Re: "ARSENOKOITAI" in 1 Cor. 6:9

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Wed Apr 23 1997 - 20:49:21 EDT

Mike MacKinnon <> wrote:
>Consider 1 Cor. 6:9-11:
>1CO 6:9 ‘ ouk oidate hoti adikoi theou basileian ou kl‘ronom‘sousin? m‘
>planasthe: oute pornoi oute eidšlolatrai oute moichoi oute malakoi oute
>Currently I am wrestling with the proper interpretation of the word
>"arsenokoitai" in this verse. Etymologically, the word seems to be
>compound in nature, containing both "arsenos"=man/male, and
>"koitai"=beds/marital relationships. The question is, is it fair to
>translate this as "male marital relationships" as in homosexual marital
>relationships. It would seem to be so, however many of the newer lexicons
>leave this word translated merely as "male sexual pervert". This
>translation to me seems to be vague, and to skirt the more obvious
>translation. However I await your input...

The phrase "male sexual pervert" isn't very specific. I think you got this
from the brief lexicon in the back of the UBS GNT.

BAGD says ARSENOKOITHS means "a male who practices homosexuality, pederast,
sodomite", and cites quite a few uses, as well as an article on the topic by

Louw and Nida define ARSENOKOITHS as "a male partner in homosexual
intercourse - homosexual' ... it is possible that ARSENOKOITHS in certain
contexts refers to the active male partner in homosexual intercourse in
contrast with MALAKOS, the passive male partner." Louw and Nida define
MALAKOS as strictly the passive partner, so in their view, I would assume
that ARSENOKOITHS takes the meaning of the active partner in 1 Cor 6.

LSJ says this is a variant of ARRENOKOITHS. Here is the brief entry on that
word: "arreno-koits, ou, ho, sodomite, AP9.686; (ars-) 1 Ep.Cor.6.9."

Incidentally, this is a frequently asked question; you can see past
discussion by looking at the B-Greek archives at:

I would suggest searching for "arseno*". In the earliest stuff, you will see
a lot of emotional flames on the issue, but there was better discussion last
year. I trust we can avoid flames this time around.


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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