Was Jesus’ Roman Centurion really gay?

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Some of us have read the book “The Children Are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships,” by Reverend Jeff Milner and John Tyler Connoley. In one of their chapters, the authors write about a Roman Centurion, presumably gay, who came to Jesus to ask Jesus to heal his servant.

KAMPALA, UGANDA.  by KILMA BIMU.  JULY 31, 2016.

That the Roman Centurion is gay is based on three key Greek words in two Bible accounts. One account of the story is found in Mathew 8:5-13, and the other account in Luke 7:1-10. By comparing and contrasting three Greek words here, the authors of the book “The Children Are Free” believe the centurion and the male servant were lovers, having a same-sex sexual relationship.

In Mathew and Luke, we are told that the Roman Centurion came to Jesus pleading for the healing of his servant. Jesus was willing to come to the Centurion’s house but the Centurion said there was no need and that he wasn`t worthy to host the son of God. So Jesus said the word and the servant was healed.

Now the question here is: Did Jesus really meet a gay person?

The New Testament was initially written in Greek. Duolos is the Greek word used in Luke for “servant,” and in Mathew the Greek word used for “servant” is pais which had three possible meanings:

1. Son or boy
2. Servant, or
3. Male lover

If you look closer in Luke at the text, you will find another Greek word. It is entimos and it is used to describe the word duolos (“servant”). Entimos means “honoured.” So in Luke’s account of the story, the Centurion was pleading for the healing of his entimos doulos (honored servant). Our modern sense of the word honored, in this context, is dear. So then, in Luke 7:2, the Centurion`s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick and ready to die.

This brings us to the word pais in Matthew. Since pais can mean one of three things: “son or boy,” “servant,” or “male lover,” we have to decide which meaning to pick. Six hundred years before Mathew wrote his gospel, Greek language and literature used pais to mean a beloved lover or the younger partner in a same-sex sexual relationship. Therefore, according to our understanding of the Greek word pais, it can mean manservant, son or boy and also male lover.

This is how the ancient Greek writers used pais or paidika, to mean beloved or male lover. Let’s try and understand the Roman culture at the time of the writing of Mathew and Luke. Roman soldiers were banned from getting married and from having any relationships with women. If a Roman became a soldier after getting married to a woman, the marriage would be dissolved. So, I highly think that the pais or duolos was, indeed, the Roman Centurion’s male lover.

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This blog was written by Kilama Bimu, a key organizer and attendee of the Other Sheep Uganda 2016 July workshops.  Kilama sent his blog by email to Steve Parelli who published it to the Internet from Alexandria, Egypt, on Sunday, July 31, 2016.
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