Q. I have noticed that many scholars are divided over Luke 16:19-31 as to whether or not to classify this as a parable. If it is a parable, then it is not to be taken literally. If it is, then it sheds some light into the manner of the afterlife for those waiting for their resurrection. I was wondering what your thoughts on Luke 16:19-31 were as to whether or not it is a parable. Please also give reasons for your answer.
A. I don’t think the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is a parable because in all the other parables the characters were anonymous, called “a certain man” or something similar. But here the main character has a name, Lazarus. (Catholic tradition has the rich man named Dives, but since dives is Latin for rich man there’s some confusion over whether it’s his name or his situation.) I believe this unique departure from the Lord’s usual style is a sign that this is an actual account, to be taken literally. Read more about the Rich Man and Lazarus by clicking on the link.