Questions, Insights, & Responses

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#82 - Biblical perspectives on premarital sex and homosexuality

by Robert Nguyen Cramer

This BibleTexts website administrator has very much enjoyed questions and insights that have been emailed to him ever since this site was launched in September of 1996. On this page I share with BibleTexts browsers a few of the questions, insights, and responses, so that we all can further learn from and with each other.





Where does the Bible mention about the prohibition of the premarital sex and homosexuality? (revised version 2.02)



These are two separate questions, but both questions involve some of the same issues.

Sexual immorality is explicitly discouraged in the Bible passages below. The full texts of a few representative verses from Paul's genuine writings are included.

In the last passage listed above, Paul commends marriage as a means to avoid "fornication" (KJV), "immorality" (NAB, NIV, REB, TEV), "sexual immorality" (NRSV), which is a translation of the Greek word porneia (Strong's # 4202). That Greek word and its related Greek words porneuo (Strong's # 4203), pornos (Strong's # 4205), and ekporneuo (Strong's #1608) are discouraged throughout the New Testament, as in the following verses:

Homosexual acts are explicitly discouraged in the Bible passages below. The full texts of a few representative verses from Paul's genuine writings are included.

Correcting but not judging others: The New Testament Gospel (the "Good News") is the basis for Christian correction (see, but Jesus' teachings and example were in sharp contrast with the Old Testament's harsh judgments, sentencings, and punishments. Following Christ the intent of our ministry (including Christian correction) is to save, not to judge or to condemn others. Judging or condemning others is contrary to Jesus' teachings and example. (See Mat 7:1-5; Joh 12:47.). The Gospel and its teachings should only be used to edify (to build) others and to enable us ourselves to follow Christ, who provided us with the example of saying to the adulterous woman, "I do not condemn you... Go, but do not sin again." (Joh 8:11)

Paul similarly taught:

God-inspired qualities to be nurtured in marriage: Since there is so much public debate and confusion as to the relationship of marriage to pre-marital sex and homosexuality, it is appropriate here to take a look at some of the God-inspired qualities that should be nurtured in marriage. These include unconditional love (Greek: agape), faithfulness, selflessness, mercy, respect, purity, courage, honesty, strength, and consistently enduring commitment (undiminished by time or circumstance). These qualities should be cherished and appreciated not only in marriages but wherever found.

It is certainly fair to say that not all marriage partners maintain these edifying qualities, nor do all "straight" (heterosexual) singles maintain these qualities in their dating relationships. Keeping in mind the story of Jesus' handling of the adulterous woman (see John 8:1-11), many married people and many single straight people should be especially careful not to cast stones at homosexuals. The fact is that some gays/lebians may exemplify greater commitment to many of the above-mentioned good qualities in their relationships than do some heterosexuals, both married and unmarried. This is simply an edifying reminder to straight people about the sins of self-righteousness and hypocrisy.

Additional lessons from Jesus' references to Samaritans: Jesus himself used a parable about a good Samaritan to the teach valuable lessons to some of the self-righteous fellow-Jews that he addressed, even though he did not advocate being a Samaritan. It may be that gays have somewhat the same standing among some groups today as did the Samaritans in the Jewish culture of Jesus' day. Yet some of today's gays may be appropropriate candidates for the Samaritan role in Jesus' parable.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has six different sayings that include the formula, "You have heard.., but I say to you." These sayings probe deeper than surface morality and ethics. They get to the heart of Jesus' teachings. He is impressing upon us our 24x7 responsibility to glorify God in all of our thoughts, in all of our words, and all of our actions. Jesus' teachings in Matthew are:

We all need to honestly examine ourselves and see how well we ourselves measure up to what Jesus expected of his followers.

Need for understanding and compassion: In our current discussion there is a need to address an issue of which relatively very few people even are aware. Though maybe uncomfortable for some, we should compassionately understand and recognize that there are many who are legally identified as male or female, who at birth physically had both male and female genitals, or who at birth physically had genitals so abnormally configured as to be indeterminable. In many of these cases surgeons performed operations soon after birth, operations that determined the legal sex of the child, but even the kindest and most skilled surgeons could not foretell how the child would become naturally inclined. Especially in those cases, the surgically designed genitals did not always properly identify or determine the natural sex of the child. Taking this conclusion a step further, we may need to acknowledge the possibility that some people who arrived as newborns with genitals of one sex may have built-in "human natures" that are naturally inclined to a sexual preference that is the contrary to the norm for their type of genitals. As difficult as this may be to accept, basically this would mean that rather than arriving at birth having both genitals or having indeterminable genitals, some babies also may have arrived with what is commonly considered to be the "wrong" set of genitals for the "human nature" with which they also arrived.

The above information is not intended to encourage or condone sexual promiscuity or any type of sexual immorality on anyone's part, straight or gay. It is only intended to elicit compassion and discourage any of us from pronouncing judgment on anyone other than ourselves. As Jesus also says, "Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others." (Mat 7:1-3, TEV) We can, however, lovingly teach and edify each other without being judgmental.

These issues show the tremendous value of Paul's words to the Romans (Rom 7:14-25; 8:1-15, TEV):

Marriage, sacred and unique: So what makes a marriage relationship sacred and unique? According to the Gospel of Mark (Mar 10:8,9), Jesus said that God joins a husband and wife together to be one. And Paul documented for us Jesus' teaching regarding the mutual commitment of spouses (1Co 7:10,11, TEV):

Paul also provided us with his own early Christian description of what is expected of husband and wife, with equal responsibilities to care for each other, when he wrote (1Co 7:3-5, TEV):

Paul even includes non-Christian spouses in his teaching, when he goes on to say (1Co 7:12-14, TEV):

In her very instructive chapter on "Marriage" (S&H, pages 56-69), Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (pages S&H 56:7-20):

From this it is to be concluded that either heterosexual or homosexual promiscuity that interferes with the marriage covenant is as grave a moral issue as is murder.

Mrs. Eddy goes on to say (ibid., page 57:1-14):

Natures: It may be instructive here to note something else that Mrs. Eddy writes in a completely different context. While she herself repeatedly warns readers of the ungodliness and valuelessness of theosophy, spiritualism, and hypnotism, she states (S&H, page 99:18-29):

Paul writes (Phi 4:8,9):

May we all grow to be worthy of uttering Paul's words as our words, "Put into practice what you learned and received from me, both from my words and from my actions." May each of us be fit to to impart such words to fellow Christians and to others who are touched not only by the words that we speak or write but by the edifying lives we live for the glory of God and for the love of humanity.


Does anyone have a complete grasp of what Jesus' original teachings and practices were and how he expects us to apply them today? I don't, and I don't know of anyone, anywhere, of any time that has had that complete grasp. (See also Phi 3:12-15.) It is the role of the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete (Comforter, Counsellor, Advocate) to remind us and further teach each of us what Jesus taught. (See Joh 14:26; Joh 16:12-15.) Many of us have earnestly sought such a grasp, and if we are honest with each other, we can help each other along the way. It is ultimately God who reveals Himself to each one of his beloved children through Christ and the Holy Spirit, but we lovingly and faithfully can help prepare each other for that revealing.

At the end of another Web page, I articulate a very longtime commitment to intellectual honesty, to which I continue to be very much committed:

To explore other relevant questions and responses, see:

To explore a discussion regarding early Christian views of sexual relations in marriage, browse

To explore other online articles and resources on early Christian teachings and practices regarding marriage, browse

To explore Paul's genuine teachings advocating the active participation of women in the early Christian church, browse (This and other online articles on this website provide correction a common misrepresentation of Paul as limiting the equality and participation of women in the church.)


Copyright 1996-2004 Robert Nguyen Cramer