PThU Bible blog
- Who is my neighbour? The Good Samaritan in a different lightJesus’ parables are among the most beloved Bible stories. They seem simple and are easy to remember. At the same time, the interpretation of most of the parables is extremely controversial. The well-known story of the Good Samaritan is no exception. What are the standard Christian readings of this parable? And are they correct?
- Was Jesus married?Nowadays, when asked if Jesus was married, you are likely to get two kinds of answers: either an emphatic "Of course not!", or a response along the lines of: "Wasn't he married to Mary Magdalene?". My own answer is: Very probably Jesus was not married. I will explain on what considerations my judgement is based, but first I want to dwell on two other views that regularly surface: Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. Or: As a Jewish man, Jesus was obviously married at a young age, but we do not know his wife's name.
- Colonialism in Bible translations?When Europeans began to colonise countries in southern and eastern Asia, it was customary to bring their religion with them. Along with the propagation of their faith, they began to produce Bible translations in the local languages. This happened also in the Indian subcontinent, which includes present-day Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. This blog shows that the Bible translators had good intentions, but that they did not take the local traditions into account. This caused unnecessary alienation.
- How can we explain the Trinity of Father, Son and Spirit based on Scripture?Many Christians imagine God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and speak of God's Trinity. But that term doesn't appear anywhere in the Bible. How can we explain the Holy Trinity based on Scripture?
- Why did God make humans?Why God made humans is an intriguing question. Strangely enough, the Bible doesn't say much about it. And churches don't talk much about it, either. It seems to be difficult to find a convincing answer. So should we simply concede this is something we can only speculate about?
- What was the meaning of Jesus' death?In the New Testament and in the Christian tradition, Jesus' cruel death is not seen as senseless and tragic. It is expressed in various terms that he died for other people.
- What language did Jesus speak?What language did Jesus speak? Was it Hebrew, the language of the Israelites since ancient times, in which the Tanakh (Christians: the Old Testament) was written? Or was it Greek, the language of the New Testament and the common language of the Greco-Roman world, to which Israel belonged in the time of Jesus? Or was it perhaps Aramaic, the Jewish language spoken in the Galilee, the region of northern Israel where Jesus grew up? Maybe it was even Latin? Opinions differ on the subject.
- The mark of the beast in Revelation 13The last book of the Bible, the Revelation of (actually: to) John, is full of wonderous visions. How should we interpret them? One reader had a question specifically about the conclusion of Revelation 13. What do biblical scholars think this means?
- Is there life after death?The great religions are known for having strong ideas about heaven and hell and about the judgment passed on man after his death. How, then, is it possible the Bible is so reticent about the afterlife? And that applies to both the Old and New Testaments. This reluctance is pretty amazing. How can it be explained?