Has ‘Homosexual’ Always Been in the Bible? by Forge Online

Ed Oxford is a gay Christian, a graduate of Talbot School of Theology, and a researcher in how the Bible has been weaponized against LGBTQ people. His first book written with Kathy Baldock, Forging a Sacred Weapon: How the Bible Became Anti-Gay will be released in early 2024. 


The word “arsenokoitai” shows up in two different verses in the Bible, but it was not translated to mean “homosexual” until 1946. In this article, you will learn about his work with a research team that was seeking to understand how the decision was made to put the word homosexual in the Bible which first appeared in the RSV translation in 1946.


Ed Oxford wanted to see how other cultures and translations treated the same verses when they were translated during the Reformation 500 years ago. He started collecting old Bibles in most European major languages. In his study of the 1534 German translation of the Bible, he makes a fascinating discovery.

Context is crucial! He talks about how the ancient world condoned and encouraged a system whereby pederasty was common in their society. For most of history, most translations thought these verses were referring to pederasty, not homosexuality! 

He ends by acknowledging that the LGBTQ+ community has been hurt by the church for the past few  generations and based on his research, he offers advice for LGBTQ+ Christians. 

1.) As difficult as it may be, try to extend grace and patience to the Church. The vast majority of pastors in America have not done their due diligence on this topic, so we can’t expect them to be any further along than they are currently. In the same way that God has extended grace and patience with us when we sin, we need to extend grace and patience toward others regarding their error on this topic. Bitterness will only manage to create further damage.

2.) Seek out other LGBTQ Christians who have already done their due diligence on this topic and reached a point of peace between their sexuality and God. We can learn a lot from others who are a little further up the trail.

3.) Often remind yourself that this mess is not caused by God, but instead is the result of people who have been entrusted with free will.