Homosexuality and New Testament Greek - 05/14/2005

 I have read your views on homosexuality because I have been doing research on it for years. I have also read your guidlines and even the links that go with them and found that you have recieved emails in the past condeming you of lying without proof. With this is not one of them. I am highly resourceful with my information that back up my statements.

     To the point: Reading your interpretations from verses such as Genesis 18-16, Romans 1: 26-27, and Jude 7, leave readers to believe that this is truely researched when it is certainly not. Several historians, such as John Boswell, who has studied these cases have found that these verses as well as others are to vague to be directed precisily to homosexuals. The Greek words malakoi arseokoitai have no one true meaning when together and their definition has been tampered
with for so many years that when listening to a Greek speaker on homosexuality, those words were not once used.

    I show no disrespect to your website or beliefs, but I know as well as you that it is very hard to know the "true" word of God when sinful man has tampered with it for so long. I believe it is only fair to your viewers, although it is obvious that no one wants to back down from their own beliefs, that you inform them clearfully that these are merely interpretations of what was originally written and they are not always exact.





CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:


Hi Rachel.  Thanks for writing.  I'd like to address your comments from the standpoint of explicit Greek construct and etymology as well as from other implicit teachings on the matter. 
 
You mentioned the use of two Greek words: malakoi (malakoi), and arsenokoitai (arsenokoitai). The two appear together in only one verse, 1 Corinthians 6:9.  In the NIV this verse reads, "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes (malakoi) nor homosexual offenders (arsenokoitai)..."  In the KJV it says, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate (malakoi), nor abusers of themselves with mankind (arsenokoitai),..."  As you can see, malakoi is translated by the KJV as "effeminate" and by the NIV as "male prostitute."  The word can also mean "soft", as in a soft fabric.  This verse is the only New Testament verse in which malakoi is applied to a person.  The KJV translators took this to mean "effeminate".  The NIV and other later translators reached a consensus that based on other usage, malakoi was a young male prostitute or the subordinate homosexual partner. 
 
Arsenokoitai, on the other hand, is used here as well as in 1 Timothy 1:10, "For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind (arsenokoitai), for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;" (KJV) and "and immoral men and homosexuals (arsenokoitai) and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching," (NASB).  Here, it is not used in conjunction with malakoi.  However, in the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament), arsenokoitai is used in Leviticus 20:13 in a clear and unambiguous reference to homosexuals.  Moreover, this words is also found in many of the patristic writings, including those of Polycarp.  Arsenokoitai is an active homosexual male partner. 
 
John Boswell is like so many others who allow personal bias to detract from their scholarship.  He is not the only one to make these arguments, but his are perhaps the most eloquently stated.  However, eloquence is no substitute for competence and linguistic integrity.  Boswell's conclusions have been soundly refuted by several people.  One of the best refutations of Boswell's arguments was written by Stephen Carlson: http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/greek/boswell.html
 
With that said, there are clearly implicit teachings throughout the Bible to which homosexuality is diametrically opposed.  Sex is to be enjoyed within the context of a marriage between a man and a woman.  That’s it.  Genesis 2:24-25 says, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”  Jesus reiterated this in Matthew 19:4-5,  "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?" Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”  All sexual sins (i.e. promiscuity, adultery, homosexuality, prostitution, etc.) are sins because they do not conform to the limit of sex being a marital activity.  You may or may not have seen a more comprehensive list on our site here:  http://www.contenderministries.org/articles/christianliving/homosexuality.php
 
It is true, as you say, that words can change their meaning over time.  However, defining sometimes obscure Greek words is not a capricious process.  A consensus is built among scholars as to the logical intended meaning associated with a particular word.  In the case of arsenokoitai, a strong consensus for "homosexual" is based on a large preponderance of the evidence.  Having extant manuscripts (both biblical and extra-biblical) dating back to the first few centuries A.D. assures us that the Bible is textually consistent with how it was written, and the majority of scholars are confident that the appropriate definition for these words is a reaffirmation of God's law that homosexuality is a sin.  I encourage you to read the articles above.  Thanks again for writing, and God bless.
 
In Christ,
 
Ben Rast
Contender Ministries