The Rejection of the Creator’s Laws and Homosexual Relations in Rom 1:26-27


The author analyzes the Pauline pronouncement on homosexuality in Rom 1:26-27. He first places it in the context of the apostle’s arguments in Rom 1–4, outlines the structure of Rom 1:18-32, and examines the most important terms related to homosexual behavior in Rom 1:22-32. Subsequently, the author presents contemporary interpretations of Rom 1:26-27 which deconstruct or reject the Pauline critique of homosexual acts. They are divided into three basic categories: arguments from the position of modern psychology and ancient homosexual practices, arguments based on Paul’s understanding of nature, and arguments stemming from the rhetorical-literary context of Rom 1:18-32. The author critically examines these arguments, pointing to their anachronisms, limited reading of the apostle’s argumentative context, unsubstantiated overlapping of the concept of nature and cultural norm, and disregard of the universalistic character of the Pauline discourse in Rom 1:18-32.


Rom 1:26-27; homosexuality; natural law; Paul’s argumentation

Aletti, J.-N., God’s Justice in Romans. Keys for Interpretating the Epistle to the Romans (Subsidia Biblica 37; Rome: Gregorian & Biblical Press 2010).

Bahnsen, G.L., Homosexuality. A Biblical View (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker 1978).

Bailey, D.S., Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition (Hamden, CT: Archon Books 1975).

Bornkamm, G., „The Revelation of God’s Wrath (Romans 1–3)”, Early Christian Experience (New York: Harper & Row 1969) 47–70.

Boswell, J., Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality. Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century (Chicago, IL – London: University of Chicago Press 1980).

Brooten, B.J., Love Between Women. Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism (The Chicago Series on Sexuality, History, and Society; Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press 1996).

Byrne, B., Romans (Sacra Pagina 6; Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press 1996).

Countryman, L.W., Dirt, Greed, and Sex. Sexual Ethics in the New Testament and Their Implications for Today (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress 1988).

Cranfield, C.E.B., A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. I. Introduction and Commentary on Romans I–VIII (International Critical Commentary; Edinburgh: Clark 2004).

Davies, M., „New Testament Ethics and Ours: Homosexuality and Sexuality in Romans 1:26–27”, Biblical Interpretation 3/3 (1995) 315–331.

DeYoung, J.B., „The Meaning of ‘Nature’ in Romans 1 and Its Implications for Biblical Proscriptions of Homosexual Behavior”, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 31/4 (1988) 429–441.

Dover, K.J., Greek Homosexuality (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 1989).

Dunn, J.D.G., Romans. I. 1–8 (Word Biblical Commentary 38A; Dallas, TX: Word 1988).

Eckstein, H.-J., „‘Denn Gottes Zorn wird von Himmel her offenbar werden’. Exegetische Erwägungen zu Röm 1:18”, Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 78/1–2 (1987) 74–89.

Fitzmyer, J.A., Romans. A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (Anchor Bible 33; New York: Doubleday 1993).

Foerster, W. „σεβάζομαι”, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (red. G. Kittel – G. Friedrich – G.W. Bromiley) (Grand Rapids, MI – London: Eerdmans 1971) VII, 172–173.

Fredrickson, D.E., „Natural and Unnatural Use in Romans 1:24–27. Paul and the Philosophic Critique of Eros”, Homosexuality, Science, and the “Plain Sense” of Scripture (red. D.L. Balch) (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans 2000) 197–222.

Furnish, V.P., The Moral Teaching of Paul (Nashville, TN: Abingdon 1979).

Gagnon, R.A.J., The Bible and Homosexual Practice (Nashville, TN: Abingdon 2002).

Hallett, J.P., „Roman Attitudes toward Sex”, Civilization of the Ancient Mediterranean. Greece and Rome (red. M. Grant – R. Kitzinger) (New York: Scribner 1988) II, 1265–1278.

Halperin, D.M., One Hundred Years of Homosexuality and Other Essays on Greek Love (New York: Routledge 1990).

Hauck, F., “ἀκάθαρτος κτλ.”, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (red. G. Kittel – G. Friedrich – G.W. Bromiley) (Grand Rapids, MI – London: Eerdmans 1965) III, 426–431.

Hays, R.B., „Relations Natural and Unnatural. A Response to J Boswell’s Exegesis of Rom 1”, Journal of Religious Ethics 14/1 (1986) 184–215.

Himbaza, I. – Schenker, A. – Edart, J.-B., The Bible on the Question of Homosexuality (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press 2012).

Hyatt, J.P., „View of Man in the Qumran ‘Hodayot’”, New Testament Studies 2/4 (1956) 276–284.

Jeremias, J., „Zu Rm 1:22–32”, Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 45/1–2 (1954) 119–121.

Jewett, R. – Kotansky, R.D., Romans. A Commentary on the Book of Romans (Hermeneia; Minneapolis,
MN: Fortress 2007).

Jones, H.K., Toward a Christian Understanding of the Homosexual (New York: Association Press 1966).

Kalin, E.R., „Romans 1:26–27 and Homosexuality”, Currents in Theology and Mission 30/6 (2003) 423–432.

Kittel, G. – Friedrich, G. – Bromiley, G.W. (red.), Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI – London: Eerdmans 1964–1976) I-X [electronic edition 2000] (= TDNT).

Klostermann, E., „Die adäquate Vergeltung in Röm 1.22–31”, Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 32 (1933) 1–6.

Köstenberger, A.J. – Jones, D.W. – Akin, D.L., God, Marriage, and Family. Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books 2004).

Kowalski, M., „Problem Bożej sprawiedliwości w świetle Listu do Rzymian”, Verbum Vitae 26 (2014) 95–126.

Kowalski, M., „Apokaliptyczny gniew Boga i jego miejsce w Ewangelii Pawła (Rz 1,18-32)”, Verbum Vitae 33 (2018) 203–249.

Kowalski, M., „Honor i wstyd, prawo naturalne oraz Pisma. Podstawy Pawłowej argumentacji na temat żeńskich i męskich relacji homoseksualnych w Rz 1,26-27”, Verbum Vitae 39/1 (2021) [w druku].

Kowalski, M., „Katalogi wad, Dekalog i relacje homoseksualne w 1 Kor 6,9-10 oraz 1 Tm 1,8-10”, Verbum Vitae 39/1 (2021) [w druku].

Lance, H.D., „The Bible and Homosexuality”, American Baptist Quarterly 8/2 (1989) 140–151.

Lichtenberger, H., Studien zum Menschenbild in Texten der Qumrangemeinde (Studien zur Umwelt des Neuen Testaments 15; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 1980).

Liddell, H.G. – Scott, R. – Jones, H.S. – McKenzie, R., A Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford – New York: Clarendon – Oxford University Press 1996) (= LSJ).

Long, A.A., „Soul and Body in Stoicism”, Stoic Studies (Hellenistic Culture and Society 36; Berkeley, CA: University of California Press 2001) 224–249.

Longenecker, R.N., The Epistle to the Romans. A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans 2016).

Lucas, A.J., „Reorienting the Structural Paradigm and Social Significance of Romans 1:18–32”, Journal of Biblical Literature 131/1 (2012) 121–141.

MacNeill, J.J., The Church and the Homosexual, wyd. 4 (Boston, MA: Beacon Press 1993).

Malick, D.E., „The Condemnation of Homosexuality in Romans 1:26–27”, Bibliotheca Sacra 150/3 (1993) 327–340.

Martin, D.B., „Heterosexism and the Interpretation of Romans 1:18–32”, Biblical Interpretation 3/3 (1995) 332–355.

Martin, D.B., The Corinthian Body (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press 1995).

Maston, J., Divine and Human Agency in Second Temple Judaism and Paul. A Comparative Study (Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2/297; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2010).

Michel, O., Der Brief an die Römer, wyd. 4 (Kritisch-exegetischer Kommentar; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 1966).

Miller, J.E., „The Practices of Romans 1:26: Homosexual or Heterosexual?”, Novum Testamentum 37/1 (1995) 1–11.

Moo, D.J., The Epistle to the Romans (New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans 1996).

Mueller, E., Homosexuality, Scripture, and the Church (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute 2010).

Myers, D.G. – Scanzoni, L., What God Has Joined Together? A Christian Case for Gay Marriage (New York: HarperCollins 2006).

Nalewaj, A., „«Nie będziesz obcował z mężczyzną, tak jak się obcuje z kobietą. To jest obrzydliwość! » (Kpł 18,22). Teksty biblijne o homoseksualizmie”, Studia Elbląskie 14 (2013) 199–212.

Nissinen, M. – Stjerna, K., Homoeroticism in the Biblical World. A Historical Perspective (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress 2002).

Osiek, C. – Pouya, J., „Constructions of Gender in the Roman Imperial World”, Understanding the Social World of the New Testament (red. D. Neufeld – R.E. DeMaris) (London – New York: Routledge 2010) 44–56.

Popkes, W., „Zum Aufbau und Charakter von Römer 1:18–32”, New Testament Studies 28/4 (1982) 490–501.

Porter, C.L., „Romans 1.18–32. Its Role in the Developing Argument”, NTS 40/2 (1994) 210–228.

Richlin, A., „Not Before Homosexuality. The Materiality of the Cinaedus and the Roman Law against Love between Men”, Journal of the History of Sexuality 3 (1993) 523–573.

Rogers, J., Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality. Explode the Myths, Heal the Church (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox 2009).

Schmidt, T.E., Straight & Narrow? Compassion & Clarity in the Homosexuality Debate (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity 1995).

Schreiner, T.R., Romans (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament 6; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker 1998).

Schrenk, G., „δικαίωμα”, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (red. G. Kittel – G. Friedrich – G.W. Bromiley) (Grand Rapids, MI – London: Eerdmans 1964) II, 219–223.

Scroggs, R., The New Testament and Homosexuality. Contextual Background for Contemporary Debate (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress 1983).

Slawik, I. – Slawik, J., „Homoseksualizm problemem Kościoła?”, Rocznik Teologiczny 52/1–2 (2010) 9–70.

Smith, M.D., „Ancient Bisexuality and the Interpretation of Romans 1:26–27”, Journal of the American Academy of Religion 64/2 (1996) 223–256.

Soards, M.L., Scripture and Homosexuality. Biblical Authority and the Church Today (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox 1995).

Springett, R.M., Homosexuality in History and the Scriptures. Some Historical and Biblical Perspectives on Homosexuality (Washington, D.C.: Biblical Research Institute 1988).

Stasiak, S., List do Rzymian. Wstęp, przekład z oryginału, komentarz (Nowy Komentarz Biblijny. Nowy Testament 6; Częstochowa: Święty Paweł 2020).

Stegemann, W., „Paul and the Sexual Mentality of His World”, Biblical Theology Bulletin 23/4 (1993) 161–166.

Stowasser, M., „Homosexualität und Bibel. Exegetische und hermeneutische Überlegungen zu einem schwierigen Thema”, New Testament Studies 43/4 (1997) 503–526.

Strecker, G., „Homosexualität in biblischer Sicht”, Kerygma und Dogma 28/2 (1982) 127–141.

Szczur, P., „Homoseksualność, ale która? O sporze esencjalizm versus konstruktywizm w studiach gejowsko-lesbijskich”, Źródła Humanistyki Europejskiej 3 (2010) 191–206.

Thiselton, A.C., The First Epistle to the Corinthians. A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans – Carlisle: Paternoster 2000).

Tobin, T.H., „Controversy and Continuity in Romans 1:18–3:20”, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 55/2 (1993) 298–318.

Via, D.O. – Gagnon, R.A.J., Homosexuality and the Bible. Two views (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress 2004).

Ward, R.B., „Why Unnatural? The Tradition behind Romans 1:26–27”, The Harvard Theological Review 90/3 (1997) 263–284.

White, J.R. – Niell, J.D., The Same Sex Controversy. Defending and Clarifying the Bible’s Message about Homosexuality (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker 2002).

Wibbing, S., Die Tugend- und Lasterkataloge im Neuen Testament und ihre Traditionsgeschichte unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Qumran-Texte (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 25; Berlin: Töpelmann 1959).

Williams, C.A., Roman Homosexuality, wyd. 2 (New York – Oxford: Oxford University Press 2010).

Wink, W., „Homosexuality and the Bible”, Homosexuality and Christian Faith. Questions of Conscience for the Churches (red. W. Wink) (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress 1999) 33–49.

Winkler, J.J., The Constraints of Desire. The Anthropology of Sex and Gender in Ancient Greece (New York: Routledge 1990).

Wold, D.J., Out of Order. Homosexuality in the Bible and the Ancient Near East (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker 1998).

Woods, R., Another Kind of Love. Homosexuality and Spirituality (Chicago, IL: Thomas More 1977).

Wright, D.F., „Homosexuals or Prostitutes? The Meaning of ἀρσενοκοῑται (1 Cor. 6:9, 1 Tim. 1:10)”, Vigiliae Christianae 38/2 (1984) 125–153.

Wuellner, W., „Paul’s Rhetoric of Argumentation in Romans. An Alternative to the Donfried-Karris Debate”, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 38 (1976) 330–351.

Published : 2021-03-30

Kowalski, M. (2021). The Rejection of the Creator’s Laws and Homosexual Relations in Rom 1:26-27. Verbum Vitae.

Marcin Kowalski
Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski jana Pawła II  Poland

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

(1) Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC license Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. 

(2) Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.

(3) Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).