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published: 10/8/13

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The Parable of the Good Samaritan

What is the parable of the Good Samaritan?


The parable of the Good Samaritan was spoken by Jesus Christ and is recorded in Luke 10:30-37.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Analysis of the Parable of the Good Samaritan

The good samaritan is certainly authentic; it can be explained mystically in detail, and is therefore as much an "allegory" as a parable. If it was spoken by our Lord so was the wicked husbandmen.

It does not exactly reply to the question "Who is thy neighbour?" but propounds and answers a larger one, "Whom in distress should I like to be neighbour to me?" and gives an everlasting instance of the golden rule.

At the same time it breaks down the fences of legalism, triumphs over national hatreds, and lifts the despised Samaritan to a place of honour. In the deeper sense we discern that Christ is the Good Samaritan, human nature the man fallen among robbers, i.e., under Satan's yoke; neither law nor Prophets can help; and the Saviour alone bears the charge of healing our spiritual wounds.

The inn is Christ's Church; the oil and wine are His sacraments. He will come again and will make all good. The Fathers, Sts. Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, are agreed in this general interpretation. Mere philanthropy will not satisfy the Gospel idea; we must add, "the charity of Christ presseth us" (II Corinthians 5:14).

The Parables of Christ
Parable of the 10 Virgins Parable of the Dishonest Manager
Parable of the Good Samaritan Parable of the Hidden Treasure
Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard Parable of the Mustard Seed
Parable of the Net Parable of the Pharisees and Tax Collector
Parable of the Prodigal Son Parable of the Rich Fool
Parable of the Sower Parable of the Two Sons
Parable of the Unforgiving Servant Parable of the Weeds
Parable of the Wicked Tenants Parables of Christ (Home Page)


International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, which is in the public domain (with minor edits).