The Bible accepts and has positive stories of
same-sex emotional or romantic attraction
and deep friendship.
For example Jesus and the disciple he loved,
David and Jonathan, and Ruth and Naomi. As far
as we know, these loving relationships were not
sexual and there was no sexual attraction except
possibly between Jonathan and David.
Jesus loved Lazarus (John 11:3, 36) and one of
his disciples – probably John (John 20:2). In each
case, an intimate best buddies or mates type of
love (phileo) is described. The closeness of
Jesus and John is shown by John having the
place of honor to the right of Jesus at the Last
Supper (this is the meaning of the Greco-Roman
expression reclining in Jesus’ bosom) (John 13:
23 and 21:20). And when Lazarus died, Jesus
cried his eyes out (John 11:35) before bringing
Lazarus back to life. But he was not in love with
either man, as far as we know.
In the David story, Jonathan, a king’s son, was
totally in love with David, a handsome shepherd
who became army chief and king.
The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of
David, and Jonathan loved him as his own self (1
Samuel 18:1). He made David enter three
agreements of a political and, probably, emotional
nature (1 Samuel 18:3, 20:17, 23:18). His love
for David surpassed a woman’s love (2 Samuel 1:
26). He greatly delighted in (or desired) David (1
Samuel 19:1), chose David as his companion (1
Samuel 20:30) and saved David’s life (1 Samuel
Although the story does not specifically say that
David was in love with Jonathan, it is still a
prominent story of same-sex romantic attraction
This relationship is presented as an admirable
example. As far as we know, the relationship was
not sexual, although there may have been sexual
attraction between the two men.
Another story of same-sex emotional attraction
and deep friendship is the relationship between
Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth gave up
her family, country and gods to take care of Naomi
and be her companion. Ruth vowed to remain
with Naomi until death (Ruth 1:16-17). It seems
that there was a very strong family type of non-
sexual love between them.
These stories show same-sex emotional attraction
and deep friendship. Although the stories do not
show any obvious sexual attraction (an essential
part of same-sex orientation) it is possible that
there was sexual attraction between Jonathan and
David. Therefore the Bible might indirectly refer
to same-sex (homosexual) orientation.
Author: Colin Smith