Mark 11:17 (KJV)
And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.
Every passage of the Bible has an immediate interpretation that impacts the original audience and perhaps a number of applications that affect the modern believer. The immediate interpretation is that the priests had contrived a scheme whereby they (and the Temple) could profit from the well-meaning intentions and, in some cases, binding obligations of the people to bring sacrifices to God at the Temple.
By taking what was clearly Biblical and twisting things in ever so slight of ways, they had developed a system where the people, who biblically were able to convert there sacrifice into money for sake of traveling convenience, could then purchase a sacrificial animal at the Temple. The catch was they had to purchase that animal with “sanctified” money. “For their convenience” the Temple priests would even exchange their money for the sanctified currency. Of course there was a fee. A modern application would be to play on a congregation’s sincere motive to worship the Lord and perceived obligations associated with worship for profit and gain
Some modern Christians have misunderstood this text to mean that it is unscriptural to sell books, music or sermon CD’s at church. This is not the intention of the passage. It is reasonable that materials that help the believer to grow in grace be offered at the church house. It is also reasonable to expect that the church be compensated fairly for providing those materials. What would not be reasonable would be to somehow compel people to purchase them for exorbitant prices.
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Mark 11:17 This Isn’t Profane
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