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The Old Testament is clear on male homosexual activity. From Leviticus 20:13:

If a man lies down with a male as one lies down with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.

Leviticus is part of the Old Testament. In the New Testament Jesus changes some of the rules. He is allowed to because he is the Messiah. If earlier scripture says something, and Jesus says the opposite, then we give Jesus priority. That is what makes it Christianity. This is used for example to justify why Christians do not keep Kosher or circumcise their children.

For rules not mentioned by Jesus, some say the rules remain the same. Others say the rules are no longer valid, as Jesus' death and resurrection fulfilled the old covenant between man and god. The Old Covenant is gone, and the new one is what Jesus said.

But the New Testament is not just the life and teachings of Jesus. There are loads of stuff after the resurrection about the establishment of the Church. Some of that says homosexuality is bad. For example Romans 1:26, 27:

God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Or 1 Corinthians 6:9

do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men

These were written by Paul years after the resurrection. Perhaps the above reflects some teachings of Jesus that were not included in the earlier gospels. Without justification, however, we can only believe the above is Paul's personal view.

Suppose one was interested in living life only according to what Jesus said and did. Not the scripture and prophets that came before. Not the saints and missionaries that came after.

In that case are there any rules on homosexuality? Is it good bad or neutral?

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    Why do you think "Jesus changes some of the rules"? In Matthew 5:17–18 Jesus says "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.". Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 14:55
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    You say "If earlier scripture says something, and Jesus says the opposite, then …", but Jesus never said the opposite. He did occasionally make laws even stronger, by viewing it spiritually rather than literally, but that's certainly not the opposite. For instance in Matthew 5:27–28: "You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.". Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 14:55
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    "He changed the rules" — which ones? "He started his own religion" — it's the same religion he started 6000 ago, but with an emphasis on the spiritual rather than the physical aspects of life. Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 15:39
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    You really can't ask a question "going back to what Jesus taught or said" because all (or at least most) Christian denominations believe they do that. The reason you get the Christian viewpoint(s) you get today is because of what the saints and missionaries taught (and how the people practiced their faith) and how the Bishops at the councils dealt with doctrinal issues.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 13:11
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    Even though the question is currently closed it doesn't mean you should edit it in away that is even less likely to be re-opened. You might be able to find a way to edit the question, but I can't think of it off-hand. Maybe pick one answer you like and adapt it to this question. You're asking specifically about the difference between the Gospel words of Christ and the Epistles, right? Maybe ask if some Christians base their doctrine off a disconnect, do some reject Paul? I don't know. Please don't ask a discussion question though.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 17:34

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If Paul was speaking as an authorized apostle and representative of Jesus Christ (see Romans 1:1), as most Christians hold, then Paul's teachings reflect the mind of the Lord on the matter.

Many Bibilical teachings have been rejected or reinterpreted by modern audiences because they do not align with contemporary social priorities - but it would be anachronistic to superimpose those contemporary social priorities upon the intent of ancient writers.

If one rejects the portion of God's teachings that are uncomfortable, one is left with a god created in man's image rather than man created in God's.

Paul did not specifically target one group only in his calls for repentance - he taught that we are all sinners (see Romans 3:23); the glorious message of this epistle is that reconciliation with God is possible: we have all fallen in sin, but we are not trapped there.

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    What do you mean by "authorized apostle and representative of Jesus"?
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 14:41
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    @Daron, what do you mean, "what do you mean"? The sentence is perfectly clear. Paul (and the other apostles) speak with the authority of Jesus ("authorized") and in the stead of Jesus ("representative"). If I am a king, and I give someone a message to speak on my behalf, when they speak that message, it carries the same weight as if I, the king, had spoken directly.
    – Matthew
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 15:38
  • @Matthew I don't understand the sentence.
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 15:40
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    The case for this in the NT alone is strong. Add in the OT and it's overwhelming. Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 17:13
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    @ReadLessPrayMore my thoughts on your questions are provided in this post. My video Thank Goodness for the Testimonies of Women is also relevant and may be of interest. Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 2:59
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Jesus re-iterated the words of Adam, the first man, when he is recorded by both Mark and Matthew saying :

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; [Mark 10:7 KJV]

For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh ... [Matthew 19:5 KJV]

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. [Genesis 2:24 KJV]

Jesus, therefore, reiterates and supports the words of Adam regarding the purpose and the function of male and female in regard to personal and physical union.

No other alternatives are ever considered by either Adam or Jesus.

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  • I was surprised that you say these are Adam's word. There are no quotes in Biblical Hebrew, so the passage can be read that way, but I've always assumed there are the words of the narrator, not Adam. It's a valid point either way though. Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 20:51
  • FYI... KJV has no quotes here either but among those translators who do use quote marks I can't find even one who includes the verse as belonging to Adam. biblegateway.com/verse/en/Genesis%202:24 Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 20:55
  • I don't find this excerpt as convincing as some of the ones in other answers. Am I right your argument is that, since he did not mention homosexuality when asked about whether a man should divorce his wife, we can gather that he did not approve?
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 22:56
  • But in the other direction I don't think we can gather that Jesus approved of homosexuality, from not mentioning it in Matthew. 4:27-30 about adultery.
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 23:00
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Jesus did not directly address homosexual activity in the Gospels so a degree of speculation is necessary here. But he was a Jew who upheld Jewish law on matters of heterosexual activity - and even condemned extra-marital heterosexual fantasies -- so that might be a good starting point:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell (Mt. 4:27-30)

It might be argued that this applies only to fantasies by married men, but if we take seriously what Jesus said earlier in the chapter, we cannot suppose he would have condoned homosexual behavior:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (17-19)

As the OP admits, Jewish law was very strict in its prohibition of homosexual activity:

If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. (NIV Lev. 20:13)

It can be argued that Jesus opposed capital punishment for such behavior based on the story of the Woman Taken in Adultery, but Jesus nowhere says that the law against male homosexual activity should be altered.

What are the Christian rules?:

The OP says"

Suppose one was interested in living life only according to what Jesus said and did. Not the scripture and prophets that came before. Not the saints and missionaries that came after. In that case are there any rules on homosexuality? Is it good bad or neutral?

This supposition implies a willingness to ignore both OT and NT proscriptions against homosexual activity except for the sayings of Jesus. It is certainly possible to dismiss Jesus' attitude toward the OT Law in Mt. 5, since many other Christians do likewise based on more liberal attitudes Jesus shows elsewhere. The trouble here is that the best arguments for dismissing OT Law are found in the Letters of Paul, which the OP does not wish to consider.

However, there are many churches who welcome practicing homosexuals and even celebrate gay marriages. Catholic, Orthodox and most Evangelical churches do not condone homosexual activity, but some Protestant denominations do not have rules against it. Here is a resource page that will help the reader identify which churches have rules against homosexual activities and which do not.

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    You are right. Even if we wanted to live only according to Jesus, we cannot rule out the Old Testament laws that he approved of. Even if he did not list them one at a time.
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 16:36
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    I do not suggest we dismiss something specifically because Paul wrote it. Only that we do not exalt him above other men. If he wrote some good arguments then he wrote some good arguments. If he wrote a good cheesecake recipe then he wrote a good cheesecake recipe. But I would taste it first and decide for myself. But they are his arguments/recipe and all else being equal they should not be assumed to come from the mind of god.
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 16:38
  • Though, as you say, he expressed approval for some of the laws while changing them. This is the real version of the law. So it is not clear which of the existing laws he would have changed if asked about them specifically, and which he would have passed over.
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 16:46
  • Thanks for clarifying your view on Paul. I'll leave what I wrote unchanged to preserve the record. Commented Oct 19, 2022 at 13:23
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Jesus never changed any O.T. laws. What he did was to show up pharisaical additional man-made 'rules' that made keeping God's laws a great burden for the people. He showed the real depth of spiritual meaning behind God's laws. For example, he said that a man thinking about having sex with a woman not his wife was committing adultery in his heart. Jesus raised the bar far higher by exposing the heart's desires and hatreds.

Jesus never mentioned lots of O.T. aspects of keeping God's laws. For example, the scriptures never mentioned abortion (as opposed to miscarriage, which is another matter entirely). Yet all Israel knew that to deliberately take the life of an unborn child, or to kill a new-born baby, violated God's law on the sanctity of human life. Does that mean that the lack of any God-given law on abortion means it's 'neutral'? Of course not!

That's why the first century church produced a document called The Didache which states,

"You shall not kill the foetus by abortion, or destroy the infant already born." That was because they believed the biblical statement that God created humans in His image. The Image of God, Personhood and the Embryo, Calum MacKellar pp 8-10 (SCM Press 2017)

So with homosexuality in the N.T. Jesus does not mention it. Paul and John do. Yet everything said in the N.T. about it agrees with all that is mentioned in the O.T. God's mandate to humanity is to fill the earth with offspring from the sexual union of a man with a woman, who were created in his image. Satan is out to corrupt that image in humanity, and violation of God's wonderful gift of sex is one of his main ways of doing that. The extent to which most societies have now gone in accepting ungodly views of sex would have shocked first century Christians to the core, had they known what would transpire in our day. Imagine them reading this article, published in 2016:

"Over a century ago, G.K. Chesterton pointed out that once we lost our faith in God, we would lose our humanity as well. This is happening in front of our eyes. Society is now guided by personal opinions and feelings, so that what is right for you is okay and nobody ought to criticise you for that. Satisfying self is the goal of billions of people, who no longer live to honour God or to put other people before themselves.

This is seen especially in the area of family life and human sexuality. Having got same-sex ‘marriage’ in 2014, our reshapers of humanity moved on to a new shibboleth issue; transgender. We are being bombarded with information that if a 5 year old boy feels that he is a girl, then, yes, he is a girl. Having got homosexual rights accepted on the basis of the doctrine that ‘people are born that way’, we are now being told that we must accept ‘gender fluidity’. Whereas God made us either male or female, Facebook tells us that there are 26 different genders and we can be whatever we wish to be...

Education is now the domain of social engineering. Having rejected Christianity as the foundation for our laws and morality, those in control of society are seeking to replace it with their own laws. Those laws include ostracising those who choose to stay with God’s laws and who will not be intimidated into keeping quiet about the immense danger our children are now in, because of modern brainwashing techniques used upon them." Article by David Robertson, Moderator, Free Church of Scotland, The Record magazine pp 5-6 January 2016

I do not know your age, but I do know that most Christians of my generation in this part of the world were taught in 1960s schools the biological facts about sexual reproduction, without a word suggesting we indulge in any of the sexual libertarianism today's children are being actively encouraged to experiment with. Perhaps you could consider what influences might be at back of you asking this question? You certainly won't find any such influences in either the O.T. or the N.T. On the contrary, the Greek word pornea in the N.T. covers all sorts of sexual breaking of God's laws, not just fornication or adultery or other sexual matters, but thinking pornographic thoughts. The massive flood of pornography in our world today is a major influence dominating peoples' thinking about sex and homosexuality. Satan is having a field-day corrupting minds regarding sex, and never more-so than with young, easily-impressed minds.

The answer to your question is "Yes, he was". Further, all God's laws against homosexuality are opposed to its practice.

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  • Surely you meant to write "all God's laws about homosexuality are opposed to its practice."
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 16:24
  • Thanks for the answer. My take-home is that "with homosexuality in the NT, Jesus does not mention it." I was already aware that it is mentioned in earlier and later scriptures.
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 16:25
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    @Daron Given that there is not a single, positive remark about homosexuality in the entire Bible, I certainly did mean to write ‘against’. I note from your comment also that you seem to be unclear about the difference between a rule and a God-given law. Jesus came to fulfil the whole of that God-given law, which, alone, would show that he could not have been in favour of homosexuality. Jesus exposed sinful thinking about sex, which agrees with the entire biblical principles about sex. Holiness and purity are the goals of those claiming to follow Jesus, not just in deeds, but in thoughts.
    – Anne
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 16:47
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    Then it is a strange sentence to write. Any laws against homosexuality are of course opposed to it.
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 17:31
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    @Daron It was because you commented to me, "is a different rule to" that I highlighted the diff. btwn. God's laws and man-made rules. We now have man-made laws enshrining sexual conduct that God condemns. Laws, however, cannot control the mind but Jesus reads minds and knows when we think lustfully about breaking God's sexual laws.
    – Anne
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 15:12
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Yes. Jesus was opposed to any thoughts or actions that run contrary to the intent behind the design of his Father's creation.

Mark 10:6-9 King James Version

Jesus said:

6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

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  • I would have to be very comfortable with Ancient Greek before I felt confident reading the intention behind this excerpt that every man should have a wife.
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 23:13
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    I take it literal. echad,- numeral quantity of 1 - flesh. God commands us to procreate. Explain how that happens in a homosexual way? Look at the design of nature. Even if you don't have the Spirit, its clear. Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 0:29
  • I agree this passage is about a man having sexual intercourse with a woman. But he never explicitly says "I command you to do this and only this" so it is not clear whether it is a command or a description. I would need to know more about the constructions in the original language.
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 11:31
  • Yes, YHWH does make it clear that the act of intercourse is when He deems a man and woman as married. That was His intent; to partner up for life and reproduce. "Be fruitful and multiply" the seed of Abraham. Seeds make more seeds. His intent is inherent in His design. He has made Himself known this way to everyone who seeks to understand. Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 13:35
  • I hear you quoting the Old Testament again.
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 14:26
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Jesus did recall the punishment that had been meted out to Sodom and Gomorrah, mentioning that it was one of the most severe punishments. See Mtt 10: 14-15 :

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

And, why were Sodom and Gomorrah punished by God ? Look at Gen 19:1-5

And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

(NB: That quote is from KJV. Many versions have explicit when it comes to Verse 5 )
The aberration of Sodom became so spoken about, that the name became the root for Sodomy, which is a legally punishable offence in many countries.

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  • I don't understand the significance of the second extract. Some men spent the night in Lot's house, but the local men congregate outside the door and called to bring them out.
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 12:19
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    @Daron the men of Sodom wanted to "know" Lot's guests in the sense of carnal knowledge. This is clear from the fact that, a few lines later, Lot offers the men his two virgin daughters as substitutes, saying "let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please; only do nothing to these men". On the other hand the quote from Mt. 10 refers to hospitality not sex. Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 16:23
  • Some versions translate that part as "bring them out so we may have sex with them". I wonder what is going on there with the original language.
    – Daron
    Commented Oct 17, 2022 at 17:51
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    to know' and to sleep with' are euphemisms that the Scriptures use for `making love'. You see them right from Genesis. (4:1). Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 7:27

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