What the best way to understand the word malakos?


I notice it shows up in three passages and I’ll post them here with a common translation of it.

Matthew 11:8
New American Standard Bible
8 But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in ((soft)) clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces!

Luke 7:25
New American Standard Bible
25 But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in ((soft)) clothing? Those who are splendidly clothed and live in luxury are found in royal palaces!

1 Corinthians 6:9
New American Standard Bible
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers………etc.

But this verse is also often translated as

“ or do you not …….neither thr sexuakky immoral, idolaters or the effeminate…etc.

It says the word comes from meaning soft. I see many using it claim it’s about masculine versus feminine clothes and mannerism but it seems to be more about those who lord their luxury around in the face of others by wearing very expensive clothes.

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Malakos is the root word for malacology, and (through Latin) cognate with malleable, mollusk, mollify, etc…

As to meaning, the “look at me, I have money”, indication is the interpretation that I have always heard.


I’ve heard this term used in an accusatory fashion against men who display effeminate characteristics. The most obvious interpretation however seems to relate to people who have a weak spiritual walk in the sense you described. People with weak morality, and possibly a worldly attitude (in the most negative sense) pertaining to living in luxury without even thinking about the less fortunate. This is a good point to bring up! Thank you for addressing it. People read the Book in English and take it for face value.

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