The Parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus – Luke 16:19-31 – Inductive Bible Study

Luke 16:19-31

“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linenjoyously living in splendor every day.  20 “And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gatecovered with sores,  21 and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.  22 “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.  23 “In Hades he lifted up his eyesbeing in torment, and sawAbrahamfar away and Lazarus in his bosom.  24 “And he cried out and said, ‘ Father Abrahamhave mercy on me, and send Lazarusso that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’  25 “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.  26’And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’  27 “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send himto my father’s house —   28 for I have five brothers — in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’  29 “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophetslet them hear them.’  30 “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’  31 “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophetsthey will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'”

  1. What title do you give to this parable?

The Great Chasm

Contrasts of Two Worlds

A Place Without Mercy

Where Prayers are Never Answered

Death – The Great Equalizer

When Roles are Reversed

God’s Method of Persuasion

  1. What other parables have similar characteristics or theme?

Two Builders

The Sower

The Wheat and the Tares

The Two Sons

The Wedding Feast

The Ten Virgins

The Good Samaritan

The Rich Fool

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

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

His disciples Luke 16:1 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.

The Pharisees Luke 16:14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him.

  1. What was the context for this parable?

Jesus was shooting down the Pharisee’s misconception of Earthly wealth.

  1. What are the main elements of the parable and what does each represent?
    1. rich man – the Pharisees
    2. dressed in purple and fine linen – earthly riches
    3. joyously living in splendor – pleasure
    4. poor man named Lazarus – man with a name, but no earthly riches
    5. was laid – unable to get there on his own – helpless
    6. his gate – demonstrates his relative unimportance
    7. covered with sores – despised, lowly condition
    8. longing to be fed with the crumbs – extreme poverty and need
    9. falling from the rich man’s table – abundance and excess of the rich man
    10. even the dogs were coming – more evidence of his despised, lowly condition
    11. licking his sores – even more evidence of his despised, lowly condition
    12. poor man died –
    13. carried away by the angels – honorable, glorious exit/entry
    14. Abraham’s bosom – place of comfort and honor
    15. rich man also died –
    16. was buried – ignoble end to his physical life
    17. Hades – place of the dead
    18. lifted up his eyes – denotes relative position
    19. being in torment – eternal suffering
    20. saw – he awareness heavenly bliss added to his torment
    21. Abraham – prestigious position
    22. far away – great separation
    23. he cried out – despair
    24. Father Abraham – NOW, he acknowledges the truth
    25. have mercy on me – pleads for mercy
    26. send Lazarus – even in Hades, he continues to treat Lazarus in a condescending manner
    27. dip the tip of his finger in water – the tiniest of requests
    28. cool off my tongue – longing for relief
    29. in agony – ongoing unbearable pain
    30. in this flame – burning torture
    31. Child, remember – all his memories add to his torture
    32. during your life –
    33. received your good things – temporal riches
    34. bad things – temporal suffering and trials
    35. being comforted – relief from his suffering
    36. in agony – ongoing unbearable pain
    37. great chasm fixed – impossible to cross over
    38. I beg you, father – having no hope whatsoever for himself, he begs for his brothers
    39. send him – still condescending to Lazarus
    40. my father’s house – family members
    41. five brothers – wants brothers to learn before it is too late what he has learned
    42. warn them –
    43. They have Moses and the Prophets –
    44. let them hear them –
    45. No –
    46. If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets –
    47. they will not be persuaded –
    48. someone rises from the dead –
  1. What spiritual principle(s) does this parable teach?
    1. Death  is impartial and takes rich and poor alike.
    2. The rich man showed no mercy in this world but begs for it in the next.
    3. God’s mercy abounds in the world, but not a drop of it reaches hell.
    4. Hell is a place of unrelenting torment from which there is no relief.
    5. Knowing that there was no way out of hell, he didn’t even request one, but asked only for a tiny drop of water.
    6. Nothing relieves torment in hell, everything just adds to it.
    7. There is a great gulf between heaven and hell that cannot be crossed.
    8. All of one’s memories only add to the torment in hell.
    9. There were no good things for the rich man in the next life.
    10. Neither were there any bad things for Lazarus in the next life.
    11. The Jews had considered material prosperity a sign of a man’s righteousness and standing with God.
    12. Mercy will not be shown to the merciless.
    13. No requests (prayers) from hell are answered.
    14. The wicked often prosper in this world.
    15. Sinners always think they have a better plan than God. V27
    16. God’s Word is His chosen and sufficient way to reach sinners.
    17. Salvation is a spiritual, not an intellectual transformation.
  1. Cross references to this parable?

Ps 73:3-5

3 For I was envious of the arrogant

As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For there are no pains in their death,

And their body is fat.

5 They are not in trouble as other  men,

Nor are they plagued like mankind.

Matt 25:42-43

42 for I was hungry , and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;  43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’

James 2:14-17

What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, ” Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

Matt 19:23-24

23 And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  24 “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Rom 1:16

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

John 6:63

63 ” It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

James 1:18

18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.

Rom 9:6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7 nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.” 8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.

John 12:10 But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.

2 Cor 5:8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

  1. Questions or problems with the interpretation of this parable.
    1. Why do you think this is or is not a parable?
    2. How do you feel about the rich man’s crying out for mercy?
    3. Why did the rich man beg for Lazarus to be sent to his brothers?
    4. What did the rich man learn during his brief (so far) stay in hades?
    5. What is the difference between hades and hell?
    6. Why was Abraham seemingly uncompassionate?
    7. List some adjectives that characterized the rich man.
    8. What, if any, is the different role of riches in the Old and New Testaments?
    9. List some adjectives describing the role of earthly riches in the life of a believer.
  1. Based on this parable, what changes in my life does Jesus want me to make?
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