The part I am curious about is the last phrase: "[indecency manufacturing] and [the compensation which was a necessity of their delusion in themselves accepting]".

ασχημοσύνην κατεργαζόμενοι και την αντιμισθίαν ην έδει της πλάνης αυτών εν εαυτοίς απολαμβάνοντες

I haven't looked up sources for these words, which I normally do for highly charged verses like this because historical lexicographers often liked to change or hide meanings of words for the purposes of promoting an ideology. I might, but first I need to understand what this sentence actually says in clear english.


Here is my best attempt(4) so far:

And in a like manner, the males abandoned the natural use of the female and were inflamed for their desire for each other. The males created shame with each other and the necessary consequence for going astray.

  • This type of question usually is treated in "Biblical hermeneutics"
    – fdb
    Oct 10, 2020 at 16:47
  • 3
    @fdb They don't like me there because I challenge the 'standard' interpretation of words. I look at words in greater contexts than they are willing to consider and pretty much have all my questions closed. They say that since I don't accept the standard 'tools', I am stating an opinion and 'no opinions are allowed here'.
    – Mardymar
    Oct 10, 2020 at 18:23
  • 2
    @fdb They don't like me, and I don't care much for them. That's why I'm here.
    – Mardymar
    Oct 10, 2020 at 18:25
  • 1
    @Mardymar I hope you've found this site more welcoming! While any community has limits to how far from some standard approaches one can go, asking for alternative readings and the uniqueness of a particular interpretation from the point of view of the language itself is most certainly within our scope. I am happy to see questions like this on our site. Welcome aboard!
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Oct 10, 2020 at 21:43
  • 2
    @Mardymar In the original Greek, there doesn't seem to be any connection between the "shame" (ἀσχημοσύνη) and the "consequence" (ἀντιμισθία). The first is part of a euphemism for (presumably) having sex, and the second is about the results of the sex. Where does the equation of the two come from?
    – Draconis
    Oct 11, 2020 at 1:11

2 Answers 2


Here's my attempt at a compromise between extreme literalism and full idiomatic English (so that hopefully it'll be helpful to you as you compare against the Greek).

Greek text taken from the SBL edition, with a couple parts rearranged slightly to make the English flow better. This edition notably adds accents and breathings (which weren't consistent in the original manuscripts), which shows that the ην here is ἥν hēn "which" rather than ἦν ēn "was".

ὁμοίως τε καὶ οἱ ἄρσενες

In the same way, the males,

ἀφέντες τὴν φυσικὴν χρῆσιν τῆς θηλείας

throwing away/abandoning the natural usage of the female (*),

ἐξεκαύθησαν ἐν τῇ ὀρέξει αὐτῶν εἰς ἀλλήλους,

were inflamed in their own desire towards each other,

ἄρσενες ἐν ἄρσεσιν τὴν ἀσχημοσύνην κατεργαζόμενοι καὶ

males creating moral indecency with [other] males, and

ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἀπολαμβάνοντες

taking (**) upon themselves

τὴν ἀντιμισθίαν ἣν ἔδει τῆς πλάνης αὐτῶν.

the recompense which was required for their straying (***).

(*) Only a single "female". Presumably there was more than one woman in this community, so I'd translate it as something like "the feminine [sex]" instead of "the female [person]".
(**) The implication being something like "getting what they deserved" or "receiving what they were owed".
(***) As in "straying from the [righteous] path".

  • How did you get 'moral' indecency from indecency 'manufacturing'? If the literal translation holds, it would mean more like "bringing about indecency" I'd imagine, and that's according to an extremely conservative translator.
    – Mardymar
    Oct 10, 2020 at 16:51
  • 2
    @Mardymar Ἀσχημοσύνη is literally something like "lack of elegance" (ἀ-σχημ-οσύνη = not-shape-fulness), but it can also mean "moral indecency" or "obscenity" (in the sense of "something that goes against propriety"). Κατεργάζομαι can be translated as "manufacture" but it can also just be translated as "create", which seems much more natural here: what does it mean to "manufacture" indecency?
    – Draconis
    Oct 10, 2020 at 16:56
  • @Mardymar Ah, I see what you mean with the "manufacturing" now. The verb here comes from ἔργον "work" or "labor", so there's some implication that these people were actively putting in effort to create this indecency (which seems weird to me; Koine isn't my specialty so maybe someone else will chime in and say the verb had a different connotation by Paul's time).
    – Draconis
    Oct 10, 2020 at 16:59
  • According to Thayer, a lexicographer I have little trust in: 1) to perform, accomplish, achieve 2) to work out i.e. to do that from which something results 2a) of things: bring about, result in 3) to fashion i.e. render one fit for a thing
    – Mardymar
    Oct 10, 2020 at 16:59
  • Understandable. I do appreciate the effort, though!
    – Mardymar
    Oct 10, 2020 at 17:00

The greater context talks about how people 'knew God' but "exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles." i.e. pagans and idolaters. So god handed them over to 'desires of their hearts unto uncleaness (ακαθαρσίαν)"

So, in that context, here is what I got from the help of others on here (thank you):

And in a like manner, the males abandoned the natural use of the female and were inflamed with their desire for each other. The males created shame with each other. The shame was the necessary consequence for going astray.

I took a liberty of attaching shame to consequence here because of the greater biblical context like Adam and Eve not noticing their nakedness before the fall and not being 'ashamed', elsewhere in Paul 'our shameful (ἀσχήμων) parts (of our body in the church) will have more comeliness'.

The part that uses the exact same word is:

"Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame (ἀσχημοσύνη)."

So that is why I used 'shame' and 'consequence' the way I did. If I am in any way misleading myself on this, please don't hesitate to call b.s. And I would rather have a version that includes parts of 'I'm not 100% sure, but here are some options' than a narrow translation.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.