Arsenokoitēs (αρσενοκοίτες) is a Greek word found in the New Testament, specifically in some verses that are generally considered a prohibition against homosexuality. It is a portmanteau of arsen, the Greek word for man, and koite, the Greek word for bed.[citation needed]

The verses in question are in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy, both part of Paul's writings. In context, the lines say "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived ; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor manbedders..."[1] and "and immoral men and manbedders and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching..."[2]

Obscure meaning[]

It is a word that is extremely rare in ancient Greek, and though Philo is often claimed to have used it around 35 AD, that claim is in fact, false[3]. The context in which it is used in Corithiana is not enough to determine the original meaning. As such, the translations of this word into English and other languages are little more than guesses. Some liberal Christians insist it refers specifically to pimps or pederasts, but there's no more evidence to support this meaning than any other.

The preceding word, "malakoi", means literally "squishy." This does not appear to have a sexual connotation at all, and the most sensible meaning is that of a coward. Unlike "arsenokoites," this word is seen in other writers of the time, indeed as an indictment of cowardice, or sometimes vanity, or other "feminine" vices; the sexual sense of effeminate is typically referred to not by this word, but "kinaidia."

See also[]


This article about an obscure word that Paul used wouldn't normally merit an article here but I added sourced material and it was taken out. I want to make sure this sourced material can still be read somewhere.