1. The Explicit Verses
There are only five passages in the Bible that deal explicitly with homosexuality.1 It just doesn't come up very often. But whenever it does, it is condemned in no uncertain terms.
Conservative Christians,2 of course, love these verses, although most acknowledge that God went a bit too far in Leviticus 20:13. Sure, they say, homosexuality is an abomination worthy of death, but must they really execute all male homosexuals?3 Can't they just wait until the "sodomites" die and let God apply the punishment (endless torment in hell)?
Liberals hate these verses, calling them "clobber verses,"4 since they are the verses that conservatives clobber them with. They claim, however, that none of these verses have anything to do with the issue of homosexuality.5 Since that obviously isn't true, their views require some nuanced and refined explanation. I'll do my best to provide that for each passage below. (Verses are presented in biblical order.)
It just grosses God out for some reason. He is completely disgusted by it, like he is with these things:
Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Leviticus 18:22
Lobsters, shrimp, clams, snails, and squids
Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you. Leviticus 11:12Four-legged fowls6
All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. Leviticus 11:20Four-footed flying, creeping things
But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you. Leviticus 11:23Creeping things
Every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination. Leviticus 11:41Whatever crawls on its belly, goes on all four, or has lots of feet
Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth ... are an abomination. Leviticus 11:42Sacrificing a blemished sheep or goat
Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, or any evilfavouredness: for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy 17:1Crossdressers
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy 22:5Taking back an ex-wife after she's been "defiled"
When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife. And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD. Deuteronomy 24:1-4The work of a craftsman
Cursed be the man that maketh any graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman.... Deuteronomy 27:15Whatever people value the most (kindness, wisdom, courage, love, money, power, sex, and cell phones)
That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. Luke 16:15Conservatives point out that the only sexual practice that God calls an abomination is same-sex intercourse.7 Leviticus 18 has a long list of sexual sins, but only one is referred to as an abomination (sexual relations between males) and this designation is repeated in Leviticus 20:13, which imposes the death sentence for those who engage in it.
- Leviticus 18:22 refers only to sexual activity between males. It says nothing at all about lesbian sex.8
- The "abomination" in this verse refers to only one type of male-male sexual activity: the penile penetration of the anus of one male by another.9 There's nothing abominable about other types of male homoerotic sex.
- Since the previous verse (Leviticus 18:21) condemns child sacrifice to Molech, the context suggests that God's main concern is with sexual activity in idolatrous religious ceremonies.10 God is okay with sexual intercourse between males as long as it's not done in a pagan temple. That would be an abomination.
- The word "abomination" was used to identify ritually impure practices, like eating pork or having sex with a menstruating woman. It had nothing to do with morality and should not be used today to condemn homosexuals or homosexuality.11
- In this verse God is telling male homosexuals to "man up" about their gay sex. It is an abomination to pretend like one partner is a female when both are males.12 Come out of the closet and have sex openly as men for God's sake.
- This verse applied to a particular place and a particular time (ancient Israel);13 we can therefore ignore it (along with everything else we dislike or find inconvenient in the Hebrew scriptures) today.
- This verse does not condemn sexual activity between males in loving, stable, committed relationships.14
- Since the condemnation of homosexual erotic activity is only repeated a few places in the Bible, it is not important to God and can be ignored.15
- The abominations in the Old Testament are no longer relevant in light of the New Testament's teachings.16
- God called many things abominations in the Bible that we are fine with today. So we can safely ignore Leviticus 18:22.17
- Leviticus 18:22 is simply wrong about homosexuality.18
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. Leviticus 20:13
This is one of the clearest verses in the Bible; it is ignored by virtually all Bible believers.19 Not even the Westboro Baptist Church, whose members loudly quote Leviticus 18:22 by saying "God hates fags," are willing to obey God on this one.20
Its meaning, however, is simple and indisputable: God commands believers to kill male homosexuals. The only question is, how?21
That's not really much of a question, though. There are only two means of execution in the Bible: stoning and burning, and there are examples of both in the same chapter of Leviticus.
If a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they. Leviticus 20:14
A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:27
So should gay men be burned to death, like the strange threesome in verse 14, or stoned to death, like the witches and wizards in verse 27?
Or maybe we should stone them and burn them as God did to the original Sodomites.
The LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven. Genesis 19:24
And as Joshua did to Achan and his family to punish Achan for taking the accursed thing.
And Joshua ... took Achan ... and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his sheep... And all of Israel stoned them with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones ..... So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Joshua 7:24-26
We may never know the answer for sure, but the chosen method should be bloody, since the phrase "their blood shall be upon them" is used in Leviticus 20:13. (So lethal injection, electrocution, the gas chamber, strangulation, boiling, drowning, or hanging are not biblically correct options.)
Liberals tend to ignore this verse since even conservative Christians admit that God went way too far on this one. When the conservatives start executing their disobedient children, as required by Deuteronomy 21:18-2122, the liberals will start worrying about the application of Leviticus 20:1323.
This reaction is similar to that of Jesus in Matthew 15:1-76 in which he is criticized by the Pharisees for not washing his hands before eating. He defends himself by attacking them for not killing disobedient children according to the commandment: "He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death."24 When the Pharisees start executing disobedient children, Jesus will start washing his hands before eating.
The invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; that they are without excuse. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools ... Wherefore ... God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another. God gave them over to a reprobate mind ... Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful ... they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. Romans 1:20-32
So how do people become homosexuals? Is it a choice or are they born that way? According to Paul in the above passage, neither is true. God makes men and women homosexuals to punish them for not thanking and glorifying him enough.
When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful ... Wherefore ... God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another. Romans 1:24-27After God makes people gay, he gives them reprobate minds and fills them with all kinds of fornication and wickedness, making them murderers and debaters and inventors of evil things. They become proud, unmerciful, God-hating boasters. They disobey their parents and lack understanding and natural affection.25 Once God makes you gay, one thing just leads to another.
God gave them over to a reprobate mind ... Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful. Romans 1:28-31So it all starts with a lack of gratitude toward God. God then makes ungrateful people gay and pushes them down the slippery slope of the reprobate mind. In the end, the ungrateful wretches commit all sorts of vile deeds. Besides their abominable homosexual acts they gossip and boast and disobey their parents -- all crimes that, to Paul, are worthy of death.
They which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. Romans 1:32So according to Paul, homosexuals and their supporters (those "that have pleasure in them") are "worthy of death" -- along with gossips, boasters, and disobedient children.
This long passage from Romans 1 is a conservative favorite.26 Not only does it condemn homosexuality for both males and females, it does so in the pages of the New Testament, leaving no wiggle room for liberal Christians.
But conservatives get a little squeamish with the "worthy of death" part. The Bible says people who are "worthy of death" should be killed and hung on trees ("If a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree." Deuteronomy 21:22), which is a little creepy, even for fundamentalists.
Liberals hate this passage as much as conservatives love it. Here are some liberal responses:
- Paul is not condemning true homosexuals here. He is condemning heterosexuals who pretend to be gay, going against their God-given sexuality.27 (If you're gay, be gay; if you're straight, be straight.)
- It is bisexuality that Paul condemns in this passage. God made some people gay and some people straight, but he didn't make anyone bisexual.28 (Bis just gross God out for some reason. And don't get him started about trans!)
- Paul didn't mean what he said in Romans 1. He was simply employing the sophisticated rhetorical technique of arguing against one's own beliefs. This is made clear in Romans 2:1, where he says, "Wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself."29 (Judge not, bitches!)
- Despite the plain words in this passage, it actually says nothing about homosexuality. Paul was talking about homosexual orgies in pagan temples, promiscuous homosexual affairs, sex between men and boys/male slaves, and various other behaviors that Paul didn't actually mention in this passage.30 You've got to read between the lines. It's all about context. Context, context, context!
- In this passage, Paul implies that homosexuality is a punishment from God31 and that boasters, gossips, and disobedient children should be executed.32 Elsewhere, he discouraged marriage33 and sex in marriage because Jesus is coming soon.34 Paul said a lot of silly things that we all ignore today. Let's ignore him on this one as well.35
The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God ... neither fornicators ... nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind ... shall inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Unrighteous fornicators, effeminate men, and "abusers of themselves with mankind" will all be excluded from God's magic kingdom.
I'm not sure what Paul meant by "effeminate men" but I'm pretty sure I know what he meant by "abusers of themselves with mankind."
Liberals, however, interpret this passage differently. Here's what they have to say:
The greek word that the KJV translates as "abusers of themselves with mankind" is "arsenokoitai," a word that was coined by Paul and literally means "man-beds." Whatever he might have meant by this word, there is one thing we know for sure: he didn't mean "male homosexuals." 36
And what about the "effeminate men" thing? What was Paul referring to there? Well, the Greek word is "malakoi", which means "soft."
In context, then, it would mean a weak or unmanly man. It is regrettable that such men will be excluded from the kingdom of God, but it is consoling to know that male homosexuals will be welcome there so long as they are manly men. 37
Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine. 1 Timothy 1:9-10
In this passage, we learn for whom the law was made. It was made for homosexuals! Well, OK, not just for homosexuals. It was also made for other ungodly, disobedient, lawless sinners; for whoremongers, and mother/father murderers.
- The same word "arsenokoitai" is used in this verse as in 1 Corinthians 6:9, so we can be sure that what the KJV translates as "them that defile themselves with mankind" does not refer to male homosexuals.38
- And even if "arsenokoitai" does refer to male homosexuals we can safely ignore this verse since 1 Timothy is a forgery.39
- There are a few other passages that are sometimes included among the explicit verses: Genesis 19:1-25, Deuteronomy 23:17, 2 Timothy 3:1-3, and Jude 7-8. But, in my opinion, they aren't quite explicit enough. These verses will be discussed in later chapters.
- In this book, I will be referring to Christians who believe that the Bible condemns homosexuality as "conservatives" and those who believe that the Bible is either neutral or approving toward homosexuality will be referred to as "liberals" (whatever their religious and political beliefs might be).
- Not all conservatives think God went too far in Leviticus 20:13. Here, for example, is what Greg Dickison wrote in Credena Agenda (Editor: Douglas Wilson, Pastor of Christ Church, Moscow, ID): "The civil magistrate is the minister of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer (Rom. 13:4). God has not left his civil minister without guidance on how to exercise his office. The Scriptures set forth clear standards of judgment for many offenses. Capital crimes, for example, include premeditated killing (murder), kidnapping, sorcery, bestiality, adultery, homosexuality, and cursing one's parents (Ex. 21:14; 21:16; 22:18; 22:19; Lev. 20:10; 20:13; Ex. 21:17)." Your Eye Shall Not Pity.
- Jeff Miner and John Tyler, for example, use this term in The Children Are Free, 1-22. These passages are also called "the terrible texts" by John Shelby Spong in The Sins of Scripture, 111-112; "texts of terror" by Phyllis Trible in Texts of Terror and by Nancy Wilson in Outing the Bible, 49-66; "terror texts" by Keith Sharpe in The Gay Gospels, 2; and "savage texts" by Adrian Thatcher in The Savage Text, 15-35.
- "Gay and lesbian people know all too well the abuse of those who read biblical narratives as they are. ... Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10 have been read without the benefit of historical-critical scholarship, which indicates these texts do not address homosexuality and sexual orientation as we understand them today. Instead they have been read 'as they are' and used as 'clobber texts' that fuel hate and violence against the queer community." Mona West, "Outsiders, Aliens, and Boundary Crossers," in Take Back the Word, 79.
- It's not entirely clear what God is referring to in Leviticus 11:20-21 when he lists "four-legged fowls" and "four-footed, flying creeping things" among the abominations. The previous verses (13-19) dealt with birds and bats; the next verse (22), with insects. So I guess the safest thing to do is stay away from any four-legged flying creature, whether bird, insect, or mammal.
- "[I]n the Holiness Code--indeed, in the entire priestly corpus of the Tetrateuch--the only forbidden act to which the designation 'abomination' is specifically attached is homosexual intercourse." Merton P. Strommen, The Church and Homosexuality, 85.
- "There is no doubt that the text refers to male homogenital acts, but there is no hint of lesbian sex here." Daniel A. Helminiak, What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, 51.
- "[T]he 'abomination' being anathematised in 'the lying of a woman' is not homosexuality as such but only the very specific act of one man penetrating the anus of another man." Sharpe, The Gay Gospels, 19.
- "Leviticus 18 is specifically designed to distinguish the Jews from the pagans among whom they had been living, or would live, as its opening remarks make clear ... And the prohibition of homosexual acts follows immediately upon a prohibition of idolatrous sexuality (also 'toevah'): 'And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God...'" John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, 100.
- "The Hebrew word 'toevah' here translated 'abomination' does not usually signify something intrinsically evil, like rape or theft (discussed elsewhere in Leviticus), but something which is ritually unclean for Jews,
like eating pork or engaging in intercourse during menstruation, both of which are prohibited in these same chapters." Ibid., 100.
The Westboro Baptist church responds to this argument by saying that the condemnation of homosexuals in Leviticus is a moral law so it still applies today. "Unlike the ceremonial laws in the Bible, for example, the dietary laws, the moral laws were not done away with at the death of Christ."
- "In the terms of Leviticus, men who allow themselves to be penetrated, dominated and possessed are not behaving as 'homosexuals' (a concept or category completely unknown in Ancient Israel) but rather as women. And for men to behave as women is to undermine the very basis of sexual hierarchy on which the stability and functioning of the whole society depends." Sharpe, The Gay Gospels, 19
- "These rules are designed for a very particular purpose in a very particular setting." Peter. J. Gomes, The Good Book, 153.
- "[H]istorians tell us our model of loving, long-term homosexual relationships did not meaningfully exist in Canaanite culture. ... It is simply not reasonable to believe the author of Leviticus intended to prohibit a form of homosexual relationship that did not exist at the time." Miner and Connoley, The Children Are Free, 12.
- "Biblical scholars generally think you should pay more heed if condemnations are repeated many times." Sharpe, The Gay Gospels, 21.
- "Anti-gay Christians have to justify their use of Old Testament texts in the light of both St. Paul and Jesus himself declaring that its rules and laws had been superseded. All laws need to be justified against the twin commandments of love of God and love of neighbor." Ibid., 27.
- "[U]ntil Christian fundamentalists boycott shellfish restaurants, stop wearing polycotton shirts, and stone to death their wayward offspring, there is no obligation to listen to their diatribes about homosexuality being a sin." Ibid., 21.
- "The texts in Leviticus 18 and 20 are simply wrong. They are morally incompetent because they are based on ignorance." Spong, The Sins of Scripture, 125.
- There are a few Christian extremists who are willing to obey God's command in Leviticus 20:13. See, for example, Greg Dickison's article (Your Eye Shall Not Pity) in Credena Agenda (Editor: Douglas Wilson, Pastor of Christ Church, Moscow, ID): "The civil magistrate is the minister of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer (Rom. 13:4). God has not left his civil minister without guidance on how to exercise his office. The Scriptures set forth clear standards of judgment for many offenses. Capital crimes, for example, include premeditated killing (murder), kidnapping, sorcery, bestiality, adultery, homosexuality, and cursing one's parents (Ex. 21:14; 21:16; 22:18; 22:19; Lev. 20:10; 20:13; Ex. 21:17)."
- Members of the Westboro Baptist Church do, however, like to quote Leviticus 20:13 and hold up signs saying, "Death Penalty For Fags." But even they are unwilling to obey God by directly killing homosexuals as that verse commands. They think the government should do it for them. (See the video, "Death Penalty For Fags" at godhatesfags.com.)
- Well, that's not the only question. There's also the question of who should be killed. Robert Gagnon answers that by saying, "In the Levitical laws, the penalty for homosexual intercourse was death for both the passive partner (presumably consenting) and the active partner (whether acting with the consent of the passive partner or not)." Robert Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice, p.56.
- "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city ... And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die." Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (See also Exodus 21:15, 17.)
- "Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever ... honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites." Matthew 15:1-7
- "He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death." Exodus 21:17
- Paul's moral argument against homosexuality seems to be that it is unnatural. "Their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature ... And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman ... without natural affection they which commit such things are worthy of death." Which is interesting, since Paul also condemned long hair on men since it was unnatural. ("Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?" 1 Corinthians 11:14) So the question for Bible-believers is this: which is worse (more unnatural, and therefore immoral) homosexuality or long-haired men?
- Robert Gagnon refers to Romans 1:24-27 as "arguably the single most important biblical text." The Bible and Homosexual Practice, p. 40.
- "[T]he persons Paul condemns are manifestly not homosexual: what he derogates are homosexual acts committed by apparently heterosexual persons." John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, p. 109.
- "What Paul was addressing was the Roman's own nature, what we today would call their sexual orientation. Their society was expecting them to trade their own orientation, whatever it might have been, for a bisexual orientation. The men were doing the same thing. And what they were doing was indecent and an error, not because of the concept of homosexuality, but because they were violating the way they were created." The Affirming Pentecostal Church International http://hoperemains.webs.com/romans1.htm
- "What irony that the principal passage of scripture normally used to condemn same-sex relations is also a principal passage forbidding the condemnation of anyone, by anyone, for any reason!" Thatcher, The Savage Text, 18-19, referring to Romans 1:20 - 2:3.
- In Romans 1:24-31, "Paul did not have same sex love in mind at all. He is referring to exploitive
Greek and Roman pederasty." Keith Sharpe, The Gay Gospels, p. 55.
"The model of homosexual behavior Paul was addressing here is explicitly associated with idol worship (probably temple prostitution)." Miner and Connoley, The Children Are Free, p. 14.
- "[O]ne of the biblical instances that is quoted to demonstrate the Bible's clear denunciation of the 'sin of homosexuality' (Rom 1) confronts us with the strange idea that if we fail to worship God properly, God will punish us with homosexuality!" John Shelby Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, p. 158.
- "[A]re we really to believe that a loving God wants gossips and disobedient children to be put to death?" Sharpe, The Gay Gospels, p. 48.
- "I would that all men were even as I myself." 1 Corinthians 7:1
"I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I." 1 Corinthians 7:8
"Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife." 1 Corinthians 7:27
- "The time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none." 1 Corinthians 7:29
- "It [Romans 1] is not, of course, the only Pauline utterance that we have rejected. He also insisted that women keep quiet in church, speak only to their husbands at night, and keep their heads covered." Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, p. 158.
- "Arsenokoitai is a word made up by Paul. Nobody can be sure what it means. He did not use the the perfectly good words for homsexuals available at the time." Keith Sharpe, The Gay Gospels, p. 67.
- "[M]alakos could be translated 'effeminate', but there is very little evidence--and it is forced--that the term malakos was specifically linked with this effeminate homosexual style." Daniel Helminiak, What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality, p. 108.
- "The next key phrase in this passage [1 Corinthians 6:9-10] is rendered in the King James Version as 'abusers of themselves with mankind.' A similar phrase appears in a list of sins in 1 Timothy 1:10. Both phrases are derived from a single Greek word, arsenokoitai...." Miner and Connoley, The Children Are Free, p. 18.
- "Though all three letters [1 and 2 Timothy and Titus] claim to be written by Paul, most modern scholars see them as written long after his death in the first decades of the second
century." Marcus J. Borg's Evolution of the Word, 563. See also "The Pastoral Letters: 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus" in Bart Ehrman's Forged, 93-104.
Liberal Christians recognize that Paul was not the author of 1 Timothy (see, for example, Tom Horner, Jonathan Loved David, p. 100 and John Shelby Spong, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, p. 94), however I've never heard any Christian, liberal or conservative, suggest that 1 Timothy and the other known forgeries be removed from the Bible.