Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality” as Want to Read:
What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  530 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Does God's word in the Bible really condemn homosexuality?...... Top scholars--like the late John Boswell of Yale, Daniel Boyarin of Berkeley, Bernadette Brooten of Brandeis, L.William Countryman of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, Victor P. Furnish of SMU, Saul M. Olyan of Brown and Robin Scruggs of Union Theological Seminary--show that those who per ...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published May 1st 2000 by Alamo Square Press (first published 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jun 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: christians and faith-based queers :)
granted this is a 13-year old review BUT...this book was pivotal for me. i was deeply faithful, attending a baptist college, and coming to terms with my orientation. thank goodness for the library staff's foresight in adding this to their collection. the critical, reflective analysis here made a difficult transition much easier. highly recommended to anyone struggling with this particular issue.
Jul 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
I know this book has been around awhile now, but I've only just discovered it...and now that I have, my thought is, "Finally!" An intelligent response to the fundamentalists who believe that their "The Bible says it's wrong" argument is the final word on sexual morality. The book offers a summary of biblical scholarly study that argues that the meaning of oft-quoted passages is not as clear as the Falwells of the world would have you think. First of all pointing out that the meaning of some word ...more
Jun 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: all-lgbtqia
I am reading this less for myself than for my Christian parents who I am currently in the process of coming out to. (I say "in the process" because I literally am in an awkward half-out-of-the-closet-but-not-really limbo. It's weird. And complicated.)

I've been convicted for a while you can be of the Christian faith AND be gay, but I am reading books on the subject in the hopes of further clarifying my position. The object also is to hopefully someday give such books to my parents.

That being sai
May 18, 2008 rated it liked it
One of the most honest examinations of the Bible and homosexuality I've read yet.

The book doesn't try to define exactly what the Bible does say on homosexuality, but rather what it doesn't. Sometimes Helminiak will come right out with his criticism of bad exegesis, i.e., in helping put to rest that useless myth about Sodom being destroyed for it's homosexual populace. It wasn't; only the more virulent anti-gay lynch mobs out there still insist it was. Other times, the author recognizes uncertain
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shelf-deux
I have to say after reading this years ago it helped me grow closer to God and now that I attend a gay church i'm able to let go the old teachings about homosexuality and know that God makes no mistakes and that he doesn't hate me. Going to a Bible study about homosexuality in the Bible in recommended this book to the other ppl attending, I hope it helps them the way it helped me.
Julie Morrow
Jul 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, faith
So far, I feel the writer is very informed. He has obviously done his research by studying the etymology of the old Hebrew and Greek words in an attempt to extrapolate the original meaning of biblical texts that have often been utilized to condemn homosexuality.
May 07, 2007 rated it liked it
A very interesting read; it challenges the "traditional" views dominating the current ideas and beliefs of conservative Christianity. Although I am no scholar, the argument presented is persuasive. Hopefully this book will supply understanding and give a new perspective to individuals who find it difficult or impossible to accept one’s sexual preference.


“Custom was turned into the law of God. A matter of mere social inconvenience was turned into a matter of morality.”

“In all those case
Jul 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians
Shelves: religion
The author does a good job of picking apart the few phrases throughout the bible that seemingly condemn homosexuality. In many of the cases, the writer (of the particular book within the bible) seems to be making a point of something not being socially acceptable, rather than sinful. In some interpretations, phrases such as "unnatural relations" have been later edited to mean homosexuality, when the actual word could be more directly translated to "not in the usual way." So, does not in the usua ...more
Apr 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
with a forward written by Jon Spong, this book offers an incredible insight to the variance of a literal and interpretive understanding of the Bible. Offers the perspective of a large movement of ivy league scholars digging into every aspect of the Bible....primarily into the context of when the Bible was written and how the message translated then opposed to how it translates in our current society. Wait for it...polar opposites. Surprised? You shouldn't be.
Paul Froehlich
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Daniel Helminiak analyzes all seven Biblical texts on homosexuality. He concludes his analysis this way: “The Bible takes no direct stand on the morality of homo-genital acts as such nor on the morality of gay and lesbian relationships.” Christians of good will can disagree, but they must refute Helminiak’s scholarship if they hope to persuade.
Oct 20, 2008 rated it did not like it
I thumbed through this book a couple of times and have been disappointed every time. The book isn't scholarly at all. It really doesn't dive into the issues in depth. Being an older book it uses some arguments that have been thoroughly debunked. I would recommend you leave this one on the self.
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Great for anyone who doesn't want to read through John Boswell's scholarly efforts. You can be gay and Christian, if that's an issue for you.
Matthew Cawthon
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it
One of the more prominent treatments of the subject at hand, of course. Helminiak has done his research -- though often others did the heavy lifting, including the wonderful and late John Boswell -- and makes a strong case not necessarily for a Biblical endorsement of homosexuality, but for the fact that the Bible simply has nothing to say on the matter that is relevant to our current understanding of queerness and sexuality. He makes it quite clear that it's really quite impossible to take thes ...more
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two chapters were a hard read only because they spent a lot of time on translating words from Greek. Since I don't have the time to study Greek or Hebrew I can take this interpretation (pun intended) as either a reach to fit one's own desire to feel okay in the biblical sense with being gay or that it shows that there is a realistic possibility that some words and meanings were either misunderstood by past biblical scholars whether intentionally through prejudices and past social mores and that ...more
Jean Marie Angelo
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a short book, but a ponderous read. I have to rate it hightly because it is the first book to my knowledge that tackled to a broad audience the perceptions and misperceptions about scripture and homosexuality. This was a game-changer for many of the LGBT Christians who I knew. Helminiak tackles the passages are are pulled out routinely to zap us, passages in Genesis, Leviticus, and Romans, among them. The author, a former Roman Catholic priest, makes the case that numerous translations t ...more
Collin Flake
Apr 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
I opened this book expecting a scholarly, if brief, overview of the defense of homosexual relationships based in scripture. But it turns out the title of Helminiak's book, complete with italics and all, is not simply a clever, trite way of drawing in readers to a serious analysis, but rather an indicator of the obnoxious tone of the entire book. Helminiak's hermeneutical analysis is shallow, condescending, and unoriginal. While the basic argument in this debate are framed for the reader, they ar ...more
Rodney Farrell Sr
Sep 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Written by a Catholic priest, Helminiak, cautions readers not to view Biblical teachings as the definitive understanding of sexual ethics. He believes an accurate and thorough study of scriptures will reveal "the Bible supplies no real basis for the condemnation of homosexuality."

As an Anabaptist, an evangelical and a Mennonite I wanted to further understand the Biblical perspective of same sex relations. Helminiak discusses the often used Bible references cited as prohibitions to homosexuality
Sep 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, mightown
Largely looked at specific texts used to justify discrimination against people in the LGBTQIA+ community by fundamentalist Christian groups. I would have appreciated a more thorough description/breakdown of each area (particularly when it came to the way translation differed over time) but there are still some really valuable insights and I think this is a wonderful starting point for people in the LGBT community (the emphasis in this text, admittedly, largely being on the "G" and briefly the "L ...more
Thomas Reeves
Feb 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
helpful to see the argumentation and exegesis of those looking to justify same-sex marriage and relationships as a gift from God. This book is blatantly biased, and the author seems gleefully unaware of the limits and pitfalls of interpreting narrative texts. The blatant isogesis and huge logical and speculative jumps should be obvious to all whether Christian or non.

While a very biased approach here to the exegesis, one does engage some of the "fine sounding arguments" used by many. The Histori
Oct 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book is written from an historical academic perspective by a former Catholic priest. Brief & to the point, Helmeniak delves into the most ancient biblical translations that are closest to the original Aramaic. I got to see him speak, and I actually enjoyed his speaking style better than the book, but still a good read and a good recommendation for Christians, especially Catholics, who would like to know more about what the Bible REALLY says about homosexuality.
Zero vi Britannia
Jul 26, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: lgbt
Top scholars such as Yale history professor John Boswell and New Testament professors L. William Countryman of Berkeley and Robin Scroggs of Union Theological Seminary show that those who perceive Bible passages as condemning homosexuality are being misled by faulty translation and poor interpretation.

I told you so! Don't wanna brag, but you already know. Oh oh oh!
Natasha (Diarist) Holme
Apr 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Homophobic Christians and people who need to deal with them
Shelves: lesbian, lgbt, sex
A nice try and some interesting arguments. It's always good to have more means of parrying the blows of homophobic Christians. But I can't help feeling that if the Bible really were the word of God, it would be much clearer and kinder to gay people, and that the better solution would be to leave the Bible behind.
Rudy Gutierrez
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very well detailed and written in a good spirit, not compromising but not condemning or ugly either. Show a correct Christian attitude towards the subject and lets the bible talk rather an popular opinions.
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Mandatory Reading

This book should be required reading for every Christian. Sadly, many won't read it and many that do won't be able to see past contemporary teachings. But, a follower of Jesus should welcome a loving and thoughtful, studios exploration of this subject. The fact that such animosity is pointed at the LGBTQ community from the church is sad and shameful.
Emma Ziegler
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it

Great read, very thoughtful analysis of passages usually taken at face value. The writing style wasn't my favorite and at times his suggestions seemed to be stretching the scripture a bit, but overall it was one of the best engagements with this topic that I've read.
Talyseon Talyseon
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, scholarly
This volume saved my faith. It helped reconcile me and my church. It is the best book I have read in the past 20 years. Check out my full review: What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality
A great book for ALL people to read!
May 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt, faith
Very clear interpretations that run counter to the traditional clobber passages. One of the things that helped reconcile my sexuality and faith.
Andrew Runkle
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Pretty compelling arguments
Laura Helmick
Aug 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really great look into the passages of the Bible that pertain to the current debate on homosexuality. A must read for anyone who wants to know more about this current hot button issue.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church
  • Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America
  • Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century
  • The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart
  • Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past
  • What God Has Joined Together? A Christian Case for Gay Marriage
  • Bulletproof Faith
  • Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology
  • Virtually Normal
  • God vs. Gay?: The Religious Case for Equality
  • Reports from the Holocaust: The Story of An AIDS Activist
  • Homosexuality and Christian Faith: Questions of Conscience for the Churches
  • Living in Sin?: A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality
  • Homosexuality & Civilization
  • Sex and the Single Savior: Gender and Sexuality in Biblical Interpretation
  • Pray the Gay Away: The Extraordinary Lives of Bible Belt Gays
  • The Quest of the Historical Jesus
  • The Invention of Heterosexuality

Nonfiction Deals

  • Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Sometimes You Win--Sometimes You Learn: Life's Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Long Tail: Why the Future Is Selling Less of More
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Funny In Farsi: A Memoir Of Growing Up Iranian In America
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France
    $8.49 $1.99
  • Bad Boy
    $7.74 $1.99
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back
    $4.99 $1.99
  • All Over But the Shoutin'
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change
    $13.99 $1.99
  • WEIRD: Because Normal Isn't Working
    $6.99 $2.99
  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness
    $5.99 $0.99