23
votes
7answers
13k 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, ...
6
votes
4answers
582 views

Who/what are the two witnesses in Revelation 11?

In Revelation 11:3-12, God says he will appoint his two witnesses - "two olive trees", "two lampstands" - as prophets for 1260 days. They end up being overpowered and killed by the beast, seemingly in ...
21
votes
2answers
417 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
326 views

Where does the “slippery slope” of allegorical interpretations start?

Besides the Grammatical Historical Approach to hermeneutics, various allegorical or metaphorical approaches exist. It seems to me that if you approach a text with the assumption that the whole thing ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Is the “captain of the Lord's host” an angel or God Himself?

After Joshua and the people of Israel crossed over the Jordan and before they assaulted Jericho, Joshua had this strange encounter: Once, when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man ...
7
votes
2answers
227 views

Are the 'vessels of wrath' in Romans 9:22 'prepared for' or are they 'preparing themselves for destruction'?

In Romans 9:22, the perfect middle/passive participle κατηρτισμένα could be read in one of two ways: κατηρτισμένα εἰς ἀπώλειαν Middle: 'having prepared themselves for destruction' Passive: 'having ...
6
votes
1answer
364 views

Does the Bible say the Earth is flat?

I have found so much gossip on the Net and no Biblical verses that clearly support the 'flat earth' notion. I know Job spoke of the 'circle of the Earth' and other very interesting aspects of the ...
20
votes
2answers
579 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
942 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
4k views

What translation best translates the word “vanity” (in the KJV) in Ecclesiastes?

The word "vanity" (KJV) in Ecclesiastes was translated (possibly incorrectly) in the NIV as "meaningless". Is "vanity" the best translation for the Hebrew word hebel (Strongs 1892) or does a newer ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a modern English translation of the Bible that uses the second-person plural pronoun?

I'm looking for a modern translation of the Bible (ideally in the public domain) that retains the distinction between second-person plural and second-person singular. In Early Modern English (the ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

What is the significance of “east” in the Scriptures?

There seems to be some significance to the east in the Scriptures. The garden is planted in the east of Eden Cherubim are stationed on the east side of the Garden of Eden Parts of the burnt offering ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

What was Eve's role in relation to Adam?

The role of Eve in relation to Adam is dramatically changed by the interpretation of the sections I have bolded below, from Genesis 2:18: The verse as most people learned it: And the Lord God ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the head covering referring to in 1 Corinthians 11:4-6?

There's a passage of text that has always confused me. I'm curious if there's any special historical context for this passage or if there's some understanding of these commands that I'm completely ...
12
votes
5answers
12k views

What is the difference in the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God?

Some assert the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God refer to the same thing while others say they are different. Which is accurate? For example: Luke 17:21 uses Kingdom of God while Matthew ...
11
votes
5answers
452 views

What were the Corinthians doing when they “baptized on behalf of the dead”?

In the very center of an argument about the general resurrection, which the Corinthians questioned, Paul says: Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead ...
11
votes
4answers
4k views

How does Jesus' argument from David and the show bread work?

Jesus defended his disciples gleaning on the Sabbath by retelling a story about David. Mark 2:23-28 (ESV): One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his ...
10
votes
2answers
181 views

Are the angels in 2 Peter 2:11 good or evil?

In chapter 2 of 2 Peter, angelic beings, who "do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment..." are contrasted with 'false teachers' (also referred to as 'the unrighteous'), who "do not tremble as they ...
10
votes
2answers
231 views

Was there precedent for John to link the satan and the serpent?

In Revelation 20:2, John links the satan and the serpent: He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. A couple preliminary ...
10
votes
5answers
828 views

Why is Isaiah 14:12-15 interpreted by some to refer to Satan?

Is 14:12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ...
9
votes
3answers
577 views

How does the Noah's Ark narrative relate to the Gilgamesh flood account?

How does the Noah's Ark narrative relate to other the Gilgamesh flood account? For reference, the Biblical flood account is in Genesis 6-10 and the Gilgamesh flood account is on Tablet XI. The ...
8
votes
3answers
280 views

Did Paul expect Timothy to see “the last days”?

In 2 Timothy, Paul warns Timothy as follows: 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (ESV) 3 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2  For people will be lovers of ...
8
votes
1answer
110 views

Is the Hymn To Wisdom in Job 28 a part of Job's speech?

I noticed that in the 2011 NIV, Job 28 is marked off as an interlude as does not appear in quotation marks; whereas in the 1984 NIV, the text appears in quotation marks and is considered a part of ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Differences in Genesis creation stories

It is sometimes depicted that the basic argument to read "the creation story" (Genesis 1) as a non literal story are modern science and the evolution theory. But I believe that the biggest problem ...
7
votes
5answers
13k views

What is the “hidden manna” and the “white stone”?

From Revelation 2:17: He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Why was Zacchaeus saved according to Jesus?

In Luke 19:1-10 we read the story of Zacchaeus which ends like so: And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone ...
7
votes
3answers
492 views

In what way was Jesus' prayer heard (Hebrews 5:7)?

Hebrews 5:7 (ESV): During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of ...
6
votes
3answers
268 views

Where does the extra information about Melchizedek come from in Hebrews 7?

The Genesis account of Abraham's encounter with Melchizedek leaves us with powerful few details about his life, yet later on the author of Hebrews clearly uses his priestly work as a type of Christ, ...
6
votes
2answers
220 views

What are the strict set of rules followed by sensus plenior?

I realize there are similar questions posted but not seeking an exact explanation where it can be shown rationally that three or more independent people, not talking to each other, can come out with ...
6
votes
4answers
340 views

Did Joshua execute innocents?

We read that Achan confessed his sin of taking spoil that was proscribed for the Lord: Achan answered Joshua, “It is true, I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I did: I ...
5
votes
8answers
18k views

Why does God say he only revealed his name, Yahweh, to Moses?

Responding the the meta call for contradiction In Exodus 6:2 we find the following quote: And God spoke to Moses and said to him I am Yahweh. And I showed to Abraham, to Isaac, and to ...
4
votes
4answers
350 views

Is the “7th seal” opened before the “6th seal” book of Revelation

I have never been able to come to a satisfactory conclusion with reference to the opening of the sixth seal and the blowing of the seventh trumpet as referenced in the book of Revelation. In ...
4
votes
1answer
171 views

Is the faith of the Torah monotheistic or henotheistic?

I thought the Jewish God wasn't originally monotheistic. YHWH demands that Israelites worship him because he's jealous, not because the other gods do not exist. Yet I saw Deuteronomy 4:35 and 39: ...
3
votes
2answers
8k views

Where does the Tanakh differ from the Christian Old Testament?

Relating to this question: Is the Jewish Tanakh same as the 'Old Testament' which Christians use? Do they contain the same books and is the textual content same? If not where do they differ?
3
votes
3answers
5k views

How are we to interpret the Moon turning into blood, in Joel 2:31 and Rev 6:12?

In Joel the moon is mentioned as getting 'dark'. The earth quakes before them; the heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. (Joel 2:10, ESV) ...
14
votes
2answers
830 views

Does the original Hebrew support the NLT of Genesis 6:3?

Genesis 6:3 refers to when God set humans' lifespans to (approximately) 120 years. However, the NLT (the translation I prefer) has a slightly different translation for the 120-years part. Genesis ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does the Septuagint contain non-Tanakh books?

The deuterocanonical books, treated as part of the Bible by the Orthodox and Catholic churches, are accepted because they appear in the Septuagint. However, they are excluded from the Jewish Bible, ...
13
votes
7answers
3k views

Why does the Bible say that Abraham sacrificed his “only-begotten son”?

Why does the Bible say that Abraham sacrificed his "only-begotten son" (Heb. 11:17, Gen. 22:2) despite the fact that Isaac had a step-brother Ishmael who was 14 years older than Isaac and was in fact ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there an English equivalent for Nephilim of Genesis 6:4?

Genesis 6:4 (NIV)Emphasis added The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Is John 7:53-8:11 original to John's gospel?

I've read several recent commentaries on John 8 and all agree that the story of the woman caught in adultery almost certainly wasn't there in the original manuscript. Is it original?
12
votes
5answers
1k views

How should James 2:18 be translated?

James, when making the argument that faith without works is dead, makes this statement: James 2:18-19 (ESV) 18  But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Why did Abraham stop at ten in Genesis 18:32?

Genesis 18:16-33 recounts the story, "Abraham Pleads for Sodom" (NIV). When conversing with God, Abraham asks God if He would destroy the city if there were 50 righteous people in it. God replies No, ...
12
votes
4answers
6k views

What is meant by “Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire”?

In Revelation 20:14 (ESV) we read: "Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire." The concept of "fire" is used multiple times in the New ...
11
votes
3answers
8k views

Why are the Psalms broken into five books?

The Psalms in most English Bibles are divided into five sections or books: 1-41, 42-72, 73-89, 90-106, and 107-150 Psalms 41, 72, and 89 end with the double amen, while 106 and 150 end with "Praise ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Who is the woman in Revelation 12?

She is introduced: A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.—Revelation 12:1 (NIV) Who is the ...
11
votes
6answers
10k views

Why did the tabernacle use the colors blue, purple and scarlet?

I see a lot of blue in the tabernacle, and when moving it. For example: Then they are to cover the curtain with a durable leather, spread a cloth of solid blue over that and put the poles in ...
11
votes
4answers
7k views

What is the third heaven that Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians 12:2?

2 Corinthians 12:2 (NIV) 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. What is ...
10
votes
5answers
3k views

Who is being “taken” in Matthew 24:40-41?

Matthew 24:40-41 (ESV) Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding oat at the mill; one will be taken and one left. One of the interpretations ...
10
votes
3answers
718 views

How can we understand 1 Corinthians 12 without contradiction

To my reading, 1 Corinthians 12:4-30 could be summed up as: "Be content with the gifts/role God has given you because in his sight all the functions of the body of Christ are of equal importance". ...
10
votes
2answers
656 views

What is a Horizon of Understanding and how can it be applied to understanding the Bible?

Hans-Georg Gadamer uses Horizons of Understanding as a model for communication, and the concept of fusion of horizons is sometimes put forth as a way of explaining how one can approach a "text", but ...

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