Matthew 16:18: The Petros-petra Wordplay—Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew?

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The pinnacle of the gospel story may be Jesus’ dramatic statement, “You are Petros and on this petra I will build my church.” The saying seems to contain an obvious Greek wordplay, indicating that Jesus spoke in Greek. However, it is possible that “Petros…petra” is a Hebrew wordplay.

Jesus’ Attitude to Poverty

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In light of Jesus’ demand of the rich young ruler to relinquish his entire fortune, one might assume that Jesus demanded this of every disciple; however, it is not certain that Jesus viewed poverty as the ideal state.

“Do Not Resist Evil”: Jesus’ View of Pacifism

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The idea that Jesus taught pacifism arose primarily due to the misunderstanding of a number of his sayings. When viewed from a Jewish perspective, the gospel passages on which pacifism is based point to a quite different conclusion.

The Place of Women in First-century Synagogues

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Today, public worship can take place in a synagogue only if at least ten adult Jewish males are present. Women do not qualify as part of this quorum. Furthermore, women are separated from men within the synagogue: women worship in an ezrat nashim, a balcony, or section with a divider, located beside or behind the men’s section. Things were considerably different in Jesus’ day.

That Small-fry Herod Antipas, or When a Fox Is Not a Fox

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We need to start translating “fox” with its proper Hebraic cultural meaning.

A Body, Vultures and the Rapture (Luke 17:37)

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“Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together” (Luke 17:37; KJV), is certainly one of the most enigmatic of Jesus’ sayings. Commentators have noted that Jesus employed a proverbial saying to reply to his disciples’ question; however, they differ about what the proverb means in this context.

The Fallacy of Sacred Name Bibles

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There are a number of Christian teachers today who claim that God’s name, spelled with four Hebrew letters—yod, heh, vav, heh (YHWH) in Hebrew Scriptures, is being deliberately kept secret. In what seems partly to be an anti-Semitic attack, much of the blame for this “conspiracy” is laid at the feet of the Masoretes, the Jewish scholars of the sixth-ninth centuries A.D. who created vowel signs with which to vocalize the text of the Bible.

Who Is a Jew in the Gospels?

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Most English translations consistently translate the Greek word Ioudaioi as “Jews.” But this inflexible translation has often contributed to an anti-Semitic interpretation of the New Testament.

Sabbath Breakers

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Jesus’ observance of the commandments has been a topic of vigorous scholarly debate. However, when the Synoptic Gospels are carefully examined, one sees that Jesus never violated written or oral Torahs. But did his disciples?

Gospel Postcard: Kefar Naḥum (Capernaum), the Village of Nahum

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Jesus’ move from Nazareth to Capernaum was a tremendous change—from a little farm village hidden up in the hills, to a bustling lakeside fishing port.

“Son of Man”: Jesus’ Most Important Title

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There is a common thread uniting the views of those who think that Jesus signaled Daniel 7 by using the Aramaic bar enash in the middle of Hebrew speech. Anyone who holds this view must assume that Jesus spoke or taught in Hebrew much of the time. That Jesus used Hebrew a significant amount of the time is a sociolinguistic conclusion that has a growing number of supporters in New Testament scholarship, but one that is still a minority opinion.

Your Money or Your Life

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Perhaps the most impressive thing about Jesus’ reply to the question about paying taxes to Caesar is that Jesus disarms his opponents and at the same time places a total demand on them.