The Parable of the Expectant Steward – Luke 12:42-48 – Inductive Bible Study

Luke 12:42-48

42 And the Lord said, ” Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time?  43 “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.  44 “Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.  45 “But if that slave says in his heart, ‘My master will be a long time in coming,’ and begins to beat the slavesboth men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk;  46 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers.  47 “And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes,  48 but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a floggingwill receive but few. From everyone who has been given muchmuch will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of himthey will ask all the more.

  1. What title do you give to this parable?

Expectations elicit actions

Rewards and consequences

The eat, drink, and get drunk mentality

It’s all about the heart

Accountability of a steward

Coming day of reckoning

Greater privilege produces greater responsibility

  1. What other parables have similar characteristics or theme?

Two builders

The wheat and the tares

The dragnet

Unforgiving servant

The wicked vinedressers

The two sons

The wedding feast

Ten virgins

The talents

The absent householder

The creditor and two debtors

The rich fool

The watchful servants

The unjust steward

The rich man and Lazarus

Slave’s job description

The minas

  1. Who was Jesus speaking to when He gave this parable?

Luke 12:13-15

Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But He said to him, ” Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?”

Luke 12:41

41 Peter said, “Lord, are You addressing this parable to us, or to everyone else as well?”

Though he was speaking to the crowd, He was primarily addressing Peter and the disciples.

  1. What was the context for this parable?

He is speaking to them about their concern for the future. Their concern is focused on the physical. Jesus is redirecting them to focus on the spiritual. He is specifically teaching them to be prepared for His coming by faithfully obeying His commands and being watchful and ready for His return.

  1. What are the main elements of the parable and what does each represent?
    1. faithful and sensible steward – a faithful and obedient church leader
    2. master – Jesus
    3. put in charge – leader in the church
    4. servants – Christians
    5. give them their rations – feed the flock
    6. the proper time –
    7. when he comes – the Lord’s return
    8. put him in charge – gives him responsibility in the millennial kingdom
    9. all his possessions – His kingdom
    10. says in his heart – true convictions or lack thereof
    11. will be a long time in coming – lazy, unbelieving, sluggard perspective
    12. beat the slaves – took advantage of his position of leadership
    13. both men and women –
    14. eat and drink and get drunk – gave in to the lust of the flesh
    15. a day when he does not expect him – time of His return has not been disclosed
    16. an hour he does not know – Jesus returns unexpectedly
    17. will cut him in pieces – God’s righteous judgment and punishment administered
    18. assign him a place with the unbelievers – God’s righteous judgment and punishment administered
    19. knew his master’s will – knowledge of Scripture
    20. did not get ready or act – unprepared and disobedient
    21. accord with his will – obedience to the Scriptures
    22. receive many lashes – God’s righteous judgment and punishment administered
    23. one who did not know it – an unbeliever who is not knowledgeable of the gospel
    24. committed deeds worthy of a flogging – Sinful and disobedient
    25. will receive but few – relatively light punishment
    26. everyone who has been given much – one who has been blessed with much revelation
    27. much will be required – greater responsibility
    28. to whom they entrusted much – one who has been blessed with much revelation
    29. they will ask all the more – greater responsibility
  1. What spiritual principle(s) does this parable teach?
    1. I am a steward of the knowledge and possessions God has temporarily given me
    2. Faithfulness is rewarded with increased honor and responsibility in the future
    3. After death, unbelievers do not cease to exist. They experience eternal punishment
    4. Unfaithfulness because of a lack of faith will be punished
    5. Our decisions and actions are based on our beliefs
    6. More is required of those who have received greater revelation and blessings
    7. God’s wrath is dispensed in proportion to the amount of revelation one has received
    8. There are degrees of hell and hence various levels of punishment there
    9. Similarly, there are various reward levels in heaven based on faithfulness in service
    10. Those in positions of authority, even in the church, often abuse it
    11. All those who think that life is about fulfilling their lustful pleasures will be greatly disappointed
    12. Jesus return will be at an unexpected time since it is unknown by any man
    13. My heart is the basis for my actions and it is what God looks at when judging me
    14. Ignorance is not a justification for disobedience.
  1. Cross references to this parable?

Matt 10:14-15

14 “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.  15 “Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city. 

Matt 11:23-24

23 “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day.  24 “Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”

2 Peter 3:3,4

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, ” Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

2 Thess 1:9

9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

Matt 25:46

46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Rev 20:10

10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Prov 4:23

23 Watch over your heart with all diligence,

For from it flow the springs of life.

Matt 12:34

 34 ” You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.

Matt 22:37


Gen 39:5-6

5 It came about that from the time he made him overseer in his house and over all that he owned, the LORD  blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the LORD’S blessing was upon all that he owned, in the house and in the field. 6 So he left everything he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with him there he did not concern himself with anything except the food which he ate.

Heb 3:5-6

5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; 6 but Christ was faithful  as a Son over His house —  whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

Ps 44:21

21 Would not God find this out?

For He knows the secrets of the heart.

Jer 17:10

10 “I, the LORD, search the heart,

I test the mind,

Even to give to each man according to his ways,

According to the results of his deeds.

1 Sam 16:7

7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.””

Luke 16:10

10 ” He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.

Luke 17:10

10 “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'” 

Matt 24:45-51

45 ” Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?  46 “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.  47 “Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.  48 “But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’  49 and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards;  50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know,  51 and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Luke 12:19

19’And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘

  1. Questions or problems with the interpretation of this parable.
    1. Does this parable speak of two stewards or of two potential attitudes of one steward?
    2. Explain the purpose of the stewardship of believers.
    3. Who is the beneficiary of believer’s stewardship?
    4. Why would the steward beat his fellow slaves?
    5. Discuss the problems with the world’s approach of eating, drinking and being drunk.
    6. Why does God want us to forgo pleasures now to receive future rewards?
    7. Since God knows the heart of all, why does He put those in charge who will be evil and corrupt?
    8. What’s the secret to being ready when the master returns?
  1. Based on this parable, what changes in my life does Jesus want me to make?
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