Monday, June 20, 2011

Interesting... my study begins, slowly... I Corinthians 6:9-10

I am starting off with this brief study while I wait for my new study bible to arrive. :)

I decided to compare I Corinthians 6:9-10 in three versions today... the KVJ, NIV, and NRSV. This verse is one of the most controversial when discussing homosexuality (you will learn quickly I am an advocate for gays not going to hell, JUST for being gay...) I don't know why this topic is so prominent with me, I'm straight as an arrow with a wonderful husband and two kids. It is the subject of hate that gets to me... I was bullied growing up, so the bullying and condemnation gays receive sits close to my heart... and when I get on a topic and need to prove a point, I kind of stick with it a while. Don't worry, this blog will explore ALL of the bible... this was just a starting place for me!

The NIV, being one of the newest versions, actually uses the word homosexual in its context:

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

New International Version (NIV)
9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
  1. 1 Corinthians 6:9 The words men who have sex with men translate two Greek words that refer to the passive and active participants in homosexual acts.
Yet, if we look at the NRSV it read:

I Corinthians 6:9-10

 Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. 

Now here is the most interesting part of this is the word sodomites. The definition of sodomite is a person who engages in sodomy
So we look up sodomy, and it's definition is sexual intercourse involving anal or oral copulation.
Hmmm... how many heterosexuals (I know not many will actually admit it) enjoy one of those two things? It is not just a homosexual act... and we need to remember, that when the Bible refers to Sodomites, they are referring specifically to Sodom and Gomorrah.

Oh, it gets better... lets move on to KJV (the first English translation of the bible, the one deemed the most valid):

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

King James Version (KJV)

 9Know 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,
 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Do you see it? Or rather, NOT see it? I do not see one word in that verse that refers to sodomy or homosexuality...

According to an article written by Paul R. Johnson for “Second Stone” magazine titled "A New Look at Arsenokoitais" (1994 January/February issue). In this article he wrote:
"The Greek compound term arseno-koitais literally means ‘the male who has many beds’. The word arsen means ‘male’, the adjective o means ‘the’, and the term koitais is defined as ‘many beds’. Thus, the entire phrase means a male with multiple bed-partners; a promiscuous man. Everywhere that the word koitais is used in the plural in the Bible denotes promiscuity. However, when the same word is used in the singular form, the Bible gives approval because the singular denotes monogamy."

Finally a literal description of the word that makes sense! Furthermore we can clearly see the ‘lifestyle’ of the people of Sodom in these passages. Translated in this manner, these verses now fit in with the rest of the Bible (e.g. the Law of Love).

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.

The study continues... next on my list is to compare the Hebrew text, and to attempt to understand the ENTIRE context of the  book of I Corinthians, not just one or two verses that indoctrinated folk like to take out of context. 

Stay tuned!


  1. "I do not see one word in that verse that refers to sodomy or homosexuality"

    Do you see the act of homosexuality as fornication?

    I think that it is interesting to consider because it possibly goes back to the definitions of fornication, adultery and marriage.

    I'm interested in hearing your perspectives on this.

    Thx, Bob

  2. On that particular topic, briefly: I do not see the act of homosexuality as fornication. I see the act of "sex outside of marriage" as fornication. I don't think they are going to hell for "being gay." Homosexuality and fornication are two separate issues. Seeing as it isn't legal for gays to get married, they are forced to live their lives in fornication because of our laws. Interesting perspective - thanks for commenting!

  3. "Homosexuality and fornication are two separate issues."

    How about homosexuality and adultery? Do you ever think that a homosexual act is sinful? If so then what scripture would you use to support that position?

    I am not sure that legality has anything to do with the topic. Many immoral things (like fornication) are legal between two consenting adults.

  4. A homosexual act... I don't see any differently than a heterosexual act. What I see as sin would be adultery or fornication. And I didn't mean to imply that I didn't see the fornication of homosexuals as less than a sin because of the legality around it. I do think there is a fine line with homosexuals who are in a committed relationship on what should be seen as fornication since they cannot legally get married. I think in the end it is up to God to decide. I do support gay marriage - I think it should be legal, they should have the same rights to be married (in a courthouse or a church) as anyone else.

  5. If they could be married, the issue of sin wouldn't be so present with them (IMO) - as with heterosexuals who get married. But just because someone has sex before marriage doesn't mean they are doomed to hell. We all can be saved by God's grace. No sin is worse than another.

  6. I agree with your last two comment Sarah. IMO the govt should not be involved in marriages (that is a religious matter for churches) but only in matters where legal rights around children, property, etc. come into play. That is why I think all people should be united civilly as well as religiously. One satisfies the law while the other involves the person's spiritual organization. Not that they have to be seperate.

  7. On a punny note - what happens when government gets involved in marriage... our marriage license branch is in the same office as the gun license branch. :)

  8. Might work better if it was a part of the DMV - sometimes the wait before marraige might be a good idea.