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
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 20).
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 and love.
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