Of the versions surveyed, only the Holman Christian Standard Bible mentioned both Caesar and God. Most of the headings mentions paying taxes; one mentions Jesus answering questions and another the attempt to trap Jesus.
Do the Bible translators miss the point of Jesus’ statement? I would hope not. Imagine trying to find this story by reading the headings if the heading said, “Give to God what is His.”
Also, people tend to remember the story, not the answer. That’s why Jesus told so many parables. We remember the stories. It may take some time for the meaning to sink in.
The pop machine at work gave me a new nickel last week. Wow! When did these become available? I like the new nickel. In keeping with the recent changes to our paper currency, the Jefferson’s image is much larger (and we get to see his right side).
13Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words. 14When they had come, they said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?”
But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.” 16So they brought it.
And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”
I, like the headline author of my Bible, have tended to focus on the first part of Jesus’ saying: “Render to Caesar.” It’s not a bad lesson. How many Christians spend time concerned about paying their taxes because of how they are used? Jesus, in his typical apolitical stance, doesn’t address the issue. Just pay them. Move on to more important issues.
I suspect Jesus was much more concerned about the second part of His statement: “and to God the things that are God’s.” It’s quite simple. The denarius was Caesar’s because it had Caesar’s image. We are God’s because we are created in His image.