What is the parable of the
good Samaritan about?

The story, in context

And a lawyer stood up and put Him [Jesus Christ] to the test, saying,

“Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

And He said to him,

“What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?”

And he answered,

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

And He said to him,

“You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”

But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus,

“And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied and said,

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’

Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”

And he said,

“The one who showed mercy toward him.”

Then Jesus said to him,

“Go and do the same.” —Luke 10:20–37 NASB

The main point of this parable

As theologian Dr. John MacArthur has said, many people misunderstand the point of this fictional story (a parable) told by Jesus. In fact, it is the most commonly misunderstood parable. In short…

“The point of the Good Samaritan? Love so lavish that you’ve never done it, nor could you. You’re a lawbreaker and need grace.” —Dr. John MacArthur Jr.

Streaming video— 
“The Most Misunderstood Parable”
Luke 10:30–37
John F. MacArthur, Litt.D., D.D., Grace Community Church and The Master’s Seminary
Video by Grace to You
Length: 48 minutes

More information

Article Version: June 6, 2019