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See Romans 1 (seperate link)

In this chapter it is manifest that the exchange of the opposite sexual partner for that of one's own gender proceeds from the exchange of the one true God as the object of worship for a false God, with both being unconditionally sinful, regardless of context. As with all willful sin, this is a product of idolatry, whether formal or informal, in the case of pro-homosexual apologists, that of making God into an image more to their own liking, one that sanctions homosexual relations, though they are only condemned wherever they are explicitly dealt with, as well as in principal. As the condemnation of homoeroticism is this chapter is dealt with extensively in the linked page, only a summation of reproofs of arguments by Boswell and company will be included here.

*1. The theme leading up to the two verses at issue is not that of acting contrary one's own "orientation," but contrary to what is ordained of God, as a result of perverted desire. The Gentile idolaters are not condemned because they were worshiping idols while being actually being monotheists, but because idolatry is wrong in and of itself. Likewise homoeroticism is presented as a perverted practice, acting contrary to to what God revealed, by design and decree, as ordained by Him, and thus is unconditionally condemned, as are the other iniquities which are also listed as a fruit of this spiritual declension. (Rm. 1:29-32) Regarding the latter, Kyle Butt states, "No scholar would remotely contend that “unloving,” “unforgiving,” and “unmerciful” were cultural traits that do not transcend the passage of earthly time and culture. (Apologetics Press, Scripturally Speaking: Homosexuality—Sin, or a Cultural Bad Habit?)

*2. What Paul describes is not simply worship as a product of ignorance, but of changing what they did know, referring to an original monotheism (for which there is even more evidence of late), to idolatry. Responding to pro-homosexual Anglican Primate Alan Harper of Ireland, Gagnon states,

Nothing in the language of Rom 1:24-27 suggests "homosexuality" is a chosen condition of constitutional heterosexuals. The "exchange" that Paul portrays is not the "willful" exchange of felt heterosexual desires for manufactured homosexual feelings, as Harper contends. Rather, the exchange is that of (1) the truth which God has revealed in creation concerning what is natural intercourse for (2) the gratification of preexisting desires for unnatural intercourse between members of the same sex. (

*3. Paul was indeed using a form of “natural law,” that of what God has revealed by design and originally by innate knowledge. The invisible God was manifest by His visible creation (Rm. 1:20) and it was obvious by such that mere corruptible men (by nature, as opposed to the incarnated Christ) or animals did not create the cosmos, and that such were worthy to be worshiped. But what Paul further describes is not simply worship as a product of ignorance, but of changing what they did know, referring to an original monotheism (for which there is even more evidence of late), to idolatry. As creation does not represent the moral authority the Creator is, it is seen today that such an exchange of worship of God for worship of nature is taking place, in order to escape moral conviction of personal sin, which is also manifest in making God into an image more in conformity to contemporary immorality in order to justify it. Write comments, "while Paul may be describing something in the remote past in presenting a Decline of Civilization narrative, the pattern may be repeated: whenever humans opt for idolatry they are abandoned to their lusts." (Wright, N.T. “The Letter to the Romans,” The New Interpreter’s Bible. Leander E. Keck, ed. Vol X. Nashville: Abingdon, 393-770.)

*4. In addition, evidence indicates that the concept of "natural law" existed among the Greeks in Paul's time. Stoic-Cynic philosopher Dio Chrysotom referred to Aphrodite as one "whose name stands for the natural intercourse and union of the male and female."(Discourse 7:135) Also in Plutarch, Daphnaues contrasts a "union contrary to nature with males" with the natural love between a man and a women," and goes on to disparage homosexuals as "acting contrary to nature" when they "allow themselves to be covered and mounted like cattle."(Dialogue on Love, 751C, E) furthermore, Plato is seen using "according to" and "contrary to" nature argumentation, and describes sexual aberrations as the latter. (Plato, On Abraham, 135-36)

*5. It is almost certain that Paul would have indeed been culturally enlightened regarding Greek culture, having been born and educated in Tarsus in the region of Cilicia, one of the three centers of Greek culture in his day (Acts 21:39). E. M. Blaiklock states that Tarsus "became the Athens of the eastern Mediterranean, the ancient equivalent of a university city, the resort of men of learning, the home town of Athenodorus (74 B.C.-A.D. 7), the respected teacher of Augustus himself, the seat of a school of Stoic philosophers, a place of learning and disputation, and the very climate in which a brilliant mind might grow up in the midst of stimulus and challenge and learn to think and to contend." (Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, s.v. Tarsus, by E. M. Blaiklock, 5:602). Also see P. Michael Ukleja, "The Bible and Homosexuality; Part 2: Homosexuality in the New Testament," Bibliotheca Sacra 140 (October-December 1983): 354.) And that Paul manifested extensive awareness of Greek culture, as "He could talk and think like a Gr. and quote his native Cilician poets to the intellectuals of Athens. He could write strong Gr. in closely argued documents."(Blaiklock ibid.) Malick notes that Paul was hardly an isolated Jew in a Greek world, and would thus be well aware of the homosexual activities of his time without depending on "Jewish rumor mills." (David E. Malick, "The Condemnation of Homosexuality in Romans 1:26-27," Bibliotheca Sacra 150: 599 (1993): 327-340.) Luke, Paul companions, describes the Athenians in Acts 17.

*6. Martti Nissinen, who is moderately prohomosexual, and to whom many of that school selectively reference, acknowledges that, “Paul does not mention tribades or kinaidoi, that is, female and male persons who were habitually involved in homoerotic relationships, but if he knew about them (and there is every reason to believe that he did), it is difficult to think that, because of their apparent ‘orientation,’ he would '''not''' have included them in Romans 1:24-27. . . . For him, there is no individual inversion or inclination that would make this conduct less culpable. . . . Presumably nothing would have made Paul approve homoerotic behavior” (Homoeroticism in the Biblical World (Fortress, 1998))

*7. In no place does the New Testament deal with laws regarding sex between illicit partners as part of the ceremonial law, and as Paul does in other places, he would be affirming such laws in condemning homosexual relations. All forms of homosexual activity were considered sin by Jewish writers in Paul’s day. Josephus wrote to his Roman readers, “The law of Moses recognizes only sexual intercourse that is according to nature, that which is with a woman…. But it abhors the intercourse of males with males” (Against Apion 2.199).

*8. Further refuting the idea that Paul was condemning only one kind of homosexual relationship,even Louis Crompton, a modern homosexual scholar, acknowledges that “However well-intentioned", the interpretation that "Paul’s words were not directed at 'bona fide'homosexuals in committed relationships…. seems strained and unhistorical. Nowhere does Paul or any other Jewish writer of this period imply the least acceptance of same-sex relations under any circumstance. The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any other Jew or early Christian." (Crompton, ''Homosexuality and Civilization'') ( Gagnon adds, "Committed homoerotic relationships lay within the conceptual field of the ancient world (even Via concedes this), as did the idea of some congenitally connected and relatively exclusive homoerotic desire. These contextual factors did not make any difference to some Greco-Roman moralists and physicians. Why, then, should they have made any difference to Paul, who incidentally was aware of the malakoi (often lifelong participants in homoerotic practice), rejected same-sex intercourse on the basis of the structural incongruity of homoerotic unions, and viewed sin generally as a powerful, innate impulse?" (

*9. As we are all born with sinful nature and its affections, but are called to resist sin, (Gn. 4:7; Col. 3:15) we cannot justify actions that are contrary to the Bible based upon our desires. As Schmidt notes, Boswell's solution “shifts the meaning of 'natural' from Paul's notion of 'that which is in accord with creation' to the popular notion of 'that which one has a desire to do.' But deeply ingrained anger does not justify murder, nor does deeply ingrained greed justify theft or materialism, nor does the deeply ingrained desire of many heterosexuals for multiple partners justify promiscuity.” (Thomas E. Schmidt, Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology Homosexuality, Romans 1:26-27) This recourse in pro-homosexual polemics to making one's own inclinations the basis for morality, is seen as being exactly contrary to the commands of God, and to actually be a form of idolatry, making man the ultimate arbiter of what is right rather than the almighty who commands, "that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring" (Num. 15:19; cf. Dt. 12:8; Jdg. 17:6,25; Is. 5:21; Jer. 17:9)

1Co 6:10 "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, ''malakos'' nor abusers of themselves with mankind, ''arsenokoitai'' Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

1Ti 1:9,10 "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, ''arsenokoitai'' for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;"

The controversy here focuses upon two obscure words, ''malakos'' (''soft'') and ''arsenokoitai'' (''male beds''), which pro-homosex advocates have much labored with to disallow them as referring to homosexuals or homosex in general, and which attempts and their nature can be seen in traditionalist responses. (The source and nt meaning of arsenokoitai, with implications or christian ethics and ministry, James B. De Young; The Condemnation of Homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6:9 David E. Malick; Paul, homosexuality, and 1 corinthians 6:9-11; Homosexuality Revisited in Light of the Current Climate by Calvin Smith; Linguistic Grounds for Translating Arsenokoitai as “Homosexuals” De Young, J. B. (2000); The malakoi and arsenokoitai (1 cor 6:9): what is really meant by these terms? ;

Schreiner states that “what Wright argues, and other scholars have followed him here, is that the Pauline term arsenokoitai is a Pauline innovation deriving from the phrase, arsenos in the two texts from Leviticus. The term refers, then, to those who bed other males. In other words, it is a vivid way of denoting same sex intercourse between males. The other word used to designate same sex relations in 1 Corinthians 6:9 is malakoi. This word refers to the passive partner sexually, an effeminate male who plays the role of a female. Thomas R. Schreiner, “A New Testament perspective on homosexuality

Scroggs perceives arsenokoitai as referring to pederasty, while Boswell believed that it referred to “active male prostitutes. . . capable of the active role with either men or women” (Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality University of Chicago Press, 1980, 344)

Wright questions both Boswell’s arguments and his linguistic abilities, and notes that Boswell is almost the only one taking this position. (Wright, `Homosexuality: The Relevance of the Bible p. 296)

Guenther Haas ( states,

As noted in D.F. Wright's response to Boswell's explanation of the Greek term, it is much more likely that this compound term developed under the direct influence of the two parts of the compound used in Lev. 18:22 and 20:13. Wright repeats this point in his review of Scroggs' book. The significance of this is that Paul's usage of arsenokoites is informed by the two passages of Leviticus, which are certainly not confined to pederasty. Wright drives the point home with two pointed questions:

If Paul had wanted to condemn (a kind) of pederasty, why did he not use one of the several Greek words or phrases for it current in Hellenistic Jewish writings e.g., paidophthoreseis? Why did he (create or) adopt a (relatively) new, certainly unusual term inspired by a Levitical prohibition and therefore one which prima facie has a broader meaning than pederasty? (D.F. Wright, "Review of The New Testament and Homosexuality by Robin Scroggs," Scottish Journal of Theology 38 (March 1985): 119-20)

Scroggs knew that the coined term arsenokoitai Paul used in 1 Cor. 6:9 for “abusers of themselves with mankind” was made up of two parts found in Lev. 18:22 and 20:13, and believes the compound word is a literal translation of the Hebrew term mishkav zakur ("bed with a male" as with a women: Lv. 20:13). But he believes, without providing any sources, that the rabbis used this term in their condemnations of pederasty, to which application Scroggs restricts it, though as seen together in Lv. 20:13 no such restriction (to pederasty) is made. However, the Bible distinguishes between men and young men when needed, while even though some sources do use arsenokoitai to censure pederasty, it presumes much to hold that such a general term can be restricted to simply one form of homosex. Rather, it is far more conceivable that Paul is condemning both in Romans. Moreover, the culpability of both persons is shown by the penalties against the condemned practice in Lv. 20:13, evidencing that this condemnation was not directed toward a victim/perpetrator case, but a consensual practice.

Gagnon also sees that arsenokoitai is formed from the Greek words for “lying” (koite) and “male” (arsen) which appear in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Levitical prohibitions of men “lying with a male” in Lv. 18:22; 20:13), but that it intentionally applies to the same absolute Levitical prohibitions against male-male intercourse. Among other reasons he gives for this is that "the rabbis used the corresponding Hebrew abstract expression mishkav zakur, “lying of/with a male,” drawn from the Hebrew texts of Lev 18:22 and 20:13, to denote male-male intercourse in the broadest sense." And that "the appearance of arsenokoitai in 1 Tim 1:10 makes the link to the Mosaic law explicit, since the list of vices of which arsenokoitai is a part are said to be derived from “the law.” (Does Jack Rogers’s Book “Explode the Myths” about the Bible and Homosexuality and “Heal the Church”?, Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D.)

James B. DeYoung states,

ARSENOKOITAI (lit. "male beds") does not occur prior to Paul because Paul likely coined it as he coined other terms. He almost certainly derived it from two words that occur together in the LXX of Lv. 20:13 (aresenos koiten) "whoever shall lie with a male a bed as a women"). This suggests that Paul had in mind the prohibition of adult homosexuality in Leviticus. Support for this position comes from the list of vices in 1Cor. 6:9-11 and 1Tim. 1:10, which correspond, even in word order, to the 10 commandments. In both lists, Paul adds "homosexuals" to adulterers in expanding the range of prohibited sex, as he does with other commands. (cf. pp. 195-99) Homosexuality By James B. DeYoung)

Calvin Smith adds,

Wright has highlighted a major problem here. If Paul simply borrowed an existing vice list referring to very general sexual vices, including widespread and very general forms of pederasty, how can Scroggs then suggest Paul is identifying a very precise form of this vice? (Wright, `Homosexuality: The Relevance of the Bible’ (op. cit.), 296.) A number of other exegetes concur. .... example, malakos could mean `call-boy', or something similar, and both words together could be referring to the active and passive roles in the homosexual act (thus malakos would be the male But Malick argues the terms clearly mean more than this, that linguistically they cannot be limited to this understanding alone (other traditionalists agree). (Homosexuality Revisited in Light of the Current Climate).

Michael Ukleja also has identified these terms in several examples of classical Greek literature, which clearly refer to homosexuals. (P. Michael Ukleja, `Homosexuality in the New Testament' in Bibliotheca Sacra 140 (1983)

Gagnon concludes, "the term arsenokoitai is not restricted to homosexual prostitution. Boswell was clearly wrong. Robin Scroggs back in 1983 (The New Testament and Homosexuality) acknowledged these two points, though Scroggs himself was wrong in other ways." (On Boswell and “Men who lie with a male” in 1 Corinthians 6:9: A Response to Harwood and Porter, Robert A. J. Gagnon TOC^

Table of Contents


Part 4

Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13

Leviticus Summation

Part 1


Sexual morality in the Bible

Interpretive Foundations

Principal Sources

Part 5

Sex Laws versus Slavery

Silence of Jesus Argument and Love Hermeneutic

Part 2

Genesis: the Unique Union of Man and Women

1 Corinthians 11

Celibacy, Polygamy, and Procreation

Eunuchs and Exegesis

Proclivity and Permission Polemic (Social Justice) Summary

Part 6

Romans 1

1Corinthians 6:9 and

1 Timothy 1:10

Part 7

False postulations or assertions of approved homosex:

Ruth and Naomi

David and Jonathan

Daniel and Ashpenaz

1 and 2 Kings

Jesus, the centurion and his servant

Jesus and John

Was Paul gay?

Part 3

Genesis 19

Judges 19

Jude 1:7

Ezekiel 16:49 and Inhospitality Texts

Extra Biblical historical sources