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1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Timothy 1:8-10

Two Indeterminate Texts

By Fr. Daniel Helminiak, Dignity/Houston BBS

The meaning of these texts, said to exclude homosexual people from the Kingdom of God, hinges on the meaning of two Greek Terms, `malakoi' and `arsenokotai.' Throughout history these terms have been translated variably (masturbatory, practicers of heterosexual anal sex, sodomites, catamites and the like). Suggested translations today still vary (morally loose, masturbators who waste their property, boys and their pederast partners, temple prostitutes serving men and women, gold-digging gay hustlers who pursue the elderly). No one really knows what these terms mean. There is no good reason to suppose they apply to consensual, respectful, homosexual acts per se, especially since such an interpretation would be in conflict with all the rest of the Bible.


by Bill Sklar <86730@LAWRENCE.BITNET>

"References on Homosexuality and the Bible"

I CORINTHIANS 6:9-10 reads:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [malakoi], nor homosexual offenders [arsenokoites], nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.

I placed two words in brackets. The first one, "malakoi", Scroggs (p. 14) says "literally means 'soft' and is no technical term for a homosexual." It apparently refers to young boys who would take the "recepient" position in anal sex, often for money. It's also translated in some Bibles as "morally weak".

"Aresenokoitai", on the other hand, is clearly a sexual term but, according to Scroggs:

Since... the New Testament occurrences are the earliest appearances of the word, it is not easy for us to be sure what it means. John Boswell in his recent study denies that it refers to a homosexual person in general but rather specifically to the male prostitute who could serve heterosexual or homosexual clients. At any rate, the sin is prostitution, not homosexuality in itself. (p. 14)

These words are the words used both in Corinthians and in I Timothy 1:10 which are commonly translated into modern bibles as "homosexual", "effeminate," and "self-indulgent." In these enlightened times, however,there is no indication that such terms are in any way connected to homosexuality in itself.

In fact, according to Is the Homosexual my Neighbor by Letha Scanzoni and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott:

the idea of a lifelong homosexual orientation or "condition" is never mentioned in the Bible... Bible writers assumed that everyone was heterosexual and that in times of moral decay, some heterosexuals peopled did some strange and unnatural things with each other. Since the Bible is silent about the homosexual condition, those who want to understand it must rely on the findings of modern behavorial science research... (p. 71)

In summary, despite common interpretations of the words "malakoi" and "aresenokoitai" in modern times, there is no clear evidence which links them unquestionably to homosexuality in itself. Instead, in every case in which they are used, there is an implied connection with either prostitution or child molestation. Modern research shows us, however, that such connections are fallacious. There is no research which clearly demonstrates that there is any correlation between homosexuality and the "sins" referenced alongside it in Corinthians and Timothy.

Lexicography and St Paul

by James Alan Hall s883334@minyos.xx.rmit.oz.au

"Biblical arguments and homosexuality"

(most of argument, and some text, taken from chapter four of John Boswell Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, confirmed by Hall in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible)

I Corinthians 6:9-10 reads, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." "Effeminate" is a poor translation of the Greek word "malakos" which means "soft". The word is not translated as "effeminate" anywhere else in the Bible. It is the same word that is translated as "soft" in Matthew 11:8 ("But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses"; similarly Luke 7:25). In a moral sense, "malakos" just means "licentious"; Aristotle in the _Nicomachean Ethics_ (7.4.4) says specifically that "malakos" refers to unrestraint in respect to bodily pleasures. The translation as "effeminate" seems awfully gratuitous. "Abuser of himself with mankind" is a translation of the Greek word "arsenokoites"; this word has changed meaning several times over the centuries, so it's perhaps understandable how it got translated as it did; but in Paul's time, and in fact until well into the fourth century, it seems to have simply meant a temple prostitute. (Corroborating this indirectly is the fact that a great deal of contemporary homoerotic Greek writing has survived and not once in any of it does the word "arsenokoites" appear.)

I Timothy 1:10 refers to "them that defile themselves with mankind"; this is a translation of the same Greek word "arsenokoites" as appears in I Corinthians.


by Wilfrid R. Koponen, Ph.D., M.B.A., M.A.R., M.A.)

1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10. The key words are translated differently in different versions: from 1 Cor.: "catamites, sodomites" (Moffat); "effeminate, homosexuals" (ASV); "homosexual perversion: (New English Bible); "Male prostitutes, homosexual offenders" (New International Version) etc.; 1 Timothy is also variously translated. However, there was no noun in Greek for homosexual; apparently the translations condemning homosexuals are inaccurate. The Greek words suggest not "homosexual" but "effeminate" or "morally weak or soft" or "cowardly."