An article recently published by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age makes the claim that Israel Folau’s “controversial” Instagram post was a “misquote of the Bible.”
The piece attempts to prove this point by suggesting Folau’s post was a citation of Galatians 5:19-21, a passage which makes no mention of “homosexuality” or even “hell” for that matter.
“Note however, that Galatians 5:19-21 does not, in any translation, mention homosexuals,” the author said. “Folau and whoever wrote the original post have projected homosexuality into the promiscuous category. That is their bias.”
“You will notice that there is nothing in the passage from Galatians about these sinners going to hell,” the author added.
The article goes on to accuse Folau of “doing more than just throwing biblical quotes around. He is misusing this biblical passage by projecting judgements about homosexuality and ‘modern’ beliefs about hell into it.”
What the author fails to realise, however, is that while the list of sins mentioned may not be found in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, they are found in his first letter to the Corinthians, along with the threat of not inheriting eternal life.
Specifically, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which states:
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, nor thieves, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
So, what does Paul and the Bible actually have to say about the issue? The phrase ‘men who practice homosexuality’ was not employed by translators without good reason. There are two Greek words involved here, arsenokoitai and malakoi.
The Apostle’s use of the word arsenokoitai is the first known occurrence in Greek literature. Paul most likely coined the term himself, deriving it from two words found in the Greek translation of Leviticus 18:22 (also 20:13).
The infamous Old Testament verse reads: “Do not (koite) bed a (arsenos) man as you would bed your wife; it is an abomination.” The term arsenokoitai is clearly a compound word which literally means man-bedding.
Thomas Schreiner, professor of New Testament at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said the term “is a vivid way of denoting same-sex intercourse between males.”
Paul adds further clarity to the text by pairing the word arsenokoitai with another word, malakoi.
According to Schreiner, “this word refers to the passive partner sexually, an effeminate male who plays the role of a female.”
In short, it’s clear the Apostle is referring to men who “bed” other males, as a husband would his wife, and men who are “bedded” by males, as a wife would her husband.
Did Israel Folau actually misquote the Bible? It seems rather bizarre that the author would suggest if a verse or idea isn’t found in Galatians, then it mustn’t be biblical. Is this sloppy scholarship or just blatant dishonesty?