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15 Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Bible

Like that time Moses checked out God's butt. (It's in there.)

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2. There are two different, possibly contradicting creation stories in Genesis.

Verses 1:1–2:3 uses the Hebrew word elohim for God and depicts God creating the world in seven days. Verses 2:4–24 uses the Hebrew word yahweh for God, and has God create Adam from dust and Eve from Adam's rib. Most scholars attribute this to independent sources which were combined to create the Torah.


5. In Exodus, Moses sees God's butt.

In Exodus, God won't let Moses look at God's face, but Moses IS allowed to look at God's, er, backside. Exodus 33:21–23 in the KJV: "And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen."

The NRSV translates the Hebrew word achor as "back," but that Hebrew word is actually plural. The butt cheeks of God?

7. Most scholars believe Paul didn't write many of the books that claim to be authored by him.

A majority of biblical scholars agree Paul that didn't actually write Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy or the Pastoral Epistles (Timothy and Titus.) Romans, Galatians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians, Philippians, and Philemon are considered to be authentically Pauline. (The practice of writing letters in someone else's name was a common practice in antiquity, particularly within the Hebrew Bible tradition.)

8. Some books of the Bible mention unicorns.

The Hebrew word reym is often now translated as "wild ox," but in the 1611 King James Bible it appeared in English as "unicorn." Reym was first translated into Greek as monokeros, which means "one horn."

Some people think the word reym actually refers to rhinoceri.


9. Jesus wasn't really a carpenter.

The Greek word used occasionally to describe Jesus' profession is tekton, which means something closer to a generic term for "craftsman." Jesus could've built ships, made ploughs or did some sort of plumbing work. Here's more on how the carpenter tradition developed.

(Re: this painting, he also probably didn't wear a modern kippah and look like Zac Efron.)


13. In the book of Genesis, Methuselah lives to be 969 years old.

A lot of people in the Old Testament lived ridiculously long lives: Noah is described as living to be 950, Adam (as in THE Adam) dies at about 930, and Abraham lived to 175.

People who favor a more literal reading of the Bible argue that this was actually possible, due to antediluvian Earth having a healthier atmosphere and less diluted gene pool.

14. Judas betrayed Jesus for the equivalent of four months' pay today.

Getty Images/iStockphoto SigifredoLeal

Matthew 26 states that Judas sold Jesus for "thirty pieces of silver." Assuming these are the standard coins worth four drachmas each, the total would add up to about $6,000 today.

15. Hell in terms of "fire and brimstone and eternal damnation of souls" isn't precisely mentioned in the Bible. Most of those images originate from medieval works like Dante's Inferno.

The concept of an underworld in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament is limited to sheol, which is described only as a place of darkness where all people, righteous and unrighteous, go after death.

In the New Testament, the destiny of the wicked is Gehenna, a different place altogether of sheol. Gehenna was literally the location of a trash dump in the Valley of Hinnom outside Jersualem. Later, the book of Revelation refers to a "lake of fire." Some Christians interpret Jesus' use of gehenna as a symbol for a place of eternal condemnation of the soul. The KJV translates both sheol and gehenna as hell.