9
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5answers
2k views

When does the first day of Genesis 1 begin?

This may sound like a silly question at first, but I honestly can't decide for myself. I've always assumed that where the text says "And there was evening, and there was morning—the *n*th day" that ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

What is meant by “as numerous as the stars of the sky”?

The Bible in a few places references the stars as a large number. Genesis 22:17, Deut 1:10, Deut 28:62 all make statements referring to the Nation of Israel being as "numerous as the stars of the ...
9
votes
4answers
632 views

How can we determine when an image is a symbol?

Put simply, a symbol is a tangible representation of an intangible idea. Authors, both ancient and modern, use symbolic images to convey abstract concepts. The problem with symbols, however, is that ...
9
votes
7answers
2k views

Why does Luke associate the birth of Christ with the census conducted by Quirinus?

Luke states that Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem because of a census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria (2:1-5). In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all ...
9
votes
6answers
1k views

What evidence is there that “morphe theou” in Philippians 2:6 means “God's nature”?

Is there any evidence that μορφῇ θεοῦ (morphe theou) in Philippians 2:6 means the "nature" of God the Father? ὃς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων οὐχ ἁρπαγμὸν ἡγήσατο τὸ εἶναι ἴσα θεῷ, — SBLGNT Several ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

When the Kingdom of Israel split, what happened to Benjamin?

All my life I've been told that the tribe of Benjamin remained with the faithful tribe of Judah. And I've read the passage in 1 Kings 11:29-35 where the kingdom is split in two many times before, but ...
9
votes
3answers
384 views

What is the judgment in Psalm 1?

The ending of Psalm 1 provides great hope for those who delight in the instruction of the Lord: Not so the wicked; rather, they are like chaff that wind blows away. Therefore the wicked ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

In John 14:2, what is Jesus' Father's house?

In John 14:2, Jesus tells his disciples: In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. (NIV) What is Jesus referring ...
9
votes
2answers
2k 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., ...
9
votes
2answers
176 views

Was Jesus 'delivered from his fear' or 'delivered because he had fear' of God?

In Hebrews 5:7 Jesus has his 'prayer heard in what he feared' or 'heard in respect to what he feared' - 'εισακουσθεις απο της ευλαβειας'. The ESV had his prayer was heard 'because of his reverence' ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

How should ἱλαστήριον (hilasterion) be translated in Romans 3:25?

The word ἱλαστήριον (hilasterion) is often translated in Romans 3:25 as "propitiation," "atonement," or "sacrifice [of atonement]" in Western conservative biblical translations. In Hebrews 9:5 it is ...
9
votes
6answers
4k views

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 ...
9
votes
3answers
604 views

How is this passage on the authority of women to be interpreted?

I have heard it said that 1 Timothy 2:11,12 is to be examined through the "lens" of culture but what Paul writes right after it in verses 13 and 14 seems to nullify that. A woman should learn in ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

Reconciling the accounts of the calling of Simon Peter

How do you reconcile the two accounts of Jesus calling Peter? (Matt 4:18-19 and John 1:35-42) In the Matthew passage, Peter and Andrew are together fishing. In the John passage, Andrew was with John ...
8
votes
1answer
53 views

What evidence suggests Luke's “Psalms” is shorthand for the whole “Writings” division of the Hebrew Bible?

In the traditional Hebrew Bible layout there were three major groupings: the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. It seems like a pretty easy connection to say that when Luke mentions “Moses and all ...
8
votes
3answers
210 views

Genesis 11:7 - Babel language confusion

Who is the plural referring to in Genesis 11:7 if it's GOD himself (or Yahweh) who has confused the language of people to stop the building of the Babel Tower? Verse from the NIV Bible: "Come, ...
8
votes
3answers
395 views

What is the meaning of אֶת־ in Genesis 4:1?

Genesis 4:1 states: וְהָאָדָם, יָדַע אֶת-חַוָּה אִשְׁתּוֹ; וַתַּהַר, וַתֵּלֶד אֶת-קַיִן, וַתֹּאמֶר, קָנִיתִי אִישׁ אֶת-יְהוָה. And Adam knew (אֶת־) Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare ...
8
votes
5answers
586 views

What can we infer from the different nativity accounts in Matthew and Luke?

The gospels attributed to Matthew and Luke narrate very different stories about the birth of Jesus. Matthew says that Jesus' family was from Bethlehem, that wise men brought gifts to their home, that ...
8
votes
1answer
154 views

What does Song 1:1 tell us about Solomon's relationship to the book?

Song 1:1: שִׁ֥יר הַשִּׁירִ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר לִשְׁלֹמֹֽה׃ (BHS) The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.(ESV) I have seen it postulated* that the final word here (a lamed preposition prefixed to the name ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Assessments of the evidence for the “Gap Theory” reading of Genesis 1:1-2?

Ever since the emergence of an understanding of "geological time" in the 18th Century, there has been a perceived tension with the six-day account of creation in Genesis 1 -- at least, if those "days" ...
8
votes
6answers
11k views

What does the oil in the ten virgins parable represent?

The parable of the ten virgins is found in Matthew 25:1-12. Verses 8-9 (ESV) read: And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

How did Haman intend to kill Mordecai?

In Esther 5:14, Haman makes plans to kill Mordecai. Esther 5:14 Haman’s wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, "Have a gallows seventy-five feet high built, and in the morning tell the king ...
8
votes
5answers
5k views

Before the Tower of Babel did all speak Hebrew as the original human language? [closed]

I find it fascinating that rabbinic literature suggests that Hebrew was the original human language. I have seen Christian authors also argue the same. For example, from the Jewish Encyclopedia: ...
8
votes
2answers
11k views

What is the significance of switching from Gideon to Jerubbaal?

Gideon got a new name in this story: When the men of the town rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull was ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

How tall was Goliath?

In 1 Samuel 17, David intends to battle against Goliath and ultimately wins by slinging a single stone into his forehead before decapitating him. As Wikipedia can confirm, there are multiple accounts ...
8
votes
1answer
249 views

Do some of the manuscripts have a blank spot in Ephesians 1:1?

The NIV footnotes indicate that some early manuscripts do not have "in Ephesus" in then. The NET has extensive notes on this, but they only state the the earliest and most important MSS "omit" the ...
8
votes
7answers
4k views

Does Paul reject the idea of celebrating holidays in Galatians?

Paul has some very strong words against the Galatians implying that they are returning to their former state: Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not ...
7
votes
2answers
435 views

What did Jesus mean by 'fool' in Matthew 5:22?

What did Jesus mean when He said that people run the risk of ending up in hell if they call other people a fool: “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject ...
7
votes
1answer
119 views

Where does “by the mercy shown to you” belong in Romans 11:31?

The translation of Romans 11:31 has me baffled. Starting with v. 30:1 ὥσπερ γὰρ ὑμεῖς ποτε ἠπειθήσατε τῷ θεῷ Just as you were then disobedient to God νῦν δὲ ἠλεήθητε τῇ τούτων ἀπειθείᾳ ...
7
votes
1answer
95 views

Does Hosea 1:9 contain a reference to the divine name I AM?

Hosea 1:9 וַיֹּ֕אמֶר קְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ לֹ֣א עַמִּ֑י כִּ֤י אַתֶּם֙ לֹ֣א עַמִּ֔י וְאָנֹכִ֖י לֹֽא־אֶהְיֶ֥ה לָכֶֽם׃ And the LORD said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am ...
7
votes
2answers
119 views

Does Mark 5:27-28 contain an allusion to Malachi 4:2?

"Healing in his wings" is described in Malachi 4:2. In Mark’s Gospel, the woman with a "discharge of blood for twenty years" stated her belief that if she touched Jesus’ garment she would be made ...
7
votes
3answers
139 views

What contingency is being expressed in Matthew 24:34 via the word “ἄν”?

In Matthew 24:34 (and Luke 21:32), Strong's word 302 is used, but most English translations don't include it. Strong's indicates that it generally denotes "supposition, wish, possibility or ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

How many children did Hannah have?

In the Song of Hannah (1 Samuel 2:5), she seems to sing that she has seven children: She who was barren has borne seven children,      but she who has had many sons pines ...
7
votes
3answers
240 views

What is the intended image of “pierced my hands and feet” in Psalm 22:16?

I sometimes struggle to understand how some of the NT authors describe OT passages as messianic prophecies. One of these is from the 22nd Psalm. Psalm 22:16 NASB (emphasis added) For dogs have ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

What does it mean for the kingdom of heaven to suffer violence?

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. (Matthew 11:12, NKJV) What does this verse mean?
7
votes
3answers
727 views

Are there differences in how the Spirit empowers people?

In the Hebrew Bible, the Spirit of the Lord empowers people. Examples include: Judges 14:19 The Lord’s spirit empowered him. [NET] The word used in Judges 14:19 is a form of tsalach meaning ...
7
votes
2answers
139 views

How can Ruth “return” to a place she had never been?

As Naomi sets out to go back to her homeland, her daughters-in-law Ruth and Orpah set out with her. They are native Moabites, and it is unlikely that they have ever been to Israel. However, several ...
7
votes
3answers
567 views

What, exactly, counts as a “vain repetition” (Matthew 6:7)?

I answered a question on Christianity.SE which focused on Christian prayer in light of Matthew 6:7: But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be ...
7
votes
1answer
159 views

Does the narrator share Naomi's viewpoint in Ruth 1:20-21?

When Naomi returns to her hometown at the beginning of Ruth, she addresses the women: "Don’t call me Naomi," she told them. "Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went ...
7
votes
4answers
7k views

What does “The LORD said to my Lord” mean in Psalm 110?

This phrase has perplexed me a little bit. It's a psalm that was quoted by both Jesus (Matt 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42) and Peter (Acts 2:34). Psalm 110:1 ESV The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at ...
7
votes
1answer
152 views

What is the historical interpretation of 'Nicolaitans' in Rev 2:15?

Simple enough. Starting with early church and patristic fathers what was the historical interpretation of Nicolaitans in Revelations 2:15? 2:15 In the same way, there are also some among you who ...
7
votes
2answers
882 views

Romans 8:28 translation

Romans 8:28 (NA28) reads: Οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν τὸν θεὸν πάντα συνεργεῖ εἰς ἀγαθόν, τοῖς κατὰ πρόθεσιν κλητοῖς οὖσιν. There is also a textual variant that explicitly makes 'God' the ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is the dividing of clothes considered the fulfillment of scripture?

In John 19:24 it's written: “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, “They ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What does “torture” mean in Matthew 18:34?

At the end of the parable of the unmerciful servant, the master has him jailed and handed over to be "tortured". And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should ...
7
votes
2answers
505 views

What is the significance of the author of Genesis using two different designations for God?

In Genesis 4:25; 6:3,6-8, 9-22; 7:1, 9, 16a/b; 8:1-19, 20-22, we see the author using two designations for God, “Yahweh”, and “Elohim”. What is the significance, if any, of the author bouncing back ...
7
votes
1answer
204 views

Who is the referent of 'us' (ἡμῖν) in Matthew 3:15 if not merely Jesus and John?

Matthew 3:15 reads (emphasis mine): ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν· ἄφες ἄρτι, οὕτως γὰρ πρέπον ἐστὶν ἡμῖν πληρῶσαι πᾶσαν δικαιοσύνην. τότε ἀφίησιν αὐτόν (NA28). But Jesus answered ...
7
votes
4answers
954 views

What was the authorial intent of Genesis 1?

The first chapter of Genesis is one of the most hotly debated passages of Scripture -- even amongst Biblical scholars. It is often at the center of debates about the age of the earth, the accuracy of ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

Why does John note the name of the servant whose ear was cut off?

Unlike the synoptics, John notes the name of the man whose ear was cut off during Jesus' arrest. John 18:10 - Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

What are the earliest dated Syriac manuscripts of the Bible?

What is the dating of the earliest Syriac manuscript of the Hebrew Tanakh (Old Testament)? What is the dating of the earliest Syriac manuscript of the New Testament? Who is in current possession of ...
7
votes
1answer
388 views

What does λῃστής [= lēstēs] mean in Mark 11:17?

Mark 11:17 reads (NET emphasis mine): καὶ ἐδίδασκεν καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· οὐ γέγραπται ὅτι ὁ οἶκος μου οἶκος προσευχῆς κληθήσεται πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν; ὑμεῖς δὲ πεποιήκατε αὐτὸν σπήλαιον λῃστῶν. ...

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