality is grounded not in the Mosaic civil legislation but in nature or natural law. The NT arguments against homosexuality are, in that way, like its teaching on marriage and the Sabbath: they are grounded in nature, in creation, and natural law and thus existed long before the institution of the Mosaic (Old Covenant) civil and ceremonial laws and have universal application. The moral law was summarized (typologically) in the Ten Commandments (in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5) and in Matthew 22:37–40, and widely throughout the NT.

Finally, just this morning I received a note in which it is claimed that the very concept of homosexuality did not exist until the 1860s. That claim is completely false. The ancient world, including the New Testament not only had a concept of homosexuality but a vocabulary to describe it, as will be seen below.

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