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In the patriarchal culture of the time, women were thought to be weaker than men, more fearful, more vulnerable, and more vain.
Thus, men who ate too much, liked expensive things, were lazy, or liked to dress well were considered “soft like a woman.” Although this type of misogynistic thinking is intolerable in our modern society, it was common in ancient times and explains why the King James Version translated malakoi as “effeminate.” Note 3. But it is important to understand the difference between ancient and modern notions of what makes one effeminate.
Paul wasn’t condemning men who swish and carry purses; he was condemning a type of moral weakness.
The ancient Roman and Greek understanding of what it meant to be manly or womanly was quite different from today.
And men who worked to make themselves more attractive, “whether they were trying to attract men or women, were called effeminate.” (See note 3.) They saw all pleasure-seeking men as effeminate, whomever they sought pleasure with.
In first-century Roman terms, most pro-wrestlers in the WWF (manly men by our definitions) would be considered effeminate, because of their apparent interest in fancy, hyper-masculine costumes and posturing.
They would be viewed as sexually indulgent (a trait associated with women) and as the ones who played a receptive role in intercourse (again, associated with women).
Because here Paul uses malakoi in a list of sexual sins, it is possible to infer that he may have been referring specifically to male prostitutes, rather than soft men in general.
In fact, these two biblical references may be the first examples we have of this word being used in the literature of the time.The word is malakoi, and it literally means “soft.” (See note 1.) So Paul is saying “soft people” will not inherit the kingdom of God. Nissinen also offers “frailty of body or character, illness, sentimentality, or moral weakness” as other possibilities for the meaning of this word in other contexts (page 117).Since we know Paul was not talking about the Pillsbury Dough Boy, we have to ask what he meant. This common Greek word had different connotations depending on the context in which it was used.The words sometimes translated "effeminate" and “homosexual” in these passages are obscure and difficult to translate.
The first word identifies someone who is morally weak, and has nothing to do with nellie gay men.
Unfortunately, this method of translation often leads people astray. A better way to understand what Paul may have meant by arsenokoitai is to look for other instances of the word in the subsequent writings of his time. First, two early church writers who dealt with the subject of homosexual behavior extensively, Clement of Alexandria and John Chrysostom, never used the word in their discussions of same-sex behavior. A similar pattern is found in other writings of the time.