What the Bible says about Good Samaritan

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Luke 10:25 - Luke 10:37

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘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, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.

31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.

32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.

34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.

35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

10:25–37 The good Samaritan. The introduction to the parable is not to be confused with the somewhat similar story in Mk. 12:28–31. Here Jesus is asked about how a person may qualify for eternal life (cf. 18:18), and in good Jewish fashion he replies by referring his questioner to the law. How does one summarize the essence and intention of the law? The lawyer gives the same reply as that given by Jesus in Mk. 12:29–31. This should not surprise us, since the link between Dt. 6:5 and Lv. 19:18 was already recognized before the time of Jesus. In view of Gal. 3:12 Jesus’ answer may sound legalistic, but it is not so when considered in relation to the total content of his teaching.

The lawyer had ‘lost face’ by being given this answer, and he tried to regain the initiative by asking for a more precise definition of the word ‘neighbour’. The parable given in reply is most remarkable. We might have expected a parable telling how a Jew should show love to anybody, even to a Samaritan, but in fact Jesus shows how even a Samaritan may be nearer to the kingdom than a pious, but uncharitable, Jew. For, although the lawyer asked, ‘Who is my neighbour (i.e. the person whom I should help)?’ Jesus suggests that the real question is rather ‘Do I behave as a neighbour (i.e. a person who helps others)?’ Jesus does not supply information as to whom one should help; failure to keep the commandment springs not from lack of information but from lack of love. It was not fresh knowledge that the lawyer needed, but a new heart—in plain English, conversion.

Read more from New Bible Commentary

Leviticus 19:18

18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

Love your neighbor as yourself (19:18). Such an attitude is illustrated by the covenanted love between David and Jonathan, who loved him “as he loved his own life” (1 Sam. 18:3, etc.). Similar loyal love is described in a treaty between the Hittite king Tudḫaliya IV and Kurunta of Tarḫuntašša. Leviticus 19:34 extends the command to love as oneself to the resident alien, who is to be treated like a native citizen. Similarly, a Mesopotamian treaty text from Alalakh provides that “[if people of my land] enter your land to preserve themselves from starvation, you must protect them and you must feed them like (citizens of) your land.”

Read more from Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary of the Old Testament

Luke 10:27

27 He answered, “‘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, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

10:27 you shall love the Lord… and your neighbor: The lawyer responded to Jesus’ questions by quoting Deut. 6:5, a text that was recited twice a day by every faithful Jew. This text summarized the central ethical standard of the Law. The lawyer also alluded to Lev. 19:18. The basis of the man’s response is an expression of allegiance and devotion that also can be seen as the natural expression of faith, since the total person, heart, soul, strength, and mind, is involved. The theme of love for God is picked up in vv. 38–42 with its emphasis on devotion to Jesus, and in 11:1–13, where the disciples are taught to be devoted to God in prayer. In vv. 30–37 Jesus develops the theme of love for one’s neighbor.

Read more from NKJV Study Bible