Book Review – What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung

What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung is a great basic book on a biblical Christian view of homosexuality.  In light of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling regarding homosexuality and marriage, it is very important for Christians who believe that homosexuality is not God’s design and is, therefore, a sin to have a good, loving, well-reasoned, and ultimately biblical explanation for why they believe the way they do.  I believe that DeYoung’s book will go a long way toward helping Christians articulate their views.

In the Introduction, DeYoung explains that while the Bible does talk about homosexuality, in reality it is a very small part of what the Bible is about.  DeYoung does not say this to downplay the importance of the topic in our current culture, but to remind us that there is a larger storyline in Scripture, and its comments on homosexuality fall into that larger storyline.  He also very clearly states up front that “this is a Christian book, with a narrow focus, defending a traditional view of marriage” (p. 15; italics in original).  The book does not cover every possible nuance of the discussion, and it is does not intend to.  For those interested in studying deeper, DeYoung includes a brief annotated bibliography in the back.  He also emphasizes that “If you walk away from this book angry and arrogant, disrespectful and devoid of all empathy, someone or something has failed.  I pray the failure is not mine” (p.18).  DeYoung’s point in writing the book is not to hate or bash anyone, and he states that very clearly.  I also believe he does a great job of maintaining a straightforward yet loving tone throughout.  He also does not want his readers walking away with anything but a loving concern for those who deal with same-sex attraction.

The book is then broken into two parts.

Part one is “Understanding God’s Word,” and it deals with the major texts in Scripture relevant to the discussion of homosexuality: Genesis 1-2; Genesis 19; Leviticus 18, 20; Romans 1; and 1 Corinthians 6 and 2 Timothy 1 (together).  In each chapter, DeYoung examines the biblical text and responds to common objections or reinterpretations of the text.  For a book of this size (150 pages, not including the bibliography, acknowledgements, or Scripture index), DeYoung does a great job of laying out a basic understanding of the issues.  He is a careful exegete, and remains faithful to the text as his final authority.

Part two is titled “Answering Objections,” and this part deals with extra-biblical objections to a traditional Christian view of homosexuality.  The objections he answers are “The Bible Hardly Ever Mentions Homosexuality,” “Not That Kind of Homosexuality,” What about Gluttony and Divorce,” “The Church Is Supposed to Be a Place for Broken People,” “You’re on the Wrong Side of HIstory,” “It’s Not Fair,” and “The God I Worship Is a God of Love.”  Each of these objections are truly relevant in our current culture, and again, for a book of this size, DeYoung does a good job of responding to each one.

The conclusion explains the importance of the topic by reminding us that several things are at stake in the debate: “the moral logic of monogamy,” “the integrity of Christian sexual ethics,” “the authority of the Bible,” and “the grand narrative of Scripture.”  DeYoung ends by reminding us that we all need Jesus and His grace in our lives.

There are three appendices in the book.  Appendix 1 deals with the question of same-sex marriage.  Appendix 2 discusses a Christian view of same-sex attraction.  Appendix 3 ends with a call to 10 commitments Christians and churches should make when dealing with the issue of homosexuality.  This includes commitments like #2 “We will tell the truth about all sins, including homosexuality, but especially the sins most prevalent in our community,” and #8 “We will ask for forgiveness when we are rude or thoughtless or joke about those who experience same-sex attraction.”  DeYoung also encourages us to do everything in love in the 10th commitment.

If you are looking for an easy yet helpful read regarding the issue of the Bible and homosexuality, Kevin DeYoung’s book is a great place to start.  I have linked below to Amazon and Crossway (the publisher) in case you would like to order a copy.

What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? (Amazon)

What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? (Crossway)