rhetorician
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Does the New Testament quote extrabiblical writers?
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23 votes

Jesus Himself quoted non-biblical sources. He quoted (loosely, I presume) a popular, Farmer's Almanac-type saying when He said, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the ...

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In the parable of the ten bridesmaids, why wouldn't those who had oil share with those who had none?
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12 votes

An important concept in biblical hermeneutics regarding parables is this: Do not make a parable say something it does not intend to say. The central message of the parable in the beginning of Matthew ...

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Why did Moses order female virgins to be kept alive but all others killed in Numbers 31:17-18?
10 votes

The children of Moab comprised a smaller tribe within the larger federation of tribes referred to as Midianites, or simply Midian. Earlier in the book of Numbers, we learn that the Israelites "began ...

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Where was Jesus when he received word of Lazarus' illness?
9 votes

I think we can make an educated, intelligent guess as to where Jesus was when the word came to him from Bethany that Lazarus was ill. First, we know that when Jesus received the word from Bethany that ...

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What is the significance of touching Moses' feet with his son's foreskin in Exodus 4:25?
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9 votes

No, it wasn't a necessary thing to do (in addition to the actual circumcision) because the LORD had not commanded Zipporah to do it. The action and her words ("You [Moses] are a bridegroom of blood to ...

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In Matthew 28:19 does the Holy Spirit have a name?
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9 votes

Good question, and quite relevant, hermeneutically. My answer to your question is no. When Jesus commanded "the eleven" to baptize disciples "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy ...

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What species of flower might Jesus have been referring to when he said, "Consider the lilies"?
8 votes

According to John Chancellor, in his book The Flowers and Fruits of the Bible (NY: Beaufort Books, Inc., 1982, p.42), the lily (actually "lilies of the field") Jesus spoke of in Matthew 6:28-29 was ...

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Is the Gospel of John arranged as a chiasm?
8 votes

Good question. Being a rhetorician I am more than a little familiar with figures of speech and tropes, of which chiasmus is but one in the family of the five traditional canons of speech: elocutio (&...

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What is hermeneutics?
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6 votes

A Basic Definition Hermeneutics is both the science and the art of interpreting any written communication, but particularly the Bible. Hermes, the ancient Greek god was considered to be the herald and ...

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When did Joseph, Jesus's father, die?
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6 votes

CAVEAT: For those who are offended by the inclusion of humor into an answer, be forewarned that there will be an instance of humor in the paragraph coming after the words highlighted in yellow, "...

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Explain 1 Cor 5:5
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6 votes

The destruction of the flesh is indeed a difficult expression to determine the meaning of. One of the difficult aspects of interpreting a difficult-to-interpret phrase is related to exegesis. Exegesis ...

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Why is the dividing of clothes considered the fulfillment of scripture?
6 votes

The Tanakh (the Old Testament) is replete with prophecies concerning the Messiah. Beginning with Genesis 3:15, also called the protoevangelium, there are hints, allusions, and explicit references to ...

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In Revelation 17:1, what does "sits" mean in "the great prostitute, who sits by many waters"?
6 votes

The imagery at the beginning of Revelation 17 is of the "great prostitute," who is a symbol of spiritual apostasy and idolatry. Another term for her is Babylon the Great. Constable suggests she is ...

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In Matthew 11:12 what does it mean for the kingdom of heaven to "suffer violence"?
5 votes

In the larger context of the Matthew passage you cite (11:1-20), Jesus' focus is on John the Baptizer and John's ministry as Messiah's forerunner (see also Mark 1 and Luke 3). John's commission from ...

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Is it possible to be unbiased when interpreting Scripture?
5 votes

Years ago I read with interest Berger and Luckmann's classic The Social Construction of Reality. As near as I could tell, Berger was a sociologist who may have been (and still is?) a Christian. He ...

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Who is Jesus addressing in John 13:27?
5 votes

We may not be able to draw a "definite conclusion," as you put it. Jesus certainly spoke to Satan (or more accurately, communicated with Satan) on a number of occasions, particularly when the devil ...

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Job1:6: Who are the "sons of God"?
5 votes

Contributor sbunny is on the right track, I believe. The "sons of God" are angelic beings. Satan himself was an angel who was cast out of heaven when he rebelled against God. Whether the ...

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What does Jesus mean in Luke 5:36-39? (new wine into old wineskins)
5 votes

The natural antipathy between the old (Judaism) and the new (Jesus's message) is what Jesus spoke of in His wineskin/garment analogies. He thought Judaism was brittle and inflexible, like an old ...

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What does Jesus mean by "father" In Matthew 23:9?
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5 votes

Jesus was simply exposing the inappropriateness of the behavior of the scribes and Pharisees who desired to be honored publicly. Perhaps their top three favored forms of being addressed in public in ...

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What would Jesus' qualifications have been for a "worthy" person for the disciples to stay within the Matthew 10 narrative?
5 votes

There were two main qualifications, one is primarily cultural, and one is really universal. A host family (or person) would need to be hospitable. Abraham, Lot, and others throughout the Old ...

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What is an "anachronism" in Biblical Hermeneutics?
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5 votes

Contextualizing a text is fraught with all kinds of pitfalls. Distancing ourselves (the act of distanciation) from our preconceived ideas of what words mean to us today whenever interpreting a text ...

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The Testimony And The Spirit Of Prophecy
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5 votes

"The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" I believe the angel was saying that Jesus Christ is the theme of the Bible from beginning to end. Accordingly, every book in the Old ...

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Let The Dead Bury The Dead
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5 votes

REVISED In effect, Jesus is likely saying to the man whom Matthew called a "disciple": "Let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead." As for the death of the disciple's father, there are ...

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John 11:9 Why does Jesus remind his disciples about 12 hours in a day?
5 votes

Walking in the light of God's will and word was Jesus' deepest desire (Jn 17:4), even though doing so would culminate in His death. His goal was ultimately to accomplish the work His Father sent Him ...

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Does Jesus condemn the death penalty in Matthew 5:38-39? If not, what did he mean?
4 votes

A couple of insights that may complement the fine answers already proffered: You've heard of a left-handed compliment? A left-handed slap in Jesus's day (and in our day, for that matter) was an ...

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What is the meaning of "violence" in Matthew 11:12?
4 votes

Matthew 11:12-14 NET: "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and forceful people lay hold of it. For all the prophets and the law prophesied ...

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What is the "great mystery" in Ephesians 5:32?
4 votes

A "correct" interpretation depends in large part on one's assumptions (or presuppositions). A covenant theologian might presuppose the Church (i.e., the "holy Catholic--or universal--...

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What is the meaning of "his own vessel" and "defraud his brother" in 1 Thess 4:3-8?
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4 votes

According to the Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (with judicious editing by me), the Greek phrase from which we get the English phrase "to possess one's own vessel" is probably ...

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In 1 Timothy 1:9 what does Paul mean that the law is not made for a righteous person?
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4 votes

There is a different meaning altogether. To arrive at that meaning we need to look elsewhere in Paul's writings. A great place to start is Romans, where Paul says, . . . God has done what the ...

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What does the word "prototokos" mean in Colossians 1:15?
4 votes

We have difficulty, in our typically "Western" way of thinking, understanding the biblical concept of "firstborn," particularly in how the word functioned in the history of the Jewish people. To ...

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