13 votes

Is there any ambiguity in Luke 2:5 to whether Mary and Joseph were already married?

There are three variants of the Greek text here: (a) ... τῇ μεμνηστευμένῃ αὐτῷ γυναικί ... ("his betrothed wife") (b) ... τῇ μεμνηστευμένῃ αὐτῷ ... ("his betrothed") (c) ... τῇ γυναικί ...
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  • 9,775
10 votes
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What is the meaning of the reference to 'stones' in Ecclesiastes 3?

It is safe to say that commentators through the centuries have found this pair the most puzzling of the catalogue of times in Ecclesiastes 3:2-8. And, as George Barton wrote in his ICC commentary of ...
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  • 24.5k
9 votes

In Matt. 26:63–65, Why is Jesus’ admission to being the “Son of God” equated with “blasphemy”?

In the English language the expression "son of X" usually means an offshoot from X and therefore something which is distinct from X. Therefore "Son of God" may seem to imply a being who is not God. ...
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9 votes
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How old was Samuel when Hannah took him to the temple?

The World Health Organization reports that the average weaning age is 4.2 years worldwide at present, however the weaning age has declined in modern times and the weaning age would have been higher in ...
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  • 7,371
9 votes

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

Paul is using a line from the Thais of the Greek poet Menander1, whose work would have been well-known to Paul's Corinthian audience. It is not uncommon for preachers in English to quote Shakespeare, ...
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8 votes

The Ten Commandments were based on the Code of Hammurabi?

I don't know of any scholar who denies that Hammurabi wrote a code of laws before Moses received the Ten Commandments and the accompanying law. So if the question is: Did Moses invent the idea of ...
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  • 217
8 votes
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Why was it a public disgrace for Elizabeth to be barren? (Luke 1:25)

Two reasons barrenness was undesirable In antiquity there were typically two reasons that barrenness was undesirable. The first, which isn't really an issue in this text had to do with the security of ...
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  • 7,371
8 votes

How should the, "discernment of spirits," in 1 Corinthians 12:10 be interpreted taking cultural context into account?

If you are suggesting that the "discerning" or "distinguishing" of spirits in verse 10 refers to something along the lines of divination, I don't believe that this is how the verse was understood. It ...
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8 votes
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Why did Jesus use the words "You have heard that it was said...?"

In the temptation story, Jesus is quoting a scripture passage, introduced by the words "It is written." The focus at that point is Jesus acknowledging the truth and authority of God's word. He is ...
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7 votes

What is the meaning of the reference to 'stones' in Ecclesiastes 3?

Further Analysis Davïd's answer gives a good statement about the verse, providing a very useful analysis. However, there are a couple of points of analysis for Eccl 3:1-8 that I believe are relevant, ...
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7 votes
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Why did God appear as a firepot and torch to Abram?

In Hebrew the text reads: וְהִנֵּ֨ה תַנּ֤וּר עָשָׁן֙ וְלַפִּ֣יד אֵ֔שׁ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָבַ֔ר בֵּ֖ין הַגְּזָרִ֥ים הָאֵֽלֶּה Lapid Esh (לַפִּ֣יד אֵ֔שׁ) literally means "a torch of fire." This would seem ...
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6 votes

What is the meaning of the reference to 'stones' in Ecclesiastes 3?

I have two answers, a simple meaning and an allegorical meaning. Simple meaning: After a home is built the excess stones are removed from the home (because they are in the way and no longer useful). ...
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6 votes
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In Genesis 24:2 why did Abraham have his servant make his oath under his "thigh"?

Definition The Hebrew term often translated "thigh" is ירך (yārēḵ; יָרֵךְ), which HALOT notes can refer to (my numbering; HALOT has only 2 entries and groups a number of meanings under #1 of there ...
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6 votes

Psalm 23, "...table in the presence of my enemies..."

Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me... [OP]: Just what does this table represent? First, except in the most qualified sense, this is not what is in mind in Psalm 23:5 - The word "table&...
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6 votes

In Matt. 26:63–65, Why is Jesus’ admission to being the “Son of God” equated with “blasphemy”?

A quick methodological note. An answer to the question of what was regarded as "blasphemy" by the Sanhedrin requires an answer rooted in Jewish Law of the Second Temple period,1 rather than in the ...
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6 votes

John 9: Did the blind man know scripture?

The setting here is long before the invention of the printing press. The scriptures were hand copied, thus ordinary people would not have been able to own a copy of the scriptures. However, in ancient ...
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  • 188
6 votes
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What did Martha most likely mean by "the last day" in John 11:24?

The "Last Day" ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ (yes, usually in the dative case) is a technical phrase, that occurs regularly: John 6:39, 40 - And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none ...
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6 votes

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?

Paul also identified himself as 'a citizen of no mean city' regarding his Roman citizenship. I take it that his appointment, training and qualification as a Pharisee were a matter of a lifelong right, ...
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6 votes

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)?

If one accepts that Jesus was recounting an incident of which he, himself, was cognisant, then no further research is required. The fact that Jesus names one of the participants suggests that this is ...
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  • 26.3k
5 votes

Do the specific gifts the father gives to the prodigal son have any special significance?

The robe, ring & sandals help show the father’s high level of love, honor and authority for the son. The robe and the ring are symbolic of how well the father will be treating his son (i.e. ...
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5 votes
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In the New Testament, What is the Origin of "Believe In" and "Believe Into"?

I will answer your “Question 1”, as this is not addressed in the earlier question. In Classical Greek πιστεύω means “trust, put faith in, rely on” and takes an object in the dative or accusative; it ...
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  • 5,180
5 votes

Who is Apollyon in Greek Culture?

Apollyon seems to be a descriptive name based on ἀπόλλυμι: ἀπο- (apo-, “away”) and ὄλλυμι (óllumi, “to destroy”) rather than any Greek god or hero. From apo, we get words like apogee. Apolumi is an ...
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  • 843
5 votes
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Who is Apollyon in Greek Culture?

There is with little doubt a link between Apollyon and Apollo. Let me elaborate: The name Apollyon is a Greek play on words for "Apollo" (Apollon in Greek) and "Destroyer." Revelation 9:11 reads, “...
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5 votes

What did Martha most likely mean by "the last day" in John 11:24?

It's in Jesus' teachings.  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that ...
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  • 16.5k
4 votes

How old was Samuel when Hannah took him to the temple?

If you further read the text in 1 Samuel 2:5, AFTER Hannah leaves Samuel with Eli and when she is praising the Lord she says, "She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has many sons ...
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4 votes

Do the specific gifts the father gives to the prodigal son have any special significance?

there were five gifts The robe: a sign of royalty in the house of the Father, a protection as well from the elements and danger The sandals: the son is not a servant but also the sandals to protect ...
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