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Did You Know?

Did You Know?

In Jesus’ day, how were temple contributions made?

The treasury of the temple was located in the Court of Women. The book The Temple—Its Ministry and Services says: “All around ran a simple colonnade, and within it, against the wall, the thirteen chests, or ‘trumpets,’ [where] contributions were placed.”

The chests were called trumpets because they were narrow at the top and wide at the bottom. Each chest was labeled for a different type of offering, and the funds collected in them were earmarked for specific uses. Jesus was in the Court of Women when he observed many people, including a needy widow, offering contributions.Luke 21:1, 2.

Two chests were reserved for the temple tax—one for the current year and one for the past year. Chests 3 to 7 were for collecting funds for the appointed value of turtledoves, pigeons, wood, incense, and golden vessels respectively. If the offerer had set aside more than the stipulated price for an offering, then he deposited the leftover amount in one of the remaining chests. Chest 8 was for money left over from sin offerings. Chests 9 through 12 held funds left over from guilt offerings, from the sacrificing of birds, from the offerings of Nazirites, and from the offerings of lepers. Chest 13 was for voluntary contributions.

Was the Bible writer Luke an accurate historian?

Luke wrote the Gospel that bears his name as well as the Acts of Apostles. Luke says that he “traced all things from the start with accuracy,” but some scholars have questioned his account of events. (Luke 1:3) So how accurate was he?

Luke touches on historical facts that can be verified. For example, he uses a number of obscure titles of Roman civic officials, such as praetors, or civil magistrates, in Philippi; politarchs, or local rulers, of Thessalonica; and Asiarchs, or leading men, in Ephesus. (Acts 16:20, Kingdom Interlinear; 17:6; 19:31) Luke calls Herod Antipas a tetrarch, or district ruler, and Sergio Paulus he calls the proconsul of Cyprus.Acts 13:1, 7.

Luke’s correct use of titles is noteworthy because when the status of a Roman territory changed, so did the title of its administrator. Yet, “time after time such references in Acts prove to be just right for the place and time in question,” says Bible scholar Bruce Metzger. Scholar William Ramsay calls Luke “a historian of the highest order.”