I am having trouble understanding the parable given in Luke 16:1-13. I have 4 questions that I would like you to answer:

1)  What exactly is the steward doing in verses 5-7.  What does it mean when it says "Take thy bill, ... and write fifty"?
2)  Why would the master "commend" the steward for this act (vs. 8)?
3)  Explain the meaning of verse 9.
4)  What is Jesus trying to teach?


He was trying to make some quick friends in the world, for he knew he was about to be unemployed.  He simply gave (unauthorized) discounts to his master's debtors.  He apparently still had the legal authority to do so, and these debtors welcomed such big discounts.  For example, the debtor who owed 100 measures of oil (NKJV) to his master, suddenly has his debt reduced to only 50!  This act indebted the debtor to the steward.

2) Why would the master "commend" the steward for this act (vs. 8)?

Only because he recognized the steward's cunning.  He seemed to admire the evil steward's criminal genius, which might show that he too was a wicked man, for the wicked often admire another wicked person's shrewdness (vs. 8).

3) Explain the meaning of verse 9.

The unjust steward used his master's money to buy earthly friends, and we, the believers, are to use our Master's money in a way that will accrue friends for eternity.  This is done by giving our money for the spreading of the gospel and the truth of the Scriptures.  Give it to churches, preachers, and missionaries who are clearly preaching the very truth of the Word, without compromise.  That money will help spread the "Good News" and thereby bring souls into the kingdom, and someday, in heaven, there will be those converts who will personally thank you for your use of your Master's money for their salvation--God will make it all known to us and them someday.

4) What is Jesus trying to teach?

Christ is not commending the unjust servant's dishonesty, but simply used him as an illustration, that even the unjust people of the world are shrewd enough to provide for themselves against a coming evil, therefore, Christians, ought to be even more shrewd, and use their resources to provide for themselves treasures in heaven, which will be an eternal joy, to have been part of someone's eternal salvation.  The unjust servant, got some free support for a while from earthly friends, but we can get eternal blessings by our shrewdness.

Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Tony Capoccia's Questions and Answers" by:

Tony Capoccia
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