45 And while all the people were listening, He said to the disciples, 46 “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, 47 who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. 3 And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; 4 for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.” Luke 20:45 - 21:4
Chapter and Verse Divisions in the Bible
I have realized in recent years that sometimes we let the chapter and verse divisions designed over a thousand years ago impact our reading and understanding of scripture.
It’s not that chapters and verses aren’t helpful. They are definitely a benefit when try to memorize and locate or share certain passages. You can read more about their addition here.
As I studied my Read Through the Bible passage for today, I was somewhat surprised to be starting at the end of a chapter. But when I read those verses and then went on, as the plan indicated, I suddenly saw something new.
A New Take On The Familiar
Both the admonition about the scribes and the story of the widow’s mite are very familiar to me. But I’ve never looked at them together as the part of the same “thought.”
If you read Luke 20:46-47 you learn about the scribes and their attitude. They
- Love respectful greetings
- Love chief seats and places of honor
- Devour widows’ houses
- Offer long prayers (to gain attention)
How do you summarize that? I wrote down - they were “takers.”
2 Corinthians 9:7. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
They devour widow’s houses, but what do we learn about the widow. She put in. Jesus says it three times.
She put in
- Two small copper coins
- More than all of them
- Out of her poverty - all she had to live on
In summary - she was a “giver.”
Reading these as two completely different passages I never picked up on this. So I’m thankful for the challenge and reminder to get the context by reading before and after and not just staying in the box of chapter and verse divisions.
And I’m thankful for the challenge to evaluate if I am a taker or a giver. Am I more interested in who’s watching than giving all I have - that doesn't really belong to me, anyway?
James 1:17 Every good thing given and ever perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
Lord, you have been so abundant with me, beginning with Christ’s sacrifice for my salvation. You have given us so many blessings in our family. You have given me talents to use for you. Show me where I am failing to give all.