Quote of the Day — 16th Amendment

In honor of tax day, here is the constitutional amendment that makes it all possible:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

U.S. CONST. amend. XVI

For a better vision of the future, visit FairTax.org.

And to God

After writing yesterday’s post about Mark 12:13-17, I became curious whether all Bible translators choose to head this as a story about taxes or giving oneself to God. This is what I found:

New International Version Paying Taxes to Caesar
New American Standard Bible Jesus Answers the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes
The Message Paying Taxes to Caesar
Amplified Bible No heading
New Living Translation Taxes for Caesar
King James Version No heading
English Standard Version Paying Taxes to Caesar
Contemporary English Version Paying Taxes
New King James Version The Pharisees: Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes to Caesar?
21st Century King James Version No heading
American Standard Version No heading
Young’s Literal Translation No heading
Darby Translation No heading
New Life Version They Try To Trap Jesus
Holman Christian Standard Bible God and Caesar
New International Reader’s Version Is It Right to Pay Taxes to Caesar?
Wycliffe New Testament No heading
Worldwide English (New Testament) No heading
New International Version – UK Paying Taxes to Caesar

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.

Render to Caesar

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).

This last week at church, we were studying parts of Mark 11 and 12. One of the stories is headed in my Bible, “The Pharisees: Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes to Caesar?

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.”

17And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Source: Mark 12:13-17 (New King James Version))

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.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Source: Genesis 1:27 (New International Version))

Don’t worry about how your government is using your taxes; consider how you are using your life.