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Bible Study

“Digging Deeper” Christian Living Bible Study

Wednesdays at 7:30PM

Bringing the Bible to Life!

Current Week, August 30, 2017:

Read 1 John 1 – 5

Who wrote 1 – 3 John and who were the intended audiences?

Research the spirit of the Antichrist

How can we know the truth so we are able to identify and reject the false and deceiving messages we may encounter?

Previous Study: Read Ephesians 4 – 6

~What are spiritual gifts?

~Why is it important to know your spiritual gifts?

~What is the meaning of each piece of armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20?

Previous Study:

Read: Romans 13 – 16

Research slavery in the Roman culture during this time.  How was slavery embed in the culture?  What is Paul saying in Romans 14:4 on how to act towards slavery as a Christian?

Pick a couple folks in Romans 16: 3 – 16 and see if you can find anything about them and their ministries.

Who is Tertius? Who wrote the epistle?

Read:  2 Corinthians 8 – 13

Discussion on giving to include tithes and offerings. What is the difference between a tithe and an offering?

Discussion on spiritual warfare.

What does “authority in Christ” mean?

Homework for Week 21:

Read Romans 1-4

Where do the quoted scriptures come from in Romans 3:11-18?

What are the different views on “unnatural” lusts among the Greeks, Romans, and Jews?

 

Read 1 Corinthians 9 – 12

Why would the Corinthians relate to the analogy of running a race and receiving a prize?

What’s the big deal with women covering their heads in worship?

Previous Week: Read 1 Corinthians 5 – 8

Research the legal system with regard to suing / civil litigation / law suits and divorce

Research marriage and divorce customs

What types of religious idols may the Corinthians be surrounded by during the time of this letter?

Why does Paul refer to and focus on sexual immorality so much in these scriptures?

Previous Weeks:

Read 1 Corinthians 1 – 4

Who were the Corinthians?  What was their culture like? What influences surrounded them?

When would Paul have written the first letter to the Corinthians?

Where did Paul’s quotes and references come from?

Research patronage in Ancient Rome

Read Acts Chapters 1 & 2

Research:

– The Holy Spirit
– What is Pentecost?
– Who was Peter? Why did Jesus rename him Rock?

YouTube Videos that may be of interest to you:

“Ancient History: Rome If You Want To, Nero Persecutes Christians – Drive Thru History”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8J43MoYpCdg

“What happened after Jesus’ Crucifixion? The First Christians”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKmaY8IdnqU

“The Church: Peter the Rock”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82aFlmdtRLw

Read Acts Chapters 3 – 5
– What was Solomon’s Portico or Porch?
– What is the purpose of Church?
– Who was the Pharisee Gamaliel?

Read Acts Chapters 6 – 7 &  8:1-3

– What is a Deacon in the Church? How is the church structure starting to evolve?
– Who was Stephen?
– Contemplate why Stephen was so forgiving of those who stoned him, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.”

Review Acts Chapters 8-9
Review Philip’s ministry
-Who was Simon Magus and how did his teachings conflict with Christianity?
-What can we learn from the disciple Ananias? (Note: he is mentioned in Acts 9:10-19 and Acts 20:12-16)

Read Acts Chapters 13 – 14
-What was a proconsul in ancient Rome?
-What is proselyte?
-Research the cultures of Iconium, Lystra, and Antioch. What would the travel be like?

Read James 1 – 5 and Matthew 5 -7

-What was the purpose of the Epistle of James? Who is the intended audience?

-Who was the author?

-What are some common themes between Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” & the Book of James?

Previous Bible Study: “The Rise Of A United People”
Read Exodus 33 & 34

  • When the Israelites removed their ornaments what were they showing God?
  • God was angry with the Israelites because they made the golden calf and worshiped it.  Can you relate to a time in your life where you put something or someone before God?

Write a brief synopsis of what has taken place in chapters 33 and 34.

Previous Study: “The Rise of a United People”
Read Exodus 30, 31, 32

  • List the Properties of the Anointing oil and what they do.
  • List the Properties of the incense and what they do.
  • The Israelites became tired waiting on Moses to return. They took matters into their own hands and made the golden calf to worship. Have you ever waited on God and he took longer than you liked so you took matters into your own hands?

“The Rise of a United People”
(previous week)

Read Exodus 28 & 29

  • The Garment of the High Priest had specific colors. List each color and it’s Spiritual significance.
  • List the twelve stones for each of the twelve tribes in the breast plate and research them.
  • List the Son’s of Israel in order of their birth and match with the stones above.
  • What is Urim and Thurmin?
  • What is the significance of the items used in the offerings in Chapter 29?

Previous Bible Studies:

Body of Christ – What Part Are You?

Romans 12:1: We are all living sacrifices… so in Christ we who are many form one body…

Romans 12: 2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

   The world is what gave the labels of “bitter” from the stories of Naomi and Mary Magdalene. The world is what gives us our labels of “bitter,” we must allow ourselves to be transformed and renew a new creation in ourselves, (Psalm 51:10) the Spirit of God. When Saul was renewed he became Paul – he was renewed, he was transformed into a new person in Christ Jesus; a miraculous change in a matter of days (Acts 9). Have you felt this change in you before? Was it sustained (Psalm 51:12)? Have you felt it more than once?

 We give ourselves negative labels because we get lost in the world. We get lost in what we have been told. We get lost in the times we may have failed or succeeded but not as much as we wanted to (perfectionism, criticism). We get lost in the bad things we may have done or the good things we did not do. In Christ you can be found again; your sins are forgiven and your spirit is made new. (Jason Gray – Remind Me Who I Am)

“Remind Me Who I Am”

When I lose my way, And I forget my name, Remind me who I am. In the mirror all I see, Is who I don’t wanna be, Remind me who I am. In the loneliest places, When I can’t remember what grace is.

Tell me once again who I am to You, Who I am to You. Tell me lest I forget who I am to You, That I belong to You. To You.

When my heart is like a stone, And I’m running far from home, Remind me who I am. When I can’t receive Your love, Afraid I’ll never be enough, Remind me who I am. If I’m Your beloved, Can You help me believe it.

Tell me once again who I am to You, Who I am to You, whoa. Tell me lest I forget who I am to You. That I belong to You. To You.

I’m the one you love, I’m the one you love, That will be enough, I’m the one you love.

Tell me once again who I am to You. Who I am to You. Tell me lest I forget who I am to You, That I belong to You, oh.

Tell me once again who I am to You. Who I am to You. Tell me lest I forget who I am to You, That I belong to You. To You.

Deuteronomy 33:12: “Let the BELOVED of the Lord rest secure in Him. For He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.”

            Beloved – DEARLY LOVED 

            Dear – Loved and Cherished; Highly Esteemed or Regarded; High Priced n. A greatly loved person.

In allowing your confidence in Christ fill your life your self esteem will rise and your new label will be given… or your true label will be revealed. When this happens you will be open to what God has to tell you and will be willing to follow when He calls upon you to utilize your spiritual gifts.

Romans 12:2 ½: Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

            Will – The mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses a course of action; self control, self discipline; A desire, purpose, or determination; Deliberate intention or wish; bearing or attitude towards others: full of good will.

What does it mean to conform or transform your will to His? What has to take place in your life for this to happen? Or what is holding you back?

Romans 12: 3 – 8 speaks of humbleness and allowing each other to do what each of us is called to do. Why do you suppose this comes right after the excitement of verse 2?

Even though the ultimate superhero is on our side it doesn’t mean that we as individuals can do it all. To help us through this God has given us the ultimate gift “LOVE.” If our love for one another truly is sincere we will not let our pride or jealousy get in the way of other’s gifts and talents.

Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Homework:

–      Spend time with God contemplating over week 1 discussions. Read 1Corinthians 12: 12 – 31 and 13

–      Take the Spiritual Gifts test (even if you have done it recently or before). Take the free Spiritual Gifts assessment online at http://www.churchgrowth.org/cgi-cg/gifts.cgi?intro=1

–      Read 1Cor 12: 1 – 11

Previous Study: “Spirituality & Sexuality: The Truth Be Told”

We encourage you to use this Study as a guide to building a relationship with God and going to Him for the answers–we believe that your faith and relationship with God will grow stronger and faster by doing that.

This Bible Study is intended to answer questions, but most importantly, to help you understand who God is, and to assist you with building a relationship with Him. In learning and understanding the Scriptures, and by spending time with God, you will gain a better relationship with Him.

These are a list of questions that have been brought about in discussions during this Bible Study. This list may continue to grow throughout the eight week series. If you are following along Online, please E-mail any questions that you may have to DeaconTash@christcornerstone.com and they will be added to the list. (We will answer the questions the last week of the study and then post them.)

  1. Is homosexuality a sin?
  2. Is God punishing me?
  3. I want to know why I know that I am not sinning being myself
  4. How do I explain this to my family? My family accepts me but believes I am sinning.
  5. I want to reach out and explain to others what Christianity really is – how do I do this?
  6. How do I show a solid Christian life in who I am?
  7. I think I am the only Christian homosexual – is this true?
  8. How can I understand the meaning of scriptures, especially those that seem to condemn?
  9. I have felt brainwashed for so long that I am a sinner for being gay–how do I overcome this?

Weekly Study Notes & Questions:

Spirituality and Sexuality Week 1: “A Look at Faith”

Faith: 1. Confident belief or trust in a person, idea, or thing 2. Loyalty; allegiance 3. (Christianity) Secure belief in God and acceptance of God’s will 4. A religion

II. Deacon Tash’s Story:

  1. Childhood impression: wrong, lustful, not normal, outsider. Schema: graduate high school, go to college, get married, have kids, support my husband
  2. Escape from schema: I will join the military – takes me away, I can dedicate my life to the military to escape marriage.
  3. Roadblocks to escape plan: pressure from home that time was running out, counseled by military leaders on being gay, had a boy that would not leave me alone, head over heals for a girl, felt I could not be myself in front of God or anybody
  4. Coping: being the best soldier, tobacco, alcohol, self-punishment, taking risks, married to escape, no real relationships, pulled away as best I could from God.
  5. Finding myself: came out, divorced, out of the military, moved from home, kicked the addictions: tobacco, alcohol, self-punishment
  6. How: found strength within, went back to my roots of Christianity, found a church, struggled, hit bottom, remained in fellowship (church), got involved with the church, began studying the bible, started spending time with God again, learned how to spend time with myself without the addictions (many many walks).
  7. Faith: I learned to trust God unconditionally: in who he made me, the path my life had taken, the unknown path I am on. I learned that God is in control and I just need to be present.

III. What’s Your Story?

IV. Questions that you had along the way, questions you have as you are on your way, questions others have asked you.

  1. Discuss Genesis 19 & Judges 19 and 20

VI. Homework Assignment for Week 2 and 3:

  1. Read Genesis 18:16-33 and 19 , Judges 19-20
  2. Compare the two stories
    1. i.      Similarities
    2. ii.      Differences
    3. iii.      Sins committed in each story
    4. iv.      Research the history, learn the culture
      1. Who are the gods: Baal, Ashtoreth, and Molech?
      2. Why are the gods listed above pertinent to these two stories?
      3. What was the role of women in that day?
      4. Why was it only the men were accounted for?
  3. How do these two stories relate to you?
    1. Have you ever put you faith in something other than God?
    2. How were the times in your life when you were separated from God?
    3. What was it like when you returned to God?
    4. How does living you life feel when you are in the moment with God? Living completely aware that God is there with you
    5. How does living your life feel when you are not in the moment? Thinking about yesterday or the troubles ahead of you or how that person set you off an hour ago.
    6. After reflecting on this lesson, how has faith changed for you? What does having faith mean to you now?

Spirituality and Sexuality Week 3: “A Look at Influence”

Review Weeks 1 and 2’s findings & insights.

Influence: 1. A power indirectly or intangibly affecting a person or course of events. 2a. Power to sway or affect based on prestige, wealth, ability, or position. b. One exercising such power.

Pause: What has power over you? Or should the question be, who or what do you allow to have power over you?

Discussion of Canaanite Culture:

  1. Between Egypt and Mesopotamia
  2. Merchants
  3. Invaded by Egypt, Amorites, Hyksos, Hurrians, and Hitites
  4. A mingling of many cultural influences
  5. Canaanite mythology – similar to Greek mythology
  6. During this era, if someone moved to another country, they took on their religion or mixed it with their own.

You shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol.

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it Holy.

Honor your mother and father.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

You shall not covet neighbor’s house, wife, servants, animals, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (paraphrased from Exodus 20:1-17)

What were the sins of the people in the two stories? How many commandments did they break?

There are many more stories and calls back to follow God through the prophets and some kings (most anti-Baalistic kings – Hezekiah and Josiah). The main topic and sin committed is idolatry–you will not find them specifically pointing out homosexuality, or mentioning at all. What does this mean to you?

Readings for Next Week:

Genesis 19 (1900B.C.) Sodom and Gomorrah

Exodus 20 (1500 – 1200 B.C.) Ten Commandments

Joshua 23 and 24 (1500 to 1200 B.C.) Call Back to the Covenant

Judges 19 (1200 – 930 B.C.) Levite and Concubine

Ezekiel 6 (930 – 586 B.C.) Judgment on Idolatrous Israel

1Kings 18 (930 – 586 B.C.) Elijah – We Can Only Worship One God

Homework Questions for Next Week:

The Israelites seem to fall in and out of commitment to God – do you do the same?

How did they allow their influences to get the best of them? How do you?

What influences do you have in your life? (think deep – one of mine is my own mind)

How can you combat these influences to remain on track to follow God?

Find a verse or verses in our readings that may give you guidance and strength to follow God. Please come prepared to discuss this verse next week, so others may find strength as well.

Week 4:Homosexuality in Scriptures
One of the “clobber passages” 1 Corinthians 6:9:

The passage: In his first epistle to the church at Corinth, Paul lists many activities that he believes will prevent people from inheriting the Kingdom of God (heaven). Robertson’s Word Studies refers to this passage as: “a solemn roll call of the damned even if some of their names are on the church roll in Corinth whether officers or ordinary members.1

Unfortunately, the Greek original from which many English language Bibles have been translated, is ambiguous about two of the groups who are condemned.

The King James Version of the Bible translates verse 9 and 10 as:

“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, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (Emphasis ours)

This verse has been translated in many ways among the 25 English versions of the Bible that we have analyzed. Unfortunately, many of the translations do not differentiate between:

Persons who are sexually attracted to others of the same-sex, but who are celibate and do not act on their desire, and||
Persons who are are sexually active and who act on their sexual attraction to others of the same sex.

The two activities of interest — shown above in bold — have been variously translated as:

effeminate (KJV, NASB): In the English language, this covers a wide range of male behavior such as being unmanly, lacking virility. One might think of the characters “John,” the receptionist on NYPD Blue, or “Jack” on Will and Grace.
homosexuals, variously described as:
men who practice homosexuality,” (ESV);
those who participate in homosexuality,” (Amplified);
abusers of themselves with men,” (KJV);
practicing homosexuals,” (NET Bible). This translation would refer only to persons with a homosexual or bisexual orientation who is sexually active with persons of the same sex. It would not include persons who are sexually attracted to persons of the same sex, but who are celibate.
homosexuals,” (NASB, CSB, NKJ, NLT, The Great Book: The New Testament in Plain English);
“homosexual perversion,” (NEB);
homosexual offenders,” (NIV);
liers with mankind,” (Rhiems); and
homosexual perverts.” (TEV)
passive homosexual partners.” (NET Bible)

Although “homosexual” is a very common translation, it is almost certain to be inaccurate:

If Paul wanted to refer to homosexual behavior, he would have used the word “paiderasste.” That was the standard Greek term at the time for sexual behavior between males.
The second term is “arsenokoitai” in Greek. The exact meaning of this word is lost. It seems to have been a term created by Paul for this verse. “Arsen” means “man” in Greek. So there is no way that “arsenokoitai” could refer to both male and female homosexuals. It seems that the English translators gave in to the temptation to widen Paul’s condemnation to include lesbians as well as gay males.

Unfortunately, the term “homosexual” is commonly defined in two different ways: as a behavior (engaging in same-sex activity) or as a sexual orientation (being sexually attracted only to members of the same sex). Most of the biblical translations appear to refer to behavior rather than orientation. male prostitutes, also described as “men kept for unnatural purposes.” The term “male prostitutes” (NIV, NRSV, CSB, NLT) can be interpreted in modern times as men who are paid to have sex with men only or with women only or with men or women. Again, the original Greek appears to refer only to male-male contact. catamites, or boy prostitute. This is a young male — often a slave — who is kept as a sexual partner of an adult male. (Jerusalem Bible, NAB, James Moffatt). These translations provide another example of a theme that runs throughout the Bible: the transfer of guilt and punishment from guilty perpetrators to innocent persons. pederasts: male adults who sexually abuse boys; an abusive pedophile (an adult who molests young children) or abusive hebephile (an adult who molests post-pubertal teenagers). perverts: a person engaged in some undefined activity that is one of the dozens of sexual activities that some consider to be perversions. (Phillips, The Great Book: The New Testament in Plain English) sodomites: This used to refer to inhabitants of the city of Sodom which is described in Genesis 19. It is now used as a “snarl” word to refer to men who have sex with men. InGenesis 19, the men of the city appear to want to anally rape some male angels who were visitors to Sodom. Many Christians interpret this as a blanket condemnation of all homosexual behavior, whether rape or consensual; whether a one-night stand or within a committed relationship; whether manipulative or mutually agreeable; whether by two men or two women. (NRSV, NKJ, NAB). other terms:

The Message refers to “Those who … use and abuse sex,” which is probably the broadest translation ever, and would include a very large percentage of the human population.
BBE translates it as “or is less than a man, or makes a wrong use of men.”

Comparing the beliefs of religious conservatives and liberals:

Conservatives and liberals often interpret this passage very differently.

Conservatives often use the New International Version (NIV) or King James Version (KJV) versions of the Bible, although the popularity of the New King James Version (NKJV) and English Standard Version (ESV) translations is growing rapidly. They generally interpret passages literally, and believe that Paul was inspired by God to write epistles which were inerrant.  The KJV condemns “abusers of themselves with mankind”, which criticizes male-male intercourse. However, the NIV appears to go well beyond the content of the original Greek by attacking “homosexual offenders” — that is, both gay males and lesbians. Fundamentalist and other Evangelical Christians generally believe that this verse condemns all homosexual activity. They view it as valid today as it was in the first century CE. Verse 6:11 seems to imply that once gays and lesbians become saved, then they will no longer wish to engage in homosexual activities. They will presumably become heterosexuals.From a forum on homosexuality and the Bible in the Philadelphia Inqurier: 2
A. Mohler: ‘I believe it explicitly relates to homosexuality. It has been understood that way in the Christian Church from the earliest era.’
T. Crater: ‘It [malakoi] can have a meaning that’s not carnal. But the way it’s used — it’s embedded in the same context with adultery — it’s pretty clear what the meaning is…A hallmark of Evangelicals is that we take a literal, normal, face-value interpretation of the Bible. Some people attempt to keep some form of Christianity and hold on to homosexuality, too. It leads to strange interpretations of the Bible.’

 Liberals generally do not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. They believe that Paul was writing from his own knowledge and experience. Further, they often believe that only some of the epistles attributed to Paul were actually written by him; they regard other epistles as later forgeries. During the 1st century CE, even an educated person like Paul would know very little about human sexuality, compared to present-day sexuality researchers . From the same forum:

J. Nelson: ‘Paul used the Greek word malakoi. They translate it as effeminate and so on. It could mean that; it might not. It can mean soft. Paul was a Jewish theologian. Someone from a Jewish background would consider that behavior unacceptable. Many Greeks did not.’
D. Bartlett: ‘There’s considerable debate over what the Greek words mean. We just don’t know. I’ve read most of the debate, and I don’t know.’
K. Stendahl: ‘When people come to me — deeply Christian people — and say, ‘This is the way I am created. This is how God made me, how He makes me feel love,’ I have to respect that. We know many things people [like Paul] did not know at that time. One should read the Bible with some kind of reason.’ 2

About “malakoi:”

The original Greek text describes the two behaviors as “malakoi” (malakoi). — some sources quote “malakee” — and “arsenokoitai” (arsenokoitai).

Malakoi” is translated in both Matthew 11:8 and Luke 7:25 as “soft” (KJV) or as “fine” (NIV) in references to clothing. It could also mean “loose” or “pliable,” as in the phrase “loose morals,” implying “unethical behavior.” In the early Christian church, the words were interpreted by some as referring to persons who are pliable, easily influenced, without courage or stability. Non-Biblical writings of the era used the world to refer to lazy men, men who cannot handle hard work, and cowards.

[John] Wesley’s Bible Notes defines “Malakoi” as those:

“Who live in an easy, indolent way; taking up no cross, enduring no hardship. But how is this? These good-natured, harmless people are ranked with idolaters and sodomites! We may learn hence, that we are never secure from the greatest sins, till we guard against those which are thought the least; nor, indeed, till we think no sin is little, since every one is a step toward hell.” 3

One knowledgeable but anonymous reviewer of our web site said that “Malakoi” really means:

“… men not working or advancing ideas so as to concern themselves with love only. Not working for the good of the whole….Our present culture has all sorts of connotations associated with the word ‘effeminate’ that simply don’t apply [to Paul’s era].” 4

It would seem that the word “effeminate” can only be regarded as a mistranslation.

About “arsenokoitai:”

This word appears to have been coined by Paul himself.  The first use of the word is found in his epistles. Its precise meaning is unknown. It has variously been translated into English as homosexuals, masturbators, pimps, etc. See a separate essay for an analysis of this word.

References used:

  1. Robertson’s Word Studies – 1 Corinthians 6,” at: http://www.godrules.net/
  2. Fred Tasker, “What does the Bible say about homosexuality?”, Philadelphia Inquirer, 1997-JUL-13. The article was based on an earlier survey of religions opinion of 6 theologians and religious leaders covering the range from conservative to liberal thought:
David Bartlett, professor at Yale Divinity School
Rev. Timothy Crater of the National Association of Evangelicals
Reuven Kimelman, professor of near Eastern and Judaic studies at Brandeis University.
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Seminary
The Rev. Jill Nelson, pastor of the Sunshine Cathedral Metropolitan Community Church
Krister Stendahl, ex-dean of Harvard Divinity School.
  1. Wesley’s Notes: 1 Corinthians 6,” at: http://www.godrules.net/library/
  2. Personal Email to the coordinator of this web site

Same gender sexual behavior in the Christian Scriptures:
The “clobber passages”

Meanings of the Greek word “arsenokoitai”
(1 Corinthians 6 & 1 Timothy 1)

The options open to a Christian:

A Christian has two options with regard to the Christian Scriptures (New Testament):

  1. To accept a favorite English translation as accurately containing the words of the original authors. This is a simple and straightforward approach because biblical passages related to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered persons and transsexuals (LGBT) in English Bibles are universally condemning. No further effort is needed.
  2. To base the interpretation of these passages on the most ancient available Greek manuscripts of 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy. These is as close as we are able to get to the original autograph copies written by the author(s). This option is much more demanding, and made even more difficult because the precise meaning of some of the Greek words are unknown and can only be inferred. Even worse, a convincing case can be made that 1 Timothy was written by a second century forger, many decades after Paul was executed.

The word “arsenokoitai” in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy:

“Arsenokoitai” is a Greek word that appears to have been created by Paul when he was writing 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. No record remains of any writer having using the term before Paul. It has been translated as “abusers of themselves with mankind” in the King James Version (KJV):

“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, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (Emphasis ours)

The KJV was finished 1611 CE when there was no single word in the English language that referred to homosexuals or homosexuality. The translators were forced to use this awkward phrase. The term “homosexual” was only created in the late 19th century. More recent versions of the Bible translate arsenokoitai here as:

  • homosexuals,” (NASB);
  • “homosexual perversion,” (NEB);
  • homosexual offenders,” (NIV).

In doing this, they appear to have little respect or attention to the actual meaning of the original Greek verse. By using the term “homosexual” the translators changed the scope of the verse. The original Greek refers to men only; the English translation refers to both males and females; i.e. to gays and lesbians. We suspect that the temptation to attack lesbians overcame the translators’ desire to be accurate.

The author of 1 Timothy also used “arsenokoitai.” The KJV translated it similarly:

“Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.(Emphasis ours)

Christian theologians generally agree that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians circa 55 CE. However, they differ on the authorship and date of the three Pastoral Epistles — 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus.

  • Conservative Protestants generally believe that Paul wrote the Pastoral epistles during the interval 62 to 64 CE just before his death.
  • Liberals generally believe that they were written up to 85 years after Paul’s execution, circa 100 to 150 CE by an unknown person who pretended to be Paul.

What does “arsenokoitai” really mean?

Nobody knows for certain.

Arsenokoitai” is made up of two parts: “arsen” means “man“; “koitai” means “beds.”

Although the word in English Bibles is interpreted as referring to homosexuals, we can be fairly certain that this is not the meaning that Paul wanted to convey. If he had, he would have used the word “paiderasste.” That was the standard Greek term at the time for sexual activity between males. We can conclude that he probably meant something different than people who engaged in male-male adult sexual behavior.

Many sources have speculated about the meaning of “arsenokoitai:”

  • “Homosexual offenders:” The NIV contains this phrase. Suppose for the moment that Paul had attacked “heterosexual offenders” or “heterosexual sexual offenders.” We would not interpret this today as a general condemnation of heterosexuality. It would be seen as an attack only on those heterosexuals who commit sexual offences. Perhaps the appropriate interpretation of this verse is that it does not condemn all homosexuals. Rather it condemns only those homosexuals who engage in sexual offences (e.g. child sexual abuse, rape, unsafe sex, manipulative sex, coercive sex, etc).
  • Male prostitutes in Pagan temples: One source states that the Septuagint (an ancient, pre-Christian translation of the Old Testament into Greek made between the 3rd and 1st century BCE) translated the Hebrew “quadesh” in I Kings 14:24, 15:12 and 22:46 into a Greek word somewhat similar to “arsenokoitai.” This passage referred to “male temple prostitutes” — people who engaged in ritual sex in Pagan temples. 1 Some leaders in the early Christian church also thought 1 Corinthians was referring to temple prostitutes. Some authorities believe that it simply means male prostitutes with female customers – a practice which appears to have been a common practice in the Roman empire.
  • Pimp: Another source refers to other writings, written later than 1 Corinthians, which contains the word “arsenokoitai:” This includes the Sibylline Oracles 2.70-77, Acts of John, and Theophilus of Antioch’s Ad Autolycum. The source suggests that the term refers “to some kind of economic exploitation by means of sex (but not necessarily homosexual sex).2 Probably “pimp” or “man living off of the avails of prostitution” would be the closest English translations. It is worth noting that “Much Greek homosexual erotic literature has survived, none of it contains the word arsenokoitai.” 3
  • Masturbators. At the time of Martin Luther, “arsenokoitai” was universally interpreted as masturbator. But by the 20th century, masturbation had become a more generally accepted behavior. So, new translations abandoned references to masturbators and switched the attack to homosexuals. The last religious writing in English that interpreted 1 Corinthians 6:9 as referring to masturbation is believed to be the [Roman] Catholic Encyclopedia of 1967.
  • Abusive pedophiles: Many would consider “malakoi”the word preceding “arsenokoitai,” in 1 Corinthians — to refer to a catamite: a boy or young male who engaged in sexual activities with men. Such boys were often slaves, owned by rich men as sex partners. The second term might then refer to the men who engaged in sex with the catamites. That is, they were abusive pedophiles or hebephiles. The New American Bible contains a footnote which reads:

“The Greek word translated as ‘boy prostitutes’ [in 1 Cor. 6:9] designated catamites, i.e. boys or young men who were kept for purposes of prostitution, a practice not uncommon in the Greco-Roman world….The term translated ‘practicing homosexuals’ refers to adult males who indulged in homosexual practices with such boys.”

In their footnote, the translators recognize that the term refers to abusive male pedophiles, but apparently cannot resist the temptation to attack all homosexuals — both gays and lesbians, non-abusive and abusive.

Harper’s Bible Commentary (1998) states that the passage refers to:

“… both the effeminate male prostitute and his partner who hires him to satisfy sexual needs. The two terms used here for homosexuality… specify a special form of pederasty that was generally disapproved of in Greco-Roman and Jewish Literature.”

Many religious liberals might agree that the center portion of 6:9 might be accurately translated as: “male child abusers and the boys that they sexually abuse.” i.e. the two behaviors probably relate to male pedophiles who are also child rapists, and the male children that they victimize. The verse would then refer to the crime of child sexual abuse and has no relation to homosexuality in the normal sense of the term: i.e. to consensual sexual relations between adults of the same gender.

  • Male prostitutes: Justin Cannon has provided an interesting analysis of 1 Corinthians. 4 He noticed a pattern in verse 9 and 10. They are composed up of pairs or triads of related groups of people:
    • The lawless & disobedient: two near synonyms
    • The ungodly & sinners: also two near synonyms
    • The unholy & profane: two synonyms
    • The murderers of fathers & murderers of mothers & manslayers: three kinds of murderers
    • Whoremongers & “arsenokoitai” & menstealers
    • Liars & perjurers etc.: again, two near synonyms.

From the repeated pairs or triads made up of synonyms or near synonyms, one might expect that whoremongers, “malakoi arsenokoitai,” and menstealers are interconnected with a common theme — just like the other pairs and triads in the list.

In the original Greek, the first of the three words is “pornov.” An online Greek lexicon 5 notes that this is Strong’s Number 4205, and was derived from the Greek word “pernemi” which means to sell. Its meanings are:

  • A man who prostitutes his body to another’s lust for hire.
  • A male prostitute.
  • A man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator.
  • The second term is “arsenokoitai” which has not been given a Strong Number because it is a made-up word that is almost never found in the Greek language other than in 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians.
    • The last of the three words is “andrapodistes,” the stem of the word andrapodistai. It is Strong’s Number 405 which means:
      • A slave-dealer, kidnapper, man-stealer — one who unjustly reduces free men to slavery or who steals the slaves of others and sells them.

If we assume that the three words refer to a common theme, as the other five groups are, then we have to look for some sense which the words have in common. Cannon suggests:

  • “pornoi” refers to an enslaved male prostitute.
  • “arsenokoitai” refers to a man who forces sex on an enslaved male prostitute
  • “andrapodistes” refers to a person who kidnaps and enslaves people.

The common theme is slavery. Cannon suggests a translation: “It is as if Paul were saying, ‘male prostitutes, men who sleep with them, and slave dealers who procure them’.” 1 That is, all three words deal with slavery. They are unrelated to homosexual behavior in the modern sense of the term i.e. consensual sex between persons of the same sex.

  • A boy sex slave: An alternative interpretation, following Canon’s analysis, could be:
    • “pornoi” refers to an enslaved male prostitute.
    • “arsenokoitai” refers to a boy, generally a slave, who is kept by an adult male for sexual purposes.
    • “andrapodistes” refers to a person who enslaves others.

Again, the common theme is slavery.

Translating “arsenokoitai” as a boy who is kept as a sex slave has some support in at least two Bible translations:

As noted above, a footnote in the New American Bible (NAB), interprets “arsenokoitai” as a ” boy prostitute.”

    • The Jerusalem Bible translates the triad in 1 Timothy as: “those who are immoral with women or with boys or with men.” (Emphasis ours). In 1 Corinthians 6:9 the same word “arsenokoitai” is translated as “catamite.”

A possible translation of 1 Timothy 1:10 would be: “…male prostitutes, boys who have sex with men, and slave dealers who enslave them both.”


Jesus and homosexuality:

It is worthwhile to check the words attributed to Jesus by the author of the Gospel of Matthew. He also had a list of sins that could bring doom on a person: Matt 15:18-20: “…those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man…” It is worth noting that homosexual behavior is not one of the behaviors that is mentioned in this passage. One might conclude that:

  • Jesus did not consider it a sin, or
  • That he viewed it as a minor sin not worth mentioning, or
  • That he viewed it as a major sin, but one that affected so few people that he didn’t bother mentioning it.
  • That he viewed same-gender sexual behavior as a form of fornication, and thus was already covered in his list.
  • That the author of Matthew did not fully record all of Jesus’ categories.

Related essays on this web site:


References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Paul Thomas Cahill, “An investigation into the Bible and homosexuality,” at: http://www.christianlesbians.com/
  2. “How to be true to the Bible and say ‘Yes’ to same-sex unions,”  at: http://members.aol.com/DrSwiney/bennett.html
  3. “Celebrating diversity: texts recently applied to homosexuality,” at: http://members.tripod.com/~uniting/resource/bible.html
  4. Justin Cannon, “The Bible, Christianity and Homosexuality,” at: http://www.truthsetsfree.net/study.html Copyright © 2005 All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
  1. “New Testament Greek Lexicon,” Search God’s Word, at: http://www.searchgodsword.org/

Week 5:  “A Look at Paul’s Writings”

 

  1. Read the book of Romans

 

  1. Paul is writing to the Roman church, he has completed his ministry in the east and wishes to expand to the west. He is setting the Roman church up to know what he is about prior to getting there.

 

  1. Disect chapter 1

 

  1. What is Paul ‘s message?

 

  1. How does Paul use the word “natural”? or how is it used contextually?

 

  1. Do some quick research on the Roman times – how was their culture similar to the Canaanite area?

 

  1. There is an awful lot in the book of Romans it would be a Bible study in itself to dissect the whole book. However to grasp this writing in a week I have outlined a couple of the themes throughout the book below.

 

  1. God’s faithfulness

 

  1. i.    How is this illustrated throughout Romans?

 

  1. Righteousness

 

  1. i.    If we cannot be perfect, even if we think we can, how can we obtain righteousness?

 

  1. Sin

 

  1. i.    How can sin in our lives be conquered – note not make in non-existent – but conquer it?

 

Book as a whole:

 

  1. How does taking Paul’s writing as a whole put the first chapter into better context then if chapter one was all that was written?

 

  1. Why is it important that we look at the whole picture and not focus on individual sections of the Bible? Or Life?

 

  1. i.    For me sometimes getting caught up in details takes me away from the main objective. We need to be careful that regardless of what we do or don’t do that our sights are on God, that we are looking forward to the light. Allowing God to lead us on our path of life.

 

  1. ii.    Do you do this in your own life? How does losing sight of God reflect in your life? How do you get back?

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Previous Study: “Building Skills for Life”

God told Noah to build an ark. God told Moses how to build the Ark of the Covenant. Solomon built the Temple. Jesus told us to build our life on a solid foundation. Paul told us that we are the Temple of God, and that everything we build will be tested over time.

 

We are all here to build something, to make something of ourselves. Our lives are supposed to have meaning, to endure, to make a lasting impression. We will be discussing Spiritual teachings that will give us the skills needed to build a life of worth and of lasting value.

Col 2:6-7: And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Luke 6:47-49: I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”

1 Cor 3:12-13: Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.

Luke 14:27-29: “And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.” “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.”

Gen 6:14-16: “Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Leave an 18-inch openingbelow the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper. So Noah did everything exactly as God had instructed him.

1 Peter 2:5: And you are living stones that God is building into His spiritual temple.

Ephesians 2:20: Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. We are carefully joined together in Him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.

What does it mean to build on the foundation of Christ? How do you do that? What steps do you take to do that?

 

How do your roots grow down into Him? What steps do you take to do that?

 

Why does listening and following Jesus’ teachings become like a house with a strong foundation that won’t fall?

 

What are the teachings that Jesus is referring to that can make your life well-built?

 

What are the types of things that can stand the test of time?

 

What work in life creates lasting value?

 

How do you “waterproof” your life?

 

What are the 3 decks of the inside of your “boat”? What’s stored in them?

 

What are the types of “animals” (qualities) you’d want to preserve inside?

 

What has God instructed you to build of yourself or in your life? If not, what would He ask you to be/do now?

 

What are the specific instructions He gave to you? Write them down.

 

What would have to happen for you to do everything exactly as God instructs?  What, if anything, would you change?

 

What does it mean to be His “spiritual temple”?

 

What does it mean to be “joined together in Him”?

 

How do you become a holy temple? What would be included in it? What would be excluded?

 

What else would God want to build in your life?

 

What’s missing from your life that you’d like to start building?

 

What area(s) of your life needs God’s help to be rebuilt?

 

Previous Topic: “Starting Over”

 

Everybody has to start over at some point or another in life. Learn how–with God’s help. Break free from the past–and start over!

~ Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending. ~

 

Jeremiah 18:4: But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.

First, we have to crush the old…Matt 8:28-32

Leave the jar behind…John 4:28

Forget the past… Phil 3:13

Never look back… Luke 9:57-62 Gen 19:26

Deny self (doing it yourself)…Mark 8:34-38 Matt 16:24-28

Cleanse/empty self…2 Tim 2:21

1) Take and write out all your missteps, struggles, disappointments, scars, defects, regrets, etc. on a sheet of paper…

2) Take and crumple up the paper into a wad. Hand it in to God.

Then,

Be born again…John 3:1-8

Be made new…Rev 21:5

Now, get a new blank sheet of paper. Describe the Ideal You:

 

What does God want to make of you?

What kind of person does God want you to be?

What qualities does the “ideal you” possess?

Now imagine that your life was ideal in every sense, in every area: Spiritual, Relationships, Health, Recreation, Personal Growth, Home/Community, Work/Career, Financial…If it was perfect, what would it look like and how would it be different from today? Look at each area and describe specifically what you want:

And then what would you have to do, starting today, to create that ideal life sometime in the future? What small step(s) would have to begin today to become that ideal person and to create your ideal life?

List them:

What would you see yourself doing, hear yourself saying, or would others say to you about whom you have become? What would you feel about yourself and your life?

What 3 things do you want to be remembered for or what 3 things do you want people to say about you after you’re gone?

Contact Us: PastorLisa@ChristCornerstone.com

 

 

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