What Does the Bible Really Teach Regarding The Issue Of Homosexuality?
Let’s Look Closer:
I Cor. 6:9 ~ “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,”
Arguably, one of the most controversial and direct scriptures in the New Testament regarding homosexuality, 1 Cor. 6:9 is the topic of much debate and consternation.
In the mind of the skeptic and homosexual, everything hinges on the proper meaning and application of the phrase “nor abusers of themselves with mankind,” which is all one word in the Greek [ajrsenokoivth”] or arsenokoites. The first 3 parts of this scripture are clearly understood, fornicators, idolaters, adulterers… That is easy for most people to understand. Some say that the fourth category, effeminate [malakov” ] malakos which is a young male or female prostitute kept for the sexual pleasure of an adult usually male (which was a rather in-vogue practice in both Greek and Roman aristocracy) is the totality of the fifth category. Therefore, in their opinion, arsenokoites only refers to the customers of these young prostitutes by class rather than referring to homosexual activity or behavior in general. Mel White and other christian-gay advocates suggest that this scripture is only relevant to the people of that culture, with no superimposition on modern culture or sexual behavior. Finally, they are quick to suggest that any further or additional interpretive is simply reading into the text what is not there.
Outspoken theologian Mel White (A gay –christian minister, filmmaker and book writer) asks the question, “Is a word in Greek that has no clear definition, being used to reflect society’s prejudice and condemn God’s gay children?”
In order to get the key (the proper understanding) we must view scripture as Paul would have viewed it. Remember, he was more likely working with a Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures of his day. Either the Septuagint or a LXX version. The reason we know this is because it shows forth in the usage of Paul’s words regarding the issue. I’ll explain:
Lev. 18:22 ~ “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”
Lev. 20:13 ~ “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them”
These verses were the basis for Paul’s teaching on this subject. The Greek translation here condemns a “man”-(arseno) from “lying with”- (koitai) another “man”- (arseno). Paul joins these words together in 1 Cor. 6:9 to produce one singular word in order to relay the proper message (arsenokoites). This is called a neologism. This is the same way we use words to create new words. For example, “software” and “database” were created as new words during the computer revolution. We do this every day to relay meaning and more complete thoughts on certain subjects.
There are 4 facts in support of this argument set forth by theologian Robert A. Gagnon “The Bible And Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermenuitics” (Abingdon Press 2001) pg. 303-339 that must be pointed out to drive home the point:
- It is highly unlikely that the word arsenokoites(ai) should be broadened to include exploitive hetrosexual intercourse which appears especially unlikely in light of the Levitical prohibitions that we are aware of and that Paul would have also been aware of.
- In every instance that we see the arsenokoit word group, in a context that offers clues to its meaning, it denotes homosexual intercourse.
- The term Paul used, arsenokoites, is an inclusive term regarding all men who play an active roll in homosexual intercourse. Were this limited to pederests, as some suggest, Paul would have used the term paiderfastis.
- The meaning of the 1 Cor. 6:9 passage is even better understood in light of Romans 1:24-27:
“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”
When Paul uses the term “men with men”- (arsenes en arsenes) this is obviously another way for him to say arsenokoites (homosexuality).
C. Wayne Mayhall in the ‘Christian Research Journal’ (Vol. 30 # 6 2007) “Practical Hermenutics” pg. 50-51 says, “Having more closely documanted the particular use of the word arsenokoitai and it’s consistent witness in the New Teastment, we have discovered that homosexual sin in 1 Cor. 6:9-10 isn’t as culturally relevent as many who support the pro-homosexual agenda to normalize aberrant sexual behavior would have us believe”
In other words, “The Bible says what it means and means what it says consistently” Homosexuality, among sinner or “supposed” saint is a practice and life CHOICE that is unacceptable to God and that will not stand in the day of judgement. Further, this ungodly practice, similar to hetrosexual sin, does not allow one to experience Biblical salvation and freedom from sin and it’s effects on the spirit of man.