NIV Study Bible on Romans: ‘Homosexual Practice Is Sinful in God’s Eyes’

God allows sin to run its course as an act of judgment

By Peter LaBarbera

What President Obama calls an “obscure line” in the New Testament Book of Romans condemning homosexual behavior is not obscure at all. In fact, in Scripture the proliferation of homosexual sin is a key sign of the downfall of a culture. The following is the culmination of key passage in Romans describing mankind’s descent into wickedness. We read in 1:18: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” The passage continues as men stopped glorifying God “but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” The downward spiral into idolatry (1:22-23) continues:

[24] Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. [25] They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

[26] Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. [27] In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 

The following are the study notes for the NIV (New International Version) Study Bible on Romans’ “God gave them over” verses, 1:24, 1:26, and 1:28:

God gave them over. God allowed sin to run its course as an act of judgment.

Here is the NIV Study Bible (Zondervan 10th Anniv. edition: 1995) note on Romans 1:27:

 Homosexual practice is sinful in God’s eyes. The OT [Old Testament] condemns the practice. (see Leviticus 18:22).

Old Testament prohibitions

Here is the passage in the Old Testament Book of Leviticus (18:21-23), proscribing homosexual acts (v. 22). Note that it is sandwiched between the detestable act of sacrificing one’s children to the Ammonite god of Molech, and committing bestiality. (Seen any Bestiality Pride parades lately?) Earlier in the chapter are a series of condemnations of incest and adultery (emphasis added):

[21] “‘Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.

[22] “‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

[23] “‘Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.”

Here is the NIV Study Bible note introducing the section in Leviticus on unlawful sexual relations (Chs. 18-20), followed by the notes on Lev. 18:21 and 18:22:

Lev. 18:1-20:27.  Here God’s people are given instructions concerning interpersonal relations and a morality reflecting God’s holiness. Israel was thereby prepared for a life different from the Canaanites, whose life-style was deplorably immoral. Ch. 18 contains prohibitions in the moral sphere, ch. 19 expands the Ten Commandments to detail correct morality, and ch. 20 assesses the penalties for violating God’s standard of morality. …

Lev. 18:21.  Molech. The god of the Ammonites (see 20:2-5; 1 Kings 11:5 and note). The detestable practice of sacrificing children to Molech was common in Phoenicia and other surrounding countries. Cf. 1 Kings 3:26-27. King Manasseh evidently sacrificed his sons to Molech (2Ch 33:6; see 2Kings 23:10). Jer. 32:35 protest the practice.

Lev. 18:22.   lie with a man. See 20:13, where the penalty for homosexual acts is death.

This article was posted on Sunday, August 16th, 2009 at 5:31 pm and is filed under A - What does the Bible say about homosexuality?, Bestiality, Biblical Truth, Incest, News, Obama, The Bible, Churches, & Homosexuality. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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