Luke 16:1
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Jesus told his disciples: "There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions.

New Living Translation
Jesus told this story to his disciples: "There was a certain rich man who had a manager handling his affairs. One day a report came that the manager was wasting his employer's money.

English Standard Version
He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions.

Berean Study Bible
Jesus also said to His disciples, "There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions.

Berean Literal Bible
Now also He was saying to the disciples, "There was a certain rich man who had a manager, and was accused unto him as he is wasting his possessions.

New American Standard Bible
Now He was also saying to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a manager, and this manager was reported to him as squandering his possessions.

King James Bible
And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
He also said to the disciples: "There was a rich man who received an accusation that his manager was squandering his possessions.

International Standard Version
Now Jesus was saying to the disciples, "A rich man had a servant manager who was accused of wasting his assets.

NET Bible
Jesus also said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who was informed of accusations that his manager was wasting his assets.

New Heart English Bible
He also said to his disciples, "There was a certain rich man who had a manager. An accusation was made to him that this man was wasting his possessions.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And he told a parable to his disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and they were accusing him that he was squandering his wealth.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "A rich man had a business manager. The manager was accused of wasting the rich man's property.

New American Standard 1977
Now He was also saying to the disciples, “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and this steward was reported to him as squandering his possessions.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.

King James 2000 Bible
And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, who had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.

American King James Version
And he said also to his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused to him that he had wasted his goods.

American Standard Version
And he said also unto the disciples, There was a certain rich man, who had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he was wasting his goods.

Douay-Rheims Bible
AND he said also to his disciples: There was a certain rich man who had a steward: and the same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his goods.

Darby Bible Translation
And he said also to [his] disciples, There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and he was accused to him as wasting his goods.

English Revised Version
And he said also unto the disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he was wasting his goods.

Webster's Bible Translation
And he said also to his disciples, There was a certain rich man who had a steward; and the same was accused to him that he had wasted his goods.

Weymouth New Testament
He said also to His disciples: "There was a rich man who had a steward, about whom a report was brought to him, that he was wasting his property.

World English Bible
He also said to his disciples, "There was a certain rich man who had a manager. An accusation was made to him that this man was wasting his possessions.

Young's Literal Translation
And he said also unto his disciples, 'A certain man was rich, who had a steward, and he was accused to him as scattering his goods;
Study Bible
The Parable of the Shrewd Manager
1Jesus also said to His disciples, “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2So he called him in to ask, ‘What is this I hear about you? Turn in an account of your management, for you cannot be manager any longer.’…
Cross References
Matthew 20:8
When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last ones hired and moving on to the first.'

Luke 12:42
And the Lord answered, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their portion at the proper time?

Luke 15:13
After a few days, the younger son got everything together and journeyed to a distant country, where he squandered his wealth in wild living.

Luke 16:2
So he called him in to ask, 'What is this I hear about you? Turn in an account of your management, for you cannot be manager any longer.'
Treasury of Scripture

And he said also to his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused to him that he had wasted his goods.

a certain.

Matthew 18:23,24 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened to a certain king, which …

Matthew 25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, …

a steward.

Luke 8:3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many …

Luke 12:42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom …

Genesis 15:2 And Abram said, LORD God, what will you give me, seeing I go childless, …

Genesis 43:19 And they came near to the steward of Joseph's house, and they communed …

1 Chronicles 28:1 And David assembled all the princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes…

1 Corinthians 4:1,2 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards …

Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, …

1 Peter 4:10 As every man has received the gift, even so minister the same one …

wasted.

Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine …

Luke 15:13,30 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and …

Luke 19:20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is your pound, which …

Proverbs 18:9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.

Hosea 2:8 For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and …

James 4:3 You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume …

XVI.

(1) There was a certain rich man, which had a steward.--There is, perhaps, no single parable that has been subjected to such various and discordant interpretations as this of the Unjust Steward. It seems best to give step by step what seems to be a true exposition of its meaning, and to reserve a survey of other expositions till they can be compared with this.

The word "steward" had, we must remember, been already used by our Lord in Luke 12:42, and had there pointed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, to the office of the Apostles and other ministers, as dispensers of divine truths, and perhaps also, of the means of grace. So St. Paul, whose language is, as we have seen in so many instances, always important in connection with St. Luke's vocabulary, speaks of himself and his fellow-labourers as "stewards of the mysteries of God." He has learnt, may we not say, from the parable, that "it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful" (1Corinthians 4:1-2). We start, then, with this clue. The Unjust Steward represents primarily the Pharisees and scribes in their teaching and ministerial functions. But though spoken in the hearing of the Pharisees, the parable was addressed, not to them, but "to the disciples." And the reason of this is obvious. They, too, were called to be "stewards;" they, too, collectively and individually, would have to give an account of their stewardship. But if this is what the steward represents, then the rich man, like the "house-holder" in other parables, can be none else than God, who both appoints the stewards and calls them to account. In the further extension of the parable it is, of course, applicable to all who have any "goods" entrusted to them, any gifts and opportunities, any vocation and ministry in the great kingdom of God.

The same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.--(1) The Greek word for "was accused" commonly carries with it the idea of false, calumnious accusation. Probably, however, the idea connected with it, as seen in the word diabolos, or devil, which is derived from it, is that of malignant accusation, whether the charge were true or false. It is conceivable that it may have been purposely chosen to suggest the thought that the great Adversary was at once tempting the double-minded teachers to their life of hypocrisy, and exulting at their fall. If we ask why this was only suggested and not more directly expressed, as it would have been if some one accuser had been named, the answer is found in the fact that the one great Accuser has many mouth-pieces, diaboli acting under the diabolos (the Greek word stands for "false accusers" in Titus 2:3), and that there was no lack of such comments, more or less malevolent, on the inconsistencies of the professedly religious class. (2) There is an obvious purpose in using the same word, in the hearing of the same persons, as that which, in Luke 15:13, had described the excesses of the Prodigal Son. The Pharisees had heard that parable, and even if they had caught the bearing of the language which portrayed the character of the elder son, had flattered themselves that they were, at all events, free from the guilt of the younger. They had not "wasted their substance in riotous living." Now they were taught that the "goods" committed to them might be wasted in other ways than by being "devoured" in company with "harlots." They were guilty of that sin in proportion as they had failed to use what they had been entrusted with for the good of men and for God's glory.

Verses 1-31. - The Lord's teaching on the right use of earthly possessions with regard to the prospect of another world, in the form of the two parables of the unjust steward, and Dives and Lazarus. Verses 1, 2. - And he said also unto his disciples. There is no doubt that this important teaching belongs to the last portion of our Lord's life, and it is probable that it is closely connected with the parable of the prodigal son just related. It is not likely that two such weighty sermons had been preached at the same time, but in the evening, or on the following day, or at least on the next sabbath, the same auditory that listened to the prodigal son we believe were startled and enthralled by the story of the unjust steward, and then, or very shortly after, by the awful and vivid picture of life beyond the grave in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. There is a close link of thought between the parable of the unjust steward and that of the prodigal. The heroes of both these narratives, in the first instance, had a considerable share of this world's goods entrusted to their charge, and by both, in the early portions of the story, these goods were misused and wasted. The Greek words used of the "wasting" of the prodigal and of the steward were in both cases the same (Luke 15:13; Luke 16:1). No parable in the New Testament has been so copiously discussed or has received so many end such varying interpretations at the hands of expositors. We will at once put aside all the ingenious, but from our point of view mistaken, interpretations which see in "the steward" the Pharisees, the publicans, Judas Iscariot, or Satan. The parable has a broader, a more direct, a more universally interesting, meaning. It contains a deep and important teaching for every man or woman who would wish to rank among the followers, of Jesus Christ. Now, our Lord would have all men look forward gravely and calmly to the certain event of their death, and. in view of that event, would have them make careful and thoughtful preparation for the life which was to come after death. To press this most important lesson home, the Master, as his custom was at this late period of his ministry, conveyed his instruction in the form of a parable. The sketch of a steward about to be dismissed from his office, and who thus would be stripped of his income, was a fit emblem of a man about to be removed from this world by death. The steward in the parable-story felt that, when dismissed, he would be as it were alone, stripped of all, and destitute. The soul of such a man, when dead, would be also stripped of everything, would be alone and destitute. The question here might be asked - Why take for the principal figure of the parable so immoral a character as an unjust steward? The answer is well suggested by Professor Bruce, "For the simple reason that his misbehaviour is the natural explanation of the impending dismissal. Why should a faithful steward be removed from office? To conceive such a case were to sacrifice probability to a moral scruple." Roughly, then, two things all-important to us are taught here:

(1) that dismissal, death, will certainly come;

(2) that some provision certainly ought to be made for the life that lies beyond - the life that comes after the dismissal, or death. There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. The story of the parable contains little incident. There is the rich man, clearly a noble of high rank, whose residence is at a distance from his estates, the scene of the little story. Over these he has placed, as administrator or factor, the one called here a steward; the revenues of the lands this official has wasted; he appears to have been generally a careless if not a dishonest servant. The owner of the estates, when he becomes aware of the facts of the case, at once gives notice of dismissal to the steward, desiring him, however, before yielding up his office, to give in his accounts. Appalled at the sudden and utter destitution which lay before him, the steward occupies the short time of office yet remaining to him in devising a plan by which he would secure the good offices of certain persons who were in debt to his master. He (the steward) had yet a little time of power remaining before he was turned adrift; he would turn this to account, and would do a good turn to these men, poor neighbours of his, and debtors to his lord, while he was in office, and so win their friendship, and, on the principle that one good turn deserves another, would be able to reckon on their gratitude when all else had failed him. With the immorality of the act by which he won the good will of these debtors of his master we have nothing to do; it is simply a detail of the picture, which is composed of figures and imagery chosen for their fitness to impress the lesson intended to be taught. Give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. This taking away the position and privileges of the man represents the act of death, in which God takes away from us all the varied gifts, the possessions, and the powers large or small with which we are eutrusted during our lifetime. Our day of dismissal will be the day of our passing away from this life. And he said also to his disciples,.... The Syriac version adds, "a parable", as the following is; and which is directed to the disciples, as those in the preceding chapter are to the Pharisees; and who also are designed in this; though it is particularly spoken to the disciples, because it might be of some use to them, with respect, to the stewardship they were in. The Persic and Ethiopic versions read, "Jesus", or "the Lord Jesus said": and which is to be understood, though not expressed; for the parable was delivered by him, and is as follows:

there was a certain rich man: by whom God is meant, who is rich in the perfections of his nature, in the works of his hands, in his government, and the administration of it, in providential goodness, and in the large revenues of glory due to him from his creatures; for all temporal riches are from him; and so are all the riches of mercy, grace, and glory:

which had a steward; by whom is designed, not all mankind; for though all men are, in a sense, stewards under God, and are entrusted with the good things of life, the gifts of nature, endowments of mind, health, strength of body, time, &c. yet all cannot be meant, because some are distinguished from this steward, Luke 16:5 nor are the disciples intended, though the parable is directed to them; and they were stewards of the mysteries and manifold grace of God; and one among them was an unfaithful one, and was turned out of his stewardship; but the character of an unjust man will not suit with them: and besides, this steward was of the children of this world, Luke 16:8 but the Pharisees are meant: for these are taken notice of as gravelled at this parable, Luke 16:14 and to them agrees the character of the men of this world, who were worldly wise men; as also that of a steward; these are the tutors and governors mentioned in Galatians 4:2 who had the care of the house of Israel, the family of God, under the legal dispensation; and to whom were committed the oracles of God, the writings of Moses, and the prophets; and whose business it was to open and explain them to the people.

And the same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his goods; put false glosses upon the Scriptures; fed the family with bad and unwholesome food, the traditions of the elders, called the leaven of the Pharisees: made havoc of the souls of men; and made the hearts of the righteous sad: and hardened sinners in their wicked ways: and fed themselves, and not the flock; and plundered persons of their temporal substance; of all which they were accused by Moses, in whom they trusted; by his law which they violated; and by their own consciences, which witnessed against them; and by the cries of those whom they abused, which came into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. CHAPTER 16

Lu 16:1-31. Parables of the Unjust Steward and of the Rich Man and Lazarus, or, the Right Use of Money.

1. steward—manager of his estate.

accused—informed upon.

had wasted—rather, "was wasting."16:1-12 Whatever we have, the property of it is God's; we have only the use of it, according to the direction of our great Lord, and for his honour. This steward wasted his lord's goods. And we are all liable to the same charge; we have not made due improvement of what God has trusted us with. The steward cannot deny it; he must make up his accounts, and be gone. This may teach us that death will come, and deprive us of the opportunities we now have. The steward will make friends of his lord's debtors or tenants, by striking off a considerable part of their debt to his lord. The lord referred to in this parable commended not the fraud, but the policy of the steward. In that respect alone is it so noticed. Worldly men, in the choice of their object, are foolish; but in their activity, and perseverance, they are often wiser than believers. The unjust steward is not set before us as an example in cheating his master, or to justify any dishonesty, but to point out the careful ways of worldly men. It would be well if the children of light would learn wisdom from the men of the world, and would as earnestly pursue their better object. The true riches signify spiritual blessings; and if a man spends upon himself, or hoards up what God has trusted to him, as to outward things, what evidence can he have, that he is an heir of God through Christ? The riches of this world are deceitful and uncertain. Let us be convinced that those are truly rich, and very rich, who are rich in faith, and rich toward God, rich in Christ, in the promises; let us then lay up our treasure in heaven, and expect our portion from thence.
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