When Was The Word Homosexual Added To The Bible

The term “homosexual” didn’t feature in the Bible until relatively recently – approximately one hundred years ago. Although homosexuality has been around since antiquity, it was only in the 20th century that churches and theologians began to use this specific term to refer to same-sex relationships. This article traces the history of when the word “homosexual” first appeared in the Bible, investigating the context and implications in greater detail.

Its Original Meaning

Originally, the word “homosexual” was used to describe anyone who has an ongoing sexual relationship with someone from the same sex. This was the term that biblical scholars in the early 20th century adopted when they began to translate the Bible into English. The birth of the concept of “homosexuals” – as it’s understood today – occurred alongside the emergence of the gay rights movement, which sought to bring visibility to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people and their campaigns for civil rights.

The 1926 work Perversion and the Social Life became the first book to use the term “homosexual” – though it was mainly used to describe men. Later, “homosexuality” was used to encompass both male and female same-sex relationships, though the word was still largely used in a pejorative context. As such, homosexual people were seen as deviant and immoral.

First Appearance in the Bible

The first time the word “homosexual” was added to a Bible translation was in 1961. This was done by Eugene Nida, a missionary linguist who was working on a project to update the American Standard Version of the Bible for the New Testament. Nida used the word “homosexual” to translate the Greek term arsenokoites, which literally refers to men who engages in male same-sex relationships.

It’s worth noting that Nida’s translation was highly conservative and he drew heavily on the work of existing translations, such as the King James Version, in his choices. The language he used reflected prevailing social opinion and values of the time, assigning a negative connotation to homosexuality by placing it in the same category as a crime or sin.

Implications for the Church

The appearance of the word “homosexual” in the Bible further reinforced the belief that homosexuality is an abomination and a sin in the eyes of God, and this still holds true for many conservative interpretations of Christian and Jewish scriptures. This has created an aura of guilt and shame around LGBT people in religious contexts, leading to the exclusion and mistreatment of many sexually and gender diverse individuals in church communities.

In recent years there has been an effort to reinterpret the Bible’s message and bring a more inclusive attitude to LGBT believers, but that debate is still raging. Progressive sects of Christianity and other religions have begun to embrace LGBT members as part of their congregations, but attitudes remain split in many places.

Perspectives from the LGBT Community

For many members of the LGBT community, the inclusion of the word “homosexual” in the Bible can be seen as highly damaging and discriminatory, particularly when coupled with language that implies homosexuality is a sin or morally wrong. This has been a source of great anguish for many queer individuals, who have had to establish a sense of self and faith within an environment which labels them as abominations.

However, some queer people have reclaimed the bible, by interpreting it in the light of their own experiences. It’s worth noting that in its most basic sense, the inclusion of the word “homosexual” in the Bible implies recognition of a minority that has historically been ignored or denigrated. In this way, it’s possible to see this development as a sign of progress.

Analysis of Church Thinking

The inclusion of “Homosexual” in the bible raises many questions about the church’s approach to sexuality and how it has been shaped over the years. Historians have suggested that this development was a product of the invention of the different categories of gender and sexuality that have become common in the 21st century. It is possible that the church would have taken a more progressive stance on LGBT members if such language hadn’t been adopted.

At the same time, the development of this language has both limited and broadened the scope of sexuality and gender for its many adherents, as well as offering more positive depictions of homosexuality. This can be seen as a sign that the church is beginning – albeit slowly – to break away from outdated beliefs and accept its queerer members.

Implications for Modern Society

The inclusion of “homosexual” in the Bible has been interpreted in different ways, but ultimately the implications remain the same: there is now a doctrinal definition of homosexuality in the Bible. This has ramifications both in terms of how society regards LGBT individuals, as well as how religious organizations view them. The language created around homosexuality has shaped our understanding of this concept, but also carries with it a long legacy of bigotry and discrimination.

In recent years, the language around sexuality and gender has begun to evolve and shift towards a more inclusive stance, and it’s possible that the inclusion of the word “homosexual” in the Bible will eventually be seen as a stepping stone towards greater acceptance and understanding. For now, however, it remains a source of great debate.

LGBT Rhetoric in Popular Culture

The inclusion of the word “homosexual” in the Bible has had a lasting effect on popular culture and can be seen in many works of art, literature and media. In particular, it has been used as a source of rhetoric and language for LGBT activists and allies, who are pushing for greater acceptance and representation in society. This language has been woven into stories, songs, poems and speeches, and has become part of the shared cultural heritage of our society.

It has also been used to create a coherent narrative around the LGBT experience, particularly in regards to how the church and other religious organisations have historically interpreted homosexuality. This is a powerful tool in the battle towards equality, raising awareness and challenging existing bigotry.


The inclusion of the word “homosexual” in the Bible, though controversial, has had a deep impact on the way we understand sexuality and gender in society. It has enabled us to recognise and name the experiences of LGBT people more accurately, though this language has been used to oppress and discriminate as well. Despite this, the word has the potential to form the basis of wider acceptance and understanding of those who experience same-sex attraction, and to open up a dialogue on the role of religion and faith in the LGBT movement.

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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