One of the things that troubles me in the “homosexuality and the Bible” discussion is the lack of integrity of much of the homosexual scholarship. One example of this comes to the student of the Bible in 1 Cor 6.9. I was recently reading an article where the following was stated;
Modern translations of the old testament derive from the Greek Septuagint. The word used in Leviticus is arsenokoites, its meaning is largely lost to history but in the few ancient examples that use it in context, such as the Greek “Rape of Ganymede” it refers to forced sex. Forced sex on women was common at the time since they were regarded as property, other men not so much. If it wanted to refer to general consensual homosexual sex there were a variety of other Greek words that would have conveyed that message far more clearly. In the New Testament, another Greek word used is malakos, but that too does not mean homosexual. It means effeminate and soft. A gay man can be malakos but not exclusively so. Unlike arsenkoites, malakos is used several times in antiquity and at times is used to describe heterosexual men.
There are so many errors in this statement, I really don’t know where to begin. First, most modern translations are not based off of the Greek Septuagint, as this statement claims. Rather, most modern translations of the Old Testament are based off of the Masoretic Text. Hence, right from the beginning of the quotation, there is grave error. Next, the author “claims” that the Greek term arsenokoites is a lost term regarding its meaning. This is a common claim of the homosexual agenda, but, it is simply dishonest. This word, which is typically translated as “homosexual,” is a compound word which means the following according to Louw-Nida;
88.280 ἀρσενοκοίτης, ου m: a male partner in homosexual intercourse — ‘homosexual.’ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι … οὔτε μοιχοὶ οὔτε μαλακοὶ οὔτε ἀρσενοκοῖται … βασιλείαν θεοῦ κληρονομήσουσιν ‘don’t you know that … no adulterers or homosexuals … will receive the kingdom of God’ 1Cor 6:9-10. It is possible that ἀρσενοκοίτης in certain contexts refers to the active male partner in homosexual intercourse in contrast with μαλακός, the passive male partner (88.281).
Mounce states that this word means, “ἀρσενοκοίτης arsenokoitēs 2x -a male engaging in same-gender sexual activity, a sodomite, pedarest, 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10*”
The Newman Greek Dictionary reads, “ἀρσενὀκοίτης, ου m (ἄρσην + κοίτη = bed, κεῖμαι) male homosexual.”
And Strong’s reads, “ἀρσενοκοίτης arsenokoites, ar-sen-ok-oy´-tace; from 730 and 2845; a sodomite: — abuser of (that defile) self with mankind.”
Hence, there certainly is not lack of meaning when the Lexigraphical data is evaluated. Now, I already mentioned that this is a compound word from the Greek, and when we look up its origin, lo and behold, we find a historical foundation to the use of this word, namely, the Old Testament. In the Septuagint, these two words are found side-by-side with one another. You may be asking, where? Well, in Lev 20.13, a text which overtly condemns sexual relations between two males. The Greek text reads, “καὶ ὃς ἂν κοιμηθῇ μετὰ ἄρσενος κοίτην γυναικός, βδέλυγμα ἐποίησαν ἀμφότεροι· θανατούσθωσαν, ἔνοχοί εἰσιν” (Lev 20.13, LXX), which is translated;
“13 If a man has sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman, the two of them have committed an abomination. They must be put to death; their blood guilt is on themselves.” (Lev 20.13, NET)
“13 “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” (Lev 20.13, ESV)
“13 And he who lies with a male in a bed for a woman, both have committed an abomination; by death let them be put to death; they are liable.” (Lev 20.13, NETS)
“13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.” (Lev 20.13, NRSV)
But, I thought that the meaning was lost in history? Well, only of you consider the OT scriptures non-history. So, in short, 1 Cor 6.9 and its use of arsenokoites, is in reality, Paul knowing his Old Testament Scriptures very well, because he is reaching back into the OT law to condemn same-sex intercourse with the use of the Greek, as relayed in Lev 20.13, and all of this through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So, there is a historical meaning to this word, as we note by the use of these side-by-side terms in the OT. Thus, the claim of the individual in this article is simply wrong, and I dare say, dishonest.
Next, there’s this misguided statement, “If it [the Bible] wanted to refer to general consensual homosexual sex there were a variety of other Greek words that would have conveyed that message far more clearly.” Consider the presuppositions of the statement such as this. In short, this is an absolute denial of Scriptural authority, because it denies the previous use Lev 20.13. But, more than that, it simply denies terms that were common to those who would have been reading the Bible of the 1st century, namely, the Greek copy of the OT Scriptures. When this is considered, it makes perfect sense as to why Paul, a Christian, would use the term arsenokoites.
Finally, there’s the articles use of the Greek term malakos, where the author rightly states that this word does not mean “homosexual,” in its most basic terms. However, even this statement is wrong and/or dishonest when the context of 1 Cor 6.9 is taken into consideration. Paul here is condemning (along with the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers – hence, he’s not singling out just homosexuals) both the passive and the active member of the homosexual act, hence his use of malakos in the verse. Meaning, the arsenokoites of the verse is the active member of the forbidden union, while the malakos is the passive member, or, the soft, feminine one who assumes the role of being utilized as an object of sexual pleasure. This is noted by the translators of the NET where they state, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals” (1 Cor 6:9 NET). This is likewise noted in the previous citation of Louw-Nida, which states, “It is possible that ἀρσενοκοίτης in certain contexts refers to the active male partner in homosexual intercourse in contrast with μαλακός, the passive male partner (88.281).” Hence, on every level, the author of the comment in question is roundly wrong and I urge you not to fall for the deception in this most vital area of faith and morals. Lastly, please don’t forget verse 11, which sums up this entire discussion when it states, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor 6.11, ESV)