Contrary to what the advocates of gay marriage and same-sex sexual relationships tell us – that the sin of Sodom was inhospitality – the bible is clear that the sin of Sodom was same-sex sexual sin. For example, Colby Martin says, “…the sins of Sodom were based on the fact that they had plenty of resources but did not open themselves up to those who were in need. In short, they were notoriously inhospitable” (Martin, C. p. 58). And again, “The passion of the men banging down Lot’s door was motivated by a desire to exercise control over the two men, not because they wanted to enjoy same-sex sex acts with them, or develop a relationship with them” (Martin C. p. 59).
But that’s not what the bible says! Despite Colby’s assertion that the bible never links the sins of Sodom to sexual sin, both Old and New Testaments do. The prophet Ezekiel, for one, scathingly condemns Judah for idolatry and sexual sin, calling them abomination, and for ignoring the needs of the poor and needy (Ezek chap. 16). Sodom and Gomorrah was a byword for sexual sin, as we see in Deut 23:17; 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46. In the New Testament, there is no mention of inhospitality being the sin of Sodom, but Jude clearly identifies their sin as sexual – and the Sodomites were totally given over to it! “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7). Jude says that the men of Sodom and its neighbouring cities are said to be guilty of excessive fornication, and going after strange flesh i.e. same-sex sex. The English words “giving themselves over to fornication” is a translation of the Greek word “ekporneuo” which Strong’s’ Concordance defines as “to be utterly unchaste”; and “to give oneself up to fornication’ implies excessive indulgence”.
The apostle Peter described how Lot was a witness to the men of Sodom’s “filthy” behaviour and lifestyle. He writes: “…turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day)….But chiefly them that walk in the lust of uncleanness…” (2 Pet 2:6-8, 10). It is clear, therefore, that Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbouring cities were judged and destroyed, not for their lack of hospitality but for sexual lust and sin.
The key Greek word used by Peter is aselgeia. Friberg, Friberg, and Miller define it as: “….living without any moral restraint licentiousness, sensuality, lustful indulgence (2C 12.21); especially as indecent and outrageous sexual behaviour debauchery, indecency, flagrant immorality (RO 13.13)”.
Friberg T, Friberg B, and Miller N F, 2000, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Martin, C, 2016, “UnClobber: Rethinking Our Misuse of the Bible on Homosexuality”, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky
Scripture references in this article are from the King James Bible.