1 Corinthians 6:9 – Homosexuals (arsenokoitēs)

Valentin de Boulogne - Saint Paul Writing His Epistles
This entry is part [part not set] of 6 in the series 1 Corinthians 6:9

We’ve covered pornos (fornicators), eidōlolatrēs (idolaters), moichos (adulterers), and the precise but hard-to-express malakos (effeminate). Paul’s sexually-oriented opening to his list of sinners in 1 Corinthians 6:9 has one remaining item: arsenokoitēs.

This one isn’t as difficult to understand. It comes from two root words: arsēn, which means male, and keimai, which means to lay, lie, or be laid. The term arsenokoitēs literally means men who lie with men. We call such people homosexuals.

Homosexuality = Sin

Now, lest we think the Bible has the double standard that’s so common today, Paul makes it clear elsewhere that female sexuality is also sin. As is often the case in the Bible, though, a gender-specific word is selected though we can discern the gender lines don’t grant exceptions here. Homosexuality in any flavor is sin.

I know such a view isn’t popular in today’s culture. Many may think it, but they’d never say it for fear of being lambasted as an intolerant bigot, a hypocrite, or a closed-minded Neanderthal.

Now, the irony of such intolerance for a perceived lack of tolerance is not lost on me, but the complaints are often well-founded. Christians tend to be way off base on how we handle homosexuality, operating in fear and hate far more than love and grace. It’s beyond disappointing, but that’s outside the scope of this post.

The truth of the matter is that the Bible prohibits homosexual acts repeatedly; Paul’s inclusion of homosexuals in this list is far from a solitary incident. Going back as far as the Pentateuch (the Bible’s first five books) God conveys His distaste for the act of same-gender sexual activity. It all falls plainly on the side of sin. There is no wiggle room for interpretation here, though modern mainstream society would love to have us pretend there is.

The “Natural” Argument

It makes sense, really. As much as people claim the “natural” nature of homosexuality, citing occasional species found performing homosexual acts, I don’t see these examples as being evidence of any natural quality any more than a dog humping a cat (or a pillow) inspires me to accept cross-species love (or, in the case of the pillow, objectophilia) as natural. These things are aberrational.

The context tells us the church is comprised of all manner of sinners, including homosexuals by the way, who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ.

And the all-powerful evidence that convinces me is that nothing short of a heterosexual coupling actually results in procreation. For all the anecdotes of “natural” homosexuality, I’ve yet to encounter an anecdote of natural homosexual progeny. Short of the occasional gender-swapping frogs or asexual reproduction, the gender lines in the “natural” world are drawn as clearly as seen in Scripture.

It’s almost like they had the same Author… Hmmm…

An interesting side note… No one ever calls Darwin (or nature) an insensitive extremist with intolerant views on sexuality, even though it’s a scientifically proven fact that without heterosexuality, none of us would exist, including homosexuals.


That said, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the context of Paul’s statement again.

For all the gay-bashing homophobia that’s ubiquitous in the church, and for all they love to quote this passage —”homosexuals don’t go to heaven”— let’s remember that this is one of many types of sinners we see listed, many of which we’re guilty of.

And that was Paul’s point; the Corinthian church was no different. The context tells us the church is comprised of all manner of sinners, including homosexuals by the way, who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. “Such were some of you,” Paul says.

Out of a love for God, we should all seek to be more obedient to His law, but none of us are sinless apart from His Son’s atonement.

Originally posted 2016-05-13 08:00:41.

Series Navigation1 Corinthians 6:9 – Effeminate (malakos) >>
By Probably Valentin de Boulogne (1591 – 1632) (French) (Creator, [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
About Phil (245 Articles)
Philip Osgood is a Christian husband, father, and writer who considers himself a passable video game player, fiction reader, camping and hiking enthusiast, welder, computer guy, and fitness aficionado, though real experts in each field might just die of laughter to hear him claim it. He has been called snarky, cynical, intelligent, eccentric, creative, logical, and Steve for some reason. Phil and his beautiful wife Clara live in Texas with their children in a house with a dog but no white picket fence. He does own a titanium spork from ThinkGeek, though, so he must be alright.

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