Romans 1 was only invented as anti-gay by Maître Pierre Chanteur (Peter Cantor for you lot) in late 12th century Paris. Up to then the general idea was that the gloss 26-27 was about "bisexuals" to us, exchanging what they had for what wasn't theirs. Likeways Johannes Chrysostomos around 400 was the first to interpret the "women" as tribades. Most others (all until J Chrys) thought they were – what the Alexandrian philosophers deemed – "used" improperly, from behind.
Modern Romans consists of 2 letters; Romans with additions and the Letter of recommendation for Febé (Rom 1.7-12 + 16.1-16+20b). There are 4 authors: Paul, Marcion around 140, Bishop Polycarp’s boys in Smyrna in the 150ies and Clement of Alexandra around 180 (= Papyrus 46).
What is used in today’s translations is not the eldest manuscript the p 46 (written 270-300) containing the Corpus paulinum (apart from the Pastorals + non Paulinian Hebrews), a book of the eldest type (simple fold), which was found unscathed in the late 1920ies, but mutilated (the outer 8 leaves missing) before going on the market, but the 5th century Byzantine harmonization.
Romans 1.16-23 according to the New Revised Standard Version 1989:
16 For I am not ashamed [ep-aisxunomai; same word as ten asxemosúnen in v. 27] of the gospel; (it is) the power of God for salvation to everyone [pantì = all] who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith [ek pístews eis pístin = from faith to faith]; as it is written, ‘The one who is righteous will live by [ek = from] faith.
18 For the wrath [now, in a Paulinian context I would very much suggest that “Wrath” should be Grace instead; the Grace of God shows it self upon the unrighteous. The "wrath of God" is found only once each in deutero-Paulinian Ephesians and Colossians. I think “wrath” is an anti-cosmic change by Marcion (whom I think wrote Col and 1 Thess)] of God is revealed from heaven against [epí = for] all ungodliness [a-sébeian = im-pious] and wickedness [a-dikían = un-Righteousness] of those who by their wickedness [a-letheían = wrong-doing] suppress the truth.
The next passage verses 19-25 is emblematic of certain Jewish Hellenistic Wisdom literature. It is in reality the Alexandrian Museiwn’s explanation for idolatry; the peoples of this World having turned away from The Highest Being to Gods of their own invention (the Museiwn saw the gods as materialized Concepts, cf Shinto in Japan).
I do not know if this kind of thinking can be attributed to Paul himself, or whether it is a (somewhat heavyhanded) redaction or a substitute by Marcion or Clement. There is a great number of un-typical words in verses 19-32.
The imagery is Egyptian, somehow surprising perhaps in a letter for Rome - which this probably is, possibly having been found in Rome by Marcion, and at that date unknown in the East. The importance of the find prompting his own edition of the Letters of Paul.
I would explain the Egyptian flavour as coming from the 2nd Commandment: no idols, not worship them, not serve them.
As we know the anti-moderns claim (post 1978?) that this is Genesis 1-2 instead. Not very likely, I would say.
19 For what can be known about God is plain [fanerón = has made evident, shown] to [en = in] them, because God has shown it [efanérwsen] to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.
So they are without excuse; 21 for though they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking [dialogismoîs = dialectic thinking, reasoning], and their senseless minds [kardía = hearts] were darkened.
22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools; 23 and they exchanged [éllaksan = changed] the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles [all Egyptian Gods].
In the following verses the translation exaggerates the words of the text, preparing for an anti-gay rendering of the gloss in verses 26-27.
24 Therefore God gave them up [parédwken = abandon, as in the Gethsemane scene] in the lusts [epithumíais = (material) desires as per the 10th Commandment] of their hearts to impurity [akatharsían = cultic impurity, 2nd Commandment], to the degrading [atimázesthai = dishonouring, verb] of their bodies [tà swmata, not sarx; Flesh] among [en = in] themselves, 25 because they exchanged [metéllaksan = ex-changed] the truth about God [tén alétheian toû theoû = God’s own truth, not the teaching of whomever] for a lie [pseúdei] and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
And worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. cf Deuteronomy 5.7-10.
Now, this first doxología makes me think that Marcion may be the father of verses 19-25. The second, more famous, doxología is the hopping one, found in 4 different places in the manuscripts, and often attributed to Marcion as it ends the Athos manuscript (about 800) - but it seems Tertullian says Marcion did not quote the second doxología in his writings.
The second doxología is found after 14.23 in Athos (maybe Marcion), after 15.33 in p 46 (Clement), after 14.23 AND after 16.23 in the Alexandrinus. Also, in some Byzantine manuscripts, it’s found after 16.24. This hopping about irrefutably discloses that the present Romans is a combination of several versions.
Then follows a gloss, to my mind by Clement of Alexandria about 180. It’s heavily pro-philosophy, but not anti-gay, as in today’s translations. The subject is, as always in philosophy, the spilling of semen for non procreative purposes; masturbation (“Every Sperm is Sacred”).
26 For this reason God gave them up [parédwken = abandon] to degrading [atimías = dis-honouring, adjective] passions [páthe. The choice of this word – of Passion fame – reflects the Alexandrian view that all passions are degrading; a-pathía is the Ideal]. Aí te gàr [Even] Their women [théleiai = cunts, not women. Not even the misogynic Pastorals ever use this word] exchanged [metéllaksan] tén [the] natural [fusikèn = according to nature; for procreative purposes] intercourse [xrêsin = use (by the men)] for tén [the] unnatural [parà fúsin = to the side of, besides].
Like Eschaton, parà fúsin is dative: to the side of, besides nature.
The Vetus latina, the Old Latin translation (2nd century North Africa) here gives extra naturam; besides nature. So this is not contra naturam; “against” nature, as changed in the pro celibacy 12th century Versio vulgata, and even less “un-natural”, which is a Scholastic abstract Concept.
It was a normative inversion ("natural" law) of the negative "nature" of the ancient Platonists, cf The Fables of Clement.
It may be noted that the Swedish “translation” for the contra of the Versio vulgata; “mot”, up to the beginning of the 20th century meant by, with, to the side of, in all but churchy texts.
Of course, the use of the scholastic concept “unnatural” in a 20th century translation is intentionally misleading.
27 and in the same way also the men [ársenes = males], giving up natural intercourse [tén fusikèn xrésin = the natural (i.e. procreative) use] with [tês = of the] women [cunts], were consumed [eksekaúthesan = burning – consumed is the result; the ashes] with passion [oréksei = lust] for one another. Men “committed shameless acts with men” [ársenes en ársesin tèn asxemosúnen katergazómenoi = males in males the shame (ful things) working] and received in their own persons [en eautoîs apolambanontes = fell back on themselves] the due penalty [antimisthían = dishonour] for their error [plánes = mis-take, NOT error].
The whole gloss correctly: 26 For this God abandoned them to dishonouring passions. Even their cunts exchanged the “procreative” use for the “non procreative”. 27 Likeways, also the males giving up the "procreative" use of the cunts, were enflamed by lust for one another. Males in males the shame (ful things) arose, and the dishonour of their mistake fell back on themselves.
Very graphic this one. The word tèn asxemosúnen; the shame. “the secret parts”, is the same as in the Taboos in Leviticus 18.
But note, that Paul himself contradicts this in verse 16: I am not ashamed!
Now, the use of a gloss is to alter the existing meaning of the phrase, either to “clarify” or to add something that is not in the text – and is understood not to be in the text!
This gloss makes the mildly Hellenizing wanderings of Paul or Marcion into a full blown Philosophical statement of the late 2nd Century Platonizing Alexandria.
I would suggest that the rest of the (modern) chapter 1 is from the disciplin freaks at Smyrna in the 150ies.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge [this is funny: Kaì kathws ouk endokímasan tón Theón… Zerwick gives 2 alternatives; “put to the test, hence approve” or “see fit”, the NRSV chooses both! Correctly: And as they did not try] God, exein en epignwsei [which they had in knowledge, knew] God gave them up [parédwken, again] to a debased mind [adókimon noun = untrue, false, not genuine, mind, mind-set] and to things that [poieîn tà mè katékonta = doing what] should not be done.
29 They were filled with [peplerwménous, can’t find this but it's probably correct] every kind of wickedness [adikia = unrighteousness, injustice], evil, covetousness [pleoneksía], malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
32 Oítines [whereas] They know God’s decree, that those who practice [poiaûta = do] such things deserve to die [Death as in Genesis 3; not being part of the Covenant] — yet they not only do them but even applaud others who practice them.
Now, verses 29-31 (close to alias 2nd Tim 3.2-4) are really impossible to translate with any certainty, because like all 2nd century Catalogues of Sins, it consists of isolated words without Context...
The New Revised Standard Version does rather well, but verse 28 is horrible.
Correctly: 28 And as they did not try God which they knew, God abandoned them to a false mind-set doing what should not be done.
Text without Context is Pretext
Text without Context is Pretext