Romans 1:24-32

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

October 21, 1998


Paul has been building a case against mankind, showing that mankind is without excuse when it stands before God because God has made the knowledge of Himself evident to mankind through the creation around us. But rather than worship the Creator of all things, mankind chose to reject the obvious knowledge of God and the obvious worship of God and exchange it for the worshipping of corruptible creation, worshipping the creation rather than the Creator.

:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts

whereforedio – on account off

gave them upparadidomi – to give into the hands (of another); to give over into (one's) power or use

The tragedy of this passage is that it describes what God gives people up to.

We’re going to see this word used three times, as Paul clarifies what God has given us over to.

uncleannessakatharsia – uncleanness; the impurity of lustful living

lustsepithumia – desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust

It’s the lusts of their own hearts that people are given up to.

:24 to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

dishonouratimazo – to dishonour, insult, treat with contempt

The specific sins that Paul is going to mention, starting with homosexuality, are dishonoring to our physical bodies.


Fornication dishonors your body.

(1 Cor 6:15-20 KJV) Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. {16} What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. {17} But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. {18} Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. {19} What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? {20} For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

When Paul is writing to Rome, he’s in Corinth.

In Paul's time, the great temple of Aphrodite stood on the Acropolis in Corinth. The priestesses of this temple were prostitutes who came into the city nightly. The Corinthians "worshiped" Aphrodite through sexual rites, and the profit supported their religion.

:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

changedmetallasso – to exchange, change; from allasso – to exchange one thing for another, to transform

Sometimes when you bring a new toy home from Toys R Us, the toy is broken. Try as you might, you can’t fix it. So you take it back to exchange it. Exchanging is easy. You just show the guy your receipt, leave the broken toy with him, and go pick out a new toy that works.

But here, the thing that people have concluded as being "broken" or "defective" is the very truth that God tells us.

Specifically, it’s the obvious truth that there is a Creator, and we are His creation.

worshippedsebazomai – to fear, be afraid; to honour religiously, to worship

servedlatreuo – to serve for hire; in the NT, to render religious service or homage, as the priests in the temple.

more thanpara – alongside.

The idea is that the creation and the Creator are lined up, side by side, and the creation is chosen over the Creator.

blessedeulogetos – blessed, praised

Amenamen – firm; verily, amen; so it is, so be it

When you see people beginning to pay more attention to honoring the creation rather than the Creator, we’re headed for trouble.

:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections:

gave them up (same as in verse 24) – paradidomi – to give into the hands (of another); to give over into (one's) power or use

affectionspathos – a feeling which the mind suffers; an affliction of the mind, emotion, passion

vileatimia – dishonour, ignominy, disgrace. This is the same root word as the verb used in verse 24 as "dishonour". We could translate it, "God gave them up to dishonoring passions".

:26 for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

womenthelus – of the female sex; a woman, a female

changemetallasso – to exchange, change

naturalphusikos – produced by nature, inborn; agreeable to nature; governed by (the instincts of) nature; comes from phusis – nature; the sum of innate properties and powers by which one person differs from others, distinctive native peculiarities, natural characteristics

usechresis – use; of the sexual use of a woman


Homosexuality is not natural.

All you have to do is look at the design of the human body to see that woman was designed for man and man for woman.

The latest lie that is going around is that homosexuals have a portion of their brain different from heterosexuals. This was based on the autopsies of six homosexual men who had an area of their brain larger than that of heterosexual men. With this one study, those who sin with the sin of homosexuality have claimed that they can’t help themselves, but they are designed that way.

The problem with the study is that the study didn’t prove whether the unusual size of this portion of their brain was the cause of their homosexuality, or whether their homosexuality was the cause of the unusual size of this portion of the brain.

In fact other studies have suggested that our brain adapts to our activities. You will see studies done where they advocate giving a child violin lessons by a certain age because it will help their brain develop the most to promote the playing of the violin. Just the other week (I’m sorry, I didn’t think to document it) I read of a study regarding education that suggested that the human brain adapts itself to our behavior.

:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly,

menarrhen – a male

leavingaphiemi – to send away; to bid going away or depart; of a husband divorcing his wife; to permit, allow, not to hinder; to leave, go way from one; abandon, leave destitute

burningekkaio – to set on fire; to be kindled, to burn

lustorexis – eager desire, lust, appetite; especially seeking the object of gratification in order to make it one's own.

men … men – same as above – arrhen – a male

unseemlyaschemosune – unseemliness; of one's nakedness, shame; from askemon – deformed; indecent, unseemly

workingkatergazomai – to perform, accomplish, achieve; to work out i.e. to do that from which something results


The Bible condemns the sin of homosexuality.

(Lev 18:22 KJV) Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

There are some who say that this is only a cultural thing. It’s just the Jewish people who had a problem with "homophobia".

But God doesn’t set His standards for us based on our culture around us. If we based our morals upon our culture, then it was okay for Hitler to kill 6 million Jews, after all, his culture said it was okay. Wrong.

God’s standards often go against the grain of our society.

The world in Paul’s time didn’t condemn homosexuality either. That’s why Paul is writing this. All Paul is doing is probably looking outside his front door in Corinth to be reminded of these things.

(1 Cor 6:9-11 KJV) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, {10} Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. {11} And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Don’t be deceived. Homosexuality is no different from any other sin. If not repented from, and not paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ, it will send you to hell just like all these other sins.

:27 and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

recompenseantimisthia – a reward given in compensation, requital, recompense

errorplane – a wandering, a straying about; error, wrong opinion relative to morals or religion

which is meetdei – it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper


God punishes sin.

In the Old Testament, this punishment was to come from the civil authorities:

(Lev 20:13 KJV) If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

For us, we find that it comes other ways.

Is this talking about A.I.D.S.? It’s a part of it, but it goes way beyond that.

When you begin to lie against the truth, you’ll swallow anything, and I think that’s part of the "recompense" as well, not being able to discern truth.

(Prov 14:7 NASB) Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge.

Does this mean that God has it out for gay people?

No more than any other sinner.

Does this mean that God is a great big angry guy just waiting to get us?

(Exo 34:5-8 KJV) And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. {6} And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, {7} Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. {8} And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.

Though God will punish and judge sin, keep in mind that He is also incredibly merciful as well.

The best defense against the "recompense" is to never cross the line.


I WAS HOLDING A NOTICE FROM our local school announcing a meeting to preview the new course in sexuality. Parents could examine the curriculum and take part in an actual lesson presented exactly as it would be given to the students. When I arrived at the school, I was surprised to discover only about a dozen parents there. As we waited for the presentation, I thumbed through page after page of instructions in the prevention of pregnancy or disease. I found abstinence mentioned only in passing. When the teacher arrived with the school nurse, she asked if there were any questions. I asked why abstinence did not play a noticeable part in the material. What happened next was shocking. There was a great deal of laughter, and someone suggested that if I thought abstinence had any merit, I should go back to burying my head in the sand. The teacher and the nurse said nothing as I drowned in a sea of embarrassment. My mind had gone blank, and I could think of nothing to say. The teacher explained to me that the job of the school was to teach "facts," and the home was responsible for moral training. I sat in silence for the next 20 minutes as the course was explained. The other parents seemed to give their unqualified support to the materials. "Donuts, at the back," announced the teacher during the break. "I'd like you to put on the name tags we have prepared-they're right by the donuts-and mingle with the other parents." Everyone moved to the back of the room. As I watched them affixing their name tags and shaking hands, I sat deep in thought. I was ashamed that I had not been able to convince them to include a serious discussion of abstinence in the materials. I uttered a silent prayer for guidance. My thoughts were interrupted by the teacher's hand on my shoulder. "Won't you join the others, Mr.. Sullivan?" The nurse smiled sweetly at me. "The donuts are good." "Thank you, no," I replied. "Well, then, how about a name tag? I'm sure the others would like to meet you." "Somehow I doubt that," I replied. "Won't you please join them?" she coaxed. Then I heard a still, small voice whisper, "Don't go." The instruction was unmistakable. "Don't go!" "I'll just wait here," I said.
When the class was called back to order, the teacher looked around the long table and thanked everyone for putting on name tags. She ignored me.
Then she said, "Now we're going to give you the same lesson we'll be giving your children. Everyone please peel off your name tags." I watched in silence as the tags came off. "Now, then, on the back of one of the tags, I drew a tiny flower. Who has it, please?" The gentleman across from me held it up. "Here it is!" "All right," she said. "The flower represents disease. Do you recall with whom you shook hands?" He pointed to a couple of people. "Very good," she replied. "The handshake in this case represents intimacy. So the two people you had contact with now have the disease." There was laughter and joking among the parents. The teacher continued, "And whom did the two of You shake hands with?" The point was well taken, and she explained how this lesson would show students how quickly disease is spread. "Since we all shook hands, we all have the disease." It was then that I heard the still, small voice again. "Speak now, it said, "but be humble." I noted wryly the latter admonition, then rose from my chair. I apologized for any upset I might have caused earlier, congratulated the teacher on an excellent lesson that would impress the youth, and concluded by saying I had only one small point I wished to make. "Not all of us were infected," I said. "One of us ... ABSTAINED."

:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge

did not likedokimazo – to test, examine, prove, scrutinise (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals; to recognise as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy

to retainecho – to have, i.e. to hold

knowledgeepignosis – precise and correct knowledge

We talked last week about how the evidence of the existence and knowledge of God is obvious, it’s obvious because God has made it obvious to all of us, putting that knowledge inside of us (Rom. 1:19).

But what has happened to mankind is that we haven’t chosen to hold on to the obvious.

This is like the person who says, "I’ve tried Christianity, but it didn’t work for me".

What happened is that they didn’t try Christianity, they only took a shallow glimpse at the truth, and then rejected it.


Have You Tasted My Jesus????

At the University of Chicago Divinity School each year they have what is called "Baptist Day". It is a day when all the Baptists in the area are invited to the school because they want the Baptist dollars to keep coming in. On this day each one is to bring a lunch to be eaten outdoors in a grassy picnic area. Every "Baptist Day" the school would invite one of the greatest minds to lecture in the theological education center. One year they invited Dr. Paul Tillich. Dr. Tillich spoke for two and one-half hours proving that the resurrection of Jesus was false. He quoted scholar after scholar and book after book. He concluded that since there was no such thing as the historical resurrection the religious tradition of the church was groundless, emotional mumbo-jumbo, because it was based on a relationship with a risen Jesus, who, in fact, never rose from the dead in any literal sense. He then asked if there were any questions. After about 30 seconds, an old, dark skinned preacher with a head of short-cropped, woolly white hair stood up in the back of the auditorium. "Docta Tillich, I got one question," he said as all eyes turned toward him. He reached into his sack lunch and pulled out an apple and began eating it. "Docta Tillich ..." CRUNCH, MUNCH ... "My question is a simple question,"CRUNCH, MUNCH ..."Now I ain't never read them books you read" ... CRUNCH, MUNCH ... "and I can't recite the Scriptures in the original Greek" ...CRUNCH, MUNCH ... "I don't know nothin' about Niebuhr and Heidegger" ...CRUNCH, MUNCH ... He finished the apple. "All I wanna know is: This apple I just ate -- was it bitter or sweet?" Dr. Tillich paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion: "I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven't tasted your apple." The white-haired preacher dropped the core of his apple into his crumpled paper bag, looked up at Dr. Tillich and said calmly, "Neither have you tasted my Jesus." The 1,000 plus in attendance could not contain themselves. The auditorium erupted with applause and cheers. Dr. Tillich thanked his audience and promptly left the platform.

:28 God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

reprobateadokimos – not standing the test, not approved; that which does not prove itself such as it ought; unfit for, unproved, spurious, reprobate

gave them over – (same as in vs. 24, 26) – paradidomi – to give into the hands (of another); to give over into (one's) power or use

convenientkatheko – to come down; it is becoming; it is fit


There’s too much of a spotlight on homosexuality.

There are some in the homosexual community who say that if God has given them over to this sin, then there is no hope for them.

Keep in mind, homosexuality isn’t the only sin that’s a part of the being "given over". It’s just one of many.

Homosexuality is simply one of many sins that are condemned in Scripture.


There’s just as much hope for a homosexual as for any other sinner.

It’s all about repentance.

Once a person has crossed the line on a particular sin, there’s a weakness in their life for that sin.

It’s like the walls around a city have been broken down in a particular spot, and the enemy will come in easiest at that point. You have to repair the walls. Yet even then, there will probably be a weakness at that spot that wouldn’t be there if the walls had never been broken there before.

It’s not about genetics and being different from other people. It’s about having had the walls broken in an area of your life that makes you weak toward this sin.

Homosexuality is simply one of many sexual sins.

Any kind of sex outside of the boundary of marriage is sin.

A heterosexual man who is caught in the bondage of pornography knows how difficult it is to get out. But it can be done. A man who begins to use female prostitutes has the same road to recovery that the man who uses male prostitutes does. It’s all about turning from your sin and staying that way.

:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

Keep in mind where Paul is writing from – Corinth.

being filledpleroo – to make full, to fill up, i.e. to fill to the full

unrighteousnessadikia – injustice, of a judge; unrighteousness of heart and life

fornicationporneia – illicit sexual intercourse; adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.

wickednessponeria – depravity, iniquity, wickedness (almost a play on words with porneia above)

covetousnesspleonexia – greedy desire to have more, covetousness, avarice

maliciousnesskakia – malignity, malice, ill-will, desire to injure. While this word carries the idea of a wicked disposition, poneria (above) is the active exercise of the wicked disposition.

envyphthonos – envy

murderphonos – murder, slaughter (another play on words with phthonos, envy)

debateeris – contention, strife, wrangling

deceitdolos – craft, deceit, guile

malignitykakoetheia – bad character, depravity of heart and life; malignant subtlety, malicious craftiness

whispererspsithuristes – a whisperer, secret slanderer, detractor



Do we realize how deadly gossip is? We don’t have a problem seeing how bad murder is. But we often don’t take time to stop from murdering someone’s reputation.


The Gossiper

A woman repeated a bit of gossip about a neighbor. Within a few days the whole community knew the story. The person it concerned was deeply hurt and offended. Later the woman responsible for spreading the rumor learned that it was completely untrue. She was very sorry and went to a wise old sage to find out what she could do to repair the damage. "Go to the marketplace," he said, "and purchase a chicken, and have it killed. Then on your way home, pluck its feathers and drop them one by one along the road." Although surprised by this advice, the woman did what she was told. The next day the wise man said, "Now go and collect all those feathers you dropped yesterday and bring them back to me." The woman followed the same road, but to her dismay, the wind had blown the feathers all away. After searching for hours, she returned with only three in her hand. "You see," said the old sage, "it's easy to drop them, but it's impossible to get them back. So it is with gossip. It doesn't take much to spread a rumor, but once you do, you can never completely undo the wrong."

Author Unknown / Submitted by Helen Hazinski from Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul Copyright 1997 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Kimberly Kirberger

:30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

backbiterskatalalos – a defamer, evil speaker

haters of Godtheostuges – hateful to God, exceptionally impious and wicked

despitefulhubristes – an insolent man; one who, uplifted with pride, either heaps insulting language upon others or does them some shameful act of wrong

proudhuperephanos – showing one's self above others, overtopping, conspicuous above others, pre-eminent; with an overweening estimate of one's means or merits, despising others or even treating them with contempt, haughty

boastersalazon – an empty pretender, a boaster

inventorsepheuretes – an inventor, contriver

of evil thingskakos – of a bad nature

disobedientapeithes – impersuasible, not compliant, disobedient

to parentsgoneus – fathers, parent, the parents

A.T. Robertson: "An ancient and a modern trait."

:31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

Without understandingasunetos – unintelligent, without understanding, stupid

covenantbreakersasunthetos – uncompounded, simple; covenant breaking, faithless; one who interrupts a state of peace and brings on war by disregarding an agreement by which peace is maintained. Men "false to their engagements" (Sanday and Headlam), who treat covenants as "a scrap of paper."

without natural affectionastorgos – without natural affection, unsociable, inhuman, unloving

implacableaspondos – without a treaty or covenant; that cannot be persuaded to enter into a covenant

unmercifulaneleemon – without mercy, merciless

Robertson: "The late Dr. R. H. Graves of Canton, China, said that a Chinaman who got hold of this chapter declared that Paul could not have written it, but only a modern missionary who had been to China."

:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

judgmentdikaioma – that which has been deemed right so as to have force of law. It’s knowing what God declares proper and right.

commitprasso – to exercise, practice, to be busy with, carry on

have pleasuresuneudokeo – to be pleased together with, to approve together (with others); to be pleased at the same time with, consent, agree to; to applaud


Don’t be entertained by sin.

Whenever I read this I can’t help but think of what the top rated TV shows and movies are at the moment. To many of these things we’d join with Paul, maybe even shaking our fists at certain sins. But we’ll sit and smile as we watch it on the TV or movie screen.

Take care.