Use the church-history tag for questions about the history of the church, from the time of Acts to the present.

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55
votes
11answers
7k views

Does wine really mean wine in the Bible?

In discussions I have had in the past over the acceptability of a Christian drinking alcohol I have heard that some 'dry' believers say that the wine in the Bible is not wine as we know it commonly ...
39
votes
5answers
6k views

The Bible seems to allow polygamy. Why doesn't the church?

In Exodus 21:10 and Deuteronomy 21:15-16 (among many other passages), it talks about polygamy as if it were acceptable. Indeed, there are several holy men (Abraham and Solomon come to mind offhand) ...
32
votes
10answers
9k views

Who were the “giants” mentioned in the Bible?

I've come across several verses in the Bible that speak of "giants". For example: Gen 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the ...
29
votes
4answers
917 views

How were the books of the New Testament chosen?

I'm interested in finding out what the process of choosing the books of the New Testament was, when and who did the choosing
21
votes
3answers
296 views

In which year was Christ born?

This question is a spin-off from On which date was Christ born? There are differing views on the birth year of Christ, which also affect the dating of the resurrection (as we know Jesus's age on ...
21
votes
2answers
795 views

Why are there different divisions of the Ten Commandments?

The Ten Commandments is often shown as a nice list with ten short statements, whereas in the Bible it exists as a long block of text in Exodus 20:2–17 and Deuteronomy 5:6–21. For reference: Exodus ...
20
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the history of the concept of a “personal relationship with Jesus”?

It is common these days to hear questions like: Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? Or... The most important thing is your personal relationship with Jesus. The Bible never ...
19
votes
2answers
893 views

What extrabiblical sources support the existence of Jesus in history?

What sources outside of the Bible give supporting evidence to the existence of Jesus and any of the events in His life?
18
votes
3answers
29k views

Who was Pharaoh when Moses lived in Egypt?

Do we have a good idea as to which Pharaoh(s) were around during the time of Moses' life? What internal and external evidence exists to back-up those claims? Do any Christian traditions attach any ...
18
votes
5answers
606 views

Why is Christmas on December 25th?

Why was December 25th chosen as the day to celebrate Jesus' birth?
17
votes
3answers
630 views

Why is Rome the holy city?

Why did Rome become the seat of the Pope and the central location for the Church? I would think that Jerusalem would be the first choice. There are also a number of other cities that I would ...
17
votes
4answers
17k views

What is the origin of praying hands folded?

I was taught in Sunday school to pray hands folded. On the other hand, there's no biblical mention of the practice (as far as I know). It actually doesn't seem to matter which position we pray in. ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

What language did Jesus speak?

As a young believer I was quickly turned on to the idea of learning some things about the "original languages" of the Bible. After all, how could you understand John 21:15-17 without understanding ...
16
votes
5answers
392 views

Have the individual commands of the OT Law ever been categorized as “Moral,” “Ceremonial,” and “Civil?”

Are there any historic Christian documents that provide a comprehensive categorization of the commands of the OT Law / mitzvot using the three categories from the WCF? And, if so, then as a secondary ...
15
votes
5answers
784 views

Are Dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible?

In response to this question How does the bible explain the existence of fossils that are millions of years old? I'm curious to know if Dinosaurs are mentioned in the Bible. I understand that the ...
15
votes
1answer
167 views

Where do primary sources for the Bible reside?

Bible translations are made from sources. Where are these sources? In a university, museum, government agency or what?
15
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the significance of the inverted pentagram symbols on the LDS Temple in Salt Lake City?

The Temple in Salt Lake has several inverted pentagrams as decorations. (To see a few, just google "lds temple salt lake inverted pentagrams" and click on images. Or click here) According to ...
15
votes
2answers
823 views

What is the origin of the moral-civil-ceremonial distinction of the Old Testament law?

This distinction is often called tripartite division of the law. I ran across this series of blog posts: http://maelandcindy.blogspot.com/2008/06/is-mosaic-law-tripartite.html ...
15
votes
4answers
8k views

Where did Goliath come from?

The popular story of David and Goliath describes Goliath as very tall ("six cubits and a span"--apparently roughly 9 feet 9 inches, or 297cm). Most children are just told he was a "giant" in Sunday ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

How did the cross come to be a symbol for Christianity?

I understand WHY the cross became a symbol for Christianity, but HOW did it become a symbol? How did it start and how did it evolve into the symbol (or symbols since there are many variants) we all ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

At what point did Judaism and Christianity diverge?

At what point did Judaism and Christianity diverge? Christianity and Judaism share the Old Testament (The Hebrew Bible), so it should be safe to assume they are the same people at least during the Old ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

Did early church fathers understand the doctrine of trinity?

Many historians and religious scholars ... attest to the influence of Greek or Platonic philosophy in the development and acceptance of the Trinity doctrine in the fourth century. ... the ...
14
votes
2answers
22k views

When did “tithing” come to mean “giving 10% of your gross income to the Church”?

I know the word "tithe" has "tenth" built into it, and so some Christians assume that every usage of the word "tithe" in Scripture is referring to "giving 10% of your gross income to the church." But ...
14
votes
3answers
297 views

On which date was Christ born?

Most Christians celebrate the birth of Christ (Christmas) on December 25. But was this really the day of Christ's birth? What was the actual date of Christ's birth?
13
votes
4answers
589 views

What is the purpose and basis for the special garments issued to temple-going Mormons?

I understand that there are certain garments which temple-going Mormons are obliged to wear after going through their initial Temple Ceremony. My question is regarding the basis for this. When did ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

When did the one-way monologue sermon first become a normal feature of church assemblies?

Of course Jesus preached a lot of monologue sermons, but I have noticed that Jesus did not usually preach sermons like nearly every church does today. He never seems to have, or at least rarely ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Where did Baptists get their name and what do they believe?

Where and when did the Baptists get their name and what do they believe that sets them apart from the rest of Protestant denominations? I realize there are different divisions among Baptists as well, ...
13
votes
3answers
457 views

Is there any evidence for the claim that the Catholic church suppressed translation of Scripture?

There is a popular Protestant polemic that Catholics don't (or didn't) want people to read the Bible. It is often furthermore assumed that the Catholic Church went so far as to ban people from having ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

What effect did the Reformation have inside the Catholic Church?

I confess my knowledge of church history branches at about the Reformation. I know a quite a bit about Catholicism today, and I have an idea of what it was before the Reformation. These are not at all ...
13
votes
1answer
95 views

Are there any surviving hymns from the Valdensian movement?

The Valdensians preached and celebrated the Lords Supper in the native tongue of the people, not in Latin. However, every source I've read about their customs focus on what was spoken, and I also want ...
12
votes
7answers
600 views

Has God created anything since he rested on the 7th day?

Genesis 2 indicates that on the 7th day after creation God rested. Genesis 2:1-3 NIV 1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2 By the seventh day God ...
12
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the origin of the Good Friday tradition?

As suggested by this question and this answer, it seems possible that Jesus actually died on a Wednesday, not on a Friday. In light of these competing theories, what is the origin of the Good Friday ...
12
votes
3answers
397 views

Did Jesus die earlier than expected? [closed]

The Bible seems to indicate that Jesus died before the others that were being crucified. John 19:31-33 (NIV) 31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. ...
12
votes
1answer
402 views

Does Joseph Smith fail the test of a prophet? [closed]

The test of a prophet. Deuteronomy 18 NKJV 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, ...
12
votes
4answers
458 views

What official statements represent Christianity's position on the Gospel of Barnabas?

The Gospel of Barnabas is a text that has turned up in the form of 16th century manuscripts in Italian and Spanish. The text claims to be the witness of Jesus' disciple Barnabas, however its content ...
12
votes
2answers
426 views

When was the OT canon as used by Protestants finalized?

At what date (and/or event) was the Old Testament canon currently recognized by most Protestants finalized? What is the earliest occurrence we have of it being referenced in it's current form and who ...
12
votes
3answers
431 views

Are there “rational” criteria for which books appear in the Bible?

When I looked into "canon criticism" or "canonology" a while back, I came across numerous (alleged) criteria for whether a book is/was included in canon, such as "Old Testament books had to be written ...
12
votes
2answers
6k views

When was Abraham alive?

It is generally accepted that Abraham lived 175 years. However, the dates when he lived are rather fuzzy and hotly debated. When was he alive and what reasons would you give for your conclusion? ...
12
votes
4answers
249 views

What evidence do we have today about Christian groups not represented at the first four ecumenical councils?

Were there any Christian groups that existed during the time of the first four ecumenical councils and that were not represented at them either because they chose not to attend or they were not ...
12
votes
2answers
459 views

Did those feet in ancient time walk upon England's mountains green?

William Blake's preface to Milton, commonly called Jerusalem and set to a famous hymn tune by Hubert Parry, questions whether the child Jesus might have visited England. And did those feet in ...
11
votes
8answers
818 views

Was Catholicism the first denomination?

In doing research on Martin Luther, I stumbled upon this article. Which had the following quote: If you are Catholic, you know that your religion was founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ, ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Was tithing 10% required or encouraged by the early church?

I cannot find in the New Testament an obligation on Christians to tithe 10% of their income. Instead I read that it is up the individual to decide: 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV1984) Each man should ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

What is a Nazirite?

In Judges 13 verse 7, There is an interesting passage. 7 But he said to me, 'You will become pregnant and will have a son. Don't drink wine or beer or eat anything that is unclean, because the boy ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Why was the Bible not available to common people in the Medieval period?

The Bible was not available in the hands of common people in Medieval times (5th - 15th century). Which of these possible reasons are plausible? The common people were poor and could not afford to ...
11
votes
2answers
218 views

According to reformed theology, why are certain important doctrines not “obvious”? [i.e. why does the Westminister Confession even exist?]

Consider the important doctrines of: divinity of Christ doctrine of Trinity doctrine of predestination Consider in general, that the Westminister Confession is shorter than most books of the ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

When was Job alive?

The first chapter of Job describes a man who was favored by God (Job). 1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. ...
11
votes
1answer
109 views

What is the nature of the theory for Pope Joan and the evidence that substantiates it?

Two films, each called Pope Joan one in 1972 and one in 2009 repeat an old legend about a female Pope. What is the nature of this theory, and is there anything to substantiate it?
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Has Christianity ever come down in opposition of arranged marriages?

Many cultures in many ages have practiced arranged marriages. I understand that in Jewish culture --at about the time of Christ-- arranged marriages were considered a normal way of life. Obviously if ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the Toronto Blessing?

Just over a decade ago there was much hype in the media about the Toronto Blessing, a phenomenon that began at Toronto Airport Church and subsequently spread from there. What is it? Is it still ...
11
votes
1answer
196 views

How do the Dead Sea Scrolls impact modern apologetics?

I understand that the 1946 discovery of almost a thousand ancient texts in caves on the West Bank has had a significant impact, I'm just trying to figure out what specific changes the discovery has ...