Summary of passage: Pay taxes to the authorities who should be paid for governing. Give everyone what you owe such as taxes, revenue, respect and honor.
12) In essence, Jesus said the same thing as this passage: Give to those what you owe them. Pay your taxes and pay God.
13) Today, there are many purposes for taxes and many different kinds of taxes (like in ancient times as well but in a different way). Here, it says pay taxes so that the officials may be paid for their time in running the government. Taxes also go for the public good and items and services we consume collectively like roads, police, etc. We should have an attitude of gratitude towards taxes that pays for the military and police who keep us safe, roads we travel on to visit loved ones, and so many other things we don’t think of. Taxes are a part of life. Accept it.
14) Part personal Question. My answer:
Exodus 20:12: Father and Mother. Honoring their wishes and what they’ve done for you. Being there for them in their old age. Loving them.
Leviticus 19:32: The elderly and God. Volunteer to help the elderly. Care for them in their old age. Visit them. Care about them and their lives.
1 Timothy 5:17: “the elders who direct the affairs of the church especially those who preach and teach” Pastors and church leaders. Pray for them. Care for them. Do random acts of kindness for them. Give to them when they don’t expect it.
1 Timothy 6:15b-16: God. There is no limit to honoring God. Prayer, obedience, evangelism, being kind to others, worship, etc.
1 Peter 2:13-17: Governing authorities, rulers, respect everyone, respect believers, fear God, honor your king. Obey laws, don’t bad-mouth leaders, pray for leaders and rulers, treat others as you want to be treated, obey God.
15) Personal Question. My answer: Pray for them. Pray for them to follow God’s will. Honor their choices in life. Give it to God. It’s none of your business when it’s friends and families and acquaintances. Treat them as you want to be treated. Love them.
Conclusions: The theme of Lesson 24 is honor and respect authority (both human authority and God’s authority). Obey both human laws and God’s laws. Overall, be good citizens and people.
End Notes: We pay taxes so the officials can do their job in keeping an orderly society–not to enrich them. But also so they can eat as well. Paying taxes is supporting God’s work since He gave the government to help us.
Good question to ponder: Is rebellion against government ever justified? If a citizen has a choice between two governments, it is right to choose and to promote the one that is most legitimate in God’s eyes – the one which will best fulfill God’s purpose for governments. However, knowing which is right in God’s eyes is the challenge. The Communists believe they are right. So do democracies.
These verses are easy for those of us living in a democracies. We are the government; therefore, we are supporting ourselves when we pay taxes as the money goes for public good.
In ancient times, this would have been much more difficult when rulers were oftentimes evil. The first generation of Christians benefited from the same freedom of worship and legal protection as the Jews. But soon emperors such as Nero turned on Christians, torturing and murdering thousands. History shows that most of them followed Paul’s difficult advice in this passage, refusing to revolt against the government no matter how hostile it had become.