Tag Archives: Gospel

EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (TAX COLLECTOR PT1)

During the Roman era, tax collectors and the manner in which taxes were collected evolved and varied from one region to the next. Here we offer a general picture of the process that will allow us to appreciate the role tax collectors played in the Gospels. Taxes were paid to both the temple and the state, each of which established its own tax code without consideration of the other. First-century Jews paid a religious tithe of their produce, herd, and flock (Lev 27:30-32); they were also required to pay the half-shekel or two-drachma tax for sanctuary upkeep (Exod 30:13; Matt 17:24). The state demanded taxes that included a poll tax levied on males fourteen to sixty-five years of age and females twelve to sixty-five, real estate tax, customs tax collected at road and harbor stations, a tax on produce that amounted to 10 percent on grain and 20 percent on wine, fruit, and oil, a 1 percent income tax, and sales and inheritance taxes.

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EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (STONING “AS A FORM OF EXECUTION” PT2)

These laws sound rigid and austere in their proclamations, and we cannot say for sure how often this particular punishment was employed. What we can say for sure is that exceptions were allowed, as illustrated by Jesus. He did not demand that the woman caught in adultery be executed but instead disarmed her executioners and urged her to leave her lift of sin (John 8:3-11).

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WHAT IS GRACE?

We hear the word a lot around Christian circles, sometimes referring to a prayer before a meal, sometimes to a great big idea associated with the gospel, sometimes as a girl’s name. Paul’s used the term throughout his letters to speak of God’s special favor to every person, the underserved benefit we have of God’s mercy in sending Jesus to die for our sins.

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SCRIPTURES OF THE DAY (2 CORINTHIANS 11:3-15)

For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.

But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.

Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?

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HOW CAN JESUS BE CONSIDERED SINLESS WHEN THE BIBLE DESCRIBES HIS ANGER?

All four Gospels describe Jesus clearing the money changers form the temple; none use the term “anger” as part of the description. We infer anger from the facts given and from the passion mentioned in John 2:17.

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NAMES OF GOD (GOD)

JOHN 20:27-28: Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger and behold my hands, and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing And Thomas answered and said unto him, my Lord and my God.

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A QUESTION ABOUT THE TEMPLE CLEANSING

Many Bible students are puzzled by the different placement of the cleansing of the temple in the Gospels. John places the temple cleansing here at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. But the synoptic Gospels-Matthew, Mark, and Luke-report that He purged the temple at the close of His public ministry about three years later (Matthew 21:12-19; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48). Did the cleansing of the temple happen once or twice?

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NAMES OF GOD (GOD)

JOHN 20:27-28: Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger and behold my hands, and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing And Thomas answered and said unto him, my Lord and my God.

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MEN OF THE BIBLE (JOHN MARK “THE COMEBACK KID”)

The Gospel of Mark describes a curious incident that look place on the night of Jesus’ arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. As the mob of Jewish religious leaders and Roman soldiers started to drag Jesus away, they noticed a young man sneaking around in a linen garment. “They caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth behind and ran away naked” (Mark 14:51-52).

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MEN OF THE BIBLE (PAUL “THE UNLIKELIEST DISCIPLE”)

Paul (or Saul, as he was also known) was a zealot, a staunch defender of the Jewish faith. He was especially zealous about exposing and punishing offshoots of Judaism that threatened to obscure its message.

He targeted the disciple of a rabbi named Jesus of Nazareth who were attempting to keep his message alive even after the rabbi himself had been crucified. They spread stories about seeing him risen form the dead. They claimed he was the Son of God and the way to everlasting life.

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