Ep 105: Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler

Ep 105: Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler

In this episode I discuss the story of the rich young ruler, which is found in Mark 10:17-22 and its parallels in Matthew 19:16-22 and Luke 18:18-23. I outline the problems with the dominant two-source theory of the synoptic problem in New Testament studies and advocate for the Farrer-Goulder-Goodacre Theory, which posits that Mark was written first, followed by Matthew, and that Luke used both as a source. I then explain the importance of oral tradition on the development of the Gospels and how traditions like the story of the rich young ruler must be interpreted within the larger framework of the Gospel narratives themselves and the tradition units with which they were transmitted. In all three Gospels, the exchange with the rich young ruler is preceded by stories that demonstrate the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the need to accept Jesus with the humility of a child. Those traditions contextualize the response that Jesus has to the rich young ruler, which demonstrates that his attitude towards his wealth is idolatrous and similar to the self-righteousness of the Pharisees. We then look at how this text doesn’t support socialism and how a historically grounded interpretation of this story demonstrates the dangers of wealth and the responsibility that the wealthy have towards those that are in need.

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The Christians for Liberty Network is a project of the Libertarian Christian Institute consisting of shows and hosts offering various perspectives on the intersection of Christianity and libertarianism. Views expressed by hosts and guests do not necessarily reflect the view of the organization, its staff, board members, donors, or any other affiliates (including other hosts or guests on the network). Guest appearances or interviews of any incumbents, officials, or candidates for any political, party, or government office should not be construed as endorsements. The Libertarian Christian Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and does not endorse any political party or candidate for any political, government, or party office. For information about the Libertarian Christian Institute’s core values, please visit this page.

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