I have a problem with the some of the headings in Luke 16 & 17 in the 2010 New NIV.

In my previous post I wrote about the parables of the lost and the celebration of the found. In continuing my reflection on the scriptures following these parables; I find that I have difficulties with the heading  Additional Teachings.

It’s my proposal that Luke isn’t inserting additional teachings; rather he is continuing the theme of the the previous four parables into the next; in a seamless flow of thought. Verses 14 and 15 are a record of the Pharisees reaction to what Jesus said about money in 13 / 14 and is followed in verse 18 with;

18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

I would like to make the point that in verse 18 Jesus isn’t making a direct statement about divorce and remarriage. Rather what he is doing is slapping the Pharisees in the face about loving money and not people. In effect Jesus is saying; you have divorced your God and married another god and in marrying another god you have committed adultery against God.

Jesus seamlessly continues with the theme of the previous 4 parables in the story of the rich man and Lazarus. When he finishes his stories; he then teaches directly on those parables and explains their meanings in 17:1-8

Therefore I would like to see the headings Additional Teachings and Sin, faith and duty in the beginning of chapter 17 deleted; and perhaps the heading The meaning of these parables be used instead, in the beginning of chapter 17.


About Craig Benno

I'm an average aussie guy who has lived perhaps a not so average life.
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8 Responses to I have a problem with the some of the headings in Luke 16 & 17 in the 2010 New NIV.

  1. T.C. R says:


    I do agree with you at 16:13 and 14. But I’m not seeing what you’re seeing at 16:18, unless divorce and remarriage passage is meant as some metaphor. Regarding the heading of 17, I’ll have to look into that. The NRSV has “Some Sayings of Jesus.”

    • Craig Benno says:

      Thanks for the note regarding wrong version…fixed.

      Yes, I am arguing that the passages in Luke are a metaphor. When seen in the metaphorical context; it bridges the gap between the previous parable into the next.

      • Craig Benno says:

        In Luke 16:16-17 Jesus speaks of the law and the prophets which flows into the story of Lazarus… the context of rich and poor, the law of Moses and the prophets starts in verses 13 – 14 where the Pharisees sneer at Jesus… and thus I maintain that Jesus is actually telling the Pharisees that their love of money is divorcing them from Gods kingdom… Jesus!

  2. T.C. R says:


    Isn’t it possible that the larger context is a call to radical discipleship, since Jesus has set face to Jerusalem (9:51), so instead of a metaphor, it is a call for radical commitment to one’s spouse as an expression of radical discipleship.

    The fact that this divorce-remarriage is reflected in all three Synoptics doesn’t position itself to be taken as a metaphor here.

    • Craig Benno says:

      I agree that in the larger context Scripture does call us to radical discipleship. However the thrust of the parables is one of amazing grace, forgiveness and celebration.
      I think Luke / Acts can stand on its own; apart from the synoptic s. While there are similarities; there are also enough differences to warrant reading it in its own context.

      3 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
      14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. 17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

      He then goes into the story of Lazarus and ends with 31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”I think there is no break between the Pharisee’s sneering at Jesus and the story of Lazarus…rather it is one whole story from Luke 15:1 through to 17:10. and its in 17:1-10 that Jesus explains the true meaning of his previous parables of the prodigal son and shrewd business manager.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I would be led to arrive at a totally different conclusion than which is written from mans point of view, it is a church and has to do with One Doctrine One Faith One Church in which Jesus Christ is the head.. Spiritual adultry appears to be the key theme even from the Women at the Well and the men who were accusing here and even the verse 17 lends it self to this morsel fall ing from the table of Truth..

  4. Pingback: Resources for Luke 16:16 - 17

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