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The below two paragraphs often pop up when one discusses/debates about Biblical stance towards homosexuality.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9–10).

“But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted” (1 Timothy 1:8–11).

For the homosexual, Paul used the word "Arsenokoitēs", which, according to gay-friendly websites, is not referring to homosexual as we know it today, because there already was a word "androkoitēs" to describe the real homosexual activity.

So, what did Paul have in mind, when he wrote about and condemning "Arsenokoitēs"? Did he condemn homosexuality-- the kind of gay love without social or economic exploitation that is usually associated with men prostitutes back in the days of the Romes--- as we know it today?

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Any "re-definition" of "arsenokoites" must be judged as an anachronism, since they have attributed a new meaning to a word which was well understood before the current cultural climate has 'changed' it's meaning(and it's prohibitions) in scripture. –  user2479 Mar 16 at 2:39

3 Answers 3

The classical Greek word ἀρρενοκοίτης (or ἀρσενοκοίτης in Koine Greek) means "sodomy" according to its usage in antiquity (please click here, and note its use and translation in paragraph 686, line 5, where the direct reference are to those Arabs who lie with other men for sexual intercourse). So there is no ambiguity of the use of this word in 1 Cor 6:9-10 and 1 Tim 1:8-11, which refer to "sodomy" (sexual contact between men).

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Homosexuality is an invention of the 19th century. Before then, people had words for specific sexual acts (sodomy etc.), but they did not have the concept of any inherent or acquired “sexual orientation”. This concept originated in modern psycho-pathology. To translate ἀρσενοκοίτης as “homosexual”, as some modern Bible translations do, is an anachronism, if not a deception.

The literature on this is enormous. For a start you could read Foucault, Histoire de la sexualité. Then, for the meaning of ἀρσενοκοίτης, any Greek dictionary, for example:


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Please explain more and cite some of these works where relevant. Develop this more. This is the beginning of a good answer, but much more could be said. I.e. show your work. Show me how your sources use this term. You've shown me a later French work, not a Greek one, and a link to a lexicon entry that proves this word means "sodomite." That doesn't appear to prove your point. Go through specific quotes and break them down. A good answer here takes time and effort. As it stands, this has my downvote. –  Daи Mar 7 at 13:20

Louw 88.280

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’ 1 Cor 6:9–10. It is possible that ἀρσενοκοίτης in certain contexts refers to the active male partner in homosexual intercourse in contrast with μαλακόςb, the passive male partner (88.281).

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Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange! Be sure to take our site tour to learn more about us. We're a little different from other sites. While this answers the question, it would be preferable to elaborate more here (summarize the relevant portions of the resource that answer this question), and provide the source for reference, rather than just copying and pasting from a lexicon. –  Daи Mar 11 at 22:24
you really should cite (preferably in a link) sources for your claims - though this looks like the start of a good answer –  warren Apr 8 at 17:06

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