February 14, 2020
Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:10-11
…fornicators, sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
Thought for the Day: What is a sodomite? It is a word that the translators along the way simply conjured up. The Greek word translated here has nothing to do with the Hebrew word for the city of Sodom or the Greek word associated with that city. The word literally means: Male + Bed, and it appears no where in Greek literature prior to its use here. In fact, the translators didn’t have a clue what the word meant, but based upon a very poor reading of the Genesis story of Sodom, some imposed a meaning on the word. In doing so, it dramatically shifted our understanding of homosexuality and Christianity. In this section of 1st Timothy, there are groupings of things contrary to the Gospel. To understand what the author might have intended, you cannot read a word separately from that grouping. The three words in the grouping are: fornicators, sodomites and slave traders. Fornicators was probably someone who was sold into slavery for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sodomite (Greek word = Andrapodistes) probably described a man who was enslaved for sexual purposes. And slave traders is probably better translated as someone who kidnaps. When you read that grouping of three words, what comes to mind? It sounds a lot like what concerns our LLIFE Ministry that focuses on Human Trafficking. Do you see the danger of immediately pointing to this 1st Timothy passage and announcing how it is opposed to same-sex relationships. What we have described here is not a relationship. It is abuse sanctioned by a system that is structured around the idea of one group of people owning another. I feel confident in saying that all of us would oppose such mistreatment. Yet sadly, it has been much easier to declare one word as a clear statement against homosexuality.
Prayer: You want nothing less than for us to treat every human being with dignity. Teach us, Good and Gracious God, how to look past all that culture, history and poor interpretations that hinder our perception of people. Teach us, and we will learn. Amen.
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