GALATIANS 3:28 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
As a conservative apologist, it's crucial to address the interpretation of Galatians 3:28, particularly when it's employed in discussions about homosexuality. This verse is often cited to argue for the acceptance of homosexuality in Christianity, but this interpretation represents a misunderstanding of the context and the intended message of the Apostle Paul.
Contextual Understanding of Galatians 3:28
Galatians 3:28 is part of a letter written by Paul to the churches in Galatia. The primary aim of this letter was to address the issue of Judaizers who were insisting that Gentile converts must adhere to Jewish laws and customs, especially circumcision, to be true Christians. In this context, Paul is emphasizing the unity of all believers in Christ, regardless of their ethnic, social, or gender distinctions. This unity is in regards to salvation and spiritual standing before God.
The phrase "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female" is not about erasing these distinctions in a literal or physical sense, but rather about affirming that all people have equal access to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. This is a theological statement about the inclusivity of the gospel and the breaking down of barriers that separated people in religious practices.
Misinterpretation and Misapplication
Using this verse to support homosexuality involves a misinterpretation that extends the verse beyond its intended scope. Paul's statement wasn't about endorsing all lifestyle choices or behaviors. It was about unity in Christ despite diverse backgrounds and statuses. In other interpretations of Paul's writings, he clearly articulates ethical teachings that include discussions on sexual behavior (see Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). These passages, among others, form the basis of the traditional Christian stance on sexual ethics, including the conservative viewpoint on homosexuality.
Galatians 3:28, when understood in its proper context, is a powerful testament to the inclusivity of the gospel and the equal standing of all believers in Christ. However, it is not a blanket endorsement of all behaviors or lifestyles. The use of this verse to support homosexuality requires reading into the text a meaning that is not supported by the broader context of Paul's teachings and the overall message of the Bible concerning human behavior and ethics. As with any biblical interpretation, it is vital to consider the historical context, the author's intent, and the entirety of Scripture to understand its true meaning accurately.
RECOMMENDED ARTICLE: What Does the Bible Teach About Homosexuality?
RECOMMENDED BOOK: HOMOSEXUALITY - The BIBLE and the CHRISTIAN
About the Author
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 220+ books. In addition, Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).