Bible Story of the Prodigal Son

The parable of the prodigal son is one of the greatest love stories ever told - a story filled with mercy and grace. It is a parable of how God views us and how we can choose to repent and turn to God or reject him. You will read in the Bible verses below about a father and two sons. While the older son stayed home and worked hard for his father, the younger son ran away with his inheritance and spend it on foolish things. Finding himself alone, working like a slave for food, and having to live with pigs, the younger son returns home begging to work for his father. The father welcomes home his son with open arms and great compassion. The oldest son becomes very angry with his brother for coming back home and with his father for accepting him home.

Bible Commentary on the Parable of the Prodigal Son

The parable of the prodigal son shows the nature of repentance, and the Lord's readiness to welcome and bless all who return to him. It fully sets forth the riches of gospel grace; and it has been, and will be, while the world stands, of unspeakable use to poor sinners, to direct and to encourage them in repenting and returning to God. It is bad, and the beginning of worse, when men look upon God's gifts as debts due to them. The great folly of sinners, and that which ruins them, is, being content in their life-time to receive their good things. Our first parents ruined themselves and all their race, by a foolish ambition to be independent, and this is at the bottom of sinners' persisting in their sin. 

We may all discern some features of our own characters in that of the prodigal son. A sinful state is of departure and distance from God. A sinful state is a spending state: wilful sinners misemploy their thoughts and the powers of their souls, misspend their time and all their opportunities. A sinful state is a wanting state. Sinners want necessaries for their souls; they have neither food nor raiment for them, nor any provision for hereafter. A sinful state is a vile, slavish state. The business of the devil's servants is to make provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof, and that is no better than feeding swine. A sinful state is a state of constant discontent. The wealth of the world and the pleasures of the senses will not even satisfy our bodies; but what are they to precious souls! A sinful state is a state which cannot look for relief from any creature. In vain do we cry to the world and to the flesh; they have that which will poison a soul, but have nothing to give which will feed and nourish it. A sinful state is a state of death. A sinner is dead in trespasses and sins, destitute of spiritual life. A sinful state is a lost state. Souls that are separated from God, if his mercy prevents not, will soon be lost forever. The prodigal's wretched state only faintly shadows forth the awful ruin of man by sin. Yet how few are sensible of their own state and character!

Having viewed the prodigal in his abject state of misery, we are next to consider his recovery from it. This begins by his coming to himself. That is a turning point in the sinner's conversion. The Lord opens his eyes, and convinces him of sin; then he views himself and every object, in a different light from what he did before. Thus the convinced sinner perceives that the meanest servant of God is happier than he is. To look unto God as a Father, and our Father, will be of great use in our repentance and return to Him. 

The prodigal arose, nor stopped till he reached his home. Thus the repenting sinner resolutely quits the bondage of Satan and his lusts, and returns to God by prayer, notwithstanding fears and discouragements. The Lord meets him with unexpected tokens of his forgiving love. Again; the reception of the humbled sinner is like that of the prodigal. He is clothed in the robe of the Redeemer's righteousness, made partaker of the Spirit of adoption, prepared by peace of conscience and gospel grace to walk in the ways of holiness, and feasted with Divine consolations. Principles of grace and holiness are wrought in him, to do, as well as to will. ~ Excerpt from Matthew Henry's Commentary

Read the following Bible story verses of the Prodigal Son to better understand the meaning of this parable. Discover how God, our loving Father, is waiting for us to repent and come to him!

Be encouraged as you read the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son. Below the Scripture, you will find helpful articles, videos, and audio to aid your Bible study of this popular passage.

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