Originally posted at Stealth Bible: TNIV on 3.4.05
We have pointed out that the TNIV is a version of Scripture carefully filtered for the removal of content that’s offensive to our feminized culture and the effeminate men it produces, so it’s no shock to us to find that the NASB’s use of “effeminate” in 1 Corinthians 6:9 doesn’t make it into the TNIV. Who would expect the TNIV to use the word as a pejorative term when the TNIV’s father, the NIV, as well as the ESV, also avoid it?
1 Corinthians 6:9
NASB: “Or do you now know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor *effeminate, nor homosexuals,…”.
*I.e., effeminate by perversion
ESV: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality*,…”.
*The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts
NIV: “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders…”.
TNIV: “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals…”.
Nestle 27: ουτε μαλακοι ουτε αρσενοκοιται
μαλακός, ή, όν (Hom.+; inscr., pap., LXX, Philo; Jos., Ant. 8, 72βύσσος μ.) soft.
1. of things: clothes (Hom.+; Artem. 1, 78 p. 73, 10 ἱματίων πολυτελῶν κ. μαλακῶν; PSI 364, 5 ἱμάτιον μαλ.) μ. ἱμάτια soft garments, such as fastidious people wear Lk 7:25. (τὰ) μ. soft clothes (Sb 6779, 57; cf. λευκός 2, end) Mt 11:8a, b.
2. of pers. soft, effeminate, esp. of catamites, men and boys who allow themselves to be misused homosexually (Dionys. Hal. 7, 2, 4; Dio Chrys. 49, 25; Ptolem., Apotel. 3, 15, 10; Vett. Val. 113, 22; Diog. L. 7, 173; PHib. 54, 11 [c. 245 bc] a musician called Zenobius ὁ μαλακός [cf. Dssm., LO 131, 4-LAE 150, 4]. Sim. a Macedon. inscr. in LDuchesne and CBayet, Mémoire sur une Mission au Mont Athos 1876 no. 66 p. 46; Plautus, Miles 668 cinaedus malacus) 1 Cor 6:9=Pol 5:3.—S. lit. s.v. ἀρσενοκοίτης. M-M. B. 1065.*
ἀρσενοκοίτης, ου, ὁ (Bardesanes in Euseb., Pr. Ev. 6, 10, 25.—Anth. Pal. 9, 686, 5 and Cat. Cod. Astr. VIII 4 p. 196, 6; 8 ἀρρενοκοίτης.—ἀρσενοκοιτεῖν Sib. Or. 2, 73) a male who practices homosexuality, pederast, sodomite 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Ti 1:10; Pol 5:3. Cf. Ro 1:27. DSBailey, Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition, ’55. M-M.*
The above versions differ substantially in how they translate the Greek word malakos. The NASB translates malakos as “effeminate” or “effeminate by perversion;” the ESV defines malakos in a note as the passive participant in homosexual intercourse but ignores the term in the main body; the NIV and TNIV translate it as “male prostitute.”
Which translation is right?
BDAG, the Greek-English Lexicon, shows that the NASB’s “effeminate” captures the nuance of the original Greek. First, malakos, BDAG notes, literally means “soft” and was used to describe soft clothing and, when used to describe persons, meant “soft, effeminate, esp. of catamites, men and boys who allow themselves to be misused homosexually.”
Additionally, Robert Gagnon–arguably the foremost Biblical scholar on homosexuality–writes, “Paul used malakoi, literally ‘soft men,’ in the sense of ‘effeminate males who play the sexual role of females.'” Note that he describes these males not simply as sodomites or catamites but effeminate males who overturn the God-given use of the male body. Gagnon lists five points in support of his definition:
a. Its placement in the midst of other terms that refer to participants in illicit sexual intercourse.b. Its position in the vice list immediately before the term arsenokoitai, which clearly refers to the active homosexual partner.
c. The severe penalty imposed for being a malakos (exclusion from the kingdom of God), which suggests a form of effeminacy well beyond the stereotypical limp wrist (contra Martin 1996, 124-129).
d. The use of cognates by Philo of Alexandria to describe men who actively feminize themselves for the purpose of attracting other men (N96).
e. The use of the comparable Latin term molles (“soft men”) in tandem with other terms that refer to effeminate males desirous of penetration by other men: the cinaedi (Gk. Kinaidoi, lit., “butt shakers”) and pathici (“those who undergo [penetration]”; see N97). These designations were not confined to adolescents or cult prostitutes, much less did they imply coercion. In fact, they applied especially to adult males who willingly–whether by innate orientation or not–went to great efforts to feminize their bodies, dress, and manner in order to attract men and thus eradicate the masculine stamp given by nature (N98).
Reading Gagnon’s detailed historical analysis makes it clear the ESV’s passive participant does not capture the nuance of malakos, but even more that the NIV and TNIV’s “male prostitute” completely misses the mark. The TNIV’s translation implies an exchange of money for sex–which, as the evidence above demonstrates, is not the intent of Paul’s use of malakos. Paul is condemning the unnatural character of the effeminate pervert of which his sexual position is just one manifestation. In other words, God is mocked when a man attempts to live as a woman by cultivating an effeminate sexual identity.
What a perfect time to miss this mark, when effeminancy and its modern English counterparts–androgyny and metrosexuality–are chic.
It’s clear how, if the Holy Spirit’s words are allowed to make it into our Bibles, those very words will be “profitable so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17). As the Angel of the Lord gazed on Sodom and Gomorrah sizing up her wickedness, so today the Holy Spirit sees and speaks into the twenty-first century with great precision. ‘Malakos’ is written, then, to condemn effeminacy–the very cultivated feminization of the male so in vogue today. Gagnon points out that the malakoi “went to great efforts to feminize their bodies, dress, and manner in order to attract men and thus eradicate the masculine stamp given by nature.”
In Paul’s use of these two terms, he is designating both passive and active partners in homosex–the catamite and the sodomite. Both BDAG and Gagnon indicate that by Paul’s use of malakoi, he is connecting both personal characteristics of effeminacy and the sexual act whereby one man “plays the woman” in physical intimacy.
Why then does the TNIV translate malakoi “male prostitute”?
There is no justification for this translation–only an explanation.
Translators of the TNIV are in the business of erasing the innate patriarchalism of the Scriptures. A feminized culture is scandalized by Paul’s inclusion of malakos. “Surely, Paul can’t mean effeminate or soft–that is just too broad. Paul shouldn’t stoop to such stereotyping. We don’t need more men who think it’s their calling to be hard and tough. Rather, we need more men who are sensitive and know how to cry, like Jesus.”
The Holy Spirit’s use of malakos stands as an explicit testimony against the enemies of God’s Truth so aggressively promoting their perversion in our culture. Bible translators who hide this word’s denotation and connotation are then conniving at these evils. Soft men protect soft men from hard truths. They’re like the man who looks in the mirror but immediately forgets what he saw…