Exegetical extras: Give back to Caesar

Exegetical extras are interesting facts about or alternative interpretations of a particular Scripture passage. They’re here for interest value or to stretch our thinking. Just because something appears here doesn’t mean I’m persuaded it’s correct, just intrigued… Exegetical extras will be posted whenever I come across something interesting. 

Take a look at the well-known confrontation of Jesus and the Pharisees in Matt 22:15-22. This is an “honour challenge” in which the Pharisees try to trap Jesus. They ask him whether it’s right to pay the imperial tax, thinking that whatever answer Jesus gives he’ll lose. If he says “no,” they have evidence to take to Pilate that he’s anti-Rome. If he says “yes,” then the crowds will be less-than-impressed, as they had been seeing Jesus as a Messiah figure – and top of the list for any Messiah was to get rid of the Roman overlords!

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Exegetical extras: Paul and Seneca

Exegetical extras are interesting facts about or alternative interpretations of a particular Scripture passage. They’re here for interest value or to stretch our thinking. Just because something appears here doesn’t mean I’m persuaded it’s correct, just intrigued… Exegetical extras will be posted whenever I come across something interesting. 

The Stoic philosopher Seneca represents possibly the height of Greek and Roman ethical idealism. Writing at about the same time as the apostle Paul, he urged people to live up to the highest ideals of virtuous behaviour. One such ideal was that of putting oneself at risk for the sake of another. He writes this:

If a man be worthy I would defend him even with my blood, and would share his perils. (On Benefits, 1.10.6)
I must help him who is perishing, yet so that I do not perish myself, unless by so doing I can save a great man or a great cause. (2.15)

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Apologetic Bites: Five Minimal Facts

Apologetic Bites (link from the app) are brief talking points to help equip you to defend the faith when asked some common questions.

So what’s the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection as an historical event? Here’s a summary of the “five minimal facts” – which don’t depend on the New Testament records – from which we can argue for the resurrection. (Summarised from Gary Habermas.)

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Apologetic Bites: A Christian response to Homosexuality

Apologetic Bites (link from the app) are brief talking points to help equip you to defend the faith when asked some common questions.

A Christian response to homosexuality

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

This was the well-known catchphrase from the 90s sitcom Seinfeld. Anytime the topic of homosexuality was mentioned – usually in the context of a character denying that they were gay –someone would quickly clarify, “not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

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Apologetic Bites: Did Jesus claim to be God?

Apologetic Bites (link from the app) are brief talking points to help equip you to defend the faith when asked some common questions.

Did Jesus claim to be God?

An important factor in the significance Jesus’ resurrection is whether he actually claimed to be God – particularly if we see the resurrection as validating that claim. Here are just a few of the ways in which Jesus began to reveal his identity. (A straight-out claim would have been simpler, but also would have brought on a showdown with the Jerusalem leadership before he was ready.) 

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