A Biblical-Theological Analysis of Matthew 6:19-34 to Clarify the Relationship between the Christian Disciple and Money -- By: Darrell O’Donoghue

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 12:1 (Sep 2011)
Article: A Biblical-Theological Analysis of Matthew 6:19-34 to Clarify the Relationship between the Christian Disciple and Money
Author: Darrell O’Donoghue


A Biblical-Theological Analysis of Matthew 6:19-34 to Clarify the Relationship between the Christian Disciple and Money

Darrell O’Donoghue

and

Dan Lioy

Abstract1

This essay conducts a biblical-theological analysis of Matthew 6:19-34 to clarify what it teaches about the relationship between the Christian disciple and money. One major finding is that Jesus presents money as a rival god that challenges for the allegiance that rightly belongs to the Lord. Jesus also draws attention to the way a proper allegiance to God can be expressed. A second major finding is that money and the Lord are radically different gods. Moreover, there are significantly different consequences to the believer that result from devotion to either money or God. The third major finding shows that the consequences of allegiance to either God or money, needs to be understood in terms of how one’s actions affect ones’ community.

Introduction

To understand what Matthew 6:19-34 teaches about the relationship between Jesus’ disciples and money, it is important to examine the historical and literary contexts, as well an examination of the major

theological motifs found within the text. Once this task is carried out, there can be a synthesis and clarification of the study’s major findings.

Matthew 6:19-34 is found within the first of Matthew’s five discourses. This discourse is known as the Sermon on the Mount (hereafter referred to as the SOM). That the text is found within the SOM creates the first problem related to the interpretation of the passage. Specifically, while there are five main views as to how the SOM is to be read, there is no scholarly consensus concerning any of these options.

First, there is the Lutheran view of the SOM (cf. Blomberg 1992:94; Carson 1994:165; McArthur 1978:17). This view maintains that the demands of the SOM are impossible to follow, and are in place to make people aware of their sinfulness and push them towards Christ. This view, however, will not suffice. While the SOM may in fact make clear a person’s sinfulness and thus, the need for salvation, the SOM is presented as one of five discourses in Matthew that followers of Christ can and are expected to obey (cf. Hendrickx 1984:6). Matthew 28:19-20 instructs and expects Jesus’ disciples to obey his teachings, which surely relates back to the five discourses in Matthew.<...

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