“That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.” Romans 1:26-27
As always when we study scripture, we need to look at the culture at the time of the writing. This will give us a better understanding of the scripture. Paul wrote to a culture where homosexuality was accepted as a part of life for both men and women. For some 200 years, the men who ruled the Roman Empire openly practiced homosexuality often with young boys. At the time, the Roman Empire specifically taxed approved homosexual prostitution and gave boy prostitutes a legal holiday. Legal marriage between same gender couples was recognized, and even some of the emperors married other men. At the time Paul wrote, Nero was emperor. He took a boy named Sporus and had him castrated, then married him, brought him to the palace with a great procession, and made the boy his wife. Later Nero lived with another man and Nero was his wife. I have heard people saying that Paul was not writing about homosexuality in these verses, but what else could he be writing about when the Roman Empire was more sinful than our culture. In my research on this scripture one writer wrote, “I don’t care how bad you think our modern culture is, let me assure you: It’s nothing like the first-century Rome. What we call pornography, people of Rome simply called life. For instance, it wasn’t uncommon to have pictures of men having sex with boys painted on water pitchers served at the dinner table.” I have people telling me that homosexuality is not sin, but the Bible defines it as sin. In the next scripture Paul tells us about other sins. There is no sin worst than any other sin. Sin is sin and it does not matter what we believe about sin. God has not changed, and the Bible is still the Word of God. Remember that the Roman Empire failed.