The Unjust Steward (Shrewd Manager)


I thank the Lord all the time for leading me to your website. The new Ask a Bible teacher section is great! I read them all.

I have a mental block, I guess, about the unjust steward in Luke 16, especially verses 8 & 9 (although I certainly prove the last part of verse 8). Most people that have just been ripped off are not going to commend anybody, especially the thief. And who is Jesus talking to in verse 9?

Another verse that I’ve gotten some rather strange answers on is Deuteronomy 32:8. What does that mean?

Thanks for your site & all your help!


This parable is meant to teach four lessons.

The first is that the control of material possessions is is to be exercised in such a way as to cement relationships. The tangible for the intangible. Since his master was commending him for adjusting his accounts, the steward couldn’t have been doing something wrong. In Israel it was illegal to charge interest or carrying charges, so often the seller would jack up the price of his goods to cover the expense of granting credit. By discounting the bills back to their legitimate amount the steward would be earning both the gratitude of the debtors and the admiration of the Master, who would still be receiving the proper amount for his goods, but would no longer be breaking the Law. Everybody wins.

The second is that reliability with a small task signifies trustworthiness to handle a bigger one.

Third, unbelievers are often more shrewd than believers.

And fourth, you can’t serve two masters.

Verse 9 is another take on Matt. 6:19-21 where He told us not to store up treasures on Earth but in Heaven. Unbelievers use their money to gain influence with those who can help them in return. How much more should we use our money for things that please God and gain influence with Him, earning Heavenly rewards. If we show that we can be trusted to use our worldly wealth wisely, we’ll be given eternal riches. As someone once said, “You can’t take it with you, but you can send it up ahead.”

Here’s a link to my 2 part study on this parable.

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager

Deuteronomy 32:8 is a reference to Genesis 10 as is Acts 17:26. It describes the sovereignty of God who apportioned Earth to the nations both geographically and temporally. In short He knew every nation that would exist and set aside land and a time in history for each of them.