Speaking of Romans 1:26, 27
Rom.1:18-32 is a narrative of man's rejection of the one true God and thinking himself wise, creates idols in exchange for the One True God. These are God rejecting people, idolaters, who are proud of their own perceived intellect and wisdom. Their continued descent into deeper and deeper depravity is 3 times attributed to "God gave them up" in vs 24,26,28 and all three times the cause or reason reflects back to their ultimate sin of rejecting God and turning to idols. The flow of thought goes back to their rejection of the One True God and exchanging Him with idols.
"For this cause 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; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet." (Rom 1:26-27, KJV)
1. Women changed "natural use", NRSV "natural intercourse", but did not, could not, change their nature.
2. a. changed "the natural use" KJV, YLT.. Referring to the created order, God's design
b. "exchanged their natural function", Amplified, "exchanged their natural sexual function" ISV, "changed their natural way" AAT by William F. Beck (LCMS)
If under a. above "the natural use" the definite article 'the' points back to the created design and order. But under b. "their natural sexual function" would indicate that by their nature, their own sexual nature, these women would have the created order orientation within themselves, but could only change their conduct. Sexual orientation is not changeable.
"The reality is that homosexuality is not an illness. It does not require treatment and is not changeable." http://www.ct.gov/shp/lib/shp/pdf/a...sexual_orientation_and_homosexuality.pdf
3. It is common to teach that v26 refers to lesbianism, but that violates the directive of 1 Cor. 4:6 ASV, "learn not to go beyond the things which are written". There is nothing here stating women had sex with women. As the English Baptist John Gill wrote in the 18th century, one understanding can be: "by prostituting themselves to, and complying with the 'sodomitical' embraces of men, in a way that is against nature". This would probably refer to oral and anal intercourse of women with men. From this viewpoint, the word "likewise" connecting v27 to v26 also refers to oral and anal intercourse of man with man, unnatural compared to the created order, but created order does not define sin, God's commands do. Of course, if lesbianism is not 'read into' the words of Scripture here, there is zero reference in the Bible to lesbianism!
4. In v27 men are "leaving" (KJV), "giving up" (NRSV), "having left" (YLT), "forsaking" (Literal translation by Jay P. Green). You cannot leave, give up and forsake that which you did not possess in the first place, and a male of same-sex orientation has not had the relationship to/for a woman from which to leave. This has been observed in the church as early as St. John Chrysostom (349-407AD)
when he wrote in his homily on Romans:
"...he deprives them of excuse, by saying of the women, that 'they changed the natural use.' For no one, he means, can say that it was by being hindered of legitimate intercourse that they came to this pass, or that it was from having no means to fulfil their desire that they were driven into this monstrous insaneness. For the changing implies possession. Which also when discoursing upon the doctrines he said, 'They changed the truth of God for a lie.' And with regard to the men again, he shows the same thing by saying, 'Leaving the natural use of the woman.' And in a like way with those, these he also puts out of all means of defending themselves by charging them not only that they had the means of gratification, and left that which they had, and went after another, but that having dishonored that which was natural, they ran after that which was contrary to nature."http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/210204.htm
The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown commentary was printed about 1872 long before the words and concept were invented. On Rom. 1:26,27 it reads:
"But observe how vice is here seen consuming and exhausting itself. When the passions, scourged by violent and continued indulgence in natural vices
, became impotent to yield the craved enjoyment, resort was had to artificial stimulants by the practice of unnatural and monstrous vices
." It does not take much grey matter to know what modern words we'd use for "natural vices" and "unnatural and monstrous vices".
From the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Fully Revised, printed 1988; Vol. 4, page 437 -
"...how did Paul understand the homosexual behavior he condemned? Evidently he understood it as freely chosen (cf. 'exchanged,' 'gave up') by people for whom heterosexual relations were 'natural,' and as chosen (by heterosexual people) because of their insatiable lust ('consumed with passion')."
5. The KJV word "burned" in v27 is the Greek, "G1572" and is found only here in the NT, just this one occurrence. A. T. Robertson says it means "to burn out, to set on fire". The NRSV renders it "consumed". From a 19th century Greek scholar, James Robinson Boise, "a much stronger word than the Eng. burned". This is important because the word used for sexual desire translated "burn" referring to a loving couple is totally different: "For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." (1Cor 7:7-9, KJV) The word "burn" here is the Greek: "G4448" a totally unrelated word to that in Rom. 1:27.
6. The KJV word "lust" here is also an instance where this is the only occurrence in the entire NT Greek, "G3715". The words "burned in their lust" KJV, or "consumed with passion" NRSV; indicates something extreme, not to be compared with normal love, affection or even a close M-M friendship which may include some sexual desire considering that sexual orientation is a continuum, not a neat hetero-, bi- or homosexual construct of human sexuality. The word "lust" here is totally unrelated to the Greek lust in Matt. 5:27, which is "G1937"!
7. The KJV words "working that which is unseemly" in the literal Greek reads "working the unseemliness", Rev. Alford Marshall in the NIV/Grk-Eng Interlinear. The Greek scholar, Boice, I referenced above writes: "the (well-known, notorious) indecency". The sexual perversions of Nero, who lived at the time Paul wrote, comes to mind. https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/pwh/suet-nero.asp
READ THIS HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF NERO AND COMPARE TO HERE
8. What is the "error" meant in "receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet"? From the flow of the entire passage from v18, it would seem to refer to the rejection of the One True God and worshiping idols. The moral degradation described is the horrible descent into the depths of depravity which was sin compounding upon sin, as punishment. Again, Boice in the 19th century writes: "of their error, of their departure (from the true God)". The respected 19th century theologian, Presbyterian Charles Hodge states in his commentary on Romans: "The apostle for the third time repeats the idea that the moral degradation of the heathen was a punishment of their apostasy from God. Receiving, he says, in themselves the meet recompense of their error. It is obvious from the whole context that the Greek here refers to the sin of forsaking the true God; and it is no less obvious that the recompense or punishment of this apostasy was the moral degradation which he had just described." https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hdg/romans-1.html
Then the 2000 Edition of the BDAG reads: "Of an erroneous view of God, as exhibited in polytheism, resulting in moral degradation ... Ro 1:27" Yet in this day it is common to dogmatically insist the "error" is homosexuality and the "recompense" is something like AIDS.
The sin, the error, of this passage is exchanging the One True God for idols and self-worship which brings about degradation upon degradation to where their outrageous and extreme lust
consumes them. Studying 1 Cor. 6:9 and Rom. 1:26, 27 objectively comes up describing the type of behavior of Nero, referenced above. Nothing in the entire Bible condemns two males loving each other faithfully including sexual intimacy. You can invent all the theological constructions you wish, but the Bible does not condemn men loving men. By the way, did you ever notice how men seem to focus solely on vs26,27 and totally ignore the 'little sins' contained in vs29, 30 as worthy of death?!