Interpreting the Parables of Luke

Robert H. Stein  |  Southwestern Journal of Theology Vol. 40 - Fall 1997

During the first nineteen centuries of the Christian church the dominant way of interpreting the parables was by means of the allegorical method. In order to arrive at the “deeper” meanings of the parable the numerous details of the parables were investigated and their various, meanings sought. Thus in the parable of the Prodigal Son (15:11-32), the robe was seen as representing the original righteousness which humanity lost through sin. The ring place on the finger of the prodigal son was understood as representing Christian baptism, the fatted calf as representing the body of Christ at the Lord’ Supper, and so forth. In the parable of the God Samaritan (10:30-37), the good Samaritan was understood as representing Jesus, the priest and the Levite – the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament which cannot save, the beast – the body of Christ which bore the sins of the world, the inn-the church, and so on.[1]See Robert H. Stein, An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1981), 41-52.

There are main reasons for the popularity of this method. For one, the allegorical interpretation of sacred literature was a common practice among both Greeks and Jews. One of the reasons for this was that when the literal meaning of such literature was unacceptable, this method was able to rescue it. Thus, it was argued, one was not to take literally the immorality and evil of the Greek gods and goddesses. Instead one was to look at the deeper, and of course more moral, meaning via allegorical interpretation. Similarly in Judaism and Christianity the Song of Songs was made more acceptable by seeing it as an allegory of YHWH’s love for Israel or Christ’s love for the church. Philo, a first-century Alexandrian Jew, used allegorical interpretation extensively to harmonize the teachings of the Old Testament with the teachings of Greek philosophy.

A second reason why this method dominated parable interpretation is that it appears to be the way Jesus interpreted his parables. The interpretation of the parable of the sower is the key example of this. Here Jesus interpreted the four soils allegorically as representing four different kinds of hearers.[2]The issue of whether the interpretation of this parable is authentic or not is much debated. It does not concern us here, however, because everyone in the early church believed that this interpretation came from Jesus. For a defense of the authenticity of the interpretation, see Philip Barton Payne, “The Authenticity of the Parable of the Sower and its Interpretaton,” Gospel Perspectives (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1980), 1:163-207. Assumed from this was that all parables should be interpreted in a similar manner, i.e., allegorically. This does not mean that one could read allegorically into the parable anything they wanted. There existed certain basic rules. One could not find in a parable an allegorical interpretation which contradicted the teachings of Scripture or the teachings of the church. Some placed even further restrictions on the allegorical interpretation of Scripture, by arguing that one could not find in the parables a teaching which was not expressly taught elsewhere in the Scripture or in church doctrine.

There were voices in the early church which opposed the allegorical method of interpretation. The Antiochian church fathers (Chrysostom, Isadore of Pelusium, Theodore of Mopsuestia) in particular protested against this method of interpreting Scripture, but the first clear voice against applying this method to the interpretation of the parables was John Calvin. He was the first known person who protested the allegorical interpretation of the parable of the good Samaritan and denied that the good Samaritan represented Jesus Christ.[3]See Stein, 49-51. Calvin also avoided the allegorical interpretation of other parables as well. Unfortunately his wise and judicious interpretation of the parables was not followed, and the allegorical method continued to be the dominant method of interpreting the parables for over three more centuries.

 

1. The First Rule for Interpreting Parables

In 1888 with the publication of Adolf Julicher’s Die Gleichnisreden Jesu the allegorical method of interpreting the parables received its most serious and devastating critique. Julicher pointed out that Jesus’ parables are best understood as analogies in which a single, basic point is taught. He argued that, unlike allegories, the details in the parables should not be searched for individual meanings. The details were simply part of the story­ telling process and were meant to provide local color to the story and to heighten interest. Thus in the parable of the good Samaritan the oil and wine poured on the wounds of the helpless man are not allegorical details representing the “comfort of good hope” and the “exhortation to spirited work” (so Augustine) or the “grace of God” and the “cross which the Christian is called to bear” (so Luther). On the contrary they are meant rather to demonstrate the loving kindness of the good Samaritan in caring for the man who fell among thieves. Similarly in the parable of the prodigal son the ring and the feast do not refer to the “Christian baptism” and the “Lord’s Supper” (so Tertullian) but indicate the father’s great love and acceptance of his son.

Julicher’s contribution to the study of the parables is an important one. Unfortunately, he overreacted to the abuse of the allegorical method of interpreting the parables. In reaction he argued that none of the parables of Jesus contained any details with allegorical significance. They were all simple analogies with a single point of comparison. If one found allegorical significance in any of the details, this was attributed to the editorial work of the church during the oral period or to the gospel writers. Why the later church and gospel writers were able to add allegorical details to a parable whereas Jesus could not was never satisfactorily explained. Julicher’s overreaction while understandable was nevertheless wrong. At times along with the basic analogy, Jesus (and the evangelists) gave allegorical significance to a detail which must be noted.

Despite this Julicher has contributed a most valuable insight to the interpretation of the parables. This insight is that PARABLES TEND TO TEACH ONE BASIC POINT. We should therefore content ourselves with seeking to discover the basic point of a parable and not press the details for meaning.[4]Before we find allegorical significance in the parable as Jesus uttered it, we should ask ourselves the question, “Would Jesus’ audience have understood this detail as being allegorical?” When we ask this question, obviously the fatted calf in the parable of the prodigal son cannot refer to the Lord’s Supper, which Jesus had not yet insti­tuted. Nor should we see in the ring a symbol of Christian baptism. No one in Jesus’ audience would have under­ stood these details in this way. In the parable of the Wicked Tenants (Mark 12:1-12 and parallels), however, it is clear that the original audience of Jesus would have seen in the vineyard, the pit, the winepress, and the watch­ tower allegorical significance, because these are part of the imagery found in Isa. 5:1-7 and refer to the nation of Israel. This rule helps bring clarity to several parables in Luke. When applied to the parable of the good Samaritan, it becomes clear that Jesus was not teaching an allegorical portrayal of the history of salvation. On the contrary, the parable must be understood in light of the questions that pre­cede (“And who is my neighbor?”- 10:29)[5]All quotations come from the NIV unless noted. and follow it (“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”- 10:36).[6]It should be noted that these are two different questions. The first by the scribe can be reworded, “If I must love my neighbor, then who out there qualifies as my neighbor, so that I must love him?” This question was answered in different ways among various Jewish groups. At Qumran one was to “love all the sons of light [the members of the sect]…and hate all the sons of darkness [all who were not members of the sect].” At times “neighbor” might extend as far as other fellow Jews, but it seldom, if ever, would extend to Gentiles or Samaritans. Jesus, however, reworded the scribe’s question, so that the focus was now on the hearer proving that he was a lov­ing neighbor. This switch in the question should not be seen as a transmissional error or corruption of the original incident, as some maintain, but rather as an example of Jesus’ genius as a teacher in switching the focus of the question.

The parable of the good Samaritan thus has as its main point what it means to be a neighbor. The details (going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, pouring on oil and wine, the two silver coins [denarii], for instance) are simply local coloring to make the story interesting and coherent. One must go down when traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho for Jerusalem is over three thousand feet higher than Jericho. If, however, we reworded the parable, “A man was going up from Jericho to Jerusalem …”, the meaning of the story would not change.[7]Questions such as whether the priest and Levite were returning home from serving in the temple or why the Samaritan was traveling in this area are misdirected. They misunderstand the literary genre of the parable by ask­ing of it historical questions. These questions, which would be appropriate for historical narratives, are inappropri­ate for parables because parables are fictional stories. As for the references to oil and wine, these are merely illustrations of the loving care of the Samaritan in applying firstaid to the wounded victim by washing his wounds (wine) and applying upon them first-century ointment (oil). As to the two silver coins, one can imagine how the early church might have interpreted this passage if Jesus had mentioned three coins. Now the entire Trinity would have been seen as involved in the salvation of this man!

The parable of the Dishonest Manager (16:1-13) is a good example of how a confusing parable can become understandable when one is content with finding the basic point of a parable. Numerous attempts have been made to explain the behavior of the steward in 16:5-7 as being good or praiseworthy.[8]See Stein, 107-110, for a list of such examples. For a more detailed discussion, see Dave L. Mathewson, “The Parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1-13): A Reexamination of the Tradition View in Light of Recent Challenges,” JETS 38 (1995): 29-39. All such attempts, however, are invalidated by the fact that the term “dishonest” is not used to describe the steward until after his actions in 16: 5-7! The loss of his job is not described as being due to dis­honesty. He “wasted” (16:1) or “squandered” (cf. 15:13 where the same Greek word is used) his master’s possessions. This does not require that he did this through dishonesty. It may simply refer to wasteful mismanagement on his part due to incompetence

Jesus does not explain why. Obviously the reason was not important for him in telling the parable. The fact that the steward is only called “dishonest” after his actions makes it impossible to interpret what he did as other than immoral. It is his actions in 16:5-7 which made him a dishonest steward! The steward is not commended, however, for his dishonesty but for his shrewdness (16:8a). He is commended because he shrewdly prepared for his future. (Cf. how the same term is used again in 18:Sb.) The basic point of the parable is that, if this thief was shrewd enough to prepare for the judgment he faced, ought not Jesus’ hearers do the same?[9]Two other parables in which Jesus uses less than noble characters as examples are the parables of the Hidden Treasure (Matt. 13:44) and the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:1-13). In the former the man certainly does not serve as an example of what it means to follow the golden rule, and in the latter the five wise virgins are in reality quite self­ish. Nevertheless, if we do not press the details of the parables, they serve well the point Jesus sought to make. Jesus was proclaiming, “The kingdom of God has come. The sheep are even now being separated from the goats. Judgment is just around the corner. Learn from the dishonest steward and prepare yourself.” How one is to prepare oneself is, of course, not through dishonesty but by repentance and obedience.

In seeking the main point of a parable there are several questions that are useful in this process. These include:

  1. In a parable dealing with several characters who are the two main characters? Many times it is clear which three characters are the most important but ultimately the focus narrows down on two.
  2. What comes at the end of the parable? One writer has referred to this as “the rule of end stress.”
  3. Who/what gets the most space? Storytellers generally spend the most time dealing with what they deem is most important in the story.
  4. What is found in direct discourse? In a parable the direct quotation of a conversation focuses attention on what is being said.

If we ask these questions concerning the parable of the prodigal son, it becomes clear that the three most important characters are the father and his two sons. In seeking to understand which two of these are the most important we should take note of what is found at the end. Here the parable focuses on the father and the grumbling, older son. We should also note that there is an extended conversation between the father and the older son.

On the other hand, there is no conversation between the father and the younger son! Whereas it is true that more space is devoted to the younger son in the earlier part of the parable, this is not enough to offset the focus at the end and the conversation of the father and the older son.[10]Note the similar parable found in Matt. 20:1-16. Here, too, the focus of the parable is on the owner and the grumbling first hour workers, because the most space is devoted to them, they appear together at the end, and it   is the only place in the parable where we find direct discourse. Additional support for this conclusion is found in the context Luke gives the parable in 15:1-3a. Most scholars believe that Luke is correct in portraying this parable, and the twin parables found in 15:3-11, as directed toward the grumbling Pharisees and teachers of the law (older brother types) who are protesting Jesus’ table fellowship and association with publicans and sinners (prodigals).

 

2. The Second Rule for Interpreting Parables

It was C. H. Dodd’s, The Parables of the Kingdom (1936), which provided the second basic rule for interpreting parables. Dodd pointed out that in interpreting the parables we must keep in mind the original audience to whom they were addressed. How would a Jewish audience in A. D. 28-30 have understood these parables? The rule resulting from this can be stated as follows: SEEK TO UNDERSTAND THE POINT WHICH JESUS WAS MAKING IN THE PARABLE.

When this rule is applied to the parable of the good Samaritan, it is evident that this will result in a very different kind of interpretation. This becomes clear when we compare how a modern audience understands such term as “Samaritan,” “priest,” and “Levite” with how Jesus’ audience would have understood them. Today the term “Samaritan” evokes responses such as “good,” “kind,” “loving,” “Jesus,” “hospital,” and so on. No doubt this is due in large part to this parable. As for the terms “priest” and “Levite,” in protestant circles at least, they tend to be understood somewhat negatively. Yet for Jesus’ audience the term “Samaritan” would never evoke a response of “good.” This would make as much sense to his audience as talking about square circles and bright darkness.[11]For a brief survey of the Jewish-Samaritan animosity toward each other see Stein, 76-77. For them the term would conjure up images of “rebel,” “halfbreed,” “demon,” “evil,” for example.

On the other hand, the terms “priest” and “Levite” would have brought positive responses. Yet within the parable Israel’s heroes (the priest and Levite) are portrayed as villains, whereas their hated enemy (the Samaritan) is portrayed as the hero. Thus when we seek to understand the parable within the context of Jesus’ ministry, it becomes clear that “the parable is not a pleasant tale about the Traveler Who Did His Good Deed: it is a damning indictment of social, racial, and religious superiority.”[12]Geraint Vaughan Jones, The Art and Truth of the Parables (London: SPCK, 1964), 258. Cf. how Clarence Jordan in The Cotton Patch Version of Luke and Acts translated this parable.

When one interprets the parable of the prodigal son in light of how Jesus’ audience would have understood it (and thus how Jesus intended it to be understood),[13]Hypothetically, of course, Jesus’ audience could have misunderstood this parable just as the Thessalonians misunderstood 1 Thessalonians. It is helpful, however, in trying to understand Jesus’ parables to think how the original audience would have, or better yet-should have, understood them. we see that this parable was not intended to serve simply as an example of God’s great love for sinners. When Jesus told this parable to the Pharisees and teachers of the law, he was here, as in the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin, giving both a defense of his behavior in eating with publicans and sinners as well as making a powerful Christological claim. Jesus was claiming that the kingdom of God had now come. In his ministry God was visiting the lost sheep of Israel. It was therefore time for celebration and dancing. Why did not the Pharisees and teachers of the law enter into the joy of the occasion?

The parable of the Great Banquet (14:15-24) makes a similar point. Whereas Jesus’ host spoke abstractly about the blessedness of the days when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus taught that the kingdom of God had already come. The host and other religious leaders had been invited to participate in it. Yet even though they spoke of the blessedness of sharing in the kingdom of God, they did not realize that it was now already here, and that they were in reality excluding themselves from entering into it. The kingdom of God had come, and they were making excuses for not entering it. Those who had excluded themselves would indeed be excluded (14:24). Nevertheless the celebration would continue. In their places were coming the outcasts of Israel. Making no pretense of possessing their own righteousness, they heard the message of repentance and faith gladly and responded with great joy.

When viewed from the perspective of Jesus’ ministry, the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (16:19-31) should be interpreted as an apologetical defense of his ministry.[14]Some have suggested that Luke 16:19-31 should not be understood as a parable but as an historical narrative. The main reason for this is that in no other parable is one of the characters named. Thus the name “Lazarus” appears strange if this were a parable. That Luke, however, understood this as a parable is clear from the way he introduces it. “A certain man …(cf. Greek text)” is the way he introduces the parables in 14:16-24; 15:11-32; 16:1-13; cf. also 18:2-8 and 12:16-21. It seems clear therefore that when Luke introduces the present passage in the same way (cf. 16:19) he wants his readers to interpret it as a parable.  This is one of a pair of two-part parables in Luke. The other is the parable of the prodigal son. In both of these parables, if the second part (15:25-32 and 16:27-31) were omitted, few readers would think that anything was missing. Yet in the present form of both parables, and there is no reason to deny that Jesus told these parables with both parts,[15]Whereas Luke 15:11-24 could stand alone, this cannot be said of 15:25-32. The second part requires and builds upon the first part. The same is also true of Luke 16:19-26 and 27-31. The second part of this parable requires the first and builds upon it. For Luke the first part of this parable (16:19-16) serves as an illustration of Jesus’ teachings found in 16:14-15, whereas the second part (16:27-31) serves as an illustration of Jesus’ teachings in 16:16-18. the emphasis comes at the end. This is evident because of the rule of end stress and the fact that it is only at the end that we find direct discourse. What comes at the end of this parable involves the request for a sign. Jesus frequently encountered such requests in his ministry (Mark 8:11-13, Matt. 12:38-42, John 14:8; Luke 4:13). Yet Jesus understood that such a sign would not result in faith (cf. Mark 3:22 and John 12:9-11). This parable is therefore Jesus’ reply to the request for signs that he encountered on numerous occasions. An unwillingness to repent and believe is not due to the lack of signs. This is clear from Luke 11:14-23, and as the readers of Luke well knew even the resurrection of Jesus from the dead would not require that one believe (cf. 16:30-31).[16]The exact relationship between this parable and the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11 is much discussed. Whatever may be their literary-historical relationship, if any, this does not affect the meaning of the parable.

 

3. The Third Rule for Interpreting Parables

The third rule for interpreting parables developed out of the insights gained in biblical interpretation during the fifties, sixties, and seventies of our century. The development of redaction critical investigation dominated gospel studies during this period. In reaction to the sociological orientation of form criticism which was concerned with how the church passed on the gospel traditions during the oral period, redaction criticism concentrated on the evangelists’ handling of them. Observing how Luke and Matthew used their Markan source,[17]Redaction critics during this period all built their work on the assumption that Matthew and Luke used Mark as well as a second source called “Q.” they realized that the evangelists were not merely “scissors and paste” editors in their handling of the tradition but rather interpreters of that tradition. As a result a third rule for interpreting the parables became clear: SEEK TO UNDERSTAND THE POINT   WHICH THE EVANGELIST WAS MAKING IN THE PARABLE.

When one seeks to understand what Luke is emphasizing in the parable of the Tower (14:25-30), several Lukan features become evident. The parable’s placement next to the saying on discipleship in 14:26-27 indicates that Luke wants the parable to serve as an example of the cost of discipleship emphasized in these verses. This is a clear Lukan theme and emphasis (cf. 9:23-27, 57-62, 18:24-30). The parable of the King (14: 31-32) serves a similar purpose, and both parables have the summary conclusion “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple (14:33).” Luke by these twin parables wanted to remind his readers of what was involved in their commitment to follow Jesus, and in so doing hoped that they would recommit themselves to bearing their cross and following him.

In the parable of the Persistent Widow (18:1-8), which expands on the eschatological teachings found in 17:20-37, we again find several Lukan emphases. One involves the delay of the parousia. That this was a problem for some in the church is evident from 2 Pet. 3:3-9 and from Luke 17:22- 37 where Luke points out to his readers that there would be a period of time between the ascension and the parousia. (See especially 17:22.)[18]Cf. also 12:45-46; 21:36; and how Luke edits Mark 14:62 in 22:69 in order to assist Theophilus and his readers in this matter. Luke introduces the parable of the Ten Minas (19:11-27) with comment that Jesus told this parable, “because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once.” In so doing he was telling his readers that this parable of Jesus only makes sense if there would be a period of “stewardship” between the ascension and the parousia! In a similar way Luke introduces the parable of the Unjust Judge by urging his readers to “always pray and not give up (18:1).” Whereas Luke sought to assist his readers with respect to this “delay,” it should be noted that he does not relate the parousia to the far distant future. As a result during the period between the ascension and the parousia he urges them to persevere in their faith (18:3-4) and busy themselves in spreading the gospel (Acts 1:6-8), because the day is indeed coming when the Son of Man will return (18:8).

The parable of the Rich Fool (12:13-21) likewise contains a strong Lukan theological emphasis. Luke’s warning concerning the danger of riches and his emphasis on the faithful stewardship of one’s possessions are found throughout his Gospel.[19]Cf. Luke 5:11, 28; 11:39; 12:33-34; 16:9-13; 18:22. Luke’s solution for this danger is likewise clear and ubiquitous. One should give to the poor (11:41, 19:8), place the love of God above the love of possessions (16:13), make restitution of wealth gained dishonestly (19:8), and seek to gain treasure in   heaven (18:22). Luke in applying the parable of the unjust steward to his own situation tells Theophilus and his other readers that they should seek to establish for themselves heavenly riches by being careful stewards of the possessions with which they have been entrusted (16:9-13). Luke is teaching Theophilus and his readers through the present parable that they should not allow greed for what is temporary to cause them to lose eternal treasures and riches (12:21).

The designation of the passage concerning the Chief Seats (14:7-11) as a parable reveals that in the Bible the term “parable” can refer to more than just a “heavenly story with an earthly meaning.” Basic to a parable in the   Old and New Testament is the presence of some sort of an analogy. This passage is a parable because there is present a metaphorical comparison of proper Christian conduct at a banquet with the proper attitude of believers toward God. How one should behave at a banquet, whether as a guest or as a host, is indicative of how one should behave before God, i.e., with humility and compassion for others. The importance of the former for Luke can   be seen in that the concluding verse (14:11 – “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”) is repeated in 18:14. When one humbles himself/herself, God exalts (1:52); when one exalts himself/herself, God humbles (10:15). The importance of the latter is seen in 14:12-14 where compassion for the poor is rewarded at the resurrection.

A similar teaching is found in the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (18:9-14). The Pharisee’s prayer, a perfectly good prayer if done in gratitude for God’s providential care, becomes an arrogant claim of boasting, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men-robbers, evildoers, adulterers-or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get” (18:11-12). Such boasting and self-exaltation brings a harsh rejoinder in Luke, for the best one can ever say before God is “We are unworthy servants, we have only done our duty” (17:10). The prayer which Jesus taught and which identifies those reciting it as believers (11:1-2) has as a crucial petition, “Forgive us our sins” (11:4). God does not lift up the mighty but the humble (1:52).

Clearly this parable fits well the Lukan emphasis on humility. It also teaches the Lukan theme of the great reversal. The Gospel is for the down- trodden, outcasts, poor, tax-collectors, sinners, Samaritans, Gentiles, and women. The Gospel is not for the rich and haughty, the powerful and proud.[20]See Robert H. Stein, Luke (New American Commentary; Nashville: Broadman Press, 1992), 49-50.

When one compares the parable of the great supper with its parallel in Matt. 22:1-10,[21]Scholars debate as to whether these were originally two separate parables spoken by Jesus on separate occasions or variations of a single parable. the second sending out of the servants in Luke (14:23) stands out. It appears that this second sending out of the servants is an allegorical detail alluding to God’s invitation or call to those outside Israel, i.e., the Gentiles, in order that they might also share in the kingdom. This may well be a Lukan editorial comment in which Luke indicates that Jesus’ call to the lost sheep of Israel had implications involving God’s call to the lost sheep among the Gentiles. This appears to be an instance in which a detail added to the account by the evangelist possesses allegorical significance.

 

4. The Fourth Rule for Interpreting Parables

Assuming that we have successfully concentrated our efforts on investigating the main point of the parable (Rule One), discovered the meaning that Jesus gave to it (Rule Two), and grasped what the evangelist sought to teach (Rule Three), is our study of the parable now over? What has proceeded is no doubt educational and can be quite interesting. Yet if the parables are in fact part of the divine message of Scripture, we have up to this point simply done preparatory work for the ultimate goal of biblical study. We must now seek to fulfill the final rule for interpreting parables: HOW DOES THIS PARABLE APPLY TO MY LIFE? Until this is done parable study is incomplete. At best it is an interesting exercise in historical investigation.

If we take the parable of the good Samaritan as an example, what would happen if we followed these four rules? Applying our first rule (PARABLES TEND TO TEACH ONE BASIC POINT), we would know that the parable is not an allegory portraying the history of salvation. The parable teaches rather what it means to be a neighbor. Applying the second rule (SEEK TO UNDERSTAND THE POINT WHICH JESUS WAS MAKING IN THE PARABLE), we would know that Jesus sought to teach that his followers should demonstrate love even to those who might be long-time enemies. Applying the third rule (SEEK TO UNDERSTAND THE POINT WHICH THE EVANGELIST WAS MAKING IN THE PARABLE), we would note that Luke is particularly concerned with his readers manifesting the love of God to those who are the despised and rejected of society. It is to Samaritans, tax-collectors, poor, maimed, lame, blind, outcasts, and despised that we should especially seek to demonstrate this neighborly love. ( Cf. Acts 1:8, where the love of one’s neighbor extends not just to Jerusalem and Judea but to Samaria and the ends of the earth, and 8:1-25, where Luke records the spread of the gospel to the Samaritans).

Now comes the crowning goal and pinnacle for which our study has been aiming. What are the implications of this parable for me in my situation? HOW DOES THIS PARABLE APPLY TO MY LIFE? Who are those neighbors who desperately need to experience from me the love of Christ? Who are those whom society has rejected and cast aside that I need to love? What is true of the individual reading of the Lukan parables is of course also true of Bible studies, Sunday school classes, and churches studying these parables. No study of the Lukan parables is complete until we hear and heed the words, “Go and do likewise (10:37).”

References   [ + ]

Category: Journal Article
Tags: ,


Share This Article:  

Southwestern Journal of Theology
To download full issues and find more information on the Southwestern Journal of Theology, go to swbts.edu/journal.