Romans 1:18-28

19. “For the anger of God is being revealed from heaven against all the evil and wickedness of men, those who are holding the truth with evilness; Because the knowledge of God is revealed in them, for God has revealed it in them. For the secrets of God from the foundation[s] of the world are appearing to His creatures (or creations) through understanding (or intelligence), even His power and His eternal Godhead, that they shall be without defense (or excuse). Because they knew God and did not glorify Him and give thanks to Him as God, but became deprived (or empty) in their thoughts, and their heart was darkened so that it was not understanding. And while they were supposing in themselves that they were wise, they became fools, And they changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into the likeness of the image (idol) of corruptible man, and in the likeness of birds and of four-footed beasts and of creeping things on the earth. Because of this God gave them up to the unclean desires of their heart, that they shall be dishonoring (or treating shamefully) their bodies by them (in [their worship of] them); And they changed the truth of God for lies, and they revered and served the created things more than their Creator to whom belongs praises and blessings for ever and ever. Amen. Because of this God has given them up to griefs of shame; for their women changed their natural use, and in the thing that wasn’t natural was used (or familiar with); and likewise also their men in this way have left the natural use of [their] women and were ravished with (or unrestrained in) desire one against another, even the male against the male, they committed shame (or behaved unseemly), and the recompense that was right for their error they received in themselves. And as they did not determine in themselves that they should know God; God has given them over to an empty mind that they shall be doing the thing that is not appropriate (right, proper or ought to be done),” (Romans 1:18-28 Peshitta). Romans is often quoted as scripture that forbids relations between persons of the same sex. But Romans is actually referring to idolatry. It says of the people “…And they changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into the likeness of the image (idol) of corruptible man, and in the likeness of birds and of four-footed beasts and of creeping things on the earth.” These people glorified and worshipped their idols of man, birds, four-footed beasts, and creeping things. It also says of these idolaters “..And they changed the truth of God for lies, and they revered and served the created things (idols) more than their Creator to whom belongs praises and blessings for ever and ever. Amen.”

          Romans 1:21 tells us that these pagans hearts were darkened (i.e. they were in ignorance). Romans 1:24 tells us that these people dishonored their bodies in their worship of the idols (Similar Jer. 3:9). Additionally, Romans says that God gave these idolaters up to their unclean (or abominable, wrong) desires. This led to both the women and the men changing their natural (or instinctual) use of each other. The root word cyan means: nature, disposition and instinct. The only specified similarity between these heterosexual or bisexual women and men is that they both abandoned the natural sexual use of the opposite gender. Thus the use of these words doesn’t necessarily mean that the women or men slept with the same gender. The reader could also conclude that the women may have remained celibate (1 Tim. 4:3) or maybe were practicing bestiality (see Rom. 1:24). The end result being that the men attacked other men either by killing them or perhaps raping them. When it says the men "committed shame," this can mean the men raped the man's wife, concubine or daughter (s). There are Biblical stories about this treatment of foreigners. Otherwise, the "shame" committed by these men may have been male rape. The text doesn't say which meaning is correct. Both meanings could be correct.

          The words saying that "the women changed the instinctual use [of their sex into] that which is against their instinct" and "the men have left the instinctual use of women" (Lamsa) does not sound like gay people. It is natural for gay people to be with the same gender and is according to their instinct / disposition. Gay men or women have not left the opposite gender because they were never with them to begin with. What you are seeing in this modern age of some gay men leaving their wives (or lesbians leaving their husbands) is because they have been lied to by the religious leaders that God didn't make them homosexual and that they needed to get married to the opposite sex. This would not have been the issue when Paulus (Paul) wrote this letter to the Roman Christians.

          The Aramaic text says that these men were ravished with (or unrestrained in) desire against one another. "Ravished with desire" means the men "had excessive desire." The verb ishtarah often carries the meaning of "exceeded," but can also mean unrestrained at: (Jude 1:11, 1 Pet. 4:4, and Ezek. 16:21). This same verb is also used with the word "joy;" in the statement: "to be ravished with joy," meaning, "to be overjoyed." Secondly, the Aramaic word al specifically means "against" when between two nouns. The words "against one another" is literally in the Aramaic "one against one." Those words are there to let the reader know that the following noun (i.e. male) is singular, for the words "the male against the male." Otherwise those words would say "men against men." A few examples of al between two nouns are at the following: "nation against nation..." (Matt. 24:7), "mother against her daughter" (Lk. 12:53) and "Complain not against one another (Lit. one against one), my brethren..." (James 5:9).

           The Greek text likely says "one against another" and "men meeting with men face to face" (Rom. 1:27). The Greek words eis allelous do also mean "against one another" (2 Chron. 20:23). That's not surprising because the word eis also means "against" throughout the Bible (Gen. 20:6; Ex. 10:16; 32:11; 2 Sam. 11:25; etc.). Moreover, those Greek words likely, if not definitely, mean "one against another" because they are followed by the words "men meeting with (en) men." En is the wrong word to suggest "to lie with (meta)." The statement "men meeting with men." suggests that men met other men to attack, fall upon or fight each other (1 Macc. 3:58).

            The statement "men meeting with men" could also be understood as "men against (en) men" (Judg. 15:12). Hence, the Greek word en is like the Latin word in, which the Latin language adopted from that same word (i.e. en). "In" can mean both "with, against." The Latin word "in" appears in those two statements and carries the meaning of "against" more times within the Old and New Testaments than the Greek word en. Also, sometimes a shortened form of a Greek word can carry the meaning of the full word. En could be just understood as a shortened form of en-an-ti-os "against" (Mk. 6:48; Acts 26:9; 28:17; 1 Thess. 2:15; Titus 2:8; etc.). 

          I reject understanding the word al to mean "for" here; which would make the text say "one for one" and "male for male." That is an irresponsible attempt to get a meaning that is similar to our English understanding; which is bias toward gay people, and may not be what the Greek words say. The KJV says "for one another" and "men with men." However, the Aramaic statement: "the male against the male" may only refer to a non-sexual "act of violence." The Bible doesn't give any examples of the word "for," by itself, or connected with another verb, carrying any similar meaning of "to lie with. Hence, translating the word al as "for or with," to imply a male was lying with a male, doesn't seem to make sense in this context. 

          There is no way to say that khad al khad doesn't mean "one against another" here (see James 5:9). That's the most obvious meaning. Also, at (Gal. 5:26), the Aramaic text literally says: "Let us not be lacking glory (or conceited), who are contemning, one against another and envying, one against another."  However, it's also true that khad al khad can means "for one another" (Rom. 15:5). It makes sense there and it doesn't mean it carries that meaning here in Romans chapter 1. The better way to say (or write) "for one another" would be khad l'khad (Titus 3:3). That statement appears so many times throughout the Bible. The reason there are two statements with the same meaning is because the word al and the letter "l" interchange often or are used as substitutes in same statements. Moreover, "one against another" appears to be the correct rendering because that statement is followed by the statements "the male against the male;" who "committed a shameful act" (i.e. an outrageous act of violence, which is shameful).

            The text says that the men "committed shame" or "did a shameful thing" or "treated [others] shamefully." The Aramaic word biht-tha (shame) also means "shameful thing (or act)" at (Jeremiah 11:13, Deut. 22:21, Judith 14:20). Those words could refer to men raping, assaulting or harming other women (or men), committing murder, theft (Jer. 2:26), et cetera. A synonym for biht-tha is saạ-ra "shame, dishonor, insult, wrong." The verb root is saạr, and in the Ithpaal form, the text literally says that the women shall be "treated shamefully or dishonored" at (Isaiah 13:16 & Zechariah 14:2 Peshitta). That means they were raped. The Apostles were treated shamefully [or suffer[ed] abuse - LAMSA] (Acts 5:41). That statement is referring to them being scourged (Acts 5:40).

            Verse 27 of Romans says "and the recompense that was right for their error they received in themselves. The Aramaic words ba-qnom-hon mean “in their essence (or self),” but can be translated as they also are by Dr. Lamsa as in themselves. These men and women received shame and mental grief in their very self as a recompense from God because they were committing shameful acts against others and did things against their instinct. Qnoma means "essence" (CAL), "hypostasis, substance, existence, the individual self, person, etc" (Compendious Syriac Dictionary) and "individuality" (Chaldean Grammar). Oraham's Dictionary defines qno-ma as "...that which underlies all outward manifestations; most important element in any existence, person, etc."

            These men and women were either heterosexual or possibly bisexual. We know this because these men and women had sexual desire for the opposite sex and went against their instinct, whatever that led to.          

            If perhaps the Aramaic text also carries the meanings of: "one for another" or "the male for the male," and hence carries the meaning of "men [sleeping] with men;" then that would just mean that these heterosexual people were having homosexual sex because they were brainwashed by their religious beliefs. Or perhaps out of lust because of the lack of women to sleep with. I currently reject this additional interpretation because I believe the word am "with" would have been a better and clearer word to use {see khad am khad "one with another"} (2 Macc. 14:26; Lk. 2:15; Jn. 6:43, 52). I would also have to see the hypothetical statements "one for another" and "the male for the male" used in a sexual context within the Biblical Books, Deuterocanonical Books or the Apocryphal that were included in the Peshitta or Septuagint Canons. I don't think those statements are used like that within those books, so I think the word al should be translated as "against." The reader could just perhaps understand the statements as referring to violence and rape; since the Greek text uses the word en "with." As stated previously, the word en "with" is the wrong Greek word, as far as the Biblical evidence is concerned, to denote "men lying with men." Nevertheless, in case I'm wrong, and the word en could act as a substitute for meta, then I would say that the Aramaic, Greek and Latin statements could have dual meanings, and saying that the men "committed violence, which included rape" and that there were some brainwashed men and women lying with each other, by consent, because of false religious beliefs. - So, remove any interpretive conditioning you may have and look at what the Aramaic, Greek and Latin texts say in the translations/interpretations that I have given.

Is the Bible Against Homosexuality? by Preacher Mattai © 2016. All rights reserved.


Sub Pages: Rebuttals

Deut. 23:17-18                            Lev. 18:22

1 Cor. 6:9                                   Rom. 1:18-28

Ham's Sin!                    Is Homosexuality a Sin? 

Romans Road