Luke 7:41

41 "A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.

Luke 7:41 Meaning and Commentary

Luke 7:41

There was a certain creditor
All the Oriental versions premise something to this. The Syriac version reads, "Jesus said unto him". The Arabic version, "then he said". The Persic version, "Jesus said"; and the Ethiopic version, "and he said to him"; and something of this kind is understood, and to be supplied in the text:

which had two debtors, the one owed five hundred pence, and the other
these were, as the word shows, Roman "denarii" or "pence"; the former of these sums, reckoning a Roman penny at seven pence halfpenny of our money, amounted to fifteen pounds and twelve shillings and six pence; and the latter, to one pound eleven shillings and three pence; the one of these sums was ten times larger, than the other. This is a parable: by "the creditor", God is meant, to whom men owe their beings, and the preservation of them, and all the mercies of life; and are under obligation to obedience and thankfulness: hence: no man can merit any thing of God, or pay off any old debt, by a new act of obedience, since all is due to him: by the "two debtors" are meant, greater and lesser sinners: all sins are debts, and all sinners are debtors; not debtors to sin, for then it would not be criminal, but lawful to commit sin, and God must be pleased with it, which he is not, and men might promise themselves impunity, which they cannot; but they are debtors to fulfil the law, and in case of failure, are bound to the debt of punishment: and of these debtors and debts, some are greater, and others less; not but that they, are all equally sinners in Adam, and equally guilty and corrupted by his transgression; and the same seeds of sin are in the hearts of all men, and all sin is committed against God, and is a breach of his law, and is mortal, or deserving of death, even death eternal; but then as some commands are greater, and others less, so must their transgressions be: sin more immediately committed against God, is greater than that which is committed against our neighbour; and besides, the circumstances of persons and things differ, which more or less aggravate the offence.

Luke 7:41 In-Context

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner."
40 Jesus spoke up and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." "Teacher," he replied, "speak."
41 "A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
42 When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?"
43 Simon answered, "I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt." And Jesus said to him, "You have judged rightly."

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Footnotes 1

  • [a]. The denarius was the usual day's wage for a laborer
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.