There’s one verse in the bible that really sticks out to me as a queer Christian.
It’s found in Galatians 3. Verse number 28. And to me, it’s revolutionary.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Just take a moment to think about that. There are many ways to interpret this verse, but no matter which way you do it, one thing shines clear in this verse: We are all one. We are together. But that’s not all. I think it goes deeper than that, and to figure this out we’re going to have to take a trip back through time….
*insert Doctor Who music here*
There are three main parts to this passage (well, four, I guess, but let’s just say three for now): ‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile’, ‘neither slave nor free’, and ‘nor is there male nor female’. I’ll go through them all one by one.
1. THERE IS NEITHER JEW NOR GENTILE
You’ll see a theme as I go through each part, as I think they all provide an answer to many (read: three) church controversies. And the first controversy happened around the time that Paul was writing. In fact, he spoke and debated about the subject. Actually, two subjects: whether or not Christians should be circumcised, and whether or not Christians have to be Jewish.
He argued that neither of these things were necessary, and that’s also shown in this verse. If there is neither Jew nor Gentile, then it doesn’t matter! Christ died for all of us! In fact, the passage that this verse is contained is in saying exactly that:
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. – Galatians 3:26-29
In other words, if we belong to Christ then we are one. If we belong to Christ, we are all heirs to the promise, Abraham’s seed. Christianity isn’t exclusive to a certain group of people. Jesus is for all. He doesn’t discriminate based on race, or gender, or anything.
2. THERE IS NEITHER SLAVE NOR FREE
Which brings us into the next part of the verse. Neither slave nor free.
Slavery was hugely controversial in the church in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Many churches just went along with it and let members own slaves. And many others didn’t.
But if you read this part, it’s clear: Hey, maybe you shouldn’t treat black people like subhuman beings! We are ALL human and all deserve respect.
3. THERE IS NEITHER MALE NOR FEMALE
Finally, onto the bit that addresses a large controversy today. Namely whether or not being LGBT is a sin.
I feel like the whole debate centres around gender. You can only be attracted to this gender. You have to be this gender. There are only two genders. Gender, gender, gender. And it’s a bit tiring, to say the least.
But hey, what if it didn’t matter? What if gender was this irrelevant label that had no effect on your personality? What if churches cared more about worshipping Jesus than forcing people into gender roles? That’s exactly what this is saying. There is no male or female, because we are all one in Jesus’ death. I’ve said this a lot, but only because it’s super important. Our identity in Christ is more important than forcing people to hide themselves.
So there you go. There’s my interpretation of that verse:
We are all equal.