33
votes
8answers
6k 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
3k 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 ...
30
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 ...
30
votes
8answers
1k 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?
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
5k 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 ...
23
votes
7answers
15k 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 ...
23
votes
7answers
16k 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, ...
23
votes
5answers
2k 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
1k 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
2answers
464 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
4answers
42k 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?
21
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
616 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
6answers
21k 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?
20
votes
4answers
2k 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
2answers
691 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 ...
20
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
777 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. ...
18
votes
6answers
10k 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
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 ...
18
votes
4answers
736 views

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

A natural reading of Gen 1:1 with it's 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 ...
17
votes
3answers
966 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 ...
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
7answers
7k 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
6k 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
13k 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
758 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
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
2answers
1k 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
2k views

Was Barnabas ever reconciled to Paul?

First the timeline of events of Paul and Barnabas' falling out: Acts 12:25: When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called ...
15
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
11k views

Why is the “give to Caesar what is Caesar's” answer so great?

After being asked whether it was right to pax taxes, Jesus repies: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Why is that an answer that "amazed" them? To a modern person, it ...
15
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 ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

What is Sensus Plenior and how does it impact the field of hermeneutics?

What is the Sensus Plenior view of Scripture? Without trying to resolve it's ultimate validity or not, what significant implications does the idea hold for Biblical hermeneutics in theory and ...
15
votes
4answers
8k views

Is Jesus giving the Spirit in John 20:22?

After the resurrection in John's gospel, Jesus appears to the disciples and in John 20:22 he breathes on them and says, "Receive the Holy Spirit." What is happening here? Is Jesus giving them the Holy ...
15
votes
2answers
4k views

Was Balaam a true follower of Yahweh?

The idea that Balaam may have been a true follower (or even prophet) of Yahweh seems troubling on a number of fronts: How could there be a pre-Mosaic Yahweh-worshipper living near the Euphrates (Num ...
15
votes
5answers
15k views

What did Paul mean when he said, “work out your own salvation?”

Philippians 2:12 (ESV) 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

“You are gods” in John 10:30-36

In John 10:30-36 (NASB), Jesus responds to an accusation of blasphemy by quoting the Old Testament: 30I and the Father are one.” 31The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32Jesus ...
15
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

What role does the Holy Spirit play in hermeneutics?

Christians believe that they have an indwelling of the Holy Spirit who acts as a counselor and guide, enabling them to rightly understand God's word. How does the role of the Holy Spirit in ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

What did the 70 elders see, if man can't see God and live?

Exodus 24:10 says, of the 70 elders who went up on the mountain with Moshe: וַיִּרְאוּ, אֵת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל and they saw the God of Israel Meanwhile, Exodus 33:20 says, when Moshe asks ...
15
votes
2answers
189 views

How does a Bible translator know if it is a poem?

Let's take 1 Tim 3:16 as an example among many others, where Paul wrote or quoted (ESV): Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Translation of “Selah” (סֶלָה‎)

What is the current scholarly opinion on the possible translations for "Selah" (סֶלָה‎) as used in the Psalms?
15
votes
2answers
7k 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, ...
14
votes
6answers
15k 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? ...
14
votes
4answers
411 views

Why would God disapprove of rituals he ordained?

In Amos 5:21-24 God says: I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not ...
14
votes
4answers
24k views

Translation of “Hosanna” (ὡσαννά)

What does "Hosanna" (ὡσαννά) mean (as it appears in the Gospels)? What is its etymology/derivation from Hebrew/Aramaic?

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