There is some debate over how Luke 17:34 should be translated, whether on “that night” there are “two people in one bed” or “two men in one bed.”
The NIV, for example, favor the first rendering:
I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.
On the other hand, the KJV renders the phrase as “two men in one bed.”
I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
People who support the “two people in one bed” reading say this is a better rendering because 1) the word “man” does not appear in the Greek, 2) that the masculine construction allows either “two people” or “two men,” 3) that the rendering which allows the most flexibility for the reader is the preferred rendering, and 4) that translators need to discard their sexist preference for the “generic he.”
To which I reply: The rendering “two men in one bed” is preferable because 1) Luke frequently employs male/female pairings in his gospel, 2) “two men” is a legitimate rendering, 3) the “two people” rendering disrupts the carefully crafted symmetry of verses 34 & 35, 4) this is not a case of a preference for the generic he; the context indicates that the masculine pronoun is appropriate, and 5) the verse in context (immediately following the story of Sodom in which male-on-male sex is a major feature) has raised the thought of homosexuality in the minds of Christian readers for hundreds of years.
Taken in isolation, verse 34 is ambiguous, and the question of rendering could be 50/50. But its placement within the context of Luke’s Small Apocalypse itself (Luke 17:22-37) indicates otherwise. With the Roman cultural icons of same-sex love (Zeus & Ganymede), the “two women grinding together” at night, and Judaism’s iconic story related to man-on-man sex, the “two men in one bed” rendering is very much indicated contextually.
This is not, by the way, a circular argument. I am not saying, “Since there are two gay men in verse 34 it follows that the women are lesbians in verse 35, and therefore the men are gay.” No. The argument for the sexual orientation of the “two men in one bed” is based on a legitimate rendering of the verse itself, which is then supported by three other same-sex elements in the passage, each of which can stand on its own.