What does the Bible
say about LESBIANS?

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QUESTION: What does the Bible say about being a LESBIAN? Is sex between females permitted? Where did the term for this type of behavior originate?

ANSWER: We will first tackle your last question regarding where did "lesbian" come from. For starters, it did not come from the Bible. It is believed the term came from the reference to residents living on the island of Lesbos. This island, the largest one in the Aegean Sea right after Crete and Euboea, was home in the early 7th century B.C. to a female poet named Sappho. She was known for writing about her passionate relationships with other females. Her fame, which according to the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, rivalled that of Homer, and her sexual practices, led to the island's name being used to denote the relationships she described.

"We may conclude that Sappho was not utterly vicious, though by no means a paragon of virtue. All ancient tradition and the character of her extant fragments show that her morality was what has ever since been known as "Lesbian" (1911 Encyclopedia Britannica section on Sappho).

Only one passage in the Bible clearly deals with lesbian intercourse. It is found in the Apostle Paul's statement to the church in Rome.

26. For this cause, God abandoned them to disgraceful passions; for even their women changed the natural use of sex into that which is contrary to nature; 27. And in the same manner also the men, having left the natural use of sex with the woman, were inflamed in their lustful passions toward one another - men with men shamelessly committing lewd acts, and receiving back within themselves a fitting penalty for their error.

Never does a positive portrayal of unlawful relationships appear in Scripture (see Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, 1Timothy 1:9 - 10, Jude 7, Genesis 19:4 - 8, 1Corinthians 6:9 - 11). All the positive portrayals of sexual relationships within God's word occurs within the context of a heterosexual marriage (Genesis 1:27 - 28, 2:23 - 24).

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Attempts by liberal Christians to reinterpret texts in the Bible in order to make them compatible with homosexual marriage simply is not persuasive if we are going to use the grammatical-historical approach of exegesis (interpretation by deriving concepts from texts instead of reading preconceived ideas into them).

Furthermore, although perfect love casts out fear for a mature Christian (1John 4:18), the fear of God's power to punish is also the beginning of wisdom among the unconverted (Psalm 111:10). People show they have God's love not by uncritical affection alone, but also by promoting "tough love" which requires obedience to His holy standards of conduct. Since the gay lifestyle ultimately produces emptiness, alienation, and unhappiness because of its intrinsically maladaptive nature (Romans 1:26 - 29), our heavenly Father does not want people to live that way for their own good.

Additionally, contrary to what liberal Christians may believe, God did not change the moral law between the Testaments concerning the fundamentals of sexual morality. There is no reason to believe fornication, adultery, bestiality, and homosexual intercourse are lawful today any more than they were in the time of Moses. Indeed, Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount that the spirit of the law concerning adultery was so binding that for a man to lust after a woman in his heart was a sin even if he did not literally make love to her (Matthew 5:27 - 28). Given such spiritual truth, the Bible clearly did not legalize lesbian sex after the crucifixion.

To be sure, the change from someone being a lesbian to someone attracted to the opposite sex is a feat at least as difficult as an alcoholic giving up alcohol or a drug addict giving up narcotics. Evidence suggests, however, that it is possible. One good book to read regarding this behavior and its relationship to Scripture is Joe Dallas' book, "The Gay Gospel? How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible."

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