The Parable of the Unworthy Slaves – Luke 17:7-10 – Inductive Bible Study

Luke 17:7-10

7 “Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat‘?  8 “But will he not say to him, ‘ Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself andserve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink‘?  9 “He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he?  10 “So you too,when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaveswe have done only that which we ought to have done.'” 

  1. What title do you give to this parable?

Rightful Duty of a Slave

Minimum Requirement is Maximum Obedience

Master’s Desires Come First

Obedience is Expected

We Are Not Our Own

All in The Course of Duty

  1. What other parables have similar characteristics or theme?

Two builders

The two sons

The ten virgins

The good Samaritan

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

His disciples. Luke 17:1 He said to His disciples, ” It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come!

  1. What was the context for this parable?

He is giving various instructions on stumbling blocks, forgiveness, repentance, faith, and service.

  1. What are the main elements of the parable and what does each represent?
    1. you – God
    2. slave – every believer
    3. plowing – routine service
    4. tending sheep – more routine service
    5. when he has come in from the field – faithfully completed a task
    6. Come immediately and sit down to eat –
    7. Prepare something for me to eat – more service required
    8. properly  clothe yourself – still more service required
    9. serve me while I eat and drink – even more service required
    10. afterward you may eat and drink – rewarded when work is completed
    11. He does not thank the slave – the Master is never indebted to the slave
    12. when you do all the things which are commanded you, say – after all service is faithfully completed
    13. We are unworthy slaves – recognition that all that He gives us is by His grace
    14. we have done only that which we ought to have done – serving Him faithfully is only what is required
  1. What spiritual principle(s) does this parable teach?
    1. Now is the time for work, not rest.
    2. The Lord’s will should always come first.
    3. The Lord owes me nothing.
    4. All that He gives me is by grace.
    5. It is impossible to do more than is required.
    6. There is never an occasion for the Lord to thank me since He is worthy of all that I do for Him.
    7. It is God’s place to give the commands and my place to obey them.
    8. Idle time is not becoming to a servant of the Lord
    9. My priority should be fulfilling my duty and leaving the determination of the reward to the Lord.
    10. As a sinner, I can never be totally faithful in all that He commands.
    11. That work that a slave does is menial but useful.
    12. To serve the Master properly the slave must be dressed in appropriate attire.
  1. Cross references to this parable?

Mark 10:45

45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” 

Luke 12:37

37 “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.

Luke 22:27

27 “For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. 

John 13:4-5

4 got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.

5 Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

John 13:14

14 “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

Ps 116:12

12 What shall I  render to the LORD

For all His benefits toward me?

Job 35:7

7 “If you are righteous, what do you give to Him,

Or what does He receive from your hand?

Isa 64:6

6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean,

And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;

And all of us wither like a leaf,

And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Rom 3:12




Rom 11:35


1 Cor 15:10

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.

Philem 11

11 who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me.

1 Peter 5:5-6

5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,

1 Chron 29:14-16

14 “But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You. 15 “For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope. 16 “O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours.

John 14:15

15 ” If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 

Luke 6:46

” Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

Rev 19:8

8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Rom 1:1

1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,

2 Peter 1:1

Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

Jude 1

1 Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James,

James 1:1

1 James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

Rev 1:1

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it  by His angel to His bond-servant John,

  1. Questions or problems with the interpretation of this parable.
    1. Why doesn’t the Master thank the slave for his faithful service?
    2. What are some wrong attitudes the slave might have toward his Master?
    3. What can a slave do to become worthy?
    4. What qualities does the faithful obedience of the slave demonstrate?
    5. What is the appropriate attire of the slave in the presence of the Master?
    6. When do we do all the things that are commanded us?
    7. If we never “do all the things that are commanded” us, why is this phrase used?
  1. Based on this parable, what changes in my life does Jesus want me to make?

Spend 10 minutes daily on Scripture review after my quiet time.

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