The Source and NT Meaning of APZENDOKOITAI with Implications for Christian Ethics and Ministry

James B. DeYoung | May 21, 2010

Traditional interpretation of rsenokotai (arsenokoitai, “homosexuals”) in 1 Cor 6:9 and 1 Tim 1:10 refers to sexual vice between people of the same sex, specifically homosexuality. Some restrict the term’s meaning to “active male prostitute,” but stronger evidence supports a more general translation, namely “homosexuals.” More recently the definition “homosexual” has been opposed on cultural and linguistic grounds, the claim being that the term “homosexuals” is anachronistic. In addition, criticism of the traditional rendering says the term today includes celibate homophiles, excludes heterosexuals who engage in homosexual acts, and includes female homosexuals. A concern for acts instead of the modern attention to desires was the only factor in the ancient world. The foregoing opposition to the translation of arsenokoitai by “homosexuals” has a number of debilitating weaknesses. Finally, this study argues that Paul coined the term arsenokoitai, deriving it from the LXX of Lev 20:13 (cf. 18:22) and using it for homosexual orientation and behavior, the latter of which should be an occasion for church discipline (1 Corinthians 5-6) and legislation in society (1 Tim 1:8-11).

Vol. 3, no. 2 (Fall 1992)

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DeYoung, James B.. "The Source and NT Meaning of APZENDOKOITAI with Implications for Christian Ethics and Ministry." The Master's Seminary Journal 3, no. 2 (Fall 1992): 191-216.