Biblical Gender Identity

Site: Rock Gender Identity (mobile, full site)

Section: IntroCross DressingProstitutionLiving Together Not MarriedAdulteryDivorcePolygamyHomosexualityIncestAnimalsSelfAbortionConclusions

DISCLAIMER: This is a mature topic only intended for people who've at least begun puberty. If you are less than 13 years old then I pray you don't have any reason to concern yourself with this yet, and you should ask a trustworthy adult before reading this.

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After reading all these definitions of sexual immorality that God has provided us, we must wonder how different our society would look if we actually took God's opinion seriously? After Moses died and Joshua took his place as the leader of Israel, God spoke to Joshua in a famous chapter and said "be strong and courageous" 4 times. In that same chapter God says "meditate on [My word] day and night, so that you will be careful to follow it all" (Joshua 1:7-8). The purpose of this page isn't to talk about the whole law though, it's focusing on what God has said that relates to gender identity. If you prefer to simply believe that Jesus paid it all (Isaiah 53:4-5, Galatians 3:13-18) so this side of the cross no sin is worth spending this much effort avoiding, or you claim Leviticus 20:26 that says the law was specifically to make the Israelites stand out from their neighbors, then consider one more concept. In the book of Acts, the apostles were presented with what seemed a dilemma. Non-Jews were becoming believers in Christ but were understandably not excited about the Jewish ritual of circumcision (given to the Jews by God Himself as a command in Genesis 17:10). When you read the story in chapter 15, you see it caused quite a stir. The apostles and elders met, including Peter (the one whom Jesus renames in Matthew 16:18), James (maternal brother of Jesus: Matthew 13:55, Galatians 1:19), and Paul (whose writings became half the New Testament). Their conclusion was exceptionally short. Of the whole Law, they summarized in Acts 15:28-29 to avoid 4 things, one of which was sexual immorality. In all of scripture there is no other conclusion that has a more impressive human endorsement list.

Mr. Seinfeld was once asked which episode was his favorite of his 9-season-running TV show? He replied that was like asking a person which breath of air was your favorite. Whichever breath gets us to the next breath is arguably our favorite. Many of the shows we see on TV and in the movies would have us believe that having sex is truly satisfying. But I'm afraid that's a lie. Compare it to a super awesome dessert after dinner. There's no such thing as a desert that satisfies for more than a short time. We always want more. In fact, the better it is, the more we want more. Praise God that sex is an experience that is meant to be repeated over and over, like breathing and eating (and back rubs). This can definitely be annoying when we just can't get it out of our mind, but it's not very surprising considering the first thing God said to us was to multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28). However people are not things to be consumed, nor are we things to be arbitrarily experienced. We are people, made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Sex is a one of kind reward for a one of a kind relationship. The best way to make sex deeply meaningful (and sometimes just as important, the best way to keep it coming) is the way God designed it. If we take our Bible seriously then that way is inside an airtight, heterosexual, until death do you part marriage.

Marriage advice
  • Genesis 2:18  hub
  • Exodus 20:17  hub
  • Deuteronomy 24:5  hub
  • Proverbs 18:22  hub
  • Ecclesiastes 9:9  hub
  • Galatians 5:22-23  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 7:1-5  hub
  • Ephesians 5:22-33  hub
  • Ephesians 6:4  hub
  • Colossians 3:18-21  hub
  • Hebrews 13:4  hub
  • 1 Peter 3:1-7  hub
Marriage is about commitment and dedication, which is why the "try it before you buy it" approach stunts or even condemns the relationship for most couples. While American (and other) cultures look down on arranged marriages or the idea of "learning to love" your spouse over time, there is an important detail to acknowledge. The paradigm of love-initiated marriages seems to have forgotten something arranged marriages have not. They've forgotten that marriage is a life-long alliance, with significant political, economic, and social implications. Too many people marry because that's the natural progression of their dating relationship, which too often only began because of physical attraction. But are you really ready to dedicate your life to this other person, to put them first, to help them achieve their life goals, to go to holidays at their parent's house, to "do" Christmas the way they did it, to support (or at least put up with) their political ideals, to dump all your discretionary income (or more) into their hobbies? It's not just about having sex and someone to keep you company at dinner. Oh yeah, and when you have kids, your life (as you know it) is supposed to be over, because it's that much work to raise good kids (Malachi 2:15). You're only supposed to give up your own childhood and focus on raising another human when your own childhood is over (when you're ready). There's no exact age for this, some are ready in their late teens, others need more time to mature. Our age isn't the point, our character and maturity are (and age is a reasonable baseline/​starting point). However, there's a reason that girls experience puberty on average between the ages of 10 and 14 and boys between 12 and 16. This is when we're biologically able to start having families of our own (and is a function of gender identity), therefore it's not a stretch to think our society should prepare us to be mentally ready (mature enough) too (a function of gender roles).

Pam Stenzel points out "opposites might attract when it comes to personality but never when it comes to character... You have to be what you want, and that's how you'll get it." So if you're single, who should you look for to marry? One short answer is someone who has prioritized making themself right with God above gratifying their own desires. Here is a fairly exhaustive list of ways God's word specifically tells each gender to behave. Notice how short these lists are. Remember God isn't a micromanager and we're supposed to know all we need to know intuitively (Genesis 4:7a) but since our culture has encouraged us to forget or dismiss, it's helpful to have these reminders. If your intuition contradicts the Bible then be humble and trust God (Malachi 3:10).

Instructions for male character (girls: look for this, guys: live and model it)
  • Exodus 34:23-24  hub
  • Deuteronomy 17:17  hub  (Luke 12:13-24)
  • 1 Samuel 16:7  hub
  • Proverbs 31:23  hub
  • 2 Corinthians 6:14-16  hub
  • 1 Timothy 2:8  hub
  • 1 Timothy 3:1-15  hub
  • 1 Timothy 5:1-2  hub
  • Titus 1:6-9  hub
  • Titus 2:2  hub
  • Titus 2:6  hub
  • 1 Peter 5:1-5  hub
Instructions for female character (guys: look for this, girls: live and model it)
  • 1 Samuel 16:7  hub
  • Proverbs 11:22  hub
  • Proverbs 12:4  hub
  • Proverbs 14:1  hub
  • Proverbs 31:10  hub
  • Proverbs 31:30  hub (related: Isaiah 40:6-8  hub, James 1:10-11  hub, & 1 Peter 1:24  hub)
  • 2 Corinthians 6:14-16  hub
  • 1 Timothy 2:9-15  hub
  • 1 Timothy 3:11  hub
  • 1 Timothy 5:1-2  hub
  • Titus 2:3-5  hub
Why are these lists for males & females so short if the Bible is so long? Because the whole rest of the Bible is written to everyone. These verses were just those that are super specific to gender identity. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of verses with lots more good character advice for us. A couple of the more famous I can't resist listing are:
  • Genesis 4:7  hub
  • Proverbs 1:7  hub
  • Micah 6:8  hub
  • Matthew 7:12  hub
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:10  hub
And then there's a few passages that don't exactly fit into the categories of sexual immorality we've reviewed, but are worthy of including here, just to make sure we're clear on what God has already told us.
  • Leviticus 15:16-18  hub & Deuteronomy 23:10-11  hub
  • Leviticus 19:20-21  hub
  • Job 31:1  hub
  • Amos 2:7  hub
  • Malachi 2:11-12  hub
  • Galatians 5:19-21  hub
Two more topics not described in detail on this page are concubines and rape. I mention rape in the "living together without being married" and "abortion" sections above, and clearly it's bad. Even more so than adultry, rape is a topic that doesn't need me to explain why. A concubines is a concept that doesn't really exist in my culuture so (a) I lack perspective to discuss this topic in detail, and (b) it doesn't demand explanation at this time.

The human psyche is an incredibly complex thing, and it's when we're stuck with or choose poor role models that we can form distorted perceptions of our own gender and the role of sexual activity in our lives. But just because we can doesn't mean we may or should, and definitely doesn't mean we should enact laws inventing rights for those who do. A better response is to make sure everyone has healthy role models and just as important (if not more) is to make sure everyone understands and appreciates what God has already told us (Galatians 6:7-10). This is not about documenting reasons to hate people, nor outlining justification to persecute them or otherwise be rude. This is about respecting the stated opinions of our Creator. (Remember, the first four recorded words Satan said to humanity were "did God really say...?" and when we listened to him, the whole world was cursed.)

For those who identify with Jesus we have an obligation to care about what God cares about, and we should take seriously what He's told us in His word. The foundation for all our beliefs (morals) should begin with the Bible, and only when the Bible doesn't address a topic may we make up our own opinions. And even then, we always need to be aligned with what it does say. When we simply look at scripture it's clear we should base our gender identity on our biological sex. Exactly how the sexes behave is not God's point because He isn't a micromanager. His point is love should be a central theme in all we do, and our good character (not to mention faith) is at the core of His concern for our thoughts and actions. And there's an important detail that our life isn't about us, it's supposed to glorify our Creator. But all too often we end up disgracing Him (Leviticus 19:12, Ezekiel 36:22-23, Romans 2:24).

Remember, be holy
  • Matthew 5:14  hub
  • Matthew 7:21-23  hub
  • Romans 6:11-14  hub
  • Romans 12:1  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 3:16-17  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 5:9-13  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 6:20  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 10:31  hub
  • Ephesians 5:3  hub
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8  hub
  • 1 Peter 4:3  hub
  • 1 John 3:8-10  hub
It's important to obey God whether we understand all his reasoning or not (Isaiah 55:8-9) for He will hold us accountable (Deuteronomy 29:29). And even though marriage can be traced back to Genesis 2, it's not a command.

Being Single
  • Song of Solomon 3:5  hub
  • Isaiah 54:5  hub
  • Isaiah 56:4-5  hub
  • Matthew 19:12  hub
  • Matthew 22:29-30  hub
  • Mark 12:25  hub
  • 1 Corinthians 7  hub
  • Revelation 14:4  hub
If you've already blown it, then here's a general recommendation of what you need to do. Read your Bible and strengthen your relationship with God. If you're not married, stop having sex ever again until after you are married. If you're living together without kids, then prove to the world your commitment to God by moving out and living separately until after you're married. If you're living together with kids, then get married to set an example for those kids. BE the good role model from now on. (You don't need an expensive wedding, the marriage is more important than the wedding.) If your parents were in your position and you were in your kid's position, what would you want your parents to do? (Answer, you'd want your parents to do whatever would result in the most wholeness, the most stability, and the most togetherness for you the child.) Everyone knows everyone fails. We all fail sometime. (Honestly we all fail a lot.) The trick is how we handle that. Do we admit we've failed and own up to it, or do we pretend our choices were fine and other people failed? In the end, God told us about sexual immorality long before you ever committed it. So before you sinned against someone else you sinned against God. You need to repent to Him first, then make amends (as much as you can) with the people you've affected. If you lust for things (people) that God has condemned, then refer back to Joshua 1:7-8 and meditate on God's word (either read it yourself or keep rereading this webpage as your mantra). Pray to God (He's really there and He cares about us) and ask for His help. And of course, seek out good earthly role models who will help you and not cause you to stumble.

From the opposite perspective, it's worth noting that sexual immorality doesn't really exist inside an airtight heterosexual marriage. Our culture is permeated with toxic immorality. Oddly enough, we've divorced sex from marriage, and as a result some of us grow up idolizing sex, and some of us cope by shutting down and demonizing any sexual activity beyond baby making. Both are extremes and neither optimal nor necessary. There are no Biblical constraints on what a husband and wife may do together. The only inferable restriction is both parties must be willing, and beyond that our imagination and our stamina are the only limits. (And a word of caution, our stamina falls short significantly sooner than our imagination. Very annoying, but true.)

If you think this page was reasonably well written and want to read more, check out my other Biblical Worldview pages on interpreting the Bible Literally, or my Creation versus Evolution FAQ.

Last Modified: Friday, December 01, 2017