The Bible and Homosexuality Part 2: Homosexuality in the New Testament -- By: P. Michael Ukleja

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 140:560 (Oct 1983)
Article: The Bible and Homosexuality Part 2: Homosexuality in the New Testament
Author: P. Michael Ukleja

The Bible and Homosexuality
Part 2:
Homosexuality in the New Testament

P. Michael Ukleja

[P. Michael Ukleja, Pastor, Rossmoor Grace Brethren Church, Los Alamitos, California]

Greek Terminology

The prohibition against homosexuality is mentioned three times in the New Testament (Rom 1:26–27; 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10). In 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy two Greek words—μαλακόςand ἀρσενοκοίτης—are usually translated “homosexual.” Prohomosexual advocates insist that μαλακός means “soft” or “weak” with the implication of moral softness or moral laxity. They insist that ἀρσενοκοίτης means “males who go to bed,” or “male prostitutes.

There is no reason to believe that either “μαλακος“ or “αρσενοκοιται” connoted homosexuality in the time of Paul or for centuries thereafter, and every reason to suppose that, whatever they came to mean, they were not determinative of Christian opinion on the morality of homosexual acts.1

These two words are hotly contested words in gay theology. Most Bible translators have rendered them “effeminate” and “homosexuals,” respectively. A proper understanding of the words is essential.


Both words are found in 1 Corinthians. Μαλακός means (1) “soft of things, clothes,” or (2) “persons; soft, effeminate especially of catamites, men and boys who allow themselves to be misused homosexually.”2 The Greeks used the word with a nuance,

probably similar to the way people today use the word “fairy” or “sissy.” They took this word which can have feminine overtones, and applied it to a man. According to the context it can have the idea of being weak or loose morally and being effeminate. This may relate to the Greek practice of paiderastia (“lover of boys”), which involved homosexual relations between men and boys. Pederasty was common in the Greek educational system. It was not uncommon for a strong sexual union to result between a young man and an elder teacher who was his model, guide, and initiator.3 In classical Greek, You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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