Questions about Difficult Bible Verses: Romans 1:26—Does this verse mean that homosexuals should not be heterosexual because it is unnatural to them?


Misinterpretation: According to some homosexuals, when Paul spoke against what is “unnatural” in Romans 1:26 he was not declaring that homosexuality was morally wrong but simply that it was unnatural for heterosexuals. “Unnatural” is used in a sociological, not a biological way. So rather than condemning homosexual practices, it is argued that this Romans passage actually approves of homosexual practices for homosexuals.

Correcting the Misinterpretation: When the Bible declares that homosexual practices are “contrary to nature” (Rom. 1:26 kjv) it is referring to biological, not sociological nature. This passage cannot be used to justify homosexuality.

Sexuality and sexual expression are defined biologically in Scripture from the beginning. In Genesis 1 God created “male and female” and then told them to “be fruitful and increase in number” (Gen. 1:27–28). This reproduction was only possible if he was referring to a biological male and female. Sexual orientation is understood biologically, not sociologically, when God said “for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24 niv). Only a biological father and mother can produce children, and the reference to “one flesh” simply cannot be understood in any relationship except heterosexual physical marriage.

The Romans passage says that “men committed indecent acts with other men.” This clearly indicates that the class of sinful act condemned was homosexual in nature (Rom. 1:27). What they did was not natural to them but was “exchanged” for “natural relations” (v. 26). So the homosexual acts were pronounced unnatural for homosexuals too. Homosexual desires are also called “shameful lusts” (v. 26). So it is evident that God is condemning sexual sins between those of the same biological sex. Homosexual acts are contrary to human nature as such, not just to a heterosexual’s sexual orientation.[1]


[1] Geisler, N. L., & Rhodes, R. (1997). When cultists ask: a popular handbook on cultic misinterpretations (p. 210). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

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