Christian & LGBTQIA+

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it though him.” ~John 3:16-17

Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved.” ~Mark 16:15)

“We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.” ~Romans 2:22

Read this excellent resource to help you or someone you love reconcile Sexuality and Spirituality: “A Letter to Louise: A Biblical Affirmation of Homosexuality” 

Read or download it here: A Letter to Louise.pdf

“Homosexuality and the Bible” by Reverend Joyce Stone:

In looking to the Bible to discern God’s feelings on homosexuality, no clear messages or statements can be found that actually condemn homosexuality or specify that a person must be heterosexual to enjoy God’s love and salvation. Although some religious leaders contend that the verses in Leviticus condemn homosexuality~ those verses are of no consequence because all of the laws stated in Leviticus are overruled and eliminated in the New Testament. In Romans 7:1-6, Paul rescinds the requirements for the people to abide by the old Jewish laws~ stating that “the old master used to be the Jewish law, but that it was dissolved when Christ died on the cross.” He further points but that Christ was the new master and that His directions were now the ones to be followed.

Furthermore, Paul states that the law has “no more control over anyone” and “that no one needs to worry any longer about the Jewish laws and customs.” This all clearly negates any implications that any of Leviticus’ laws apply to Christian Life, thereby also eliminating the laws concerning homosexuality.

A part of the Bible that supposedly condemns homosexuality is found in Genesis 19 where the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is told. From these passages, some religious leaders contend that God destroyed these cities due to the wickedness of the men in the cities–wickedness, for them, was being homosexual. They base their conclusion on the,fact that at one point in the story, the men of the city stormed Lot’s house, asking to know the two strangers that had come to visit Lot. Due to the ‘translation and/or interpretations of the Bible over the years, the word “know” has become questionable as to its actual meaning for that particular verse. The sexual connotation of the word was only used in a few other places in the Bible, with specific Greek word prefixes that helped to qualify the connotation so as to clarify its meaning. Despite the fact that in this case, nothing verifies that the word was to have been used in a sexual context, many theologians chose to translate it that way. They contend that God was so disgusted by this behavior that the reason He decided to destroy the cities was to eliminate the homosexuals. However, in a closer look to the previous chapter of Genesis 18, it is discovered that God had intended to destroy Sodom before the men of the city had anything to do with Lot. The two strangers (angels) were sent, not only to warn Lot of the impending danger of destruction, but also to seek out any other godly, righteous people. Had they found any, God would have spared the city. (Gen.18:26). This also proves that the condemnation of Sodom was not that homosexuals were there, but because there were simply no righteous, godly, or loving people there. (Even Lot was saved only because he was related to Abraham whom God had chosen to bless.)

Reading further in the Bible, in Ezekiel 16:48-59, the actual sins of Sodom are clearly spelled out: “Your sister Sodom’s sins were pride and laziness and gluttony, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. She insolently worshiped many idols as I watched. Therefore I crushed her.” The real magnitude of the sins of Sodom are further clarified by Jesus in his comparison of those sins with being unkind or inhospitable, as revealed in Matthew 10:14-15. “Any city or home that doesn’t welcome you–shake off the dust from that place from your feet as you leave. Truly, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off at Judgment Day than they.” These truths reveal that homosexuality was not the cause for God to destroy Sodom after all.

In order to determine whether homosexuals are worthy of God’s love and salvation, one need only to listen to Jesus’ words. John 3:16-17: “For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son so that anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.” John 5:24: “I say emphatically that anyone who listens to my message and believes in God who sent me has eternal life, and will never be condemned for his sins, but has already passed out of death into life.” John 6:40: “For it is my Father’s will that everyone who sees His Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life–that I should raise them at the Last Day.” John 10:27: “My sheep recognize my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else, so no one can kidnap them from me.” John 15:20: “When I come back to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. The one who obeys me is the one who loves me; and because that person loves me, my Father will love them; and I will too, and, I will reveal myself to them” Each of these verses proves that any person who believes in Jesus Christ is saved and loved by God. Each statement is inclusive of all people, whether homosexual, heterosexual, or otherwise.

The requirements for salvation are not what a person is, but what a person believes. Believing in Jesus Christ is all it takes to enjoy salvation and eternal life. Being homosexual doesn’t have anything to do with salvation and does not separate a person from God’s love at all. God is interested in a person’s soul not a person’s sexuality.

A teacher of religious law once asked Jesus, “Sir, which is the most important command in the laws of Moses? Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’ All the other commandments and all demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all others.” When a person abides by these two commandments, they are fulfilling all of God’s requirements for living a righteous life.

If God had wanted people to stop being a  homosexual, Jesus would have said so. Jesus did address adultery, stealing, judging, divorce, and other various sins from which He called upon people to repent and change. More often that not, it was idolatry, or the putting of yourself ahead of the will of God, that Jesus admonished against. Not once did He ever mention the “sin of homosexuality.”  That causes me to conclude that who we are is not sinful, but that what we do can be. Living as monogamous couples, following the 10 commandments and the teachings of Jesus are things that I believe all Christians (which is translated “little Christs”) should do.

Again, a person’s sexual orientation is not mentioned and has no bearing whatsoever on being part of God’s kingdom, or following God’s Word, or enjoying God’s love and forgiveness. Not only did Jesus die for a person’s sins (not a person’s sexuality)~ but He offers abundant life to every person who chooses to believe in and follow Him. That gives every person, every homosexual, the ability to be a happy, fulfilled and loved  human being, and to experience eternal life.

God’s love is broad, and deep and all encompassing. Nothing or no one can change or limit that. As Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:16-18: God’s purpose was to show His wisdom in all its rich variety to all the rulers and authorities in heavenly realms. They will see this when Jews and Gentiles are joined together in His church. This was His plan for all eternity, and it has now been carried out by Jesus Christ our Lord. Because of Christ and our faith in Him, we all can now come fearlessly into God’s presence, assured of His glad welcome. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him.May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

Scriptures about God’s Love, Salvation, and Acceptance for ALL:

John 1:11-12: Even in His own land and among His own people, Jesus was not accepted. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.

Isaiah 56:3-5: Don’t let anyone who commits themselves to the Lord say, ‘The Lord will never let me be part of His people.’ Do not let them think that I consider them second-class citizens. And don’t let the eunuchs say, ‘I’m a dried-up tree with no children and no future.’ For this is what the Lord says: “I will bless those eunuchs who keep My Sabbath days holy and who choose to do what pleases Me  and commit their lives to Me. They are as much Mine as anyone else. I will give them–in My House, within My walls–a memorial and a name far greater than the honor they would have received by having sons and daughters. For the name I give them is an everlasting one. It will never disappear!”

Matt 19:12: Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made that way by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone who can, accept this statement.”

Romans 8:31-39: If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No onefor God Himself has given us right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 9:14: God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.

John 6:47-51: Jesus said: “Anyone who believes in Me already has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life! This bread from heaven gives eternal life to everyone who eats it. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; it is offered so everyone may live.”

John 5:24: Jesus said, “I assure you, anyone who listens to My message and believes in God who sent Me, has eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but have already passed from death into life.”

John 6:37-40: Jesus said, “Anyone the Father has given Me will come to Me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent Me.  And this is the will of God: that I should not lose even one of those He has given Me, but that I should raise them all to eternal life. For it is My Father’s will that all who believe in His Son should have eternal life.”

Isaiah 55:1-5: Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink–even if you have no money! Come, it’s all free! Listen and I will tell you where to get food that is good for the soul! Come to Me with your ears wide open. Listen for the life of your soul is at stake. I am ready to make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you mercy and unfailing love. I will make you glorious.

Matt 11:28: Then Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. My yoke fits you perfectly, and the burden I give is light.”

John 4:24-25: Jesus said, “The Father is is looking for anyone who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.” Just then His disciples arrived. They were astonished to find Him talking to a woman, but none of them asked Him what He was doing or what they had been discussing. Then Jesus said, “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God. Vast fields are ripening all around us and are now ready for the harvest. The fruit you are to harvest is people brought to eternal life. And this is eternal life: to know Me and God who sent Me.”

John 10:11-16: Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd; I know My sheep, and they know Me. And no one can snatch them out of My Hands. And I lay My life down for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not yet in this sheepfold, I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice, and there will be one flock and one Shepherd.”

John 10:27-28: Jesus said, “My sheep recognize My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them away from Me, for My Father has given them to Me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. So no one can take them from Me.”

Isaiah 51:7-16: “Listen to Me, you who know right from wrong, and cherish My law in your hearts. Do not be afraid of people’s scorn or their slanderous talk. For they will be destroyed as the moth destroys clothing. But My righteousness shall last forever. My salvation will continue from generation to generation.” I AM the One who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans? Will you remain in constant dread of human oppression? Will you continue to fear the anger of your enemies from morning to night? Soon all your captives will be released! Imprisonment, starvation, and death will not be your fate! For I AM the LORD your God, My Name is the LORD Almighty. And I have put My words in your mouth and hidden you safely in My Hands. I AM  the one who says to you, “You are Mine!”

Isaiah 51:22-23: This is what the Sovereign LORD, your God and Defenders says, “See, I am taking this terrible cup from your hands. You will no longer drink from it. It is gone at last! But I will put it into the hands of those who tormented you. I will give it to those who have trampled you into the dust and walked on your backs.”

For an additional in-depth study of Scriptural understanding, read this comprehensive Bible 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. . If you have any additional questions, email [email protected] or [email protected]

  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:
  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:
  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:
  2. “How to be true to the Bible and say ‘Yes’ to same-sex unions,”  at:
  3. “Celebrating diversity: texts recently applied to homosexuality,” at:
  4. Justin Cannon, “The Bible, Christianity and Homosexuality,” at: Copyright © 2005 All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

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