The Modern Day Relevance of Paul’s Letters to the Corinthians by Michael D. Rhodes

This presentation was given May 15, 2013. A video is available.

 

Although written nearly two millennia ago, Paul’s letters to the Saints in Corinth are still in many ways as relevant today as they were when he wrote them. The competitive, social-climbing, status-obsessed, morally decadent society of the Greco-Roman world of Paul’s time with its worldly philosophies has remarkable parallels with our own modern Western culture, and Paul gives valuable counsel on how to stay true to the gospel of Jesus Christ while living in such a world.

During Paul’s ministry, the city of Corinth was the capital of the Roman Province of Achaea, and the largest city in that province with an estimated population of 100,000.[1] Since the Isthmus of Corinth was only a little over three miles wide, the city had two harbors, Cenchreae on the East facing across the Saronic Gulf to Asia, and Lechaeum facing to the west across the Corinthian Gulf to Italy. The two harbors were connected by the δίολκος (diolkos), a road on which cargo and even light ships could be hauled. This unique geographical location at the crossroad between the eastern and western parts of the Roman Empire allowed Corinth to become a major commercial center between Europe and Asia.[2] The city became a melting pot of peoples, including Romans, Greeks, Jews, and immigrants from the various Asian provinces. As one commentator has noted, “Paul’s Corinth was at once the New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas of the ancient world.”[3]

In Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, he explains in a bold and forthright manner the ways in which the members of the church there had strayed from the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. These include contention, striving for position and power, pride, relying on the learning of the world instead of on knowledge that comes through the Spirit, and sexual immorality. More importantly, he clarifies how to counteract these worldly influences by application of the doctrines of the gospel, thereby providing us with some of the most clear and beautiful statements of those doctrines found in the scriptures. These include Christ as the center and focus of all we do, that the gospel of Christ can only be understood through the inspiration of the Spirit, the importance of keeping ourselves morally pure, partaking of the sacrament worthily, gifts of the Spirit, the true meaning of charity, the reality of the Resurrection, baptism for the dead, the three degrees of glory, becoming a “new creature” through the Atonement of Christ, enduring afflictions, etc. In this paper I will focus on just two topics that Paul dealt with, which are particularly relevant to us who live in this modern, wicked world—the superiority of God’s wisdom to the learning of the world and the soul-destroying sin of sexual immorality.

 

The Superiority of God’s Wisdom to the Learning of the World

The culture of the Greco-Roman world in which Paul traveled and taught had its roots in the remarkable development of art, science, philosophy, rhetoric, literature, architecture, and political innovations in Greece in the latter part of the first millennium BC. These were in turn adopted and expanded upon by the Romans and spread throughout their empire. The Corinthian members had begun to interpret the Christian message through Greco-Roman philosophy, and expected Paul to teach using the intellectual methods they were familiar with. But Paul made it clear that this was not how the gospel of Jesus Christ should be taught and understood. He explained,

Now when I myself came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come with eloquent speech or wisdom as I proclaimed to you the mystery of God. For I resolved not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I appeared before you in weakness and fear and with considerable trepidation, and my speaking and my preaching was not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with the convincing proof of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on the power of God. (1 Cor. 2:1–5, author’s translation)

A hallmark of Greco-Roman teaching and oratory was the use of rhetoric: eloquent, polished, well-reasoned argumentation designed to persuade. Paul emphasized that he deliberately chose not to follow this practice of the art of persuasion. He explained that the power of the gospel was contained in what he called τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ θεοῦ (to mystērion tou theou), “the mystery of God.” (Though a number of manuscripts have μαρτύριον (martyrion), “testimony,” which the KJV follows, earlier manuscripts suggest that the correct word should be μυστήριον (mystērion), “mystery.” My translation follows these.[4]) In verse 7 Paul clarifies what he means by the word “mystery”—it denoted knowledge previously unknown, which God reveals only to a select group of people, usually through religious rite, and which was to be kept secret.[5] The emphasis is on its property as something revealed, something too profound to be arrived at through human reason or intellect. Paul’s use of the word emphasizes that knowledge of the Christian gospel comes strictly through revelation from God.[6]

Paul did not want the Corinthians to be converted to God’s mysteries intellectually, ἐν σοφίᾳ ἀνθρώπων (en sophia anthrōpōn) “by human wisdom”—such a conversion cannot endure trials and tribulation. True conversion can only come through personal revelation from the Holy Spirit—“through the power of God.” As Elder Bruce R. McConkie pointed out, “there was of old, there is now, and there shall be only one approved and proper way to preach the gospel—Preach by the power of the Spirit. Anything short of this is not of God and has neither converting nor saving power.”[7]

Paul goes on to contrast the wisdom of men with the wisdom of God:

However, we do speak wisdom among the spiritually mature, but not the wisdom of this world or of the leaders of this present age who are doomed to perish. Instead, we speak God’s wisdom which is hidden in a mystery, which God foreordained for our glory before the world was. (1 Cor. 2:6–7, author’s translation)

Paul admits that he does indeed speak a specific kind of wisdom, but his is radically different from the one with which some of the Corinthian Saints have become enamored. His words show us that there is nothing inherently evil about wisdom and using the intellect, but to be proper or correct, it must be guided and informed by the Spirit of God, which the world in general ignores.[8] Such wisdom is “hidden in a mystery.” As noted above, the Greek term μυστήριον (mystērion), unlike the English word “mystery,” did not denote that which was impenetrable because it was inherently unintelligible or incoherent. Rather, it pointed to that which was too profound for human ingenuity and could not be obtained by unassisted human logic or reasoning. It could be gained only by the Spirit. Once disclosed, however, it made perfect sense to the spiritually mature.

For those living in the last days, the Lord has promised that as his prophets abide in him, he will give them “the keys of the mystery of those things which have been sealed, even things which were from the foundation of the world and things which shall come from that time until the time of my coming” (D&C 35:18).

In the remaining verses of chapter 2, Paul explains, with penetrating clarity, the fundamental differences between knowledge obtained spiritually and knowledge obtained through the intellect. He begins with what appears to be a scriptural quote, but one that is not found in the Old Testament as it exists today.[9] “But as it is written: ‘That which neither eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor entered into a person’s heart—all these things God has prepared for those who love him’” (1 Cor. 2:9, author’s translation). The phrase emphasizes the complete inability of human senses or the power of the human mind to even imagine what God intends for the faithful.

Paul continues,

But to us God has revealed them by the Spirit, for the Spirit fathoms all things, even the deep things of God. For what human being understands human things except the human spirit that is in him? So too, no one understands the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which comes from God, so that we can understand the things which God has generously given to us; which we also speak, not with words taught by human wisdom but those taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things by means of spiritual things. (1 Cor. 2:10–13, author’s translation)

Only the spiritually mature, those who love God and are worthy of the inspiration of the Spirit, are privileged to know these things. This inspiration comes thorough the light of Christ, “the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—the light which is in all things, which giveth light to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things” (D&C 88:11–13).

Speaking of these “deep things,” Elder Alvin R. Dyer stated that “the ‘deep things of God,’ also referred to scripturally as ‘the mysteries of the kingdom’ and the ‘mystery of his will,’ pertain to laws, principles, and conditions of man’s eternal existence. The whole vast and intricate system of life is a mysterious challenge unto man unless he is truthfully informed.”[10]

Elder Neal A. Maxwell noted that “God’s purposes, His patience, His power, and His profound love, . . . and other truths are among what Paul called ‘the deep things of God’ (1 Cor. 2:10).”[11]

In contrast, Paul stresses that “the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, because they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2: 14, author’s translation). The adjective translated “natural” is ψυχικός (psychikos), which in Koine Greek referred to “the life of the natural world and whatever belongs to it, in contrast to the realm of experience whose central characteristic is πνεῦμα, natural, unspiritual, worldly.”[12] The words “natural man” correspond exactly with King Benjamin’s characterization of “the natural man” as “an enemy to God” as found in Mosiah 3:19.

Joseph Fielding Smith also described the impossibility of understanding the things of God through our intellect alone:

It behooves the Latter-day Saints, and all men, to make themselves acquainted with “the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent,” but can we through our own wisdom find out God? Can we by our unaided ingenuity and learning fathom his purposes and comprehend his will? We have, I think, witnessed examples enough of such efforts on the part of the intelligent world, to convince us that it is impossible. The ways and wisdom of God are not the ways and wisdom of Man. How then can we know “the only true and living God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent?”—for to obtain this knowledge would be to obtain the secret or key to eternal life.[13]

Finally, in verses 15–16 Paul brings to a conclusion his entire line of thought that he began developing in the seventeenth verse of chapter 1. This contains four parts that can be outlined thus:

A. A spiritual person discerns or correctly judges all things:

B. But that person can be correctly discerned or judged by no one.

B. “For who knows the mind of the Lord so that he can advise him?”

A. “But we have the mind of Christ” and can, therefore, make proper judgments.[14]

The natural man is, by his self-imposed limitations, unable to discern and, therefore, judge (ἀνακρίνω – anakrinō) the things of God and his people because such things can be understood only by the Spirit. The spiritual person, on the other hand, not binding himself to the transitory and temporal, can discern (anakrinō) Godly things.

The second line stands in contrast with the first and reverses the image in the first line. Paul plays on the same word used in the first line, ἀνακρίνω (anakrinō), “to discern, judge.” The natural man cannot discern or judge correctly the spiritual man while the spiritual man, who can fully understand the profane and temporal world order, can discern and properly judge those therein.[15]

The third line gives scriptural support to Paul’s point in the second line. To get his point across, the Apostle reworks Isaiah 40:13, turning it into a rhetorical question: “Who can know God’s mind and counsel Him?” The implied answer is, “No one!” Paul’s point is that no sensible person would want to match wits with God. The jab is pointed at his Corinthian detractors who are so taken with the wisdom of the world that they have denounced the cross and with it the Resurrection. Paul’s reproach skillfully shows them that rejecting the cross and saying that God would not work in that way are tantamount to telling God what he can and cannot do. That is real foolishness.[16]

With the final line, Paul returns to the point of the first one. He explains exactly why he, and those who follow him, can properly discern and judge: “We have the mind of Christ.” Here the nuance of the word “mind” (νοῦς, nous) appears to refer to the Savior’s thoughts as revealed to the righteous by the Holy Spirit.[17] According to Elder Dallin H. Oaks,

The Apostle Paul said that persons who have received the Spirit of God “have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16). I understand this to mean that persons who are proceeding toward the needed conversion are beginning to see things as our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, see them. They are hearing His voice instead of the voice of the world, and they are doing things in His way instead of by the ways of the world.[18]

In chapter 3, Paul issues a stern warning to all those who think they are wise. “Let no one deceive himself. If any one of you thinks he is wise in the ways of this world, let him become a fool, so that he might become truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness from God’s point of view, for it is written, ‘He traps the wise in their own trickery,’ and further, ‘The Lord knows that the reasoning of the wise is futile’” (1 Cor. 3:18–20, author’s translation).

 

The Soul-Destroying Sin of Sexual Immorality

The standards of sexual conduct in the Greco-Roman culture of Paul’s time were in direct conflict with the strict standards of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Fornication, adultery and homosexuality were all accepted norms. Corinth in particular was notorious for its laxness in this regard. The Greek verb κορινθιάζομαι (korinthiazomai), literally “to Corinthize” meant to commit fornication.[19] Paul’s ringing denunciation of these soul-destroying activities is as relevant to us now as it was to the ancient Corinthians, as we see our own culture becoming more and more tolerant of divinely prohibited sexual misconduct.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, Paul gives a detailed list of the kind of sins that will prevent a person from inheriting “the kingdom of God.” Prominent among these are those acts that deal with the misuse of the divine power of procreation, πόρνοι (pornoi), μοιχοί (moichoi), μαλακοί (malakoi) and ἀρσενοκοῖται (arsenokoitai). Let’s look at each of these in turn.

The noun πόρνος (pornos) was a general term that referred to a person, married or unmarried, who practiced sexual immorality,[20] that is, one who had sexual intercourse with anyone who was not his or her lawful spouse. The KJV translates this as “fornicators.” “Those who are sexually immoral” best catches the modern English sense of the word.

The noun μοιχός (moichos) referred specifically to an adulterer, that is, a married person who has sexual intercourse with someone other than his or her spouse.[21]

μαλακός (malkos) was an adjective used nominally, and literally meant “soft.” It is translated as “effeminate” in the KJV. In this context it referred to the passive male partner in a homosexual act.[22] This was in contrast to ἀρσενοκοίτης (arsenokoitēs), a noun denoting the active male partner in a homosexual act.[23] The KJV translates this as “abusers of themselves with mankind.” Paul emphasizes that any sort of male homosexual activity is immoral and sinful in the eyes of God. Although Paul does not specifically mention female homosexual activity in his letter to the Corinthians, he does warn against it in his letter to the Romans:

For this reason God turned them over to disgraceful passions, for just as their women have replaced natural sexual relations for those that are contrary to nature, likewise the men also have abandoned natural sexual relations with a woman and are inflamed with lust for each other, men committing indecent acts with men and receiving in themselves the a fitting penalty for their aberrant behavior. (Rom. 1:26–27, author’s translation)

Here Paul equally condemns both female and male homosexual relations, which he describes as “παρὰ φύσιν” (para physin) “contrary to nature,” i.e. “unnatural,”[24] and πλάνη (planē) “aberrant behavior.”[25]

In the phrase “men committing indecent acts with men,” ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσιν τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην κατεργαζόμενοι (arsenes en arsesin tēn aschēmosynēn katergazomenoi), Paul’s use of the proposition ἐν (en) “in” rather than σύν (syn) or μετά (meta) “with” is significant. ἐν designates a close personal relationship in which one is under the control or influence of another, and is often used to describe a person’s relationship with God or Christ.[26] Paul makes it clear that homosexual relations are particularly destructive of our relationship with God and Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 6:12 Paul is responding to what seems to have been a slogan bandied about by one or more of the Church factions in order to justify their indiscriminant and morally wrong behavior.[27] The slogan being πάντα μοι ἔξεστιν (panta moi exestin) literally, “all things are lawful/possible for me”[28] or “I can do anything I want.” Paul’s response is “I can do anything, but not all things are beneficial for me. I can do anything, but I refuse to be controlled by anything” (1 Cor. 6:12, author’s translation). His point is that while we are completely free to do whatever we want, there are many things we should not do because they have negative consequences.

Continuing his discourse, Paul explains why sexual immorality in particular is so wrong in the eyes of God. Simply put, “the body is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (1 Cor. 6:14, author’s translation). The word translated “sexual immorality” is πορνεία (porneia), which is the general term for any kind of sexual misconduct,[29] i.e. fornication, adultery and homosexual relations.

Paul continues,

Don’t you understand that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I take the members of Christ and make them the members of a whore? Certainly not! Don’t you understand the one who is joined together with a prostitute becomes one body, for it is said, “They shall become one flesh.” But one who is joined with the Lord becomes one spirit with him. (1 Cor. 6:15–20, author’s translation)

To underscore the severity of sexual sin, Paul explains that one who has joined the church has become a “member” of the body of Christ. Because of the intimate association that occurs in sexual relations, the participating partners literally become “one body,” a reference to Genesis 2:24, and it is tantamount to making the members of Christ the members of a whore. To misuse the divine powers of procreation is among the most serious of sins in the eyes of God.[30] We should “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 5:18, author’s translation).

Paul emphasizes that sexual sins differ from all others because our body is “a temple for the Holy Spirit” that dwells in us. Paul made the same point earlier, “Don’t you understand that you are a temple of God and God’s Spirit dwells within you? If anyone tries to corrupt God’s temple, God will destroy that person, for God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple!” (1 Cor. 3:16–17, author’s translation).

Paul’s clear and unambiguous condemnation of all sexual immorality is especially relevant in our day when sexual perversions are tolerated and even encouraged. Some might argue that other things that Paul prohibited, such as members of the church suing each other in a civil court (1 Cor. 6:1–8), the eating meat offered to idols and idol worship (1 Cor. 10:14–22), the requirement that women wear head coverings when they pray (1 Cor. 11:2–16), etc. are no longer prohibited to Christians, so why should premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality be prohibited today? The answer, of course, is that we base our understanding of what is relevant to morality today not only on the words of Paul, but on the words of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, those men we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators. This brings us back to the point made in the first part of this paper—we can only know things of God by revelation and the Spirit of God.

Church leaders today are united in their emphasis the eternal verity of the law of chastity. President Spencer W. Kimball stated,

That the Church’s stand on morality may be understood, we declare firmly and unalterably it is not an outworn garment, faded, old-fashioned, and threadbare. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and His covenants and doctrines are immutable; and when the sun grows cold and the stars no longer shine, the law of chastity will still be basic in God’s world and in the Lord’s Church. Old values are upheld by the Church not because they are old, but rather because through the ages they have proved right. It will always be the rule.[31]

Elder David A. Bednar, in April 2013 General Conference, observed,

Because a physical body is so central to the Father’s plan of happiness and our spiritual development, Lucifer seeks to frustrate our progression by tempting us to use our bodies improperly. One of the ultimate ironies of eternity is that the adversary, who is miserable precisely because he has no physical body, entices us to share in his misery through the improper use of our bodies. The very tool he does not have is thus the primary target of his attempts to lure us to spiritual destruction.

Violating the law of chastity is a grievous sin and a misuse of our physical tabernacles. To those who know and understand the plan of salvation, defiling the body is an act of rebellion (see Mosiah 2:36–37; D&C 64:34–35) and a denial of our true identity as sons and daughters of God. As we look beyond mortality and into eternity, it is easy to discern that the counterfeit companionship advocated by the adversary is temporary and empty.[32]

Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained,

The power to create mortal life is the most exalted power God has given his children. Its use was mandated in the first commandment, but another important commandment was given to forbid its misuse. The emphasis we place on the law of chastity is explained by our understanding of the purpose of our procreative powers in the accomplishment of God’s plan. . . .

Outside the bonds of marriage, all uses of the procreative power are to one degree or another a sinful degrading and perversion of the most divine attribute of men and women.[33]

President Gordon B. Hinckley stated:

Prophets of God have repeatedly taught through the ages that practices of homosexual relations, fornication, and adultery are grievous sins. Sexual relations outside the bonds of marriage are forbidden by the Lord. We reaffirm those teachings. . . . The Lord has proclaimed that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and is intended to be an eternal relationship bonded by trust and fidelity. Latter-day Saints, of all people, should marry with this sacred objective in mind. Marriage should not be viewed as a therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations or practices, which first should clearly be overcome with a firm and fixed determination never to slip to such practices again. Having said this, I desire now to say with emphasis that our concern for the bitter fruit of sin is coupled with Christlike sympathy for its victims, innocent or culpable. We advocate the example of the Lord, who condemned the sin, yet loved the sinner. We should reach out with kindness and comfort to the afflicted, ministering to their needs and assisting them with their problems. We repeat, however, that the way of safety and the road to happiness lie in abstinence before marriage and fidelity following marriage.[34]

The Family: A Proclamation to the World, issued by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve gives a solemn warning to the world of the consequences of violating the law of chastity.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

In these latter days that precede the return of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, we face many of the same challenges to living the gospel that the ancient Saints did. Paul’s counsel to them applies equally well to us. Careful study and pondering of his writings, as clarified and expanded by the words of modern prophets and apostles, can aid us in overcoming the world.

 

Notes

[1] “72,500–116,000 people seem to have inhabited Corinth and Lechaion.” Thompkins, Daniel B. Review of Donald W. Engels, “Roman Corinth: an Alternative Model for the Classical City,” Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 01.01.11, available online http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1990/01.01.11.html.

[2] Strabo, Geography 8.6.20, wrote, “Corinth is called ‘wealthy’ because of its commerce, since it is situated on the Isthmus and is master of two harbors, of which one leads straight to Asia, and the other to Italy; and it makes easy the exchange of merchandise from both countries.”

[3] Fee, Gordon D. The First Epistle to the Corinthians. (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Erdmans, 1987), 3.

[4] Metzger, Bruce M., & United Bible Societies. A textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 2nd ed.: A Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament. (London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994), 545. For a careful analysis, see Collins, First Corinthians, 118.

[5] Danker, Frederick William, ed., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000,) 661. In apocalyptic literature of the Jews, mystery was associated with the outpouring of revealed knowledge of those salvific events associated with the age to come. Among the Christians, it pointed to God’s dealings with his people in preparation for his millennial reign. See Raymond F. Collins, First Corinthians, (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999), 115.

[6] BDAG, 662; Louw, Johannes P. and Eugene A. Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains. New York: United Bible Societies, 1996, § 28.77, compare 53.15.

[7] McConkie, Bruce R., Doctrinal New Testament Commentary. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–73), 2:318.

[8] Elder McConkie notes that “there is much reasoning and intellectuality in the world which prepares men for that preaching which carries conviction and brings conversion.” McConkie, DNTC, 2:319.

[9] Possible sources for various parts of the quotation include Isa. 64:4 for lines 1 and 2, and the Septuagint of Isa. 65:16 for line 3. For discussion see Fitzmyer, Joseph A. First Corinthians (Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) (New Haven: Yale UP, 2008), 177–78.

[10] Dyer, Alvin R. Who Am I, 4th ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1973), 333.

[11] Maxwell, Neal A. A Wonderful Flood of Light. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1990), 58.

[12] BDAG, 1100.

[13] Smith, Joseph Fielding. Doctrines of Salvation, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1999), 59.

[14] Fee, First Epistle, 117.

[15] This is another scripture that needs to be kept in context. The reason is that, as one scholar notes, “there are always some who consider themselves full of the Spirit in such a way as to be beyond discipline or counsel of others.” In Corinth, Paul faced a group of these. Fee, First Epistle, 118.

[16] Fee, First Epistle, 119.

[17] In Paul’s Bible, the Septuagint, the Greek word νοῦς (nous) translates the Hebrew רוּחַ (rūach), “spirit,” often referring to the spirit that emanates from God.

[18] Oaks, Dallin H. “The Challenge to Become.” Ensign 30 no. 11. Nov. 2000, 34.

[19] Liddell, H. G., R. Scott, H. S. Jones, and R. McKenzie. A Greek-English Lexicon. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), 981.

[20] BDAG, 855.

[21] BDAG, 657.

[22] BDAG, 613; Louw–Nida § 88.281.

[23] BDAG, 135; Louw–Nida § 88.280.

[24] Philo and Josephus also describe homosexual relations as παρὰ φύσιν (para physin), Philo, Change of Names, 111–12; Special Laws, 4.79; Decalogue, 142, 150; Josephus, Against Apion, 2.273.

[25] The root sense of πλάνη (planē) is “wandering” with the metaphorical sense of “going astray,” LSJ, 1411, “wandering from the path of truth,” BDAG, 822, and “perversion.” Louw–Nida § 88.262.

[26] BDAG, 327.

[27] Its derivation is unknown. It may have been generated from the Stoic philosophy concerning freedom (eleutheria ἐλευθερία, eleutheria) and the right of self-determination (ἐξουςία αὐτοπραγίας, exousia autopragias). See Diogenes Laertius 7.121; Epictetus, Dissertations. 1.1.21. However, the idea was not unknown to the Jews. See Philo, Every Good Man is Free. 9.59.

[28] BDAG, 348.

[29] BDAG, 854.

[30] See Alma 39:5–9.

[31] Kimball, Spencer W., Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball. (Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 1995), 265.

[32] Bednar, David A., “We Believe in Being Chaste.” Ensign 43 no. 5, May 2013, 43.

[33] Oaks, Dallin H., “The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign 32 no. 11, Nov. 1993, 74.

[34] Hinckley, Gordon B., Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley. (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1997), 9.

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