What does Paul say about homosexuality in 1 Corinthians? How do these verses apply to committed, loving, faithful same-sex relationships? Below, you can find the transcript of the video, and a pointer to some of the academic resources that lie behind this post.
In his first letter to the Corinthians, what is Paul saying about homosexuality, and how should we be applying that today? Keep watching to find out why. 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. A little dig into some of the other terms in that list. Fornicators translates pornoi — a word which particularly suggests the use of prostitutes, which was widespread in Roman times. Idolaters — those who worship pagan gods and goddesses.
Adulterers translates moichoiand has a narrower meaning than in English.
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Then we come to the two words. Malakoi and arsenokoitai. Why is there so much disagreement about how to translate them? For example, in Matthew Jesus compares John the Baptist to those who dress in soft — malakos — robes and live in palaces, perhaps a dig at King Herod.
So malakos could mean effeminate — in a patriarchal society where to be feminine was to be considered weaker and more swayed by your passions. In Roman times, it could refer to those who acted in a dissolute way: the lazy, the cowardly, the idle rich sleeping around with any women available. Think of playboys, or eighteenth century dandies. If a man spent too much time caring about how he looked and then being led by his lust that was effeminate — soft — malakos.
And the word could also refer to those who took what was considered to be the effeminate position in intercourse, the passive partner, the partner being penetrated, and so malakos could also refer to a male prostitute. Does malakoi refer to the idle rich, or those who are sleeping around with loads of women, or to male prostitutes, or to some other aspect of the word?
Different commentators disagree with each other, which is why we have so many different translations of these terms. My view? I think Paul was referring generally to the morally weak, those who choose to let their lusts lead their actions. Here, we have almost the opposite problem from malakoswhich is used widely in Greek literature. So what did Paul mean by this word?
One approach is to look at what the different parts of the word might be able to tell us.
What did St Paul say about women?
So this would suggest a male-bedder. And as for butterflies…. Another approach is to try to work out where the word came from. But again, this may tell us about the history of the word, but not how it was actually used in practice. Just looking at the construction of the word, and its possible source from Leviticus, suggests that it is referring to those who bed males. But those who bed malesnot men.Join the best dating site for sexual desires and fantasies.
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But the relevance of this question to Christianity and the Western world will become clear from the following pages. In the last eighty years, especially after the two World Wars, the sexual morality of the West has undergone a great change which is commonly described as the "sexual revolution.
To understand the social and historical background in which the new morality is emerging, we must study the sexual morality of the Christian Church.
Although Christianity is commonly thought to be a religion based on Jesus Christ's teachings, I use the word "Christianity" in this book for the teachings of the Church establishment. I am justified in doing so because the Bible has recorded nothing from Jesus Christ on marriage and sex. The exception being the sermon condemning visual and physical adultery:. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
The first person in Christianity to talk on sexual morality was St. He says, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Do you know that your bodies are members of Christ? Corinthians I,Paul knew that celibacy means suppressing human nature but human nature cannot be suppressed. He knew that if marriage is totally forbidden, then people will still indulge in sexual gratification unlawfully.
So he says, "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife and every woman have her own husband. Then as if to prevent the people from forgetting the holiness of celibacy, he continues: "I say this by way of concession, not of command.
For I wish that all men were as I myself am Therefore, I say to the unmarried and the widows that it is good for them to remain singles as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
Paul further goes on to describe that marriage means distress: "Now concerning the unmarried I think that in the view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is Are you free from a wife? Then do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a girl marries, she does not sin. Yet those who marry shall have trouble in flesh. According to the Bible, marriage and pleasing God are antipathetic to each other. Paul says, "I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord, but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife and his interest is divided The unmarried woman cares for the affairs of the Lord, that she may be holy in body and spirit; but a married woman cares for worldly affairs, how to please her husband.
I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. Three centuries after St. Paul, came a theologian known as St. Like his predecessor, he believed that sex was a threat to spiritual upliftment: "I know nothing which brings the manly mind down from the heights more than a woman's caresses and that joining of bodies without which one cannot have a wife.
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Advocates of same-sex marriage typically appeal to principles of equality and inclusivity, arguing that it is unjust to deny the social, financial and legal benefits of marriage to some couples based merely on sexual orientation.
Such proponents maintain that marriage is a fluid social construct that has exhibited a wide diversity of forms among different cultures and time periods; marriage, therefore, can and should be re-envisioned in contemporary society to accommodate people of diverse sexual orientations. Such arguments are steadily gaining ground in the courts, in legislatures, in the educational system, and in popular culture. This situation presents defenders of the traditional understanding of marriage with a new and unprecedented challenge.
Although forms of homosexual practice have existed in nearly all societies known to history, never before have homosexual relationships been viewed as equal to or even analogous to marriage. Thus our present situation forces us to formulate reasons for something that has always been taken for granted, and to do so in a way that will gain a hearing in the contemporary post-modern generation.
Since we are truly treading on new ground, let us return to sacred Scripture, and St.
Paul in particular, in order to shed light on this contemporary discussion of same-sex marriage. Since Scripture is a document of faith whose authority is not accepted by all parties, obviously we cannot derive formal legal arguments from it.
However, this is not the only role that Scripture can play in reasoning in the public square. Indeed, a recent Newsweek cover story on same-sex marriage, 1 which went to great lengths to demonstrate biblical support for gay marriage despite the author's evident disdain for the Bible, illustrates the continuing importance of Scripture in the contemporary marriage debate. I would like to show how Scripture can clarify, deepen and enrich our public defense of marriage by examining St.
Paul's exhortation to husbands and wives in Eph In this richly theological passage, Paul refers specifically to Christian marriage as an image of the union of Christ and the Church. Nevertheless, there are principles that can be gleaned from Ephesians 5 to shed light on the natural law and on all of society's responsibility to protect the nature of marriage.
I will first present a brief exegesis of the passage, and will then show how this text, supplemented by other Pauline texts, can help ground a natural law defense of marriage note: a literal translation of Eph is provided at the end of this article. Exegesis of Ephesians The first thing to note about Ephan exhortation to husbands and wives, is that, grammatically, its first part continues a single long sentence that actually begins in He is speaking of Christian marriage and family life.
To abstract what he says about marriage from this context would only result in distortion. The passage is also closely connected with the two subsequent passages, in which Paul addresses relationships between parents and children and between masters and slaves The three units form a whole that belongs to a genre of New Testament passages known as household codes cf.
Col ; Ti ; and 1 Pt While these texts have certain features in common with ancient Greco-Roman and Jewish household codes, some significant differences arise as well.
Most non-Christian household codes took for granted that the paterfamilias father of the family had absolute authority over the members of the household. They described how wives, children and slaves should behave toward him, but not how he should treat them. The New Testament texts, in contrast, do not give unlimited power to men, but instead call for a high degree of responsibility and mutual respect among all members of the family.
Moreover, they make no mention of an obligation for wives to obey their husbands, nor of a man's natural superiority and greater capacity to make decisions—features that were ubiquitous in pagan household codes.
Ephesians begins, significantly, with an injunction to mutual subordination within the Christian community: "subordinating yourselves to one another in reverence for Christ. This is significant, because it indicates that Paul is referring to a voluntary self-subordination, not something imposed from without. The governing principle that must shape all relationships within the household is an attitude of humility and deference toward one another, motivated by reverence for Christ.
In using the metaphor of head and body, Paul is not accenting the notion of authority but rather of profound union and mutual belonging. As Pope John Paul II noted, the precedence suggested by "head" is an order of precedence in the giving and receiving of love: the "husband is above all the one who loves and the wife, by contrast, is the one who is loved.
The part of Paul's instruction addressed to husbands is far more extensive, and perhaps more challenging, than that addressed to wives, as it has absolutely no precedent in Greco-Roman or rabbinic literature.
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