Jesus: Concrete Talk about Gays and Lesbians, not Abstract Labels

As you know, most people believe that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. Whether they believe that homosexuality is a sin worthy of hell or they believe that homosexuality is not a sin, they agree that Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. Actually, Jesus mentioned two gay and lesbian couples in good, concrete Hebrew style.

It might help if we understood something about ancient Hebrew thought a bit better. And by “ancient Hebrew thought,” I don’t mean what ancient Hebrews thought, or even how they thought, but how they expressed their thoughts.

Ancient Hebrews expressed their thoughts, even abstract thoughts, in concrete terms. For example, in Hebrew the word “famine” is “cleanness of teeth”; “Copulate” is “to lay with.” If you’re interested, you can use seach terms like Hebrew mindset concrete or ancient Hebrew thought for more detailed information on this.

An easy way to confirm this is to go to a resource like and do a search for bestiality, polygamy, homosexuality, etc. You won’t find them. But you will find prohibitions like,

If a man lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal. If a woman approaches any animal and lies with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. (Leviticus 20:15-16)

There are abstractions in Hebrew, but they are expressed in concrete terms as opposed to abstract ones.

We use many abstractions and concepts that Jesus never uttered: hierarchy, denominational distinctives, and retirement, for example. He never used words like tribalism, ethnocentrism, or exceptionalism.  His stories and teachings did, however, have implications for each of these topics of our contemporary concern.

There is nothing wrong with approaching the scripture for solutions to contemporary problems. The Bible doesn’t use phrases like “organizational inertia” or “obfuscatory language,” but the Bible does discuss these, in concrete language.  Just because the Jesus doesn’t use the words “terrorist” or “racism” doesn’t mean we can’t turn to the gospels for insight.

Similarly, just because the word “homosexual” doesn’t appear in the gospels doesn’t mean Jesus didn’t talk about it. He did talk about homosexuality, using concrete terms similar to those in the Hebrew scriptures.

          I tell you, in that night,
          there shall be two men in one bed;
                the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
          Two women shall be grinding together;
                the one shall be taken, and the other left.

(Luke 17:34-35, KJV)

Jesus discussed homosexuals in precisely the way we would expect him to, not in abstract terms, but using concrete examples.

[To read the entire series on the gays and lesbians in the Gospel of Luke, click here.]

About Ron Goetz

My first wife used to say, "There's nothing so sacred that Ron won't pick it apart." My desire to be a pastor -- that was a temperamental mismatch. She was so patient. If my birth mother had lived somewhere else, maybe I would've become a cold case detective. But I would have had to be J instead of a P, I think. And that mid-life reevaluation, starting adolescence as a GARB fundamentalist and transitioning to a non-theist, that gave me an unusual skill set.
This entry was posted in Homosexuality, Homosexuality and the Bible, Luke 17:34-35, Rapture, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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