2nd term paper

2nd term paper - 1 World of the New Testament October 25,...

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1 World of the New Testament October 25, 2007 Passage Analysis The subject of this analytical piece is a bible passage from Matthew 6:25-34. The actual passage is from the Sermon on the Mount and was spoken by Jesus to his disciples. Essentially, the passage is about how the ideal Christian should properly lead their lives in order to receive a spiritual reward at the time of death. In order to do so, Jesus claims that one must completely rid themselves of anxiety over food, drink, and clothing. Instead, he suggests that one should seek God’s Kingdom and justice, which in turn, will provide the individual with all of the basic provisions needed. However, this passage is far more complex than it may seem, hence the lengthy analysis. Throughout the passage, there lie a variety of argumentative forms, including analogy, from lesser to greater, from the end, and from nature. These arguments combined help formulate the passage’s central theme of abolishing anxiety over earthly possessions and seeking God’s Kingdom and justice. By taking a closer look at the various arguments, one will receive a better understanding as to how Jesus was able to make such claims. Furthermore, words and ideas such as “food, drink, clothing,” Gentiles, and “Seeking God’s Kingdom” will need explanations in order for the passage to make complete sense. Last but not least, the close relationship between this passage’s theme and stoic/cynic philosophy will surely make the central concepts much easier to comprehend. After introducing the passage’s thesis in verse 25, Jesus immediately provides a rationale in order to substantiate his claims. Within the rationale, he unveils several arguments, the first of which is based upon the analogy and argument from nature. The first comparison involves humans and birds. Specifically, he emphasizes the minimal amount of
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2 work birds are required to do for their survival: “…they [birds] neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them”(26). Through nature, God offers us a glimpse on how his followers should deal with anxiety. In this verse, he suggests that humans should follow suit and not worry over the basic necessities, particularly food and drink. In fact, the comparison offers mankind even more reassurance by underscoring the greater importance of humans than that of the trivial bird. The logic here stems from the lesser to greater argument. In other words, if God is to provide sustenance for birds, he will surely provide the basic necessities for humans, whom he values significantly more. This point reiterates the idea of reducing concern for the basic necessities of life since God will inevitably provide them when the time comes. Together, both arguments serve the purpose of eliminating the need to worry and shedd light on the magnitude of God’s love for the human race. The analogy and from nature argument are utilized once more through the
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This note was uploaded on 09/17/2008 for the course REL 121g taught by Professor Hock during the Spring '07 term at USC.

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2nd term paper - 1 World of the New Testament October 25,...

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