35
votes
8answers
8k views

“A god” or “God” in John 1:1?

John 1:1 (NWT): In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This translation, the Jehovah's Witnesses New World Translation is, I think, unique in using ...
33
votes
4answers
4k views

Does the Bible mention unicorns?

I was reading Psalm 22 (from this question) and I found this verse: Psalms 22:21 (KJV) Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. When I switched ...
32
votes
5answers
2k views

Does 1st Kings say that pi = 3?

The construction of Solomon's temple includes a piece of furnishing described in 1 Kings 7:23 (ESV): Then he made the sea of cast metal. It was round, ten cubits from brim to brim, and five cubits ...
31
votes
8answers
2k views

How do Jewish scholars differ from Christian scholars in their approach to the Tanakh?

What are the characteristic differences between how Jewish scholarship approaches the text of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and that of Christian scholars? If their approach was the same I assume they ...
26
votes
3answers
3k views

Pre-Christian, Jewish interpretation of Psalm 22

How was Psalm 22 understood by Jewish tradition before the birth of Jesus? Was it interpreted messianically? What pre-Christian sources discuss Psalm 22?
25
votes
7answers
20k views

Did Jephthah actually sacrifice his daughter?

It's clear that what Jephthah intended was to sacrifice the first animal that he met when he returned home: Then the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah. He marched through Gilead and Manasseh, ...
24
votes
4answers
3k views

The Eye of the Needle

What is the opinion on Jesus's use of the phrase "the eye of a needle" in Mark 10:25: And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to ...
24
votes
9answers
19k views

What does it mean to be “born of water”?

In John 3:5, Jesus tells Nicodemus that to enter the kingdom one must be "born of water and the Spirit". How is this phrase understood? Is it a single construct (i.e. one birth of both water and ...
24
votes
9answers
6k views

What does “image” in Genesis 1:26-27 mean?

Genesis 1:26-27 (ESV) 26Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the ...
24
votes
1answer
3k views

What were the historical reasons why the Book of Enoch was excluded from most Christian canons?

According to Wikipedia: By the 4th century, the Book of Enoch was mostly excluded from Christian canons, and it is now regarded as scripture by only the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Eritrean ...
24
votes
5answers
3k views

Is “kill” a valid translation for Exodus 20:13 (Thou shalt not kill)?

Exodus 20:13 (KJV) Thou shalt not kill. Many political statements have been made about this verse. This translation has been used by many to support their pacifist desires. However, it seems ...
22
votes
5answers
2k views

What does the prohibition against women speaking in church in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 mean?

In 1st Corinthians 14:34-35 (NASB), Paul says: 34The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. 35If ...
22
votes
4answers
48k views

What does “meek” mean in Matthew 5:5?

Matthew 5:5 (NIV) Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. What does "meek" mean in the original language? Is "meek" a good translation for the original Greek word?
22
votes
2answers
515 views

What are good contextual clues that a passage is meant to be read as hyperbole?

Today in conversation with an atheist we ran into trouble over this passage in Matthew: Mathew 18:9 (ESV) And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you ...
21
votes
7answers
27k views

What is the difference between exegesis and hermeneutics?

What is the difference between exegesis and hermeneutics? Are they the same, is there overlap, or does one pick up where the other leaves off?
21
votes
2answers
4k views

What language did Jesus commonly speak?

According to Mark 15:34 (ESV): And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus spoke Aramaic ...
21
votes
2answers
706 views

Did John know about the Synoptics?

What evidence is there that John was aware of the Synoptics when he wrote the Fourth Gospel?
20
votes
2answers
894 views

Bart D. Ehrman - respected critic?

I found Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why troublesome to my understanding of the translation process of the bible. It has made me review my understanding of the bible. ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

What does Jesus mean by generation when talking about the end times?

In Luke 21:32-33 (ESV) Jesus says: "Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." What ...
20
votes
5answers
4k views

Are women really saved by childbearing according to 1 Timothy 2:15?

In 1 Timothy, Paul says: 1 Timothy 2:15 (ESV) 15  Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. Does the "she" refer to ...
20
votes
2answers
831 views

Is NWT's translation of John 8:58 reasonable?

I already assumed the opposite in an answer to why there are so many Bible translations, on Christianity.SE. Now that we have an expert community, I'd like to check. The translators of the New World ...
19
votes
5answers
2k views

Did Jesus sweat blood?

Luke 22:44 (NIV) And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Was this a literal thing--did he actually sweat drops of blood. Is ...
19
votes
5answers
854 views

Does Gen 1:1 refer to day 1 or the entire 6 days of creation?

One way of reading Gen 1:1 with its immediate context is that it is part of the first day of creation 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and ...
18
votes
6answers
13k views

What's wrong with cooking a kid in its mother's milk?

In the Pentateuch there are at least three repetitions of the following prohibition: Exodus 23:19b (ESV) You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk. Exodus 34:26b (ESV) You ...
18
votes
5answers
16k views

Interpretations of Elihu in Job

In the book of Job, it becomes clear that the first three of Job's friends - Eliphaz, Blidad, and Zophar - speak wrongly. Not only do they incur the indignation of Job and his other friend Elihu, but ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

Understanding Numbers 11:25

As I am studying, I have encountered different renderings of the last phrase in this verse, which describes the prophesying of the seventy elders of Israel after the Spirit was placed on them. An ...
17
votes
9answers
28k views

What is “sin that leads to death” in 1 John 5:16?

1 John 5:16 (NIV) Emphasis Added If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead ...
16
votes
5answers
4k views

Why is the Septuagint (LXX) significant?

What is the LXX and why is it so noteworthy that there is a Greek translation of the OT? Wouldn't it be better to reference the Hebrew original?
16
votes
6answers
20k views

Which 'modern' English translation of the Bible is considered the 'closest' or most accurate translation?

Which 'modern' (anything inclusive of King James Version to date) English translation of the Bible is considered the 'closest' or most accurate translation from the original Hebrew & Greek texts? ...
16
votes
8answers
8k views

Jesus' command to hate your father and mother in Luke 14:26

I've often heard that Luke 14:26 is meant to be interpreted as "Love me more than your family" or something along those lines (in fact, the CEV translates it as such). I'm interested in how scholars ...
16
votes
4answers
7k views

What does “born again” from John 3:3 mean?

John 3:3 (NIV) Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” A note for this verse in the NIV says, "The Greek for again also means from ...
16
votes
5answers
949 views

To what extent is Psalm 51:4 poetic exaggeration?

The context of Psalm 51 is clear: To the choirmaster. A psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. These events are described in 2nd Samuel ...
16
votes
2answers
9k views

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 ...
16
votes
3answers
5k views

What does it mean that “Scripture interprets Scripture”?

What does the rule that "Scripture interprets Scripture" mean and where does it fit into a larger picture of the field of hermeneutics? What hermeneutical approaches use this as a guiding principle?
16
votes
4answers
1k views

How can we ensure a given “chiasm” was intentional by the author, and is not merely fanciful eisegesis?

What is 'chiasm'? Chiasm is a literary technique by which the contents of a portion of text are structured in such a way that they could be laid out in a ">" shape... A) This is an example of a ...
16
votes
3answers
9k views

How are concubines different than wives?

In the Hebrew Bible, a marriage ceremony is never actually described. Priests and their attendants (Kohanim and Levites) are responsible for work in the sanctuary, such as sacrifices and offerings, ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is Genesis careful to record the exact dates of the flood?

Genesis 7:11 (NIV, emphasis mine) In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates ...
15
votes
4answers
10k views

How different is Biblical Hebrew from modern Hebrew?

It's been variously suggested on this site that the difference between Biblical Hebrew and modern Hebrew is like either the difference between: Old English and modern English Shakespeare's English ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Does Genesis's creation account depict creation “ex nihilo”?

I had once heard that one of the remarkable thing about the creation account in Genesis, as compared to the other creation accounts of the cultures of the surrounding area is that God creates the ...
8
votes
2answers
14k views

What does the term “principalities and powers” mean?

In some translations, I see the term "principalities and powers." To what does this refer? This will not be exhaustive, but for example, consider the KJV's translation of Romans 8:38-39: For I ...
7
votes
6answers
2k views

How is Adam “son of God” in Luke 3:38?

The Genealogy of Jesus in Luke's gospel ends like this (Luke 3:38): ... the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. Emphasis mine. Adam is clearly not ...
6
votes
2answers
896 views

Is Elijah fed by ravens or Arabians?

A couple of commentaries mention that scholars dispute that Elijah was fed by ravens and instead think the word in 1 Kings 17:4-6 ought to be translated black arabs or perhaps "Orbites, i.e., ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

What is the significance of the names of the pillars in Solomon's temple?

The Bible doesn't include extraneous, meaningless information, and names have great significance in the Old Testament. 2 Chronicles 3:17 records, [Solomon] set up the two pillars at the entrance ...
2
votes
2answers
101 views

Who was Abram's mother?

NOTE: I'm posting this question here, rather than on History.SE since many (most?) historians deny the existence of an historical Abram and certainly don't think the Abram narrative in Scripture is ...
2
votes
0answers
23 views

Col. 1:27: What is the meaning of “this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”?

In Col. 1:24-29, it is written, 24 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is ...
2
votes
0answers
23 views

How did Jacob give his tithe as promised in Gen 28:22? [duplicate]

In Gen 28:22 Jacob vowed to give his tithe to God. (In the case of Abraham the Bible indicates that he gave his tithe to Melchizedek.) How then does the text indicate that Jacob gave his tithe to God, ...
1
vote
2answers
9 views

Why did Judas betray Jesus with a kiss?

Why did Judas betray Jesus with a kiss? The simplest explanation is of course the one we find in Matthew and Mark. This was the prearranged sign by which Judas identified Jesus to the arresting ...
1
vote
0answers
90 views

Angel “marriages”, rebellious angels, and Genesis-Jude intertextual connections [on hold]

While the time of production of Genesis and Jude is separated by hundreds of years, it remains possible that there are literary, inter-textual connections between them. I am interested to know whether ...
0
votes
0answers
2 views

Is Mark making a case for Jesus' divinity or is this much ado about nothing?

Did Mark intend his audience to make a connection between Jesus' full quotation of the Shema in Mark 12:29 ("here Oh Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord...") and Jesus' raising the issue of two Lords ...
-7
votes
2answers
2k views

Was Abimelech a granny chaser?

Continuing the response to the meta call for contradiction. In Genesis Chapter 20 we find the following sister/wife story: And Abraham journeyed from there to the land of the Negev, and he ...

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