Bible values to guide the ONA journey

How to engage the Bible

There are more than 31,000 verses in the Bible. At most, six or seven are used to justify excluding LGBTQ Christians and their families from the church. Engaging scripture is a key element of any Open and Affirming journey: congregations can do this in a way that opens hearts and minds. For a healthy ONA conversation, we recommend:

  1. Begin with the premise that the Bible is the source of basic values that guide our relationships, including respect for others as God’s children and as our family in the Body of Christ. Virtues of hospitality, compassion and justice are the basis for any exploration of your congregation’s welcome for LGBTQ seekers and their families.
  2. The seven passages commonly used to condemn same-sex relationships should not be the focus of your consideration of Scripture. Of the 31,000 verses in the Bible, the texts in dispute represent about 0.02 percent. At some point, a pastor will need to preach or lead Bible study on the disputed texts, but a healthy ONA process should not begin with these passages or allow them to frame the discussion.
  3. A useful exercise is to ask participants in a Bible study or parish meeting to write down on a post-it note the one verse or story from the Bible that has had the greatest impact on their lives: especially in times of crisis, anxiety, grief, loss or illness. Usually, these are texts about God’s love, care, healing, compassion. This exercise helps a congregation focus on the Biblical values members of your church have in common.


Many of these suggestions are from evangelical sources and reflect a high regard for the authority of Scripture. They may be helpful in reaching some of the more conservative members of your congregation.

Torn (book) by Justin Lee
God and the Gay Christian (book) by Matthew Vines
The Bible and Homosexuality (YouTube) by Matthew Vines
The Clobber Passages (website) by Evangelicals Concerned
TransAction (curriculum for churches)
Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality (book) by Jack Rogers
What the Bible Really Says about Gay Christians May Surprise You by Bill Lyons
The Bible and Homosexuality by Walter Wink
Bible and the Transgender Experience by Linda Tatro

Workshop: ONA and the Bible

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