Did you Know? N.T



Matthew

  • Trot were no sexual relations during a Jewish betrothal period, yet it was a much more binding relationship than a modern engagement—breakable only by divorce (1:18). 

  • No one living in the desert hesitated to eat insects. and locusts were among the ceremonially clean foods of which the Jews were free to partake (3:4). 

  • Most of the salt used in Israel came from the Dead Sea and was full of impurities, causing it to lose some of its flavor (5:13). 

  • People in ancient times commonly hid valuables in fields (e.g., when a marauding army approached), since there were no banks (13:44). 

  • A person who stepped on a grave became ceremonially unclean, so graves were whitewashed to make them easily visible, especially at night (23:27). 

Mark

  • A synagogue could be established in any town where there were at least ten married Jewish men (1:21). 

  • In addition to being labeled traitors, tax collectors were notorious for their dishonesty. They were banned from serving as witnesses or judges and were expelled from the synagogue (2:14). . Jesus spoke Aramaic but undoubtedly also understood Greek and read from the Scriptures in classical Hebrew (5:41). 

  • Jewish rabbis counted 613 individual statutes in the law and attempted to differentiate between "heavy" and "light" commands (12:28). 

  • During the Passover and the week-long Feast of Unleavened Bread, the population of Jerusalem increased from about 50,000 to several hundred thousand (14:2). 

  • Death during crucifixion was due to heart failure (15:24). 

Luke

  • Each priest was responsible for a week's service at the temple once every six months (1:23). 

  • Thirty was the age at which a Levite undertook his service (Nu 4:47) and at which a man was considered mature (3:23).  

  • In ancient times it was often assumed that a calamity would befall only those who were extremely sinful (13:2).  

  • Synagogues were used not only for worship and school but also for community administration and for confinement of accused per_ sons while awaiting trial (21:12). 

John

  • Jewish religious teachers rarely spoke with women in public (4:27). 

  • Many Jews believed that the soul remained near the body for three days after death in the hope of returning to it (11:17). 

  • Jewish custom provided for three days of very heavy mourning, then four of heavy mourning, followed by lighter mourning for the remainder of thirty days (11:19). 

  • "God-fearers" were attracted to Judaism by its monotheism and morality but repelled by its nationalism and requirements such as circumcision. They worshiped in the synagogues but did not become proselytes/converts (12:20). 

Acts

  • "The Way" as an early name for Christianity occurs several times in Acts (e.g., 9:2). 

  • If a prisoner escaped, the life of the guard was demanded in his place (16:27). . Blasphemy was the gravest accusation for a Jew, but treason—support of a rival king above Caesar—was the worst possible accusation against a Roman (17:7). 

  • Inscriptions in Greek and Latin on stone slabs (two of which have been discovered by archaeologists) were placed on the barrier between the inner and outer temple courts, warning Gentiles of the death penalty for proceeding further (21:28). 

  • The Romans considered sailing after September 15 doubtful and after November 11 suicidal (27:9). 

Romans

  • Jews of that day regarded themselves as superior to Gentiles because they (the Jews) possessed the Mosaic Law (2:1). 

  • Large amounts of wealth were often stored in pagan temples (2:22).  

  • In New Testament times baptism so closely followed conversion that the two were considered aspects of a single event (6:3-4). 

  • Adoption was common among the Greeks and Romans, both of whom granted an adopted son all of the privileges of a natural son. including inheritance rights (8:15). 

1 Corinthians

  • The term "household" generally included family members, servants or anyone else who lived in a house (1:16). 

  • The emperor Nero sometimes clothed Christians in the skins of beasts when he exposed them to wild beasts (4:9). 

  • The Roman orator Cicero asserted that incest was practically unheard of in Roman society (5:1). 

  • In the culture of Paul's day men uncovered their heads in worship to signify their respect for and submission to deity (11:4). 

  • The central Christian confession, "Jesus is Lord," was a particular problem in the Roman Empire, because the affirmation of the sovereignty of Jesus was a direct challenge to the claim of absolute rule on the part of the Roman emperor (12:3). 

2 Corinthians

  • Ink applied to parchment or papyrus documents tended to fade and was easily erased or blocked out (3:3). 

  • Treasures were frequently concealed in clay jars, which had little value or beauty in themselves and did not attract attention (4:7). 

  • In the ancient secular world "reconciliation" was a diplomatic term referring to the harmony established between enemies by peace treaties (5:18). 

Galatians

• To "live like a Gentile" meant to disregard Jewish customs, especially dietary restrictions (2:14). 


• The expression "put in charge" refers to the personal slave-attendant who accompanied a freeborn

boy wherever he went and exercised a certain amount of discipline over him. His function was

more like that of a baby-sitter than a teacher (3:24). 


• In ancient times the Greek word for "mark" was used for the brand that identified slaves or animals

(6:1 7). 

Ephesians

  • The Ephesians were familiar with the Greco-Roman practice of redemption. Slaves were freed by the payment of a ransom (1:7). 

  • The right hand was the symbolic place of highest honor and authority (1:20). 

  • Ancient Greek culture often viewed humility, meekness, gentleness and self-sacrifice in negative terms, as weaknesses (4:2). 

  • In the Greek and Roman world, slavery was considered an economic and practical necessity, an assumed part of life (6:5-9). 

  • The large Roman shield was covered with leather, which could be soaked in water and used to extinguish flame-tipped arrows (6:16). 

Philippians

  • Philippi was a wealthy town because of nearby gold and silver mines (1:1). 

  • The whole palace guard was a contingent of soldiers numbering several thousand, many of whom would had personal contact with Paul or would have been assigned individually to guard him during the course of his imprisonment (1:13)

  • The winner of the Greek races received a wreath of leaves and sometimes a cash award (314). 

  • "Those who belong to Caesar's household" were not blood relatives of the emperor but those employed (as slaves or freedmen) in or around the palace area (4:22). 

Colossians

  • "Written code" was a business term, referring to a certificate of indebtedness in the debtor's own handwriting (2:14). 

  • Disarming the enemy is a picture of conquered soldiers stripped of their clothing and weapons to symbolize their total defeat (2:15). 

  • The central error of the Colossian heresy was a defective view of Christ, in that he was believed to be less than deity (2:19). 

  • A "barbarian" referred to someone who did not speak Greek and was on that basis thought to be uncivilized (3:11). 

1 Thessalonians

  • Greeks despised manual labor and viewed it as fit only for slaves (2:9). 

  • A wide range of sexual values and practices existed in Paul's day in both Greek and Roman society: moral standards were generally low, and chastity was regarded as an unreasonable restriction (4:3). 

  • Inscriptions on tombs and references in literature demonstrate that first-century pagans viewed death with horror (4:13). 

2 Thessalonians

  • "Powerful angels" may refer to a class of angels (such a group is mentioned in apocalyptic writings) endowed with special power to do God's will (1:7). 

  • Until the New Testament was written, essential Christian teaching was passed on in the "traditions" (2:15). 

  • Paul normally dictated his letters, but toward the end of some of them he added a brief word in his own handwriting (3:17). 

1 Timothy

  • In Greek culture the word "overseer" was used of a presiding official in a civic or religious organization (3:1-7).  

  • In ancient Rome life expectancy was much lower than it is today. We may assume that there were more unmarried women than available men in the Ephesian congregation and that some of these women had become financially destitute (5:3-5). 

  • Paul gave instructions to Timothy about the care of widows by the church. The only widows included were those who were at least sixty years of age, had been married only once and had a reputation for good works (5:4). 

2 Timothy

  • Before Jesus came, the certainty of life after death was somewhat shrouded in darkness (1:10). 

  • According to Jewish tradition Jannes and Jambres were the Egyptian court magicians who had opposed Moses (3:8). 

  • A Jewish boy formally began studying the Old Testament when he was only five years old (3:15). 

  • As a Roman citizen Paul could not be thrown to the lions in the amphitheater (4:17).

Titus

  • Crete, the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, was a Roman province populated primarily by farmers and fruit growers (1:5). 

  • Roman slaves had no legal rights, their fates being entirely in their masters' hands (2:9-10).  

  • In the Jewish sense the term "lawyer" referred to an expert in the Mosaic Law, while in the Gentile context it referred to a Roman jurist (3:13). 

Philemon

  • Approximately one-third of the first-century Roman population was made up of slaves (v. 12). 

  • Slaves had no legal status, and a runaway could be severely whipped, branded on the face, chained, forced to wear an iron neck collar or restrained by having his or her legs broken. Slaves could also be sold to the mines or sentenced to death (v. 14). 

  • The aristocratic historian Sallust described the Rome of Paul's day as "the common cesspool of the world" (v. 24). 

Hebrews

  • In the Law of Moses the priestly function was restricted to the family of Aaron from the tribe of Levi, but Jesus came from the non_ priestly tribe of Judah (7:16). 

  • The priceless treasures of the Egyptian King Tutankhamen's tomb included several thousand pounds of pure gold (11:26). 

James

  • The Greek word for "crown- was the usual term for the wreath placed on the head of a victorious athlete or military leader

       (1:12). 

  • "There is one God" is a declaration of monotheism that reflects the well-known Jewish creed called the Shema (2:19). 

  • As  a common greeting or blessing, shalom expressed a wish for prosperity, physical health, salvation and harmonious

        relationships (3:18). 

  • In the ancient world, rural land holdings and their produce were the source of real wealth. A prosperous landowner in James's culture was, by definition, an exploiter of the poor (5:1-6). 

1 Peter

  • In the language of the first century, "prepare . for action" literally suggested that the readers should gather up their long, flowing garments and be ready for physical activity (1:13). 

  • In the Greek world slaves could be redeemed by a monetary payment, made either by someone else or by the slave on his or her own behalf (1:18).

  • "Slaves" referred to household servants, whatever their particular training or functions (2:18). 

2 Peter

  • New Testament authors adapted literary forms from their culture as they communicated the gospel (1:5-7). 

  • The Greek term for "seduce" depicts a fisherman who attempts to lure and catch fish with bait (2:14). 

  • In the first century A.D. the term "elements" referred to such entities as earth, air, fire and water (3:10). 

1 John

  • The Gnostics denied that their immoral actions were sinful (1:10). 

  • The Gnostics insisted that the teaching of the apostles was to be supplemented with the "higher knowledge" they claimed to possess (2:27).  

  • The Gnostics taught that the divine Christ came upon the human Jesus at his baptism and then left him at the cross, so that it was only the man Jesus who died (4:2). 

2 John

  • In his later years the apostle John functioned as an elder, perhaps of the Ephesian church (v.1)

  • The paper of John’s day was made from papyrus reeds, which were readily available and inexpensive (v.12)

  • Ink (the Greek term comes from a word that means “black”) was made by mixing carbon, water and gum or oil (v.12).

3 John

  • Modern Orthodox Jews often address God by the title Ha-Shem, meaning "The Name" (v. 7). 

Jude

  • The book of Jude was regarded by the second-century church father Origen as "of but few verses yet full of mighty words of heavenly wisdom" (vv. 1-12).

  • Jude, like his brothers, did not believe in Jesus during his earthly ministry but became his follower after the resurrection (v. 1).

  • Both James and Jude in the opening of their New Testament letters referred to themselves as servants of Jesus Christ rather than as his brothers in the flesh (v. 1).

  • Two of Jude's grandsons were brought before the emperor Domitian as descendants of David, but both were dismissed as harmless peasants (v. 1).

Revelation

  • Wormwood, a plant with a strong. bitter taste, is used here as a metaphor for calamity and sorrow. Though not poisonous, its bitter_ ness does suggest death (8:11). 

  • The ancients believed that the Abyss was the subterranean abode of demonic hordes (9:1). 

  • Belief in statues that could speak is widely attested in ancient literature. Sometimes the image at a shrine would be hollow, enabling a priest to hide within the statue and speak for the god (13:15). 

  • Ancients typically diluted every part of wine with two parts water, except when their aim was to become drunk (14:8).