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Posted by / 06-Oct-2019 00:01

Unfortunately, this method of translation often leads people astray. A better way to understand what Paul may have meant by arsenokoitai is to look for other instances of the word in the subsequent writings of his time. First, two early church writers who dealt with the subject of homosexual behavior extensively, Clement of Alexandria and John Chrysostom, never used the word in their discussions of same-sex behavior. A similar pattern is found in other writings of the time.For example, imagine a future translator coming across the word “lady-killer” two thousand years from now and wanting to know what it means. The difficulty in obtaining a good translation is clear — particularly when we know lady-killer was a term used in the 1970s to refer to men whom women supposedly found irresistible. The word shows up in their writing, but only in places where they appear to be quoting the list of sins found in 1 Corinthians 6, not in places where they discuss homosexuality. There are hundreds of Greek writings from this period that refer to homosexual activity using terms other than arsenokoitai. This conclusion is reinforced by a survey of the actual uses of arsenokoitai in Greek literature.

The ancient Roman and Greek understanding of what it meant to be manly or womanly was quite different from today.

They would be viewed as sexually indulgent (a trait associated with women) and as the ones who played a receptive role in intercourse (again, associated with women).

Because here Paul uses malakoi in a list of sexual sins, it is possible to infer that he may have been referring specifically to male prostitutes, rather than soft men in general.

From this perspective, Paul was condemning men who are vain, fearful, and self-indulgent.

In recent years, however, some have suggested that, in the context in which it appears in 1 Corinthians 6, malakoi may refer specifically to male prostitutes, who would have served as the receptive partner (i.e., soft, “woman-like”) in sexual intercourse.

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“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1979), page 489.