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74
votes
20answers
49k views

In John 1:1c, should the Greek word θεὸς be translated into English as “a god” or “God”?

The New World Translation, the official Bible version of the Watchtower/Jehovah’s Witnesses, translates John 1:1 into English as follows: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, ...
56
votes
6answers
17k views

In Psalm 22:21 is the Bible speaking of "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 ...
52
votes
15answers
63k 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 ...
51
votes
10answers
6k 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 ...
50
votes
10answers
98k 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?
48
votes
9answers
63k views

In Judges 11:39-40 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, ...
45
votes
6answers
9k 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 in ...
43
votes
5answers
11k 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 that ...
40
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
40
votes
12answers
3k 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 ...
40
votes
9answers
7k views

Does Romans 9:5 assert the deity of Christ?

Also known by the more pedestrian title: How should Romans 9:5 be punctuated? Romans 9:5, NA28 (punctuation omitted): ὧν οἱ πατέρες καὶ ἐξ ὧν ὁ Χριστὸς τὸ κατὰ σάρκα ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων θεὸς ...
38
votes
2answers
11k 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 ...
37
votes
5answers
9k views

What was Jesus referring to by "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 ...
36
votes
8answers
12k 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 directly reference manuscripts in the original languages?
36
votes
14answers
10k 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 ...
36
votes
11answers
37k 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 ...
35
votes
4answers
3k views

Did John know about the Synoptics?

What evidence is there that John was aware of the Synoptics when he wrote the Fourth Gospel?
34
votes
5answers
129k 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?
34
votes
4answers
11k 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?
33
votes
9answers
20k views

In Genesis 22:5 why did Abraham say "We shall return" before sacrificing Isaac?

I was reading the story of the binding of Isaac in Genesis 22 and something confused me. Abraham packs his donkey and brings with him his son and two servants to the hill God had designated. My ...
33
votes
3answers
2k 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 to ...
32
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
31
votes
8answers
11k views

Arguments for early/late date of authorship of Daniel

What are the most significant arguments for an early date of authorship of Daniel (6th century BC)? What are the primary arguments for a late date (2nd century BC)?
30
votes
5answers
32k views

Why does Adonai instruct us to not prepare a goat 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 ...
30
votes
13answers
6k 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 ...
30
votes
13answers
65k views

How does Jesus' argument from David and the showbread 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 ...
30
votes
11answers
13k views

What does Jesus mean by "generation" when talking about the destruction of the temple and the end of the age?

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 does ...
30
votes
10answers
5k views

What does it mean for Jesus to fulfill the law?

In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says he didn't come to abolish the law or Prophets but to fulfill them. What does it mean to "fulfill the law"?
30
votes
7answers
4k 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. A term often used to describe this concept is "...
29
votes
7answers
26k 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 ascend ...
29
votes
10answers
5k views

What did Jesus likely say in John 8:58?

In John 8:58, the author quotes Jesus: . ..πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί (NA28) ...before Abraham was, I am (ESV) Many have understood this as a claim to divinity, and some translations render ...
28
votes
12answers
47k views

How is it that Jesus could be "three days and three nights in the heart of the earth"?

This verse is usually interpreted as a prophetic word by Jesus about Himself: Matthew 12:40: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three ...
28
votes
6answers
45k 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 ...
28
votes
6answers
25k views

Is Leviticus 12 saying that giving birth to a child is a sin?

I was reading Leviticus and saw that a woman, after she gives birth, would be unclean. Leviticus 12:1-2 (NIV) 1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and ...
27
votes
9answers
19k views

Should John 1:18 read "the only begotten God"?

I was reading my New King James version of the Bible and found a footnote for this verse: John 1:18 (NKJV) No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son,[a] who is in the bosom of the ...
27
votes
14answers
60k 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 to ...
26
votes
8answers
55k 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:...
26
votes
8answers
45k 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 ...
26
votes
3answers
12k views

Does the meaning of πορνεία include premarital sex in 1 Corinthians 5-7?

I'm interested in this question because some liberal theologians insist that the Bible does not say anything about premarital sex*. To get a reasonable scope for the question, I limit this to just the ...
26
votes
5answers
32k 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, ...
25
votes
12answers
30k 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 ...
25
votes
7answers
6k 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 ...
25
votes
7answers
17k views

Who are the "gods" in "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 ...
25
votes
9answers
41k views

In Revelation 20:14, 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 ...
25
votes
3answers
22k 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 ...
25
votes
2answers
74k views

Jacob's name is Israel. So why is he still called Jacob?

When born, Jacob is given the name "Jacob" meaning, "trickster, supplanter, heel grabber." After he wrestles at Jabbok, he is renamed "Israel" meaning "strives with God." However, after this ...
24
votes
8answers
11k views

In Luke 22:44 did Jesus actually 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 ...
24
votes
11answers
5k views

Does Jesus Judge or Not?

There are many passages that appear to directly contradict each other. Here is a sample on the subject of judgement. Jesus Judges no one: John 3:17, 18 - For God did not send the Son into the world ...
24
votes
7answers
126k views

What is the significance of '14 generations' in Matthew’s account of Jesus's genealogy?

After giving Jesus's genealogy in the first chapter, Matthew goes on to point out the number of generations between significant events: Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to ...
24
votes
6answers
9k views

Who is the Artaxerxes of Ezra 7?

Ezra 7:7 mentions a Persian king Artaxerxes: Some of the Israelites, including priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers and temple servants, also came up to Jerusalem in the seventh year of King ...

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