Question: Is there proof outside the Bible of Christ’s Transfiguration? Answer: The transfiguration occurred on a remote mountaintop and there were only four witnesses.  It is hard to imagine what kind of proof one could ask for except the statements of the eye-witnesses.  What kind of “proof” are you asking for?  Are you asking for […]

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Question: I wanted to ask you about Matthew 15:3-6. What does Jesus mean when he told the Pharasees in verse 5 that “whatever help you might otherwise receive from me is a gift devoted to God”? Answer: This is a reference to a common Jewish practice of giving a sacrifice (actually, more accurately a gift) […]

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Question: I am happy to find your resourceful website and I hope you can help solve my puzzle.  Why did the book of Daniel get all the history wrong from verse 11:35 to the end? I tried to find answers in your power point but you list the historical facts just up to 11:35. This […]

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Question: How do you explain the similarities between the Egyptian god Horus and Jesus. Horus suffered the same tribulations. It could be said that the jesus story was plagiarized. Answer: Apparently you have been reading the claim that the Christian Jesus is a myth, borrowed from various Greek, Egyptian or Persian gods.   This well-worn claim […]

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[editor’s note: The person sending this comment included a document claiming that the NIV (and presumably nearly all other translations) have omitted major portions of the New Testament, including John 5:4, Acts 8:37, Acts 15:34, Matthew 17:21, Matthew 23:14, Acts 24:7 and several others.] Comment: As I dug deeper into your site I had to […]

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Question: Jesus is the pillar of Christian faith, I want to know, what are some evidences that show that he existed and not just fabricated? Answer: It has been argued that hardly anyone in the ancient world is more well attested to than Jesus of Nazareth. Within one hundred years of his life, at least […]

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Question: Sir, in Matthew 2:23 its written that Joseph was told in a dream to go to Galilee and live in the town of Nazareth just as the prophets said that He will be called a Nazarene. I have heard that this is clear evidence of an error in the New Testament. Can you give […]

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Question: My question would refer to the harmonization of theme and chronology.   I’ve seen that modern liberal scholarship takes aim at disproving the reliance of the gospels by picking these things apart. My teacher will make points about the same stories being at different times in different gospels with different details (albeit small details). He […]

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Question: Why is the cleansing of the temple at the beginning of John and at the end of the Synoptics?  What were John’s motivations for placing it earlier?   Also:  How do you harmonize the different gospel accounts amidst editing and audience?   I’m taking a class that is picking the gospels apart and I would like […]

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Question: I am trying to share the Gospel message to a Muslim, and I need help in responding to his email. Here is his response:  [Editor’s note: Because there are so many questions here, the answers are interspersed among the different questions.  The questions are in italics.  J. O.] God created human being, showed them […]

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Question: The OT describes the prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah.  The doubt I have comes from the question, did God the Father command Israel to worship this Messiah?  Or on the other hand, did he only predict the coming of a great prophet who will teach Israel his way (like the old prophets […]

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Question: The book of Ezra mentions that after Artaxerxes stopped the rebuilding of the temple that it began again during the reign of Darius. Is this Darius II that reigned after Artexerxes or is this Darius I and the Ahasuerus and Artexerxes mentioned in chapter 4 Cambyses and Smerdis? This is all a bit confusing. […]

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[editor’s note: This is a follow-up question from last week.  The original question is below to give context to the concern of the questioner. As you read the question, bear in mind it is a follow-up to the original question, which is if Luke grossly exaggerated the number of converts in Jerusalem in the Book […]

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Question: Dr. Oakes, I am reading a book for one of my classes called “the rise of Christianity” and the author makes a point that if the early church had well over 3,000 adherents then a significant of the population in Jerusalem would have been Christian. He claims that there is no evidence of this […]

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Question: I was hoping you could help me understand how the the setting of Zechariah 14:16-18 could be referring to somewhere other than Earth.   “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. […]

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Question: I have a question about creation: In Genesis 1 it says God made vegetation, water creatures and birds before making man but in Genesis 2 it’s says that man was made before vegetation and animals Is this a biblical contradiction? I ask this question as a disciple who struggles with being logical at times, […]

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Question: My teacher at my university claims that Daniel was written in 165BCE. [editor’s note: probably the professor meant that it was written after 164 BC when the events surrounding Antiochus Epiphanes occurred]  He says that it was written with the Babylonian setting to make it look like it was prophesying the future. He also […]

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Question: There so many things in the Bible I don’t understand up to now. For example, I struggle to understand the nature of Jesus Christ.  Some verses show us that  he is God but some show that  Jesus and God are different.  In  John 17 Jesus was praying God. So If he is God why […]

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Question: Hello Dr Oakes. I am taking an early Judaism and Christianity course in university and I have a question about the Bible.  My teacher is very critical towards the New Testament writers and writings (as most are in the department of religion) and he told us in class the other day that the first […]

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Comment: I’ve been reading your book “Daniel: A Prophet to the Nations” and I’ve been very inspired and overwhelmed by the very specific prophecies. I’m thankful for how God is using you to reveal his word to others. So suffice it to say, while I have a problem with your response to Daniel 11:36-45 my […]

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Question: Is the material found below about Jesus having a wife valid or false? http://www.livescience.com/34229-what-does-the-gospel-of-jesus-s-wife-say.html?cmpid=514627_20150825_51404246&adbid=10152957444286761&adbpl=fb&adbpr=30478646760 Answer: I would have to do some more care research to validate the age and to look at other attempts to translate, but please allow me to give my first quick impression.  I would say that with a quick glance, […]

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Question: I’ve been studying out prophecies of the Old Testament and in studying out the prophecies of Isaiah I looked up what Wikipedia had to say about it.  According to Wikipedia “The exact relationship between the Book of Isaiah and any such historical Isaiah is complicated.  One widespread view sees parts of the first half […]

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Question: I have some general questions concerning Christianity. How can the Bible be considered inerrant if there are instances of copyist errors such as tht which occurs in 2 Samuel 10:18 and 1 Chronicles 19:18.  The second passage mentions 700 and the first mentionsr 7000 slain charioteers? I realize that most of these copyist errors […]

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Question: I see from your articles that you view Genesis 1-3 as ‘true myths’ and I found this view really helpful. I wanted to ask how you determine at what point Genesis stops being a record of hebrew myth and becomes historical. Why, for example, do you not consider chapters 4-11 true myths? I know […]

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Question: I’m doing a paper on Isaiah. Do you believe it is written by one author, two, or more…? Answer: Many scholars claim that the prophet Isaiah wrote Isaiah 1-39 and that another author influenced by Isaiah wrote “deuteroisaiah” which would be Ch 40-66.  They base this claim on supposed and sudden differences in subject, […]

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[Editor’s Note:    I recently answered a question about R. G. Price but, not knowing his middle name, thought the question was about a different critic of Christianity named Robert Price.  Interestingly, the positions of the Robert Price and of R. G. Price are actually fairly similar.  Nevertheless, I am a bit embarrassed and apologize […]

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Question: What proof is there that the Bible is true? Answer: To tell you the truth, this is a rather broad question.   My first answer is please just start looking around the web site.  We have more than 2500 articles, each of which is intended to answer your question!   But you asked, so […]

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Question: Hello, can you respond to R.G. Price’s articles about the origins of Christianity, especially this one?http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/fictional_jesus.htm Response: We at ARS sponsored a debate with Robert Price, so we are extremely well aware of his position.   I have spoken to him personally.   Let me do this.   You should get a hold of a copy of […]

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Question: I believe that a Christian can lose their salvation. However, I hit a metaphorical stone wall when I read Romans 11:29.  “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”  Salvation is referred to as a gift in the New Testament, so where do I go from here? Answer: From the tone of […]

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Editor’s note:  This is a series of about ten questions.  For ease of following the arguments, I will intersperse my answers between the questions. Question: I stumbled upon a website known as “RationalWiki” which lists supposed unfulfilled prophecies of the Bible which deeply trouble me in my understanding of the Bible. The most difficult of […]

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Questions: I have a couple questions that are generally vague concerning God. 1.) Why is it that when I pray it seems as if I am talking to no one? Usually during prayer in a private space there is just silence and no indication of any connection with some sort of immaterial creator being of the […]

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Question: Do critics have a case for the allegation that since Jesus’ life and events were recorded way after his actual death that they cannot truly reflect his image and deeds during his life? Are there any other examples of historical texts that were recorded 20 to 40 years after the fact? Is the reason […]

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Editor’s note:  The person making this inquiry included material found from a web site.  This material is included, unedited, after my response. Question: I have some questions concerning archaeology and the Bible. 1.) Why is there such an absence of evidence concerning anyone mentioned in the Bible prior to Solomon or David, there is virtually […]

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Question: Mark 16::17-18 describes divine abilities believers should possess but not observant to the contrary. You think the same principle of miracles apply today? Answer: Scholars are nearly unanimous that Mark 16:9-20 was not in the original Book of Mark, so I see relatively little need to explain this section in Mark.   It is […]

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Question: I am writing to ask you a quick question: a Christian friend of mine shared his conviction that Daniel was not truly written  by Daniel, but was written some time in the second century BC.  I would like to know what are the arguments for and against this view, and the same for the […]

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Question: Genesis 5 states that the patriarchs prior to the flood lived as long as 900 years. How exactly is anyone supposed to take this into consideration when during ancient times, life span was actually shorter than it is now?  Only now are humans living longer, not shorter. So in the face of this how […]

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Question:  Is there historical evidence that the apostle Paul was a real person?  Posted on May 12, 2013 by John Oakes wrote in Church History, General, Questions and Answers, Reliability of the Bible.   You gave no evidence for Paul being a real person.  I’ve searched and have yet to find any historical information outside of […]

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Question: How do you know for sure that the Bible and Jesus is really the truth of God? – I was a Christian for a long time , not just religious.  I thought I was a born again and experienced things but nowadays some things (Objective info from psychology, learning about suffering, etc.) brought doubts […]

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Editor’s note:  The comment below comes from a Muslim who does not believe in Jesus. Comment: Acts 4:25 to 27 and psalm 2.   God was angry with them because they plotted against his messiah.  This means God did not want them to plot against his messiah.  This means God did not send his messiah to […]

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Question: In the works of Celsus recorded by Origen, Celsus tells of a Jew he obtained certain information from concerning the possibility that Mary was impregnated by a solider named Panthera. In addition the Talmud records an individual named Jesus ben Pandera or Pandira. Does this affirm that the Jews knew who Jesus’ biological father […]

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Question: Did the concept of punishment and judgement in Christianity originate from the teachings of Plato as expressed in this article? Thanks    http://www.bibleorigins.net/millenium.html Answer: The simple answer to this question is no, the concept of punishment and judgment in Christianity did not originate with Plato. This idea came to Christianity from God–the one who […]

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