Questions tagged [history]

For questions related to history generally. Use the [church-history] tag for the history of the post-NT church.

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82
votes
13answers
49k 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 ...
60
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6answers
30k 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) ...
50
votes
8answers
113k 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 ...
37
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6answers
48k 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 ...
37
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3answers
3k 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?
32
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7answers
2k 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 ...
30
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7answers
7k views

Can somebody summarize the different “branches” of Christianity to me, and explain why they exist in the first place?

All my life, I've been massively confused about how there exists separate, seemingly incompatible and separate, "branches" of Christianity. I know about "protestant", "catholic" and then there's ...
30
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8answers
2k views

Why is Christmas on December 25th?

Why was December 25th chosen as the day to celebrate Jesus' birth?
30
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6answers
288k 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 ...
30
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2answers
5k 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 ...
25
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5answers
64k 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?
25
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7answers
52k 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 ...
24
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6answers
8k 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 famous ...
24
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4answers
3k 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 ...
24
votes
2answers
143k 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 ...
23
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1answer
2k views

Has a pope ever been corrected publicly by a non-cleric in the presence of cardinals because of the unclear wording of a papal document?

At the moment there is a lot of talk about four cardinals who have submitted a dubia to Pope Francis regarding the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia. In one article it stated that: "any 'fraternal ...
23
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8answers
38k views

Why was taking census a bad thing?

In Chronicles, David took a census on the people of Israel. However, God became angry at this, and he proceeded to destroy about 70,000 people in result. 1 Chronicles 21:1-16: 1Satan rose up ...
22
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5answers
2k views

How do Young Earth Creationists account for civilisations with histories going back five thousand years or more?

How do Young Earth Creationists account for the fact that some cultures have been continuously measuring the years for almost five millenia?
22
votes
4answers
11k 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 ...
22
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4answers
21k 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. ...
20
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5answers
2k 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 ...
20
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3answers
75k 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 ...
20
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4answers
8k 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 ...
20
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1answer
771 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 ...
19
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8answers
37k 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." ...
19
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5answers
7k 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, ...
19
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1answer
21k 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 ...
19
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4answers
73k 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? ...
19
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3answers
1k views

Did those feet in ancient time walk upon England's mountains green? (Origin of the story)

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 ...
18
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5answers
9k 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 ...
18
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3answers
23k 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 ...
18
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3answers
2k 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 ...
17
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10answers
3k 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
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3answers
3k 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 ...
17
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5answers
3k views

On which date was Christ born? [closed]

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?
17
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1answer
2k 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
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2answers
866 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 (...
17
votes
1answer
343 views

Are there any surviving hymns from the Valdensian movement?

The Valdensians preached and celebrated the Lord's 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, while I also ...
16
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

Why did John Newton oppose Handel's Messiah?

Recently, while listening to a lecture on worship by Kevin Twit, I was surprised to hear John Newton's opinion on Handel's Messiah: John Newton, the author of "Amazing Grace," refused to let Handel'...
16
votes
4answers
968 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 ...
16
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3answers
3k views

When did the split in crufix/empty-cross sybolism occur and why did it happen?

Today, we have Catholic and Orthodox churches (and a few others) using the crucifix, whereas most Protestant denominations use an empty cross in their symbolism. Did this difference in symbolism arise ...
16
votes
4answers
350 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
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3answers
32k 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 ...
15
votes
8answers
26k views

Did Paul write other letters that are not in the Bible?

I've heard it said that Paul wrote other letters that didn't make it into the Bible, including at least one more letter to the church at Corinth, and a letter to the church at Laodicea. What is the ...
15
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3answers
2k views

How did the practice of soliciting the prayers of dead saints originate?

How did the practice of soliciting the prayers of dead saints originate? Did it start based on something in the bible? The apocrypha? A papal decree? On a side note, which groups practice this type ...
15
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7answers
45k views

Was Jesus crucified naked?

Wikipedia's article on crucifixion says While a crucifixion was an execution, it was also a humiliation, by making the condemned as vulnerable as possible. Although artists have traditionally ...
15
votes
2answers
644 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

How do Christians reconcile archeology with the Bible in the account of the Battle of Jericho?

Wikipedia explains three archaeological studies of the Jericho site, and concludes that the city was abandoned at the time the supposed Biblical battle took place. How do Christians reconcile the ...
15
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...

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