Effeminate Men
by Walter Kenaston
through the grace of IAUE ALeim.


1Cor 6:9* Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators<4205>, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate <3120>, nor abusers of themselves with mankind<733>,
10* Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

What does it mean for a man to be "effeminate"<3120>? Bible translations today will render this as "homosexual", but is this consistent with the intent in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10? I believe not. Looking at the Greek(Helenic) roots of "fornicators" and of "abusers of themselves with mankind", being pornos<4205> and arsenokoites<733> respectively, it appears that both male prostitution and homosexual behaviors are specified in these words. While malakos, meaning "soft, effeminate", can figuratively refer to one being used in the ways specified by pornos and arsenokoites, I do not believe the verse is redundant in itself. So then what behavior would malakos<3120> cover?

A derivative of malakos<3120> and definition can be found in "The Complete WordStudy Dictionary - New Testament" by Spiros Zodhiates, being malakia <3119>. Malakia is defined thusly:

fem. noun from (3120), soft. Softness, a disease, a debility, infirmity (Matt 4:23; 9:35; 10:1). As refering to men, it means characterized by delicacy, effeminancy. In Aristotelian ethics it is the opposite of kateria (n.f), patient endurance, meekness.
Syn. astheneia (769), disease, weakness; nosos (3554), malady, infirmity; nosema (3553), ailment, disease.
Ant. ischus (2479), strength; dunamis (1411), power, might; sklerotes (4643), hardness.

Strong's gives a similar definition for malakia. It is used three times in Matthew rendered as "disease".

One can then see that a man who is effeminate is one who is weak and soft, not being strong, powerful and hard. I don't believe this means that men must be muscle bound hard heads. Rather I think this speaks of men who do not act as strong, confident, thoughtful leaders but instead have adopted the characterists of delicacy and following, being that which women should exhibit. The first two figurative meanings for malakos given in Strong's (2a1,2a2) may indicate such was not their voluntary choice.

It is certainly true in our day that women have taken charge and in many cases domineer over their husbands, and the husbands submit, though not without some encouragement from varying quarters, I admit. The men have taken the "soft", follower role which belongs to women. Women have taken the dominant role. Things are upside down. Indeed, the prophecy of downfall in Isaiah 3:12 can be said to be fulfilled today:

Isa 3:12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

This is a condemnation, not a praise.

So where does that leave the effeminate men, who have laid down their rightful role as the leaders?

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither ... effeminate ... shall inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Cor 6:9-10).

Those men are reckoned with the unrighteous and shall not inherit the kingdom of God.


========= Strong's Definitions ===========

The other two uses of malakos<3120> in the New Testament:
Mt 11:8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft <3120> raiment? behold, they that wear soft <3120> clothing are in kings' houses.
Lu 7:25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft <3120> raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts.

3120 malakos {mal-ak-os'}
of uncertain affinity;; adj
AV - soft 3, effeminate 1; 4
1) soft, soft to the touch
2) metaph. in a bad sense
   2a) effeminate
      2a1) of a catamite [a boy kept by a pederast]
      2a2) of a boy kept for homosexual relations with a man
      2a3) of a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness
      2a4) of a male prostitute

4205 pornos {por'-nos}
from pernemi (to sell, akin to the base of 4097); TDNT - 6:579,918; n m
AV - fornicator 5, whoremonger 5; 10
1) a man who prostitutes his body to another's lust for hire
2) a male prostitute
3) a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator

4097 piprasko {pip-ras'-ko}
a reduplicated and prolonged form of prao {prah'-o}, (which
   occurs only as an alternate in certain tenses), contracted
   from perao (to traverse, from the base of 4008); TDNT - 6:160,846; v
AV - sell 9; 9
1) to sell
   1a) of price, one into slavery
   1b) of the master to whom one is sold as a slave
2) metaph.
   2a) sold under sin, entirely under the control of the love of sinning
   2b) of one bribed to give himself up wholly to another's will

733 arsenokoites {ar-sen-ok-oy'-tace}
from 730 and 2845;; n m
AV - abuser of (one's) self with mankind 1,
     defile (one's) self with mankind 1; 2
1) one who lies with a male as with a female, sodomite, homosexual

730 arrhen {ar'-hrane} or arsen {ar'-sane}
probably from 142;; adj
AV - male 4, man 3, man child 1, man child + 5207 1; 9
1) a male

2845 koite {koy'-tay}
from 2749;; n f
AV - bed 2, conceive 1, chambering 1; 4
1) a place for laying down, resting, sleeping in
   1a) a bed, couch
2) the marriage bed
   2a) of adultery
3) cohabitation, whether lawful or unlawful
   3a) sexual intercourse