Questions tagged [cultural-analysis]

Understanding the culture which an author wrote for/to is often key to understanding a text's original meaning.

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Why doesn’t Paul use a Greek word for “influence” in 1 Corinthians 15:33?

We read: “Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”” ‭‭I Corinthians‬ ‭15:33‬ ‭NKJV ‬‬One might assume that Paul means evil company can corrupt good habits, but people are in control ...
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Does 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 support my beliefs in head coverings?

I believe that any woman who prays without her head covered & looks up is disgraceful to God & any man who wears ANY kind of head covering & looks down while praying is disgraceful to God. ...
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1 answer
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Did Saul believe that the spirit of Samuel was in Sheol?

Several questions have already been asked on 1 Samuel 28 (e.g. here, here & here), but none has had a focus on what Saul believed about Sheol. In 1 Samuel 28, the witch of En-dor describes Samuel ...
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5 votes
3 answers
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What are the origins of the different elements present in the setting of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31)?

Luke 16:19-31 (ESV): 19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, ...
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4 votes
6 answers
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What are the theological implications of Paul's continuing identifying himself as a Pharisee in Acts 23:6-10 despite being an Apostle of Christ?

Acts 23:6-10 (ESV): 6 Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to ...
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Did the Apostle Paul, as a Pharisee, believe in disembodied spirits? Acts 23:6-10

Acts 23:6-10 (ESV): 6 Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to ...
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3 votes
5 answers
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Did David and Saul have different afterlife theologies?

On the one hand, one could arguably say that David seemed to have believed that the dead were unconscious, based on what he said in Psalm 146:4 (YLT): His spirit goeth forth, he returneth to his ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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What did the medium of En-dor mean by "god(s)" in 1 Samuel 28:13?

1 Samuel 28:12-14: 12 And the woman seeth Samuel, and crieth with a loud voice, and the woman speaketh unto Saul, saying, `Why hast thou deceived me -- and thou Saul?' 13 And the king saith to her, `...
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2 answers
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Why did Jesus' disciples believe in ghosts / disembodied spirits? [closed]

Luke 24:36-39 (NASB): 36 Now while they were telling these things, Jesus Himself suddenly stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.” 37 But they were startled and frightened, and ...
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What is the biblical worldview of the arabs that Paul encountered in his three years from his conversion? [closed]

Did he encounter a view of God that was based on Abraham as the father of the Arabs apart from the Jews? Could God have been helping him to understand abrahamic covenant theology from the Arab ...
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What does it mean to "divorce her quietly"?

To intentionally navigate towards Christmas, I've been following an Advent devotional plan. Today was considering Matthew 1:18-24 and meditate on how loving was Joseph's posture. Got particularly ...
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Why were the destitute in the dunghill?

The metaphor of lifting the poor from a dunghill (Psalm 113:7, 1 Sam 2:8) or sending the proud to the dunghill (Lamentations 4:5) is quite the visual. In most verses, אַשְׁפֹּת seems to be used more ...
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What does it mean to cast a shoe?

What is the cultural context of casting a shoe? Psalm 60:8: Moab is My washpot; Over Edom I will cast My shoe; Philistia, shout in triumph because of Me.”
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What kind of magic did Simon practice? Acts 8:9-24

Acts 8:9-24 (ESV) 9 But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. 10 They all paid ...
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3 votes
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Did people sat on mats in the bible era or mainly on chairs? [closed]

Did people sit on mats in the bible era (like some Arabic cultures nowadays) or they sat mainly on chairs?
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9 votes
4 answers
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Is the church at the time of the book of James meeting in synagogues?

In James 2:2 (YTL) for if there may come into your synagogue a man with gold ring, in gay raiment, and there may come in also a poor man in vile raiment, or in ASV For if there come into your ...
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Luke 23:11 - What did Herod communicate when he sent Jesus back to Pilot in "splendid clothing?"

11 And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. 12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other ...
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5 votes
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Does Song of Solomon 8:1 suggest that kissing before marriage was "despised" in Bible times?

Song of Solomon 8:1 reads thus (NKJV): Oh, that you were like my brother, Who nursed at my mother’s breasts! If I should find you outside, I would kiss you; I would not be despised. In other words, ...
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Book of Esther's major theme is that God's people may have Unwillingly strayed away from God, but God is still Loving towards said people

I'm trying to approach the Book of Esther in the Bible in a holistic manner ( taking a bird's eye view ) of God's varying calibrated auspices of His chosen Israelite nation. Also I am taking into ...
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What is the logic behind the Jews' reasoning which led them to spontaneously stone Stephen to death?

Acts 7:51-60 (ESV): 51 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not ...
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15 votes
8 answers
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How did Jewish people living under Roman rule understand the role of a Paraclete?

John 14:16 (DRB): And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. John 14:26 (DRB): But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will ...
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9 votes
8 answers
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What is the logic behind the Jews' reasoning which led them to conclude that Jesus was "making himself God" in John 10:22-39?

John 10:22-39 (ESV): 22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered ...
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7 votes
4 answers
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What did Martha most likely mean by "the last day" in John 11:24?

John 11:22-27 (ESV): 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Are the multiple mentions of Gentiles attending synagogues on Sabbath in Acts evidence that the Gentiles are to keep the Sabbath?

Acts 13:42-48 (ESV) 42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Can history shed any light on the "secret arts" of the Egyptian magicians who turned their staffs into serpents?

Exodus 7:11-12 (ESV): 11 Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. 12 For each man cast down his staff, and they ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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explain the meaning of the "menstrual cloth" in Isaiah 30:22

What is the meaning of Isaiah 30:22 from the Hebrew? Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What did ancient mirrors look like?

In Exodus 38:8 (NASB) Moreover, he made the basin of bronze with its base of bronze, from the mirrors of the serving women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting. What did ancient mirrors ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Does Hamor in Genesis 34:3 have double-meaning?

In Genesis 34:2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her. the term "of Hamor" comes from H2544 / Chamowr ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Was it customary for the Ninevites to fast?

After Jonah preached to the Ninevites, they responded by proclaiming a fast. Jonah 3:5, 6 - And the Ninevites believed God. They proclaimed a fast and dressed in sackcloth, from the greatest of them ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How did Elijah know the woman of Zarepthath was a widow?

In 1 Kings 17:9-10 Elijah is commanded by God to go to Zarephath where God had commanded a widow to provide for him. When Elijah got there he saw a woman gathering sticks outside the city gates. How ...
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8 votes
2 answers
287 views

What evidence is there that boiling a kid in its mother's milk (Exodus 23:19) was a pagan practice?

In Exodus 23:19 (KJV), Jehovah tells the Israelites, "Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk." Searching online for a possible meaning, many suggestions are given, the most ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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In which sense has the woman become defiled in Deuteronomy 24:4?

Deuteronomy 24:1-5 If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her ...
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7 votes
3 answers
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Does tearing clothing imply nakedness?

There are multiple passages (2 Samuel 19:13 example) that speak about teared clothes. The attitude and meaning of this act is clear to me but I was unsure how to imagine it. Does it mean that Tamar ...
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5 votes
4 answers
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What does the Gesture of "uncovering feet" and "laying to Boas feet" mean?

In Ruth 3,4 it is written: When he gets ready to go to sleep, take careful notice of the place where he lies down. Then go, uncover his legs, and lie down beside him. He will tell you what you should ...
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2 answers
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Why was Amnon not punished by David for raping Tamar?

David is unwittingly involved in the set-up, by agreeing to Amnon's request to have Tamar make him some cakes. II Samuel 13:6,7. He KNEW what happened next, and was very angry. II Samuel 13:21. He did ...
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9 votes
3 answers
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How did the medium of Endor suddenly realize that Saul had fooled her?

Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” “Bring up Samuel,” he said. 12When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you ...
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2 votes
4 answers
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Why were the fornicators in Leviticus 19:20 not slain?

And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because ...
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-1 votes
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Why was Jacob's family segregated into large tents?

In Genesis 31:33, when Laban went to look for his stolen teraphim, the author notes: And Laban went into Jacob’s tent, into Leah’s tent, and into the two maids’ tents, but he did not find them. ...
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5 votes
3 answers
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Why did Jesus use the words "You have heard that it was said...?"

In Matthew Chapter 4 during the temptation of Jesus, Jesus uses the words "It is written..." when referring to God's word. In Matthew chapter 5 Jesus begins using the phrase "Ye have heard that it ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Is what Laban said in Genesis 29:26 true?

In Genesis 29:26, after Jacob asks why Laban deceived him, Laban responds: "And Laban said, 'It must not be done so in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.'" I've tried ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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(Judges 21:20-22 ) Understanding if the men of Shiloh are innocent or guilty since their women were caught by men of tribe of Benjamin

Judges 21:15-25 New American Standard Bible (NASB) 15 And the people were sorry for Benjamin because the Lord had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. 16 Then the elders of the congregation ...
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4 votes
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Scarlet or Purple?

I was talking with a friend, and he offered this up as a contradiction between the two accounts. When Jesus is about to be crucified, during his flogging Matthew says the soldiers clothed him in ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Why does God devastate Israel's vines and fig trees and not other crops in Hosea 2:12?

In Hosea 2:12 it says “I will destroy her vines and fig trees, Of which she said, ‘These are my wages Which my lovers have given me.’ And I will make them a forest, And the beasts of the field will ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What does Matthew mean by "those on His left" and "and those on His right" in Matthew 25?

In Matthew 25, starting in verse 34 the passage reads. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Were Roman Soldiers allowed to Marry? The Word παῖς in Matthew 8:5 implies that Roman Centurion had offspring [closed]

Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10 mentions a story of Centurion whose servant was healed by Jesus. Matthew in 8:5 uses the word pais which may mean son. However, Luke 7:2 uses the word dulos specifying ...
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9 votes
2 answers
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How did authorities know that Paul was really a Roman citizen?

A previous answer to a different question ventured into the territory of my question here, quoting from The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (which in turn, cited from some commentaries) that ...
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2 votes
3 answers
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Why did the disciples lay their coats on the colt during the triumphal entry while others laid theirs on the ground? And other related questions

In the synoptic gospels, all of the accounts depict Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the back of the colt of a donkey. They make a note that the disciples placed their coats on the donkey (and Matthew's ...
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4 votes
3 answers
289 views

How do we decide if a biblical instruction is cultural or transcultural?

We ignore many instructions in the Bible, but keep some. For instance women do not stay silent in church or wear head coverings during prayer. How do we decide if a verse was written for the culture ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Could the symbolic gesture of shaking off dust in Matthew 10 and Acts 13 have been steeped in some Jewish culture?

Matthew 10:14 NASB 14 Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. Acts 13:51 NASB 51 But they shook off the dust ...
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3 votes
12 answers
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What is the "due penalty" mentioned in Romans 1:27?

As I went through my study of Romans, I was caught off guard by this verse - because there didn't seem to be any readily apparent answer given the context as far as I could discern it. 26 For this ...
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