An Incorrect Translation?

Q. Many of my friends have been posting a “new” interpretation of the Bible claiming it doesn’t say homosexual acts are a sin. They say the word homosexual has been translated wrong and Paul, for instance, is speaking of men having sex with young boys. What is your take on this growing interpretation of God’s Word?

A. The word homosexual is a relatively new one in the English language, first used in the 1890s. As such it only appears in some modern translations of the Bible. For example, the NIV contains one appearance of the word. The NLT has four, two in the Old Testament and two in the New, but it’s not really a literal translation.

The only place where a word translated homosexual in these versions could possibly refer to man-boy sex is in 1 Cor. 6:9 where the Greek word “malakos” can refer to a boy kept for sexual relations with a man, but the same verse also contains the Greek word “arsenokoites”, a masculine noun that describes “one who lies with a male as with a female, a sodomite.”

Paul also used the Greek word “arsenokoites” in 1 Tim 1:10, its only other New Testament appearance.

I would say those who are trying to re-interpret the New Testament view of homosexuality don’t have much of a case.

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