What Does Effeminate Mean In The Bible

Origins of the Term ‘Effeminate’

Effeminate is a term derived from the Latin word effeminates, which was first used in the 16th century. It originally meant ‘having a delicate appearance or manner more typical of a woman than of a man’. In the Bible, the term is used to describe certain men who have characteristics that are seen to be more ‘feminine’ than ‘masculine’.
There are a few different ways in which the term effeminate is used in the Bible. In the Old Testament, effeminate is often used to refer to people who engage in sexual activity that is seen as wrong in the eyes of God. In Leviticus, the Bible states that ‘men who engage in such activities shall be considered as effeminate’. In the New Testament, effeminate is used to refer to people who fail to take responsibility for their actions, who are weak in character, or who generally exhibit an underdog attitude.

Discussion of Effeminate in the Bible

In the New Testament, there are several passages which discuss the term effeminate. In the book of 1 Corinthians, St. Paul writes that ‘effeminate males shall not inherit the kingdom of God’. This reinforces the idea that effeminacy was seen as a sign of moral corruption and was thus condemned by the Bible.
The Book of Proverbs also makes several references to the concept of effeminate. Here, the term is used in a more positive way, as a gentle and careful man is described as ‘effeminate’. This suggests that the term can have both positive and negative connotations, depending on the context in which it is used.

Interpretations of Effeminate in the Bible

The interpretation of effeminate in the Bible is largely left up to the individual. Some may see the term as referring to someone who is morally corrupt and should therefore be avoided. Others may see it as simply referring to a person who is gentle or has a weaker character.
How we interpret the term ‘effeminate’ in the Bible is ultimately up to us, and there is no single, correct answer. It is important to remember that in the Bible, effeminate and similar terms were used within the context of a largely patriarchal society where men were expected to take on a certain role.

Context of Effeminate in the Bible Today

Today, the use of the term ‘effeminate’ has largely changed. While the term still has some of its original meaning, it has largely evolved to have a primarily negative connotation and is used primarily in an insulting way. As such, it is important to be aware of how we use this term, and to consider it from both its original context as well as within today’s modern context.
In the 21st century, there has been a shift in the way we view gender, and society has become much more open to expressing gender in ways that aren’t necessarily based on traditional gender roles. As such, it is no longer necessary to adhere to traditional definitions of gender roles in order to be accepted in society.

Effect on Gender Roles and Equality

The attitude towards effeminacy in the Bible can remain a source of debate today. While not all interpretations of the Bible support the idea that effeminate people should be condemned, it can still have an effect on gender roles and equality in society. By viewing effeminacy as an undesirable trait, it can lead to people who identify as effeminate to be treated less favourably than those who don’t.
At the same time, efforts are being made to create more inclusive attitudes towards gender roles and identity. Today, there are many organizations devoted to raising awareness of issues surrounding gender identity and encouraging people to be open and accepting of those who identify as effeminate.

Effeminate in Literature and Art

The concept of effeminate has also made its way into literature and art over the years. From the Ancient Greeks’ depictions of the god Dionysus to William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, figures who embody effeminacy have become iconic in their own right.
Modern authors have also used the concept of effeminate to explore gender roles and identity in new and creative ways. Novels like Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake and films like Todd Haynes’ Far From Heaven have explored the idea of effeminate in a contemporary context, demonstrating that there is no single, right way to view gender expression.

Effeminate in the Nonbinary Community

The concept of effeminate has also become a source of empowerment within the nonbinary community. For those who identify as nonbinary, the term can provide a way to explore and express gender in a way that is outside of the traditional gender binary.
For many nonbinary people, effeminate is not only a way to identify on a personal level, but also a way to challenge existing social norms surrounding gender roles and expectations. By embracing effeminate characteristics and expressing their gender identity in a way that does not conform to traditional gender roles, nonbinary people challenge the notion that gender must only exist in the binary.


The centuries-old term ‘effeminate’ has undergone numerous transformations over the years. While the Bible originally used the term to describe those who engaged in activities that were seen as morally wrong in the eyes of God, the use and interpretation of the term has evolved significantly over time. Today, effeminate is seen as a source of empowerment and a way to express gender identity in ways that transcend traditional gender roles.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

Leave a Comment