Bible History

Palm Sunday–or is it Passion Sunday?–marks the beginning of Holy Week. This day commemorates not one but two very significant events in the life of Christ. Here are 9 things you need to know.   1. What is this day called? The day is called both “Palm Sunday” and “Passion Sunday.” The first name comes […]

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Sometimes people in the Bible experience name changes. Some famous examples include Abram (Abraham), Jacob (Israel), and Simon (Cephas, Peter). In each of these cases, there was a specific reason, and the new name had special significance (thus the name Peter means “Rock,” with Simon being the rock on which Jesus built his Church; Matt. […]

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Some time ago, I made a surprising discovery in the Greek text of John’s Gospel. In its final chapter, Jesus says to Peter: “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will […]

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Many Catholics are aware that Jesus “opened the gates of heaven” and allowed the righteous dead to go there. The Catechism even says it: CCC 637 In his human soul united to his divine person, the dead Christ went down to the realm of the dead. He opened heaven’s gates for the just who had […]

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The Gospel reading for the Second Sunday of Lent commemorates the mysterious event known as the Transfiguration. This event is hard to understand. Why did it happen? What did it mean? Here are 10 things you need to know.   1. What does the word “transfiguration” mean? The word “transfiguration” comes from the Latin roots trans- […]

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Spanking is quite controversial in some quarters. Some people speak of it as if it is tantamount to child abuse. Other say, that they were spanked as children, that it didn’t do any long-term harm, and that it actually did them good. So I was interested to see Pope Francis’s remarks on spanking in a […]

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This Sunday is the first Sunday of Lent, and we read about events that occurred at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Following his baptism, Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness—his own, personal equivalent of Lent. It was a time of preparation for the beginning of his public preaching in Galilee. Here are 9 […]

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Scholars are frequently forced to play detective to determine when an ancient book was written. Ancient books did not have copyright dates neatly printed on a page at the front of the book. Frequently, they did not contain any explicit reference to the year in which they were written. As a result, scholars have to […]

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Just a quick note on the reliability of the Gospels. I’ve written before about the fact that the Evangelists did not feel free to simply make stuff up about Jesus. One of the signs of that is the fact that, despite the fact that St. Paul’s letters were extremely influential in the early Church and […]

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St. Luke records that when Jesus was born an angel of the Lord directed a group of shepherds to go find him. Luke introduces this group of shepherds by saying: And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night [Luke 2:8]. This has led to a […]

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