|This is an
What you need to know and say when they say:
“But the Bible clearly condemns homosexuality!”
Compiled and written* by Rev. Stephen Parelli
June, 2012; revised March 2013
This paper was first presented in Kampala, Uganda, in July of 2012, by the author, at two separate
conferences. Copies of the paper were made available to conference attendees.
|Topic #3: Modern Bible versions that use the word “homosexual(s)” or “homosexuality” in its
translation of I Cor. 6:9 and I Tim. 1:10 are “driven more by ideological interests in marginalizing gay
and lesbian people” than by scholarship
Topic #1: The
erroneous use of the
word “sodomite(s)” in
the 1611 King James
Bible (KJV; also
known as the AV –
Topic #2: “The
Gen. 19 notorious
story of Sodom and
irrelevant to the topic”
versions that use the
“homosexuality” in its
translation of I Cor. 6:
9 and I Tim. 1:10 are
“driven more by
in marginalizing gay
and lesbian people”
than by scholarship
Topic #4: Romans
1, probably the
passage most often
used to condemn
Topic #5: Once the
understood, it is clear
that Lev. 18:22 and
20:13 – that a man
should not lie with a
man – is not a
Topic #6: The
reference in Jude 7 to
after strange flesh” is
understand in light of
a first century legend
Books and Web
This web page was created in the Bronx,
New York, and published from the Bronx, on
February 17, 2013.
Visits to this web page:
In point of fact: The translation of the two Greek words in dispute, malakoi and arsenokoitai, –
both found in I Cor. 6:9, and only one (arsenokoitai) in I Tim. 1:10 – as homosexual(s)* or
homosexuality** is bogus.
*“[…]homosexual(s)[…]” (NASB, NLT, CEV, HCSB, NIRV, TNIV for arsenokoitai; and NKV for
malakoi) **“[…]homosexuality” (ESV, AMP, TNIV for arsenokoitai; and AMP, ESV for malakoi)
Talking Points on malakoi (I Cor. 6:9 – “effeminate” KJV):
- In ancient times, certain vices that were deemed “woman-like” were catalogued under the
feminine [Martin, p44]. These vices (from a man enjoying sex with the opposite sex too much
[Martin, p48] to a man who studies a lot [Martin, p45]) were deemed vices because they were
viewed as being characterized by laziness, vanity, fear, or self-indulgence [Miner, p16-18].
These vices were catalogued as feminine, because women, like these moral failings which
degraded men, were believed to be inferior to men [Martin, p48].
- When malakos, in (patriarchal, sexist, misogynistic) ancient times, was used as a reference
to a man who was penetrated (either by a woman or a man), it was not a reference to the
penetration per se, but to the perceived aspects of the [inferior, degrading] femaleness
associated with it [Martin, p47]. At issue here is the ancient horror of the feminine [Martin,
- In ancient times, malakos was “a rather broad social category” [Martin, p45]. For more than
three hundred years in the English-speaking world, malakoi was rendered “effeminate”
(KJV). Only since around the mid-20th century has malakoi been translated in ways referring
to homosexuality [Martin, p44].
- In terms of moral condemnation, whatever the specific vice (from eating and drinking too
much to looking metrosexual), malakoi meant effeminate [Martin, p47], women-like [Martin,
Conclusion on malakoi: To say that malakos meant a man who was penetrated is simply wrong
[Martin, p44]. All penetrated men were malakoi, but not all malakoi were penetrated men [Martin,
p45]. There is no historical reason to take malakos as a specific reference to the penetrated man
in homosexual intercourse. It is even less defensible to narrow that reference down further to mean
“male prostitute.” [Martin, p47]
Talking Points on arsenokoitai (I Cor. 6:9 – “abusers of themselves with mankind” KJV, and I
Tim. 1:10 – “them that defile themselves with mankind” KJV)
- Because of its rarity, we can only guess at what the word means [Miner, p18].
- There are no known usages before Paul, except one possible exception: an undated
writing within a collection of writings, the Sibylline Oracles, which writings were collected
over a period of many centuries before and after Paul [Miner, p18, 25].
- In the Sibyline Oracles the term occurs in a list of … actions related to economic
injustice or exploitation [Martin, p40]. A list of sexual sins does occur elsewhere
in the same oracle, which is where we might expect to find arsenokoitai if it were
a reference to male-to-male sex [Martin, p41].
- In the six centuries following Paul, scholars have identified only 73 times were the term
is used – and in virtually every instance the term appears in a list of sins (therefore,
little to no context is provided whereby the meaning of the word might be determined)
[Miner, p19, 26; Townsley, List].
- In the two Pauline lists where arsenokoitai appears (I Cor. 6:9 and I Tim. 1:10), the term
comes right after a sex-sin (which ends a list of sex sins) and just before an economic-sin
(which begins a list of economic sins): In I Cor. 6:9 – “… 1) malakoi (if rendered ‘male
prostitute’), 2) arsenokoitai, 3) thieves …”; and in I Tim. 1:10 – “ … 1) whormongers
(fornicators), 2) arsenokoitai, 3) menstealers ...” This placement of arsenokoitai between
the two lists as named, may suggest that arsenokoitai is both a sex-sin and an economic sin,
and therefore describes a male who aggressively takes sexual advantage of another male.
- Arsenokoitai seems to have referred to some kind of economic exploitation by means
of sex; perhaps, but not necessarily, homosexual sex [Martin, p40].
- Two references to arsenokoitai in Greek literature may prove helpful:
- In Arisites, Apology 13, Fragments 12.9-13.5.4, the term, found in a list cataloguing the
sins of the Greek gods, may be in reference to Zeus who, in the form of an eagle,
came down and seized the young beautiful boy Ganymede and carried him off by force
to be make him his love [Miner, 20, 26].
- According to Greek legend, Naas (the snake in the garden of Eden) commits “adultery”
with Adam. According to Hippolytus (Refutatio, chapter 5), it is by this act of “adultery”
between Naas and Adam that arsenokoitai enters into the world. [Martin, p42; Miner,
p20, 26]. Hippolytus relates Naas and Adam back to Zeus and Ganymede [Townsley,
- In neither Zeus and Ganymede, and Naas and Adam, do we find a mutually consenting
relationship of equals – we find the weak subjugated by a powerful aggressor.
- Arsenokoitai cannot be defined by its two compound words (“male” and “bed”). The
definition of a compound word is not known by the definition of its root word components
[Miner, p18-19]. The literal translation of this compound word is (arsenos) male-bedders
(koites), which could just as easily mean a man who sleeps around [Townsley, My Position].
- If Paul derived the term arsenokoitai from the Septuagint Lev. 20:13 (where the two
components of the compound word appear side by side in this Greek version of the Old
Testament) (and that’s a big if), then it would follow that he was prohibiting cultic sexual
practices (which is the context of Lev. 20:13) [Miner, p21]. The etymology of a word is its
history, not its meaning [Martin, p39].
Conclusion on arsenokoitai: As an amplified, applied meaning for today, we might conclude:
Arsenokoites [noun, masculine] occurs when a male, who by means of his vantage point, such as
economic or class superiority, or some other means of power (perceived or real), either subtly or
openly uses aggression, oppression, or manipulation to force his will upon another male for the
purpose of sexually manipulating that male in order to satisfy his own desires or purposes [Steve