The main concern for Bible believing Christians is not the moral issue concerning the acceptance of lesbianism and homosexuality within society in general, it is the defence of our right to teach the principles of scripture and to uphold these principles in institutions and schools, and in our daily life.

What the New Testament teaches about...

Lesbianism and Homosexuality (Romans 1:26-27)

Romans 1:26-27  ‘For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.'

The issue of gay marriage has brought pressure upon Bible believing Christians to accept lesbianism and homosexuality as legitimate lifestyles. An all out attack is being made against the authority of scripture, and anyone who upholds the teaching of scripture regarding lesbianism and homosexuality is being classed as a bigot or homophobic. The main concern for Bible believing Christians is not the moral issue concerning the acceptance of lesbian and homosexual relationships within society in general, it is the defence of our right to teach scriptural principles and to uphold these principles in our daily life.

The purpose for writing this short exposition on the meaning of Romans 1:26-27 is to show that the Bible does not follow commonly accepted views regarding lesbianism and homosexuality. However, evangelical Christianity is not about morality and legality; it is new life in Christ. Religions can unite on moral grounds but only those who have received new life in Christ can be one in Christ. Being anti-gay marriage or anti-abortion is not the message of the gospel. The gospel is found in 2 Corinthians 5:17 'If anyone is in Christ he or she is a new creation, old things have passed away behold all things have become new.'

The New Testament does not say much about lesbianism and homosexuality. Jesus makes reference in the gospels to the days of Lot (Luke 17:28-29) but does not refer specifically to the homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah. In Jude 7 the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is referred to as 'giving themselves over to fornication' and 'going after strange flesh'. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and 1 Timothy 1:9-11, homosexuality is listed among other things that are contrary to the kingdom of God. Two Greek words are used in the Corinthian passage, 'malakos' which refers to an effeminate person or a catamite, a person used for homosexual practice, and 'arsenokoites' which means a person who abuses himself with mankind. However it is only in the two verses from the first chapter of the book of Romans (Romans 1:26-27) that more specific detail is given to show the true nature of lesbianism and homosexuality. From this passage we can see clearly that the New Testament regards lesbianism and homosexuality as being against nature and it rejects the commonly held idea that some people are born gay.

The meaning of Greek words used in Romans 1:26-27.


‘God gave them up unto vile affections:’

Homosexuality is called ‘vile affections'.

‘Vile’ is the Greek word ‘atimia’ which means dishonourable.

It is a dishonourable act. It dishonours God; it dishonours our body; and it dishonours the sanctity of mankind.


‘men with men working that which is unseemly’

The sexual act of homosexuality is called ‘unseemly'.

‘Unseemly’ is the Greek word ‘aschemosune’ which means ‘shameful’.

It is a shameful act. The feeling of shame from being involved in a homosexual relationship can remain long after the relationship has ended. It is shameful because it is an act of sexual perversion. The body was not created to be used in this manner.



‘likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman’

'opposed to nature'

The word ‘natural’ is the Greek word phusis  which means ‘produced by nature'. It is used with the Greek word 'para' which refers to being against or contrary.

Homosexuality is not a natural lifestyle. It is contrary to nature.

Marriage is the union between one man and one woman, it cannot be anything else. It is natural for a man and a woman to be joined together in marriage. Genesis 2:21-24 shows that God took Eve from the body of Adam and the two became one flesh.

In describing homosexuality as unnatural, the Bible stands opposed to the teaching that some people are born gay or born with a homosexual gene.


'an inflamed lust'

‘burned in their lust one toward another’

Homosexuality is driven by lust.

The word ‘burned’ is the Greek word ‘ekkaio’ which is two Greek words combined ‘out' and 'burn', meaning inflamed. It refers to an intense desire that consumes. It is the burning desire of lust.

Homosexuality is an inflamed lust that takes hold of the person who is given over to it. The difference between love and lust is that brotherly love and 'agape' love are always constructive whereas lust is destructive.

Homosexuality is driven by lust which seeks to destroy those given over to it. See John 10:10 'The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.'


'absence of restraint'

‘For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections:’

God gives them up to follow their own lusts and withdraws His hand of restraint.

'Gave them up' is the Greek word ‘paradidomi’ which means ‘to give into the hands of another’.

The spread of homosexuality in society is evidence that God’s restraining hand has been lifted. When people persistently follow after their lusts then God withdraws His hand of restraint. Christians need urgently to pray for the young people of our nation. We need the Holy Spirit to bring people to repentance and to hold back the destructive power of sin in our society.


'not gay'

‘receiving in themselves that recompense of their error’

Homosexuality has consequences.

The word recompense is the Greek word 'antimisthia' which means 'wages given in return'.

The word gay is a misnomer. There is nothing gay about homosexuality.

The gay community will always be plagued by suicide, disease, depression, etc.

The acceptance of homosexuality within society has not and will not change this.

'internal homophobia'

The gay community has placed the blame for its problems on external homophobia but according to scripture the root of homophobia is internal and dwells within the gay community not outside of it. The human body is not created for a gay relationship.

Internal homophobia will produce feelings of remorse, depression, and even suicidal tendencies. In addition to internal homophobia there is also the problem of disease, HIV/AIDS is most prominent among gay and bisexual men. According to scripture these are the consequencies of pursuing a lifestyle described as 'dishonourable', 'shameful', and 'unnatural'.

In conclusion, Bible believing Christians should always show love and tolerance towards others. Compassion and concern must never be replaced by aggression. It is with the love of Christ that we present the gospel. A lifestyle that the New Testament calls unnatural can never be condoned but the grace of God extends to all who will repent and trust in Jesus.

We should be unconcerned about the accusations that are made against us when we stand for righteousness. In fact the Bible tells us to rejoice and to be exceeding glad (Matthew 5:11-12). In the words of Jesus, it is necessary to be as 'wise as serpents and harmless as doves' (Matthew 10:16). Truth is never compromised when the love of Christ is in control. Our desire should be to win people for Christ. The good news of the gospel is that there is freedom, life, forgiveness, and wonderful joy through faith in Jesus Christ. He is able to save even the worst of sinners (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Homosexuals are no different from anybody else. Jesus Christ gave His life so that none need perish. Salvation is the free gift of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone (John 3:16).

Stephen Dulwich

(This article can be copied freely.)