Does Romans 1:26 Condemn Lesbians?
We believe Romans 1:26 does not condemn lesbians based on the context and words used by Paul. Its important to remember that Romans 1:26 was written to Christians in Rome around AD 58. To understand what God and Paul meant, we need to understand how Roman Christians would have understood this verse in the first century.
1. Lesbians are not condemned anywhere in the Old Testament. Therefore Paul could not possibly have based his alleged condemnation of lesbians on anything the Tanakh (our Old Testament) says about lesbians.
2. Ancient Jewish teaching in the Talmudic tradition understood that the Tanakh did not condemn lesbians. Therefore it is unlikely that Paul would have based his alleged condemnation
of lesbians on ancient Jewish oral tradition which was pretty much silent about lesbians.
3. The Old Testament (the Tanakh) DOES condemn one form of idolatry in which both women and men committed the same kind of sin (anal sex in worship of the fertility goddess - viewed as being "against nature" because it was not procreative).
Therefore since the context of Romans 1 is idolatry, not lesbianism and not homosexuality, Paul was condemning shrine prostitution, not lesbianism and not homosexuality in Romans 1:26-27.
4. The way early Christians understood Romans 1:26-27 informs our understanding. Prominent Christian preachers, Aristides in AD 126 and Justin Martyr around AD 150, understood Paul to be writing about shrine prostitution. They were right and modern Christians who use Romans 1:26 to attack lesbians are absolutely wrong.