Luke 16:10-13

Luke 16:10-13
A Women’s Lectionary 32


10 “Whoever is faithfulA in a very littleB is faithful also in much,C and whoever is dishonestD in a very little is dishonest also in much. 

Notes on verse 10

A “faithful” = pistos. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is faithful, trustworthy, reliable, sure, or true. It is a fullness of faith. This is the same root as the word “faith” in Greek.
B “very little” = elachistos. 13x in NT. From elachus (short); used as a superlative for mikros (small). This is smallest or littlest in the sense of size, amount, rank, dignity, and so on.
C “much” = polus. This is much, often, plenteous – a large number or a great extent.
D “dishonest” = adikos. 12x in NT. From a (not, without) + dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); {may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known)}. This is unjust, unrighteous, wicked, treacherous.

11 If, then, you have not beenE faithful with the dishonest wealth,F who will entrustG to you the trueH riches? 

Notes on verse 11

E “been” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
F “wealth” = mamonas. 4x in NT– also used in the parable of the dishonest manager in Luke 16:9, 11. From Aramaic mamona (money, wealth); related to Hebrew mamon (money, property). This is riches, wealth, possessions, mammon, or property. See
G “entrust” = pisteuo. Related to “faithful” in v10. From pistis (faith, faithfulness, belief, trust, confidence; to be persuaded or come to trust); from peitho (see note A above). This is to believe, entrust, have faith it, affirm, have confidence in. This is less to do with a series of beliefs or doctrines that one believes and more to do with faithfulness, loyalty, and fidelity. It is trusting and then acting based on that trust.
H “true” = alethinos. From alethes (true, unconcealed; true because it is in concert with fact and reality – attested; literally, what cannot be hidden; truth stands up to the test and scrutiny and is undeniable, authentic); {from a (not) + lanthano (concealed, hidden, unnoticed; to shut one’s eyes to, unwittingly, unawares)}. This is literally made of truth – that which is true or real, authentic. Something that is true from its source and has integrity.

12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another,I who will giveJ you what is your own? 13 No slaveK canL

Notes on verses 12-13a

I “another” = allotrios. 14x in NT. From allos (other, another; another of a similar kind or type). This is strange, another foreign. It is something that belongs to someone else. It could mean hostile or alien.
J “give” = didomi. To give, offer, place, bestow, deliver. This is give in a literal or figurative sense.
K “slave” = oiketes. 5x in NT. From oikeo (to settle or be established somewhere in a permanent way, to make a home or live at home); from oikos (house – the building, the household, the family, descendants; the temple). This is a servant working in a house.
L “can” = dunamai. This is to be able, or something that is possible. It can also be empowered or being powerful. The Greek word for “miracle” (dunamis) comes from this root.

serveM twoN masters,O for a slave will either hateP the oneQ

Notes on verse 13b

M “serve” = douleuo. From doulos (a servant or for a slave, enslaved; someone who belongs to someone else, but could be voluntary to pay off debt or involuntary – captured in war and enslaved; a metaphor for serving Christ); perhaps from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is to be a slave, serve, do service, obey, be devoted.
N “two” = duo. This is two or both.
O “masters” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
P “hate” = miseo. From misos (hatred). This word is used in two ways in the New Testament. One has to do with how we prioritize. In order to prioritize something the highest, it means we have to rank other things lower. We cannot have 10 number one priorities. So, the nine that are not number 1, we love less or we value them lower. We make a moral choice the springs from our values about where we put our time, efforts, energy, etc. The other way is detesting or hatred as we normally think of it. This sense has a particular affinity with persecuting the one we hate.
Q “one” = heis. This is one, a person, only, some.

and loveR the otherS or be devotedT to the one and despiseU the other. You cannot serve GodV and wealth.”

Notes on verse 13c

R “love” = agapao. Perhaps from agan (much). This is love, longing for, taking pleasure in. It is divine love or human love that echoes divine love.
S “other” = heteros. This is other, another, different, strange. It is another of a different kind in contrast to the Greek word allos, which is another of the same kind. This could be a different quality, type, or group.
T “be devoted” = antecho. 4x in NT. From anti (opposite, instead of, against) + echo (to have, hold, possess). This is to hold against – to be devoted, cling to, hold fast support. It is a holding close that corresponds to what is being held lose, adhering to or caring for.
U “despise” = kataphroneo. 9x in NT. From kata (down, against, among, according to) + phroneo (to think, judge, use one’s mind, have an opinion, shape one’s opinion through action); from phren (diaphragm, heart, intellect, understanding; figurative for personal opinion or inner mindset; thought regulating action; sympathy, feelings, cognition); perhaps from phrao (to rein in or curb). This is to disregard despise look down, think little of. It can be active scorn or a generally hostile view. It can be disregarding or ignoring something because it is considered of little importance. This can also be thinking someone unworthy and hating them. Additionally, it can be to think against something.
V “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

Image credit: “Mammon and his Slave” published by Johann Jacob Weber, circa 1896.

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