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What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality?

Author: Kevin DeYoung
Published By: IVP (Nottingham)
Pages: 158
Price: £7.99
ISBN: 978 1 78359 287 6

Reviewed by Alun Brookfield.

Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan. An online search produced no evidence of any track record in addressing this issue, either in writing or pastoral experience.

This book’s title poses a question to which the short answer is “Nothing”! It does have certain things to ­say about these things, and it may perhaps be true that St Paul did want to teach about homosexuality, but that’s a long way from assuming that the Bible contains a clear body of teaching about the subject.

So, having started by asking the wrong question, it’s not surprising that DeYoung comes up with a mixed bag of right and wrong answers, often based on inadequate research. To take one example, in addressing 1 Corinthians 6, he focuses (rightly) on the two words malakoi and arsenokoitai, both translated in most English versions as ‘homosexuals’. DeYoung accepts this translation on the basis that “the English translations are almost always right” and that “context is king” (pp.62 and 63) – both assumptions highly questionable in this reviewer’s view! As a result, he makes no effort to ask what these words meant in the wider context of regular 1st century Greek. A non-biblical Greek lexicon would have told him that one word means ‘coward’ and the other ‘effeminate’, which might explain why St Paul used two different words when one would have been sufficient! Neither should (in this reviewer’s opinion) be translated as ‘homosexual’.

We need a book like this, but this is not it.

(Since this review was published, the reviewer's attention has been drawn to other research, previously unknown to the reviewer, and not discussed within the book under review, arguing that Paul's view of homosexuality was heavily influenced by the Book of Deuteronomy. The review stands, but the reviewer apologises for any unintended offence given as a result of his ignorance at the time of the other research)

Alun Brookfield

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You are reading Issue 64 of Ministry Today, published in July 2015.

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