Events in the Bible, the wider cultural background of those events, and the biblical text itself, all have a historical dimension.

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What did Moses do at Horeb in the first place?

I was reading Exodus 3:1: Now Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to the mountain of ...
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6answers
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Interpretation of Genesis 1:26?

I am under the impression that the Trinity is a Christian idea, and that the Jews did not view God as "three in one and one in three". How, then, was the following passage interpreted by the people ...
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2answers
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What was the lesson Elisha wanted to teach Joash using the arrows?

In 2 Kings 13:14-17 we find that, Joash - the king of Israel, took a bow and some arrows as Elisha told him. And the 17th verse: Elisha said, “Open the east window,” and he did so. Elisha said, “...
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1answer
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What does it mean to be a Nazirite?

In Numbers 6, God gives the rules for being a Nazirite. This person is set apart for service to God. There are rules they must follow and actions they must take or refrain from. They must not eat or ...
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Nimrod who is he [duplicate]

In Genesis 10:8-9, scriptures mention Nimrod: Cush was the father of Nimrod; he began to be a valiant warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. (That is why it is said, “Like ...
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731 views

Is Luke's “Theophilus” An Actual Person or an Allegorical Person

I've always wondered if there's any persuasive evidence either way for Theophilus whom Luke addresses in Luke 1:3 and Acts 1:1 being an actual person or an allegorical personification? I mean my ...
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What was the actual thorn plant that was used in Christ's crown of thorns? John 19:2

John 19:2 (HCSB) The soldiers also twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and threw a purple robe around Him. Image from The Passion of the Christ. What was the actual thorn ...
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173 views

What type of “dragon” is implied by the seven headed serpent of revelation?

In the context of the scriptures and culture that the vision was revealed, what was implied by "the dragon" which is also implied to be a serpent? At first, one might conclude a simple snake with ...
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74 views

What did the label “abomination” indicate in Egyptian society?

The word תּוֹעֵבָה (tôʿēbâ, "abomination") is very common in the Hebrew Bible, usually designating breaches of covenant stipulations which are tôʿēbâ in the sight of YHWH. These uses are concentrated ...
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477 views

What is the significance of Gen 46:10 “Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman”?

What message is being conveyed in Gen 46:10 when it says of one of Simeon's sons: "Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman" (KJV)? Judah also had three sons by a Canaanite woman (Gen 38:2-5), Er, Onan, ...
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1answer
153 views

How typical was the dedication of Samuel?

1 Sam 1:24-28: And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull...and she brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh...And she said, “Oh, my lord! As you ...
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What does Jesus mean by “vain repetition” or “babbling” in Matthew 6:7?

What ancient tradition of prayer is Jesus critical of in Matthew 6:7? In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. (NABRE) But ...
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5answers
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How would stoning of an adulterer actually be carried out under the Law of Moses?

How would stoning of an adulterer actually be carried out under the Law of Moses? In John Chapter 8 there is the familiar story of how Jesus prevented a stoning of a woman who had committed adultery. ...
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1answer
114 views

Do we know that the Enuma Elish came before Genesis? [closed]

Can the text of Genesis be dated before Enuma Elish? Are there any evidences for or against I know a common idea is that the Genesis narrative, at the least, takes elements from other Near Eastern ...
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Why would the disciples have rebuked people for bringing infants to Jesus?

Luke 18:15 tells a story of people bringing infants to Jesus: Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. (ESV) I take ...
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Do the qualifications of an overseer (ἐπίσκοπος) and the Ephesians 4:11 gift of pastor/teacher make them interchangeable or just related?

Peter encourages elders in 1 Peter 5:2 to ποιμάνατε (be shepherds). Paul instructs Timothy to install elders with qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:2 that include διδακτικόν (apt to teach). In ...
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Which hermeneutical trump card wins in 1 Timothy: audience, cultural context, historical reference, or translation?

I have read books gifted to me or web articles from searches that each play a "trump card" to win the day for their 1 Timothy interpretation. See Pandora's Pulpit by Roger Sapp or The Junia Project, ...
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1answer
36 views

Acts 15:5 - Could Christians remain Pharisees? [closed]

Acts 15:5 reads: But some from the religious party of the Pharisees who had believed stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise the Gentiles and to order them to observe the law of ...
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2answers
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What is an “anachronism” in Biblical Hermeneutics?

I have run across several definitions as it relates to "anachronism" in Biblical Hermeneutics and I am confused: An anachronism in word studies takes place when we read a definition of a word ...
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52 views

What time of the year did Jesus raise Lazarus?

Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to ...
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6answers
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Why did the people of Jericho deserve such destruction?

Note: I am looking for answers both in Biblical Text and from other historical texts Joshua 6:21-25 says that they killed every living thing in it (the City of Jericho) -- "men, women, young, old, ...
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6answers
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How should the story of David's concubines be read?

There's a small story of ten concubines spread across Samuel: And a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.” Then David said to all his servants ...
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339 views

What do bible authors mean by “they remain there till this day…”?

Biblical authors like to proclaim how some monument/stone/altar/name remains intact to-this-day. Cool. Should I take that as till the day the author wrote it down (in which case: meh), or should I ...
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Was the “abomination of desolation” Caligula's proposed statue in the Temple?

In Mark 13:14 (and similarly in Matthew 24:15) Jesus is reported as saying: "When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then ...
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3answers
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Did Luke use Josephus as a source?

Richard Carrier summarizes an argument made by Steve Mason in his book Josephus and the New Testament that Luke knew of Josephus' Jewish War (79 CE) and Jewish Antiquities (94 CE). At it's core, the ...
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116 views

Early church context: Do we have contemporary texts which add useful context for interpreting the New Testament? [closed]

What are the oldest known Christian texts that are not part of scripture, or considered apocryphal text? I'd be interested in brief details of any texts which may aid in our understanding of the New ...
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431 views

Qualifications for deacons and pastors in 1 Timothy 3:1-12

3:1 This saying is trustworthy: “If someone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a good work.” 3:2 The overseer then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-...
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4answers
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Why does Jesus tell his mother his “hour has not yet come”?

Very early on, John tells a story that is unique to his gospel: On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding ...
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110 views

Was washing one's hands to show innocence, as Pilate did, a common ritual in the Roman Empire?

In Matthew 27:24, Pilate washed his hands because he couldn't find any guilt in Jesus while he condemned Him to the cross. So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot ...
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3answers
151 views

Did houses only have one room 2000 years ago?

A possible implication of Matthew 5:15 is that houses generally had only one room: 15Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. ...
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2answers
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Jesus and the adulterous woman: was stoning a practical possiblity?

In John 8:5, the Pharisees ask Jesus: In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say? (NIV) Was stoning a woman for adultery often/sometimes done during Jesus' days, or ...
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1answer
72 views

Social standing of first century physicians

In Mark 5:26, in telling the story of the woman who had been bleeding, Mark mentions: She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting ...
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1answer
153 views

What did earrings have to do with idolatry in Gen 35:4?

As Jacob brings his family back to Canaan, God calls him to build an altar to Him (Gen 35:1), and then Jacob is moved to do the following, of which the part in bold is what this question concerns in ...
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3answers
703 views

Who was Neri, father of Shealtiel?

This one has been dogging me for a while. I know there is no (direct) Biblical source to answer this question, but perhaps the scholars here might be better informed as to the existence of some ...
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3answers
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Was “Τετέλεσται” actually stamped on paid bills and debt certificates in the first century?

I've often heard some really cool explanations around the meaning for the greek word Τετέλεσται in the New Testament where Jesus said, "It is Finished". I love what I've heard, and have even preached ...
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1answer
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Who were the Hellenistic and Hebraic Jews of Acts 6:1?

In Acts, it talks about a division in Judaism that I had not heard of before: Acts 6:1 (NIV) In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained ...
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1answer
160 views

Did Pilate know three languages?

John 19:20-22: This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, [and] Greek, [and] Latin. Then said the chief ...
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1answer
568 views

What was the relationship in ages between Jesus and his disciples?

There are a few texts in the gospels which give some flavor of Jesus' relationship with his disciples (citing the NIV here): Matt 10:24 - The student [μαθητὴς] is not above the teacher [...
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1answer
381 views

Earliest attestation to Luke's gospel

What is the earliest convincing attestation to the gospel of Luke? I believe that Justin Martyr quotes from Luke's gospel ca.150. Is that generally considered unassailable? Are there other earlier ...
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37 views

Did Jesus die in his thirties … or at around 50? [duplicate]

Irenaeus writes, in Adversus Haereses Book II, chap 22: But, besides this, those very Jews who then disputed with the Lord Jesus Christ have most clearly indicated [that Jesus died when he was ...
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3answers
481 views

John 8:57 and the age of Jesus, before his crucifixion

I was doing some reading in the Book "Ante Nicene Fathers" in Irenaeus' "Against Heresies" Book 2 Chapter 22 (book II chapter XXII) Irenaeus quoted John 8:57, in his argument to the Valentinens that ...
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2answers
207 views

Was Luke mistaken about the year in which John the Baptist's preaching began?

Luke goes into detail concerning the beginning of Christ’s ministry. To quote: “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being ...
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Were priests prohibited from tearing their garments

While studying an aspect of the crucifixion of Jesus (the seamless garment that the soldiers cast lots for), I came across a sermon transcript that said the following as part of its argument (...
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1answer
186 views

Is there a published version of the Bible, where the text is ordered chronologically in the order it was written?

Has there been a published version of the Bible where the text was ordered in the order it is best assumed that it was written? I'm not interested in a version that is ordered in a chronological ...
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1answer
465 views

Would the Pharisees go to Pilate and secure the tomb on the Sabbath?

This is in relation to another post in which the question was asked why the Sabbath was called "the day after the Day of Preparation." It strikes me odd that Pharisees would be about this sort of ...
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4answers
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Is Deuteronomy 22:28 talking about rape?

Some folks assert that this passage describes the Torah's sole punishment for rape: If a man comes upon a virgin who is not engaged and he seizes her and lies with her, and they are discovered, ...
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3answers
857 views

Was Luke's birth narrative written in response to Marcion's version of the gospel?

This site suggests that Marcion's version of The Gospel of Luke - a version which includes no birth narrative - was written before the version of Luke that includes the birth narrative, and that the ...
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4answers
314 views

Numeral system in the time of the Genesis

Genesis 41:49 (King James Version) And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number. Without being a perfect equivalent, this ...
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5answers
312 views

Can the Bible's relative chronology be made an 'absolute' chronology?

Chronology is defined as 'the determination of the proper sequence of past events', in other words, the arrangement of dates, events, etc, in order of occurrence. The Bible is filled with detailed ...
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The Ten Commandments were based on the Code of Hammurabi?

A topic that was discussed among peers was that the Ten Commandments of Christian and Jewish faith were based off the Code of Hammurabi. I looked into the Wikipedia article and was informed that ...