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I Cor 6:9 is translated in the King James version as:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

Surely, a male who wears women's clothes is being effeminate, right? Actually, I've been effeminate all my life, since long before I ever put on a dress. Guess I can forget about inheriting the kingdom of God.

before you base an entire doctrine on one word in one verse in one translation, it's a good idea to make sure you've got the translation right.

New International Version:
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

The original Greek word is "malakos"... here's a note on that (I didn't write it, I scooped it off the net).

"Effeminate" is a poor translation of the Greek word "malakos" which means "soft". The word is not translated as "effeminate" anywhere else in the Bible. It is the same word that is translated as "soft" in Matthew 11:8 ("But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses"; similarly Luke 7:25). In a moral sense, "malakos" just means "licentious"; Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics (7.4.4) says specifically that "malakos" refers to unrestraint in respect to bodily pleasures. The translation as "effeminate" seems awfully gratuitous.

In KJV days, as you know if you've dabbled in Elizabethan-era literature, women were believed to be weak in their ability to control their passions. So I suppose the KJV translators are to be forgiven; "effeminate" did convey a sense of lack of moral determination at that time.

Of course, today, "effeminate" males are those who don't adhere to the world's standard of male conduct, which includes being ruled by sexual lust, anger, etc. Quite ironic: a verse that began by calling for moral control now can be used to show scorn for those who control themselves. Definitely a lesson in the importance of careful translation.

Again, the original Greek doesn't mean "female-like". Be man-like, be woman-like, just be Christ's. Live in faith and joy in Him.

A more detailed textual breakdown, by Lisbeth, can be found at:

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