In Matthew 19:12, is being born as a eunuch a support for homosexuality?

by Matt Slick

"For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it." (Matthew 19:12).

This verse cannot be used to support the idea of people being born as homosexuals because of how the term eunuch is used in its three instances as well as its overall context.  First of all, Jesus is speaking about marriage and divorce, Matthew 19:3-10--not about homosexuality.  Remember, marriage was a social expectation in the Jewish culture.  Therefore, we must look at this in the context of biblical marriage which would necessitate a denial of homosexuality.

Consider also that the word "eunuch" is used three times in the verse, which suggests three kinds of men who are given to not marry.  The first two usages were already familiar to the disciples.  Jesus mentions those who are eunuchs from birth; that is, they were either incapable of marriage (i.e., physical deformity which prohibited having children) or have no desire to marry.  The second is speaking of physical castration.  Such eunuchs were often used in guarding harems.  The third is the new category: those who choose to be single "for the kingdom of God."  In both cases there is not even a suggestion that people are born with homosexual orientation. If anything, the implication is to not be involved in marriage and sexual activity--which would negate homosexuality as an option.

Furthermore, consider what Paul says elsewhere.

"The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 But this I say by way of concession, not of command. 7 Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that, 8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. 9 But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn. 10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband 11 (but if she does leave, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not send his wife away." (1 Cor. 7:4-11).

The context is also about marriage.  In verse 6 Paul was speaking of married couples and prayer.  In verse 8 he speaks of unmarried widows.  Verses 9-10 are again about marriage.  Notice verse seven.  Paul speaks of his "gift from God," the gift of his celibacy so that he might serve the Lord.  This parallels what Jesus said in Matt. 19:12 about being a eunuch "for the kingdom of God."  Furthermore, Paul is saying that being single and serving God and being married and serving God are gifts.  If someone is dedicated to God in his singleness or even as eunuch from birth, then it is a gift from God for the service of God and cannot refer to "homosexual orientation."

 

 

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