How do you interpret Romans 1:27?

(from a reader in England)

Cybele on a Roman coin as Mater Deum<br>

Cybele on a Roman coin as Mater Deum

Romans 1:27 is not now and never has been a reference to two men falling in love and partnering to spend their lives together. Romans 1:27 describes the lust of shrine prostitutes who used sex to worship the fertility goddess Cybele, Protectress of Rome.

Roman coins circulating in the first century depicted Cybele as Mater Deum, "mother of the gods." Inhabitants of Rome worshiped Cybele at any of five worship sites which existed in first century Rome.

Romans 1:26-27 is an integral part of Paul's argument against idolatry. Paul is most assuredly not making an argument against lesbians and gay men. No one in early church history understood Paul to be assailing two women or two men partnering together in a same sex marriage.

Instead Paul describes sexual worship of the Phrygian fertility goddess Cybele as an example of the idolatry of first century Romans.

There are many reasons why Romans 1:27 is not a general reference to homosexuality. Those reasons are given in the Links below.

1. Does Romans say that God gives gay people over to homosexuality?

2. Does likewise in Romans 1:27 equate gay sex with lesbian sex?

3. Does Romans 1:26 condemn lesbians?

4. Does Romans 1:26-27 refer to heterosexuals acting like homosexuals?

5. Can you convince me that Romans 1 is not talking about gays and lesbians?

6. Does Romans 1:26-27 condemn homosexuals?

7. How did you decide that Romans 1:26 does not condemn lesbians?

8. How can you say that Romans 1 has nothing to do with homosexuality?

9. What historical and religious context did Paul address in first century Rome?

10. Does the apology of Aristides link Romans 1 to shrine prostitution?

11. What is your proof for the link between Romans and shrine prostitution?

Click here to return to Gay Christian FAQ Page.

We've answered the question: How do you interpret Romans 1:27? Click here to return to Gay Christian 101 Home Page.

Comments for How do you interpret Romans 1:27?

Click here to add your own comments

Mar 16, 2019
by: Gwen

Why are you calling yourself gay Christians? If your truly born again you will abandon that lifestyle and be a Christ follower. Romans 1:27 Is referring to men burning in lust for one another and as for worshiping a temple god I'm sure Paul covered that in the scriptures but don't water down this verse to clear up your conscience, sorry it doesn't work that way. Jesus died for you because he loves you and wants you to be with him in heaven Romans 10:9.

Rick's comment: Hi Gwen - I have lots of information on this website which answers your question.

What is Romans all about?

When you assume we are not saved, because we disagree with you on the gay issue, that indicates a flaw in your thinking.

May 02, 2019
God's Word Interprets the Bible
by: Penny

Genesis 18:20
The Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom & Gomorrorah is great & their sin is wicked...
2 Peter 2:7 and if He (God) rescued Lot, a righteous man distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (Sodom)
Genesis 19:4-5 Before they had gone to bed, all the men of the city of Sodom, both young & old, surrounded the house..and said: bring those men out so we may know (have sex) with them.
The word Sodomy comes from Sodom.
God has NOT changed his mind about is sin. But if you repent & ask forgiveness, He will change your heart & make you clean.
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man that He should lie. Revelation 22:19 If any man takes away from the Words of this book (Bible) God will take away his part out of the book of life.

Rick's comment: Hi Penny - Here are some: Easy Questions About Sodom.

What must I do to be saved?

Jun 05, 2019
The Text Is Clear and Plain
by: Student of Truth

Paul never mentions Phrygian or Cybele in this passage. He references "the natural use" of women's bodies by men and vice versa. He meant human beings, not gods. He wrote of "the dishonoring of their bodies." There's no use arguing that the Bible, the Prophets, and the Apostles don't say what they say and mean what they mean. The text also states that they know the truth--which IS God--within themselves and refuse to acknowledge it. He further states,"Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." Sharp and cutting language, but it is exactly what is happening today among those who deny the spirit of the entire first chapter of Paul's letter to Romans. It is not a justification of crimes and injustice against LGBTQ persons. It is simply what the Bible states.

Rick's comment: Hi Student of Truth - Part of learning the Bible is learning the context. Without context, we cannot understand the Bible.

On my website, I have a phrase by phrase, verse by verse commentary on Romans chapter 1. You may be interested in looking at it.

The truth about Romans 1

Oct 16, 2019
Doesn't get anymore clear
by: Dustin

Not sure how you explain off this one with goddess lust. Its so plain its ridiculous. You know you are deceiving many people straight to hell. Don't take it so metaphorical.

Rick's comment: Hi Dustin - Teaching the Bible in context doesn't send people to hell.

Part of learning the Bible is learning the context. Without context, we cannot understand the Bible.

On my website, I have a phrase by phrase, verse by verse commentary on Romans chapters 1 - 8. You may be interested in looking at it, especially Romans chapter 1.

The truth about Romans 1

Oct 23, 2019
by: Jesus Rat

I believe there are plenty of instances in the Bible where the text is not in fact the word of the Lord, but is an insert in order for the ruling parties of the time to serve some political agenda. I think this a perfect instance. All this passage does is re-enforce binary thinking, black and white thinking, about a topic that is much more nuanced than, "you are gay, therefore you are going to hell." Sexuality is a spectrum not two sides of a coin.

Rick's comment: Hi JR - It's best not to buy in to the goofy modern view that there are more than 100 genders. Biologically and scientifically, there are only two genders: male and female.

The fact that Jesus does not condemn homosexuality should carry much more weight than this specific passage.

To the other commenters up to this point. It sounds to me that you need to pray for more clarity and wisdom on the matter. Even if your stance is that being gay and Christian is wrong, and if your goal is to change peoples minds, I can’t imagine you think condemning people to hell or "throwing stones" is gonna push the needle. I personally don’t think that it's wrong, and I base that on Jesus’s teachings.

Did you know that charging interest on a loan is a sin? Why should that get a pass? It’s because we are caught up in a world that picks and chooses what they want from the Bible and then displays their "truth" as the ultimate truth, calling it God’s word. This is one of the main factors in the downfall of the church.

People are too smart and have too much information now, to let these inconsistencies perpetuated by the members of the church to go uncontested. They would rather just throw the whole thing out and not participate.

Therefore I think the one’s "condemning" more people are the one’s that spread these conservative biblicisms without backing them up with anything other than, that’s what the bible says.

Rick's comment: Christians, by definition, believe the Bible and are disciples of Jesus. Jesus didn't save us so that we can ignore the Bible and substitute our own belief system for what the Bible says.

All of this aside, Jesus saves. If we find out that homosexuality actually was a sin, he’s not gonna make people burn in hell for it. That’s not his MO.

Rick's comment: Yes indeed, Jesus saves! - What must I do to be saved?

Jesus Rat, you are dead wrong about hell. You need to follow Jesus and believe what He believes.

Jesus teaches Hell 101.

Dec 18, 2019
I see what you're saying, however
by: Scripture Reader

I 100% agree that things should be read in context. I also 100% agree that being gay does not mean someone is hell bound. The bible is clear that those who believe in Jesus, in the gospel, are saved. God knows the hearts of everyone, and he will cause the changes within everyone, in a way that he knows they can handle.

However, it is not with hidden undertones or meanings, or out of context that is says, likewise then also the males having left the natural use of the female were inflamed in the desire of them toward one another, males with males, the shame working out.

It does not say with idols, that is directly from an interlinear bible found here.

I don't say this to contend that on who is Christian, and who is not. God knows that. I'm pointing out what others have pointed out, the scripture is cut and dried in that sense.

But according to the bible, arsenkoitai, which according to strongs concordance, is a sodomite, a male engaging in same gender sexual activity, is on the list in 1 Corinthians 6:9, along with other things, like adulterers.

And we know from Jesus's teachings, that if someone looks at another with lust in their heart they have committed adultery. We ALL fall short of the glory. But it's our job to ask God to take us out of anything that goes against God and His glory.

Rick's comment: Hi Scripture Reader- I have a verse by verse commentary on Romans, available FREE, on my website.

Romans chapter one - verse by verse commentary.

Feb 10, 2020
God is purity
by: Kate

Homosexuality is listed as one of the sins that God hates, just like adultery and idol worship. Do not lie to yourselves or call evil good. He created man and woman to love each other and populate the earth. In Romans 1.27 we get a clue that there are consequences to gay immoral choices..I believe AIDS and disease is one of them...and unfortunately it carries consequences to children and families and is also passed on in immoral heterosexual sex. God put safe boundaries in place for a reason.. to protect families and children and mankind. Sodom and Gomorrah is another example of how much He hates immorality, homosexuality and all sexual uncleanness. He is good and clean and pure and wise and there are many many Biblical references against homosexuality and sex outside marriage.

Rick's comment: Hi Kate- I have a verse by verse commentary on Romans, available FREE, on my website.

Romans chapter one - verse by verse commentary.

Jun 30, 2020
Excusing sin
by: Tim

We can twist the Bible around however we want to excuse our sin. I’ve done it myself, but when Paul speaks about men lusting after other men, it’s very clear he is talking about homosexuality. Yes he talked of idol worship earlier but that’s because homosexuality was ingrained into the worship of idols (they’re both wrong)

It’s very clear Jesus and Paul were against sexual immorality (Yes, that includes homosexuality and an unmarried heterosexual couple living together) so much so that Jesus said it’s not only wrong if you do it, it’s wrong if you even think of doing it.

He set the bar of righteousness so high that we can’t reach it. Only the blood Jesus she’d on the cross can reach it. We can excuse a sinful lifestyle all we want, but the Truth remains the same.

Rick's comment: Hi Tim- Thanks for commenting. May I point out that, when I disagree with you, that doesn't mean I'm twisting the Bible around to excuse my sin.

I have a word by word, phrase by phrase, verse by verse FREE commentary on Romans, on my website. You may be surprised to discover that you agree with me, after reading it.

Why would you agree with me? Because what I write is faithful to what the Bible says and faithful to the word of God, rightly divided.

Romans chapter one - verse by verse commentary.

Jul 09, 2020
by: Bob

I have read all of your explanations of your quoted verses. It's amazing how many people today bend God's word to justify their lifestyle, not just gays.

Original interpretations of God's word are very clear that homosexual relationships are a sin, just like pride,lust,adultery, murder, etc., etc.

It is not my place to judge, that is God's role. It doesn't take God's word to realize that same sex sexual relations is completely unnatural.

But ultimately we are all sinners who need to repent. We will all face God judgement on us one day.

Jul 22, 2020
by: EC

there are many passages in many books, and you have misinterpreted them intentionally to fit your narrative. you can send all the links you like but it does not change things.

Rick's comment: Hi EC - Thanks for commenting.

"A closed mind gathers no truth." - old Etruscan proverb.

If you ever get interested in truth, I have a FREE, online, phrase by phrase, verse by verse commentary on every verse of Romans chapter 1

I hope you have the courage to read it.

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Gay Christian FAQ.

Site Build It! Site Build It!