Matthew and Money

There are two extreme schools of thought as to the means by which the books of the Bible were composed. The one, which we might call the “dictation” school, implies that the authors were really no more than “secretaries” who wrote down, word for word, what God spoke to them. The other extreme declares that the authors compiled and arranged and edited various materials, part written and part oral, from many older sources. Since these sources were not necessarily “inspired” in any regular sense of the word, and since the compiler was at liberty to “pick and choose”, therefore the final result could scarcely be considered the infallible “word of God”. An “advancement” (?) upon this second school of thought is that the gospels, for example, did not take their final forms until some time in the second century, after later disciples “tinkered around” with their predecessors’ stories.

These two views more or less hold sway among modern theologians. The “scholarly” majority favor various “compilation” theories to explain the origins of the Scriptures. Among the intelligentsia, the theories tend to the use of letters and numbers as a sort of insiders’ “code”. One can sympathize with the simple Bible believer who picks up a modern text and finds listed as Bible authors — not Moses and Matthew and Mark — but some anonymous gentlemen (or committees, perhaps?) designated only as “J”, “E”, “D”, “P”, and “Q”. Then, without warning, his old friend Isaiah, right before his eyes, is “cloned” into three parts: First, Second, and Third Isaiah!

The “dictation” theory comes somewhat as a reaction to these liberal modern views. It has many advocates in mainstream American denominations. More than one major church conference has seen “pitched battles” between the apostles of “inerrancy” and the disciples of “higher criticism”.

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Author: George Booker

Keywords: Book of Matthew, Gospel of Matthew, Money, Tribute, Penny, Denarius, Thirty pieces of silver, 30 pieces of silver, Gold, Taxes, Tax collector, Riches, Wealth, Debtor, Publican

Bible reference(s): Matthew 1, Mat. 20:1-16, Mat. 18:21-35, Mat. 17:24-27, Mat. 10:9, Mat. 26:15, Mat. 28:12, Mat. 28:15, Mat. 23:16-17, Matthew 25:14-27, Mark 6:8, Luke 9:3

Source: “Matthew and Money,” The Agora.

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