The Source and NT Meaning of Αρσενοκοιται, with Implications for Christian Ethics and Ministry -- By: James B. De Young

Journal: Masters Seminary Journal
Volume: TMSJ 03:2 (Fall 1992)
Article: The Source and NT Meaning of Αρσενοκοιται, with Implications for Christian Ethics and Ministry
Author: James B. De Young


The Source and NT Meaning of Αρσενοκοιται,
with Implications for Christian Ethics and Ministry

James B. De Young1

Professor of New Testament
Western Conservative Baptist Seminary
Portland, Oregon

Traditional interpretation of ἀρσενοκοῖται (arsenokoitai,homosexuals) in 1 Cor 6:9 and 1 Tim 1:10 refers to sexual vice between people of the same sex, specifically homosexuality. Some restrict the terms meaning toactive male prostitute, but stronger evidence supports a more general translation, namelyhomosexuals.” More recently the definitionhomosexual has been opposed on cultural and linguistic grounds, the claim being that the termhomosexuals is anachronistic. In addition, criticism of the traditional rendering says the term today includes celibate homophiles, excludes heterosexuals who engage in homosexual acts, and includes female homosexuals. A concern for acts instead of the modern attention to desires was the only factor in the ancient world. The foregoing opposition to the translation of arsenokoitai byhomosexuals has a number of debilitating weaknesses. Finally, this study argues that Paul coined the term arsenokoitai, deriving it from the LXX of Lev 20:13 (cf. 18:22) and using it for homosexual orientation and behavior, the latter of which should be an occasion for church discipline (1 Corinthians 5–6) and legislation in society (1 Tim 1:8–11).

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Introduction

Coincident with the rise of the gay rights movement in recent years has been an increasing focus on the biblical statements regarding homosexuality or sodomy.2 As part of this focus, the meaning of the term ἀρσενοκοῖται (arsenokoitai, “homosexuals”), used twice by the apostle Paul (1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10), has received vigorous scrutiny.3 This issue is particularly crucial to contemporary society since so much of modern ethics is shaped...

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