History is crucial for understanding a lot of the Bible, such as the history of Israel, or the Roman Empire. But please use the church-history tag instead for questions about the history of the church since the NT was completed.

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69
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12answers
18k views

When the Bible talks about wine does it mean alcoholic wine?

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 was not wine as we know it commonly ...
50
votes
6answers
17k views

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

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) ...
37
votes
6answers
34k views

Who were the “giants” mentioned in the Bible? [closed]

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 ...
34
votes
7answers
55k views

Was baptism practiced before Christ?

A simple word search for "baptism" in the Old Testament turns up no matches. However by the time John the Baptist shows up on the scene and starts dunking people and calling it "for forgiveness of ...
33
votes
4answers
2k 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 did it occur, who did the choosing, and what are the supporting evidences
27
votes
3answers
2k 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?
27
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
26
votes
4answers
530 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 ...
25
votes
6answers
26k views

Did Christ's original twelve apostles have families?

We know that Peter was married because Christ healed his mother-in-law. Do we know if he had children? Do we know whether any of the other apostles were married and if they had children?
24
votes
4answers
149k 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 ...
23
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
22
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is Christmas on December 25th?

Why was December 25th chosen as the day to celebrate Jesus' birth?
19
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
19
votes
1answer
567 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
1k views

Are Dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible? [closed]

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 ...
18
votes
5answers
22k views

How could Jesus be born during the reign of Herod, and when Quirinius was governor of Syria, if those periods were not contemporary?

In Matthew 2, it makes it clear that Jesus was conceived during the reign of Herod and was a young child when Herod died. After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in ...
18
votes
5answers
6k 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. ...
18
votes
4answers
42k 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. ...
18
votes
3answers
21k 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? ...
17
votes
10answers
2k views

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

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 ...
17
votes
2answers
452 views

Is there evidence that Isaiah 53 was viewed as a Messianic prophecy within Judaism, or is it an exclusively Christian interpretation?

The modern Jewish interpretation of the so-called suffering servant song of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is that it is a prophecy referring to the nation of Israel, not the Messiah. As such, it is sometimes ...
17
votes
4answers
43k views

What was the difference between the Pharisees and Sadducees?

Jesus often encountered "Pharisees" and "Sadducees". For example, 34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him ...
17
votes
1answer
947 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?
17
votes
3answers
19k views

How long did it take to form the Biblical canon?

How long did it take to collect all of the writings that eventually formed the first version of the Bible? In other words, starting with when the first writing was created (I'll say when it was ...
17
votes
2answers
81k 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
6k views

Where are the tombs of Jesus' original 12 Apostles

I would like a list of the twelve Apostles, correlated with their most probable burial location. I understand that many reliquaries containing parts of their bodies were distributed throughout ...
17
votes
3answers
542 views

What evidence is available that Mt. Moriah is actually the Temple Mount?

In Sunday school this week we discussed (among several other things) the sacrifice of Isaac. The teacher pointed us to a footnote that appears in several editions of the scripture. It seems that ...
16
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
129 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
3k 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, ...
15
votes
2answers
667 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
293 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
769 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

Why did Luther curse those who oppose indulgences?

In the 95 Theses, Luther makes a stand against corruption in the Catholic church of that day. This resulted in events leading to the separation between the Catholic and Protestant churches. It seems ...
14
votes
5answers
813 views

Ancient nations in a young earth

How do "Biblical literalists" and other Young Earth Creationists account for the fact that some cultures have been continuously measuring the years for almost five millenia?
14
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
468 views

What is the earliest use of the phrase “God the Son”?

Does the phrase "God the Son" appear in manuscripts or early translations (Textus Receptus, Vulgate, etc.) of the New Testament scriptures? If not, when did the phrase enter into the Christian ...
14
votes
5answers
8k views

What crime was committed by the “thieves” crucified with Jesus?

During yesterday's sermon, the pastor mentioned the theory that the thieves crucified next to Jesus likely weren't simple thieves to warrant such a sentence, but were probably "thieves with a cause." ...
14
votes
4answers
667 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
275 views

Was there doctrinal difference between Lollards and Waldenses?

Lollards and Waldenses are two historical movements that spread out of Catholic church, in England and France, respectively. I know they had similar views such as opposing the corruption of the ...
14
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
885 views

What evidence is there that the Chinese script reflects a knowledge of Genesis 1-11?

It has been asserted that the author of the Chinese alphabet could very well been knowledgeable of the accounts in Genesis 1-11--those that occurred prior to the division of peoples and languages at ...
13
votes
3answers
666 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. ...
13
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
15k views

Why was the New Testament Written in Greek?

New Testament was written in Greek. But Jesus lived in Israel and was supposed to be the next King of Israel. I think it is probably fair to assume that he and his twelve apostles spoke Hebrew. Then ...