Bible Study: Resources with a significant focus on Bible study. (See also Reading the Bible.)

A Letter to Louise: A Biblical Affirmation of Homosexuality

(format: Free Download)

A conservative Southern Baptist retired pastor writes to Louise about God’s love for her gay brother.

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Behold, I make all things new: What do the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam really say in regard to human sexuality?

Global Interfaith Network, 2017 (format: ebook)

Behold I make all things new is a window on how modern Judaic, Christian and Muslim theologians are unpacking the scripture verses most often used to condemn homosexuality.

Born out of a historic panel discussion on human sexuality at the Church of Sweden’s 2015 Festival of Theology, the book is meant for theologians, academics, LGBTIQ people, their families and friends. It is intended to bring the world at large to a better understanding of the gracious love of God.

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Changing Our Mind

David P. Gushee, 2015 (format: book)

If you’ve read previous work from David Gushee, you’d be surprised to find a review of one of his books here. Rev. Dr. Gushee, an ordained Baptist minister and graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Union Theological Seminary, has been described as “America’s leading evangelical ethicist.” In his previous work, Dr. Gushee has repeated the evangelical line that same gender relationships are always unacceptable.

However, in this volume, Dr. Gushee describes how he has changed his mind on this issue and calls on the church to do the same.

Dr. Gushee describes how a look at the the way the church treats LGBT people, along with personal relationships with LGBT people, have shown him how the church has harmed many with this teaching even as he has come to see that the lives of LGBT people can exhibit Gospel values as well as any other.

While Dr. Gushee does take a look at these scriptures that are frequently used to claim that same gender relationships are contrary to Biblical teaching, this is not an in depth Bible study into these texts. Dr. Gushee also describes the ethical issues involved in various options available to Christians as they consider their relationship towards LGBT people and from this ethical viewpoint he calls upon the church to make choices based upon biblical gospel values.

This is an excellent volume for those who approach the Bible from a rather conservative or evangelical viewpoint who are starting to question the conservative stance on LGBT issues.

Don’t miss the study guide prepared by Rev. Dr. Robert Cornwall, pastor of Central Woodward Christian Church in Troy MI.

For more resources for those who approach the Bible from a rather conservative or evangelical viewpoint, see this review of the books Torn and The God Box.

For a more direct look at the scriptures commonly used to condemn LGBT people, see the resources listed in the Bible Study section of GLAD’s Resources tab, especially What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality and God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality.

For information on how best to use the resources provided in our Resources Tab, see the page The Welcoming Journey.

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Claiming the Promise: An Ecumenical Welcoming Bible Study Resource on Homosexuality

Mary Jo Osterman, 1997 (format: Free Download)

An in depth study program created by reconciling programs from several denominations. Provides an affirming perspective on Biblical issues. Excellent for a church Sunday School or Bible Study group. Be sure to download both the Bible Study and the Leaders Guide.

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God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships

Matthew Vines, 2014 (format: Book)

Matthew Vines faced a dilemma. Growing up in a conservative evangelical church, his family and community believed that it was wrong for him to be gay. But knowing Jesus’ teaching that a good tree produces good fruit, he couldn’t reconcile the pain caused by this non-affirming teaching with the love he knew in the church.

In God and the Gay Christian Matthew uses careful Bible study, looking closely at the scriptures, their context, and their history, and explains his case from an evangelical perspective that the Bible does not condemn loving relationships be they mixed or same gender.

Matthew presents his study in a personal manner framed by his conversations with his father. His presentation is careful, loving, and personal. This book is highly recommended for anyone who seeks a close understanding of the Biblical texts.

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God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage

Gene Robinson, 2012 (format: Book)

Lovingly and persuasively makes the case for same-sex marriage using a commonsense, reasoned, religious argument, made by someone who holds the religious text of the Bible to be holy and sacred and the ensuing two millennia of church history to be relevant to the discussion.

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God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality

Jay Michaelson, 2012 (format: Book)

An excellent book for those who want a thorough and academic yet personal and readable account of how our religious tradition does not require conflict between religion and the full equality of LGBT people, but rather our tradition demands support of full equality.

Read a review of God vs. Gay in the November 2013 edition of Crossbeams.

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Hearts Unbound: Engaging Biblical Texts of God’s Radical Love through Reader’s Theater

David R. Weiss, 2013 (format: free-download)

An excellent resource that invites you to explore ten Biblical stories of radical love and welcome. Designed for a small group in a ‘readers theater’ format. Entertaining, thought-provoking, and participatory, each session looks in-depth at the story, the historical context out of which it came, and insights to be gained.

Also, don’t miss the great sermon series preached by James Brewer-Calvert in Decatur, GA, based on Hearts Unbound.

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Homosexuality and The Bible

Walter Wink, 1996 (format: free-download)

This short essay by Walter Wink summarizes the biblical interpretation issues concerning mentions of homosexuality in the Bible. Reasonably thorough, brief, and readable, a good resource for those seeking a short introduction to the biblical discussions on homosexuality and the biblical text. The entire text is available on the website and reprints can be ordered.

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If Eve Only Knew: Freeing Yourself from Biblical Womanhood and Becoming All God Means for You

Kendra Weddle Irons and Melanie Springer Mock, 2015 (format: book)

“She is a godly woman.” “True love waits.” Are these phrases and many others about gender truly based in scripture, or based on dusty, outdated stereotypes? And how do these perceptions repress people, especially women, from fully expressing their faith?

If Eve Only Knew offers a fresh perspective on gender and the Bible, destroying trumped-up, captive-creating messages with the freeing proclamation grounded in Jesus’ ministry and found everywhere in scripture: that we are all created in God’s image, and by relying on our gifts and skills – rather than on gender-designed roles – we become all God means for us to be.

Check out this YouTube with the authors.

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In God’s House: Asian American Lesbian & Gay Families in the Church

Network on Religion and Justice for API-LGBT Persons , 2014 (format: on-line-video)

In God’s House: Asian American Lesbian & Gay Families in the Church is a quality 22 minute presentation on the experience of lesbian and gay Asian Americans in their churches and families. There is also a DVD available with subtitles in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Japanese, Filipino. The DVD contains several special features, including a 30 minute Bible study on the Bible and homosexuality by Dr Kah-Jin Jeffery Kuan, Associate Professor of Old Testament at Pacific School of Religion; a study on a Theology of Acceptance by Rev. Nobuaki Hanaoka; and footage of the award-winning Gay Asian Pacific Alliance float in the 2006 San Francisco Chinese New Year parade, among other special features.

You can find information on the DVD here.

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Jesus, The Bible, and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church

Jack Rogers, 2009 (format: Book)

Examining the biblical issues in light of the Presbyterian Church’s struggles around lgbt issues, Rogers offers both a rigorous yet accessible theological study and a model of spiritual discernment for anyone struggling to reconcile their faith with the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

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Jesus’ Family Values

Deidre Good, 2006 (format: Book)

Professor of New Testament at the General Theological Seminary in New York, Good asks: What are Christian family values? Why are there so many interpretations of what Jesus actually taught and said? and Which biblical values should guide our lives?

See the book review of Jesus’ Family Values written by Mark Johnston, Executive Director of GLAD’s Open & Affirming Ministry Program.

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Liberating Sexuality: Justice Between the Sheets

Miguel A. De La Torre, 2016 (format: book)

Liberating Sexuality by Miguel A. De La Torre and published by Chalice Press is a collection of essays on gender, sexism, heterosexism, and healthy sex. Dr. De La Torre brings his sharp mind and theological insights to topics and biblical texts that often, in our churches, are used to control and condemn. These essays open up new insights into Biblical justice making and liberation. This book will serve as a resource to inspire many a sermon and can certainly provide food for thought for a Sunday School or book study group.

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New Testament and Homosexuality

Robin Scroggs, 1983 (format: Book)

This is an excellent book for anyone curious about the Scriptural basis in Christian debates over the morality of homosexual acts. Starting with a brief overview of various positions on homosexuality and how those different positions are claimed to be supported by Scripture, Scroggs moves to a detailed examination of the cultural background of the time and place where the New Testament was written. Scroggs is intellectually honest and rigorous about both his research and analysis.

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Out In Scripture

Religion and Faith Program of the Human Rights Campaign (format: Website)

Out In Scripture is a resource providing an lgbt perspective on biblical liberation and justice for preachers based on the Revised Common Lectionary.

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Outing the Bible: Queer Folks, God, Jesus, and the Christian Scriptures

Nancy Wilson, 2013 (format: Book)

In Outing the Bible: Queer Folks, God, Jesus, and the Christian Scriptures, Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches, explores the Bible’s complex and often-misunderstood messages on homosexuality and diversity. Wilson explores eunuchs, same-sex relationships, sodomy, sexuality and healing, and other queer issues in scripture.

Read the book review of Outing the Bible written by GLAD member Rev. Robert Shaw.

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Rainbow in the Word: LGBTQ Christians’ Biblical Memoirs

Ellin Sterne Jimmerson (Ed.), 2017 (format: book)

Rainbow in the Word is a resource that you will find useful in your personal devotions, to find new perspectives on the Biblical witness, and in sermon writing. This collection is described by Viki Matson, Director of Field Education and Assistant Professor of the Practice of Ministry at Vanderbilt Divinity School, in the forward of the book:

As LGBTQ folks come of age, there are many authorities, institutions, and moral codes to be navigated. It requires a formidable kind of soul-searching and wrestling. Essential to this process are honesty with oneself and others, an intellectual curiosity and willingness to rethink long-held assumptions, deep respect for the mystery of God, and courage to claim one’s own life. It is no wonder then that among the wisest, most integrated, and genuine people I know are a fair number of LGBTQ folk. The furnace of struggle has been a refining one.”

Rainbow in the Word: LGBTQ Christians’ Biblical Memoirs includes the marks and memories of this struggle, particularly as the struggle involves the Bible. Some writers reflect on a particular text, wondering if there are ways to understand it that reveal a liberating rather than a punishing God. Others identify with a particular character in the Bible, diving deeply into their story to unearth what might be hidden or neglected. Some speak of the ways they have been wounded by Scripture, while others speak of being freed by it. Additionally, within these pages you will find genres as disparate as those contained within the Bible itself: narrative, confession, poetry, biography, and calls to action.”

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Reconciling Scripture for Lutherans

Austen Hartke and Emmy Kegler, 2019 (format: book)

This resource from our friends at ReconcilingWorks offers short commentaries, each of which takes into account biblical integrity and knowledge, key Lutheran interpretative lenses, and the diverse experiences of the LGBTQ+ community. This commentary addresses eight of the so-called “clobber passages” used to exclude LGBTQ+ people from the body of Christ, and finishes with eight Bible passages that offer inclusive and expansive understandings of the nature of God’s welcome.

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Same Gender Marriage – Study Guide

UCC Coalition Publishers (format: Book)

A curriculum designed as a study for youth groups and campus ministries about same-gender marriage. It can be done in one long session, or two shorter sessions.

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The Bible, Christianity, and Homosexuality

Justin R. Cannon, 2012 (format: Free Download)

A concise analysis of the Bible verses often misused to condemn gay and lesbian Christians written from an Orthodox perspective. This study was written to be accessible to all.

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The Illumination of Context: The Bible and Homosexuality

Dr. Randolph W. Baxter, 2014 (format: free-download)

This study of the scripture and historical context was originally written for the Open & Affirming process at First Christian Church, Fullerton, CA. Dr. Baxter examines scriptures related to LGBTQ concerns with a focus on cultural and social understanding. His Ph.D. in History is from UC Irvine.

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Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays vs. Christians Debate

Justin Lee, 2013 (format: Book)

Provides insightful, practical guidance for all committed Christians who wonder how to relate to gay friends or family members–or who struggle with their own sexuality. Convinced that “in a culture that sees gays and Christians as enemies, gay Christians are in a unique position to bring peace,” Lee demonstrates that people of faith on both sides of the debate can respect, learn from, and love one another. Read the review of Torn published in Crossbeams.

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Colby Martin, 2016 (format: book)

An evangelical pastor is fired because he has re-read the scripture and concluded that the evangelical rejection of LGBT people is misguided. In UnClobber Colby Martin tells his story and shares his understanding of the scriptures.

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What Is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution

E.J. Graff, 2004 (format: Book)

A playful and informative study of the institution of wedlock throughout history, Graff’s book looks at the legal, sociological, and anthropological assumptions about money, sex, procreation, tribal affiliation, and the pursuit of personal happiness that underlie the concept of matrimony in Western societies.

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What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality

Daniel Helminiak, 2000 (format: Book)

An in depth study of the passages concerning homosexuality, placing the scripture deep within its cultural and Biblical contexts.

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What the Bible Says, and Doesn’t Say, About Homosexuality

Mel White (format: free-download)

Published by Soulforce, this short booklet examines the Biblical witness on homosexuality and calls the church to justice and affirmation.

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