Arsenokoitai

During a Facebook discussion on whether or not homosexual acts are a sin condemned by the Bible or not Eric Blanks • Friends with Christopher Lee Crowell Had this to say which invoked my longer response.

“Sorry Rexx, got to jump on in on this one. Just for reference, I’m friends with Christopher Lee Crowell. Your point on the passage that he quoted is all out of context. If you look to the original texts, the original word. arsenokoitai is used. Arsenokoitai is a combination of arsēn, “male,” and koitē, which is a word that stems from “bed,” but comes to refer to sleeping with someone or having sex with someone. It is believed by many scholars that arsenokoitai did not refer to “homosexuals” or “homosexuality,” but to male prostitutes or “concubines”. It is even more likely that it was refering [sic] to the practice of the time that adult males would pay young male protitute [sic} (which was common at the time)”

Eric I have read a lot about the debate over the meaning of ‘arsenokoitai “. It is the one who wish for homosexuality to be accepted as normal that put forth the argument you mention. For example Theologian Mel White while agrees that the Greek word arsenokoitai, used for “homosexual” in 1 Corinthians 6:9, seems to refer to same-sex behavior. He argues that Greek scholars don’t know exactly what it means, however, and that this simple detail is a big part of this tragic debate. He explains, “Some scholars believe Paul was coining a name to refer to customers of ‘the effeminate call boys.’ We might call them ‘dirty old men.’ Others translate the word as ‘sodomites,’ but never explain what that means.” But he does not, that I could find give the names the scholars, just like you did not.

Arseno is the Greek word for man and koite is the Greek word for bed, so it is a made-up word that roughly translates as a ‘male bedder’. How this can mean an ‘the effeminate call boys.’ Is beyond me. The King James Version Bible translates verse 9 and 10 as: “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.”

Arsenokoitai is the word that was that was translated to mean, “for them that defile themselves with mankind” How with the grouped condemned, murderers, whoremongers, liars, etc., how would you translate ‘male bedder’?

Some say that this is not the meaning that Paul wanted to convey, since the idea of a homosexual sexual orientation only surfaced in the 19th century after the start of the scientific study of human sexuality. This, imo, is hogwash. As the Greek knew that there were plenty of men who had sex with men. The Spartans in particular always paired with their lover cohorts, and only had sex with their wives to procreate. Until they picked their lover Spartans were paired with an older man to learn the was of war and male sex.

Clinical psychologist and theologian Stanton L. Jones admits that White effectively invokes “the mystery of arsenokoitai,” the unusual word Paul uses in 1 Corinthians6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 that is commonly translated “homosexual sin.” This, however, is not such a mystery, he argues, and its unraveling reveals a more complex picture of Paul’s use of Leviticus.
Leviticus18:22 and 20:13 forbid a man lying with another man as one would with a woman. Leviticus was originally written in Hebrew, but Paul was a Greek-educated Jew writing to Gentiles in Greek, the common language of the day, and probably was using the Greek translation of the Old Testament available in that day, the Septuagint, or LXX, for his Scripture quotations.

So to claim that arsenokoitai means a male prostitute and does not condemn loving men from having sex with one another one has to believe that Paul disagreed with Leviticus18:22 and 20:13. Not to argue from ignorance, but is there any evidence that Saul of Tarsus the Pharisee who on his way to persecute the followers of Jesus did not know the Book of Moses by heart?
Jones believes, then, that the most credible translation of what Paul is condemning in 1Corinthians6:9 is a person doing exactly what Leviticus condemns: engaging in homosexual sex (a man being a “man-lier”). Far from dismissing the relevance of Leviticus, Paul implicitly invokes its enduring validity for our understanding of sexual sin, and drawing on it as the foundation of his teaching on homosexual conduct. He is saying, “Remember what it said not to do in Leviticus18:22and 20:13? Don’t do that!”

And for those who say that the Bible does not anything about women have sex with one another I would suggest that they read what Paul said in Romans 24-27, “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

May God guide our understanding.

Homosexuality in the Hebrew Scriptures Old Testament Leviticus 20:13

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Published in: on December 21, 2013 at 14:46  Comments Off on Arsenokoitai  
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