What does the bible say about transgender?

Carl Laferton | February 6th 2020

This article features in the Engage NIV Youth Bible, which seeks to connect young people with God's word—helping them to unpack the Scriptures for themselves. The aim is not to tell young people what to think about the Bible, but to show them how to think about the Bible.

Let’s start by defining what the various terms mean:

Gender dysphoria: the experience of feeling a mismatch between gender (whether you feel you’re male or female, or something else) and sex (how your body is built).

Transgender: taking on an identity of a different gender to the sex you were born with.

Transitioning: to undergo treatment in order to try to make the way your body is built express that identity.

Engage NIV Youth Bible

Engage NIV Youth Bible

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NIV Bible with articles, explanations and creative spaces to help teens read God’s word.

What creation tells us

Read Genesis 1:26-28 and notice four things: 

1. We’re made in God’s image. All of us are, whatever we do and whatever is done to us.

2. We have bodies. And your body is not just something in which the real you lives – it’s part of the real you.

3. We’re under authority. You and I are not the Creator. We are created. We don’t get to make the rules (and when we try, we’re no good at it).

4. We’re gendered. God made two genders: male, and female (a point that Jesus agreed with, Matthew 19:4-5). So being female or a male isn’t only about your anatomy – but your anatomy will show you whether you’re a female or a male.

What the fall tells us

Of course, we don’t live in the perfect world those first humans did. We live in a world that is broken by sin – and that brokenness extends to our bodies, and even to our hearts and their desires. That’s why Peter says to Christians:

‘Dear friends . . . abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.’ (1 Peter 2:11)

Some of our desires, or feelings, tell us to do things, or that we are things, which are actually opposed to our ‘soul’ – to our good, both now and eternally. So we have to work out which of our desires to feed, because they’re good; and which to fight, because they’re actually warring against us. And the way to do that is not to listen to our strongest desires (they might be wrong!) but to God’s Word, which is always right.

And God’s Word says that our gender is given to us by God, that it matches the sex that he built our body to have, and that therefore our gender is not changeable.

What the cross tells us

That may be a hard, and painful, thing for you to hear. Please remember that Jesus understands that – he knows what it’s like to live in a human body, and he knows what it’s like to really really desire doing something that isn’t in line with God’s plan (Matthew 26:39).

And please remember that Jesus loves you. He died on a cross because he loves you so much he wants to make it possible for you to be forgiven any wrong you’ve done (or will do), and to open up an eternal life with him – one day he’ll give you a perfect mind, heart, and body, all in agreement with each other, with no experience of shame or sadness. 

Transformation is coming to anyone who trusts Jesus. The Bible says that, until that day of transformation comes when Jesus returns, all Christians, one way or another, ‘groan’ (Romans 8:23). But we know that the groaning won’t last for ever, and will be worth it in the end.

Find out more about the Engage NIV Youth Bible.

Carl Laferton

Carl Laferton is EVP Publishing/Editorial Director at TGBC. He is the bestselling author of the kids' books The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross and The God Contest, and also serves as series editor of the God's Word For You series. Before joining TGBC, he worked as a journalist, a teacher, and pastored a congregation in Hull. Carl is married to Lizzie and they have two children, Benjamin and Abigail. He studied history at Oxford University.

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