Bible Study on Sexuality

A few years ago, Bible Studies had reputations for being dull. One we held at Salem a few weeks ago, though well received, would be viewed as increasingly controversial by the world. We looked at sexuality.

We examined the early chapters of Genesis in which God intended Adam, and his descendants, to ‘leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.’ The original definition of marriage was therefore between one man and one woman.

We then examined the account of Sodom’s destruction in Genesis 19. I suggested that this passage was not particularly relevant or helpful when it came to looking at the biblical perspective on sexuality. This is because:

  • God had already determined to destroy the city before the angels were ever threatened with rape.
  • Even the most libertarian of campaigners is not wishing for rape to be promoted. The wicked act was one of coercion and force. I doubt the men of Sodom even lusted after the angels; more likely, it was an act of xenophobic pride that would reduce these ‘foreign’ ‘men’ to the status of women.
  • Ezekiel says ‘Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.’ Sexual deviance was therefore more likely the symptom of Sodom’s guilt rather than its root.

Elsewhere in the Bible, however, there is very clear prohibitions on same-sex relations. Lev 18:21 says ‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.’ Although some have argued that this was a reflection on Canaanite religious practices rather than loving, consenting relationships, we were conscious that the simplest meaning of a text is usually to be preferred.

We discussed the assumption that men sleeping with men was a more terrible sin than any other. In fact the Bible condemns adultery in just as severe a tone. Both offences attracted the death penalty in Old Testament Israel. In other words, there are not bad sins and really bad sins; a man sleeping with another man is surely in the same category as sleeping with a woman to whom he has not committed his life in marriage.

The current mood is Parliament is one that would censure us for holding to beliefs and interpretations that were mainstream only a generation back. We believe in respect and tolerance for all people, regardless of religion and sexuality, though that falls short of endorsement and approval. Why do we get that feeling that one day we’ll be taken to court for this?

We also looked at the difference between homosexuality and homosexual activity. The Bible says very little of the former. Each one of us is tempted in different ways. A heterosexual woman may be regularly tempted to steal money; is she any better or worse than the woman attracted to other women? 'For every man shall one his own burden' (Gal 6:5).

We closed with that great hymn Yield not to Temptation:


Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;

Each vict’ry will help you some other to win;

Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue;

Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.



Ask the Saviour to help you,

Comfort, strengthen, and keep you;

He is willing to aid you,

He will carry you through.


Shun evil companions, bad language disdain,

God’s name hold in rev’rence, nor take it in vain;

Be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true;

Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.


To him that o’ercometh, God giveth a crown,

Through faith we will conquer, though often cast down;

He who is our Saviour, our strength will renew;

Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.


I believe one of the chief errors of our age is to define ourselves by our sexuality. Our identity is in Christ and that is all.