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Centurion Living: Life Planning Fundamentals

Centurion Living: Life Planning Fundamentals

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Centurion Living: Life Planning Fundamentals

479 pagine
6 ore
Nov 7, 2012


Did you ever ask,
"What is the meaning of life?"

Find out what Scripture has to say about the answer to this question as you develop a strategic life plan that is centered on God's purpose and vision for your life. Learn to see your entire life and all the everyday things that you do as divine assignments given to you by God Himself. You may change your perspective on life and gain a whole new passion for living.

To begin this process we must understand our origin. Where do we come from? Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? What (or who) defines our purpose? These are the most fundamental questions for a business to answer before creating a business plan, and they are the most fundamental, foundational knowledge that an individual must acquire and define before any meaningful plan for life can be developed.

The intent of this book is to be a guide to a stronger understanding of Gods purpose for you, and to apply this understanding to the defining of values and a vision for your life. In later chapters you will see how applying the foundation of purpose, values and vision through ALL of the missions in your life with a clear strategy that maintains focus on your original purpose, will help reveal Gods purpose for your life.

When asked to define their purpose in life people often state that they were meant to be an engineer, or accountant, or doctor, or clergymen, or parent, or whatever. Someone may be called to one of these specific missions, but a mission in life is different from lifes purpose. A mission is a life role, or assignment Purpose is a fundamental meaning, or reason for being

Nov 7, 2012

Informazioni sull'autore

Dr. Thompson is a visionary person seeking to understand what God wants us to be. He enjoys the process of guiding people to accomplish more than they thought possible, and is an avid believer that every Christian is a full-time evangelist, missionary, and ambassador for Christ, regardless of profession.

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Centurion Living - Dr. Justin Thompson

Copyright © 2012 by Dr. Justin Thompson

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Any people depicted in stock imagery provided by Thinkstock are models, and such images are being used for illustrative purposes only.

Certain stock imagery © Thinkstock.

ISBN: 978-1-4497-7089-1 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4497-7088-4 (hc)

ISBN: 978-1-4497-7090-7 (e)

Library of Congress Control Number: 2012919870

WestBow Press rev. date: 11/2/2012

For my Dad

who has taught me much in life

and whom I love & respect dearly.

But the centurion replied, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. …

When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.

Matthew 8:8…10






































This book was written to help you develop a strategic life plan. It builds on the simple story in scripture about an unnamed man, a centurion in the Roman army, who sent for Jesus because his servant was ill and near death. Jesus responded to this man, who was not a Jew, by stating that He had not experienced such faith from anyone else in all of Israel. This simple story gives us a powerful life lesson, and a solid example for us to follow in our lives.

The process of life planning begins with the basics of core doctrine: your defining purpose (e.g. the meaning of life) and your guiding values, or non-negotiable tenants to live by. These foundational components set the tone for everything that we do in life, whether it is thoughtfully planned out, or neglectfully allowed to happen on its own.

Our life purpose was clearly defined by our Creator from the beginning of time. We just have to look at what He has recorded and understand what it means.

Beyond the foundational core doctrine we need to have some type of vision for our future. In this book you will find some helpful thoughts on how to formulate this vision and be guided by the perfect, holy, and all-seeing vision of your Creator when doing so.

Finally, this book will help you in defining a strategic plan that defines and lays the groundwork for the direction you will head in life and the assignments that you will take on. While the core doctrine components should be rock solid and unchanging over time, your strategic plan will adjust throughout your life as the roles you live in change over time. As you read this book I hope that you will be encouraged to see these life roles as direct assignments from God, and as opportunities to live out your fundamental purpose in life.

The centurion that sent for Jesus’ help knew that Jesus had the power and the desire to do what needed to be done to save his servant. He was a commanding officer in the Roman military, he had servants in his home that willingly served him, and he had the respect of the local Jewish community leaders. This man was a believer – not just in word, but in outward action as well.

I would love to know where the story goes from there. This isn’t recorded anywhere for us, but I can imagine that this man’s faith grew even stronger after this incident. He probably had many opportunities to share his faith in Christ with others. He may have had some influence, or at least participation, in the early Christian church. He may have had a small group within the military that, because of his influence, also became believers. I wonder if the other centurion mentioned in scripture new this man.

You recall at Jesus’ crucifixion the centurion that witnessed the events acknowledged that Jesus truly was the Son of God. Where had he heard that before? Was it simply because of the events witnessed during the crucifixion, or had this man heard about the Son of God from a fellow centurion at some point earlier?

We’ll never know the answer, but I believe that we all have opportunities to express our faith in Christ in our everyday living. That is what this book is all about. It’s a simple guide to thinking through your life and developing a proactive, intentional plan to live in faith – to live like the centurion that asked Jesus to heal his servant.

I hope you enjoy reading this book. More importantly, I hope you grow closer to your Savior in the process, and develop a life plan built on the first principles of God’s purposes and His answer to the question, What is the meaning of life?




I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man. (Eccl. 3:10-13)

Have you ever been involved in creating a business plan? A business plan is an essential component to any successful, growing business, whether a multimillion-dollar corporation or a teenager’s summer lawn mowing venture.

Some business plans are better than others. Some entrepreneurs like the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of planning where they describe themselves as agile and adaptive. Other people might describe these entrepreneurs as chaotic and easily distracted. In almost every case, these entrepreneurs would have a much higher chance of success if they started with a well-developed and carefully executed business plan.

This book is about applying the same principle to your life. We’ll start by getting to the basic principles of life and developing a better understanding of who we are and why we are here, as well as developing the foundational guideposts to serve as our roadmap or GPS for daily living.

Yes, doing this means tackling the seemingly impossible question: What is the meaning of life? It also means putting some serious thought into what is really important to us. In other words, what are the non-negotiable things in life that we want to hang our proverbial hats on?


What are the essential components of a good business plan? There are a thousand different ideas and every idea highlights the importance of various aspects of business planning differently. Here are what I consider to be the basic, essential components of a good business plan:

1. Doctrine (the defining foundation of the business)

a.   Purpose: you have to know why the company exists.

b.   Values: you have to clarify the non-negotiable tenants that will guide your decision making; if these aren’t clear then bad decisions are inevitable.

2. Vision (where the company is headed and how you will know when it gets there)

a.   Prophetic Discernment: prophetic means a vision for the future, and it must be discerning, or well thought out with a solid use of good judgment.

b.   Strategic Objectives: What does the company plan to accomplish over time? What are the major objectives, to carrying out the core purpose?

c.   Imaginative Perspective or Colorful Fulfillment Imagery: what is the ultimate vision for the future of the company?

3. Strategy (a plan for execution and achievement of the vision)

a.   Missions Fields: defined focused areas that the company will target as a means of carrying out its purpose and achieving its ultimate vision. You can’t be everything to everyone – so who will you be and for whom will you be it? Each mission field may have a series of more specific missions, or simply be a singular mission to itself.

b.   Mission Objectives and Goals

c.   Objectives: what are the main outcomes to accomplish as part of the mission?

d.   Goals: what are the major stepping stones, or measurable milestones on the path to completing each mission’s objectives?

4. Tactical Initiatives: (key activities for accomplishing each goal, and ultimately each mission.

If you change the purpose, you change the company

Listing purpose and mission as separate components make this business plan outline unique. In most discussions on business planning these two terms are used interchangeably, but I believe there is a strong, discernible difference between purpose and mission. Every company should have a clearly defined and consistent underlying purpose statement that defines why it exists. Clearly defined means that the plan is easy to understand, and is explained to everyone in the company. Consistent means that the plan doesn’t change. If you change the purpose, you change the company.

In addition to this foundational purpose, every company should have clearly defined missions. It is tempting to state a company’s foundational purpose as making a profit, but this cannot be the foundational purpose. No company would survive because no one would want to do business with it. A company will develop a core competency in fulfilling its primary purpose.

Consider the kid mowing lawns. If the fundamental purpose of his business is to make a profit, then he’ll focus his thoughts and actions on how to squeeze every penny out of his customers rather than on how to be an excellent lawn keeper. The fundamental purpose of his business is related to keeping lawns looking good rather than making a profit.

Don’t misunderstand this line of thinking: I’m not reducing the importance of making a profit in a business. I’m simply saying that it isn’t (and can’t be) its foundational purpose. Profitability is, however, critical to any business and should certainly be included as part of its values, vision, and/or missions.

Profitability may be defined as a company’s critical missions and thus have an associated mission statement, definable objectives, and measureable goals. Profitability may be defined as one value the company uses to guide decisions. It may be defined as part of the company’s vision – a global objective with associated goals on which the missions of choice for the business are focused.

This kid, the small business owner, may be fulfilling his purpose, but he may still go out of business if he loses focus on the mission of profitability. He may be the best mower in town, but if the work he does costs more to do than what he is paid, then the business is not sustainable and he will only fulfill his purpose until his cash reserves run out. So, in effect, he isn’t really fulfilling his purpose after all.

So there is a critical link between a well-understood, fundamental purpose and clearly defined missions, but they are not interchangeable terms. They are complementary terms that build on one-another.

Purpose defines the business’s fundamental reason for existing, and missions define the ways in which this purpose will be fulfilled

How does a business define its purpose? To define a purpose one must simply consider the most basic and fundamental reason for doing what the company does. One way of doing this is to repeatedly ask why until you get to the root.

For instance, the lawn-mowing kid might ask Why do I mow lawns? He’ll be tempted to answer this question by saying, To make money? But remember, this cannot be the fundamental purpose or he’ll lose sight of delivering quality service. It must be a primary mission, part of the vision, a guiding value, or some combination of the above, but not the fundamental purpose for the business.

A more suitable answer might be, I mow lawns to provide well-kept landscaping to homes in the neighborhood? But why does he care (or, more importantly, why do his customers care) about a well-kept lawn? Perhaps to provide his neighbors with curb-appeal? Again we could ask Why? We could go on and on.

At some point the business planner has to draw a proverbial line in the sand to recognize his or her foundational point. Depending on how far back the lawn-mowing kid goes with the Why? questions he may actually decide that mowing lawns itself is a mission for his business, rather than a foundational purpose. For instance, if he determines his foundational purpose is to maintain well-kept lawns then lawn mowing, or some related descriptor, is his foundational purpose. However, if he determines that curb appeal is more foundational to his businesses purpose then his business missions may include: profitability/financial management, lawn mowing, landscaping, fertilization, mailbox painting, pressure washing, anything he can do to maintain or increase the curb appeal of his customers’ homes. He may decide to take on some of these other missions based on his profitability strategy.

If he takes on more than he can handle, he may become overwhelmed and unable to keep up. He may end up spending more to maintain his missions than he can really afford and thus lose profitability. Also, the quality of service provided will suffer and he’ll ultimately lose customers as a result. On the flip side, if he ignores missions that he could take on then he is missing out on opportunities to grow his business and increase his profit.

This balancing act between a growing mission field (taking on new missions to grow the business) and sustainable growth rates is something that every business in the world faces, regardless of size. This is true for the kid mowing lawns in the neighborhood, the corner filling station where he purchases fuel for his lawn mower, and the petrochemical giant that supplies the fuel.

The management task is true for governments as well, although government officials tend to easily lose sight of the purpose of government while they concentrate on their mission for re-election. This results in governments with unwieldy mission growth, leading to enormous budget deficits, bankrupt town halls, global economic unrest, and worldwide recession. Sound familiar?

So purpose defines the business’s fundamental reason for existing and missions define the ways in which this purpose will be fulfilled. Each mission will have its own mission statement, which is a way of stating the purpose for that particular mission. Before selecting missions on which to focus, the business should create an overall vision for its desired future. All missions are selected to be in line with the company’s foundational purpose and supportive of the company’s envisioned future. Any missions that are not in line with the company’s purpose and vision should be turned down, and if already undertaken they should be shut down as quickly as possible.

Values are also critical because they define the framework that will guide business leaders’ decision making processes. If honesty is determined to be a critical value for the company, and an opportunity with high return presents itself but requires a bit of dishonesty to achieve, then the determined value system requires the business leaders to be honest, even if it means losing this opportunity.

What’s interesting is that once a company proves that it is willing to sacrifice revenue in order to maintain honest and respectable values, customers tend to line up. The lost revenue often turns out to be a loss-leader that brings in far more over time than was lost. The opposite is often true as well.

Companies that compromise ethics and values will eventually become known for such and lose revenue from potential customers who aren’t willing to take the risk associated with working with a dishonest and untrustworthy company.

Now the company knows why it exists. It has a clearly defined doctrine containing its fundamental purpose and the values that will guide its decision making. It has declared what it hopes to accomplish in the form of a vision for the future. And it has determined a strategy for working towards that vision; a strategy that contains a series of missions and associated mission objectives that lay out the path to success. The planning to define these missions and the objectives for carrying them out is the act of strategic planning that every company must do to be successful. The day-to-day details of executing the strategic plan involves tactical initiatives, or a set of mission goals, milestones along the path to completing each goal, and the action plans that get things done.

This book focuses primarily on the first three stages in this process. The Core Doctrine for our lives (life doctrine) lays the foundation for everything else and Vision is the root of the strategic plan. If these two are not correctly defined first, then the rest is just hit or miss.

Developing a solid Strategic Plan for life involves understanding the mission fields that will occupy your life and the specific missions you will have in each field. This life strategy is critically important, and it must be built on the foundation of Life Doctrine and Vision. Building Tactical Initiatives before you have a strategy to go by is like putting fuel in your vehicle before you know if you’re driving a gasoline, diesel or electric car. You might get lucky, but more than likely you won’t get very far. Even if you do get started, how do you know which road to take if you haven’t thought about directions?

Too many companies skip over the laying of a solid foundation for their strategic planning. They overlook understanding their own doctrine (purpose for existing and values to live by) and ignore developing a real and achievable vision for the future of their business. Skipping this foundational layer may save a little time up front, but will cost the company severely in the end. Its behavior will be chaotic and off-target, mainly because it doesn’t have a clear target to aim for. Bad decisions will become the norm. At best these bad decisions will be well intentioned mistakes, but too often they become misguided travesties that end in ethical disasters and legal minefields. Start by laying a good foundation, and then spend time planning out a reasonable strategy for building on that foundation.

The previous graphic depicts how purpose is the starting point. You must understand where you come from, and who you are. Values must accompany this definition of purpose in order to round out the core doctrine of existence. But understanding your purpose and values is only the foundation. It doesn’t do much good to understand where you come from if you don’t create a picture of where you are headed. Without this well thought out foundation the rest of the process will fall apart; chaos is inevitable.

A strategic plan that builds on this foundation begins with a plan for how to accomplish the vision and determine those missions which are critical to the success of the vision. Both defining and prioritizing these missions is of equal importance in this process, and declining some missions will be inevitable. In some cases the mission will simply not fit the vision, or will consume resources that jeopardize the success of higher priority missions. Don’t be afraid to say No.

Once the missions have been declared a plan must be created for each of the missions. In some cases the missions will be somewhat autonomous, where each mission is independent of the other, but all directly supporting the overall vision. Sometimes the missions will be intertwined to some extent so that what happens in one mission has an effect on what happens in another. Although not necessarily universal, codependency among missions is typical, and often those missions that seem to be autonomous on the surface will have some level of codependency when examined carefully.

Using the example of the kid with the lawn mowing curb-appeal enhancing business, the company missions might be defined something like:

1. Financial Management – with objectives such as profitability, cost management, etc.

2. Lawn Mowing – with objectives for keeping yards trim and clean cut

3. Landscaping – with objectives for keeping yards well balanced and attractive

4. Fertilization – with objectives for keeping yards green and lush

5. Mailbox painting – with objectives for keeping up the appearance from the road

6. Pressure washing – with objectives for keeping home exteriors, driveways, etc. clean

In the process of defining these missions and creating a strategic plan it may be determined that some missions are either outside the available expertise, or require more capital than is currently available. In such cases it will be necessary to abandon or postpone those missions, or add objectives to the financial management mission (or possibly a whole new mission itself) for raising the needed capital to fund the acquisition of equipment and/or talent to make those missions possible. Every company is faced with decisions about missions that seem like reasonable fits in the global strategy, but may not be right due to timing or available resources. This is part of the strategic planning process, and is often the most challenging component.


Purpose. Values. Vision. Strategy. Tactics.

These are the essential elements to a solid business plan for any organization. But how do they apply to the life of an individual? Simply put, they apply in exactly the same way. If an individual hopes to accomplish anything worthwhile in life it is important to understand one’s purpose. We all have values that we live by, but it is important to have clearly defined values that set non-negotiable boundaries to decision making. It is helpful to have a vision for what one wants from life. It is important to understand the missions that one will have in life and to have a strategy for these missions. Ultimately we need to have tactics by which to achieve this strategy, rather than aimlessly wander through life without a plan of any sorts. As you read through this book I hope you find that it guides you to a better understanding of your life’s purpose, and helps you define a business plan for your life – a living plan of sorts.

To begin this process we must understand our origin. Where do we come from? Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? What (or who) defines our purpose? These are the most fundamental questions for a business to answer before creating a business plan, and they are the most fundamental, foundational knowledge that an individual must acquire and define before any meaningful plan for life can be developed.

As in business, it is foolish to skip this process and dive right into defining the missions that we want to accomplish in life. Don’t start the process by defining your objectives as a parent, or by declaring your career objectives. These are mission fields that you may take on in life, but they are not foundational. If you don’t understand your origins, your most fundamental purpose for living, then any objectives you decide upon for your life’s missions may be misguided.

By no means does this mean you don’t have a plan. It simply means that you have a fundamental purpose – a common denominator that undergirds all of your plans. Every mission in life is directed by this purpose, so make it a priority to understand this purpose before you make any plans.

Some people believe that plans are not necessary. Some go to the extreme and profess that plans for life are even ungodly, because scripture teaches that God’s plans are all that matter. Only part of this line of reasoning is correct: only God’s plans will succeed. Scripture teaches:

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, But it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. (Prov. 19:21)

This verse does not teach that man should not have plans; quite the contrary. It teaches that it is the LORD’s purpose that will win out in the end – so the wise man will align his plans with the LORD’s.¹ It teaches us that planning is important, but should always be centered on knowing and understanding the LORD’s purpose. In fact, just a few chapters before we find this verse we are taught:

Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. (Prov. 16:3)

Again, when interpreting the teaching of this verse don’t overlook the first part of the proverb. This does not teach that all of our plans will succeed if we only have faith. There are those who teach this philosophy: have faith and your plans will be successful. That’s just rubbish; it isn’t what scripture teaches. This philosophy is actually a slap in the face to all those who have tremendous faith, yet suffer horrible injustices in life.

Instead, this verse teaches that if we want success with our plans we must start by committing, or submitting, our plans to the LORD. This means that we must strive to make our plans for life to be God’s plans. We don’t leave out the planning process hoping that God will just drop things in our path. Instead, we earnestly seek out His will and follow where He leads.

Don’t misunderstand what I am saying here. God will drop things in your path from time to time. But He wants us to be actively seeking Him and His plans. Look for His handiwork all around you, and find ways to participate in what He is already doing. His leading and our following are critical to our successful plans. Not that our following is critical to His success, but it is critical to our hearts and critical to our success. You see, God’s plans and purposes will always be successful. So if we want success from our plans we need to make our plans conform to His. This is the process of understanding where we come from, and the purpose for which we exist. It is the focus of the first major section of this book: PURPOSE.

If we look at our life as a tree (the tree of life) we can consider the missions we take on in life to be the small branches and the leaves that gather sunlight to keep the processes flowing. The objectives of these missions in life are the fruit that the tree will produce. If we break off a twig with a piece of fruit on it, and expect the fruit to grow and flourish separated from the tree we are short sighted and foolish.

The larger branches of the tree are the mission fields upon which each mission rests, and each of these branches spread from the trunk which represents vision. The base of the tree trunk is the strength of values, without which the tree would tumble over when storms blow through. Values firmly connect the tree trunk, vision, to the root structure.

The foundation to it all is the tree’s root structure. These roots represent purpose, and they are the anchor that holds the tree in place. They are the lifeline that pulls in nutrients to keep the tree alive. If the tree has weak roots it won’t survive. But if the tree is firmly rooted in fertile soil with an abundant supply of nutrient rich water (living water) then the tree will flourish and grow.

To take this analogy a step further imagine a properly groomed tree is planted in the good soil, representing the way our Heavenly Father surrounds us and gives us strength. This soil firmly holds us in place and lifts us up to bear His fruit. Jesus, our Messiah, is the living water that flows from the soil into our roots and feeds the purpose for which we were created. This living water makes it possible for our roots to grow into the fertile soil that is our Creator. As this living water feeds our roots it is infused with who we are and fills our entire life – our tree is filled completely with this living water. The Holy Spirit is the light that shines on us empowering us to bear the fruit of the Spirit. That is, to live out the purpose for which we were created.

Our God and Creator is now the soil we rest in (God the Father), the living water that fills us and transforms us (God the Son), and the energy that enables us (God the Spirit).

If you want success in life that is of lasting value you must have plans, but you must properly ground these plans in a solid understanding of your purpose, that is, God’s purpose for you:

The heart of man plans his ways, But the LORD establishes his steps. (Prov. 16:6)

The intent of this book is to be a guide to a stronger understanding of God’s purpose for you, and to apply this understanding to the defining of values and a vision for your life. In later chapters you will see how applying the foundation of purpose, values and vision through ALL of the missions in your life with a clear strategy that maintains focus on your original purpose, will help reveal God’s purpose for your life.

It is my prayer that as you read you will examine scripture, open your heart and mind to God’s instruction and grow closer to your Creator with every turn of the page.


Reading the following will deepen your understanding of God’s planning and sovereignty over your life:



I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith. (Luke 7:9b)

As He entered Capernaum on his journey around Israel, Jesus heard from a Roman military leader, a centurion. In fact, Jesus never met the centurion face to face, but met with those whom the centurion sent to meet with Jesus on his behalf.

After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue. (Luke 7:1-5)

So who was this centurion? A centurion in the Roman army was a military leader. They would have been responsible for leading a centuria (or centuries, a troop of 100 soldiers) assigned to some specific military function. They were typically well paid – at least in comparison to the common soldier – and often had servants as well as their centuria to lead. One source described centurions like this:

The backbone of the Roman army were the centurions. The centurions were legionaries and they were clearly noticed because they wore a special helmet, and a more ornate harness of much better quality. They carried a short vinewood staff as a symbol of rank. They worked their way up the ranks as soldiers, and were promoted for their dedication and courage. They were the veteran soldiers who commanded 100 men each, within a legion of 6,000. There were thus 60 centuries in a legion, each under the command of a centurion. During the time of Augustus there were 28 legions. The centurion received pay that amounted to more than 20 times the ordinary soldiers pay, about 5,000 denarii per year. There were actually five senior centurions in a legion who received 10,000 denarii per year, and the chief centurion (the first javelin) received 20,000 denarii in pay annually. The common soldier received around 200-300 denarii per year.²

The centurion

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