Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus: Verse, Meaning & Lesson

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is in Luke 16:19–31. Jesus told this parable to illustrate the eternal consequences of one’s earthly actions, particularly the dangers of showing indifference to the suffering of others.

This guide gives you a complete summary of the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, including the verses in Scripture, the meaning, and lessons that can be applied to the Christian life.

Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus In Scripture

Luke 16:19–31 – Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

19  “Now there was a certain rich man, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, living in luxury every day. 20  A certain beggar, named Lazarus, was taken to his gate, full of sores, 21  and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Yes, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22  The beggar died, and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23  In Hades, he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far off, and Lazarus at his bosom. 24  He cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue! For I am in anguish in this flame.’

25  “But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you, in your lifetime, received your good things, and Lazarus, in the same way, bad things. But here he is now comforted and you are in anguish. 26  Besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that those who want to pass from here to you are not able, and that no one may cross over from there to us.’

27  “He said, ‘I ask you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house— 28  for I have five brothers—that he may testify to them, so they won’t also come into this place of torment.’

29  “But Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’

30  “He said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’

31  “He said to him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead.’ ”

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Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus Meaning

This parable means that there are eternal consequences of one’s earthly actions, particularly the importance of compassion and the dangers of indifference to the suffering of others. Jesus used this metaphor to send a warning that material wealth does not translate to spiritual richness and that neglecting the needy can lead to eternal regret. 

The parable also critiques the complacency of the religious leaders of the time, who, despite their professed knowledge of God’s laws and their actual behavior. Despite being well-versed in Scripture and holding positions of authority and respect, these leaders did not live out the commandments to act justly and love mercy. Instead, they were often more concerned with maintaining their status and wealth, neglecting the needs of the poor and vulnerable, much like the rich man in the parable who ignored Lazarus at his gate.

This also serves as a timeless warning against the dangers of hypocrisy and the importance of living a life that genuinely reflects God’s love and justice. It underscores the belief that true religion is not about rituals or appearances but about loving God and loving one’s neighbor as oneself.

Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus Lessons

Wealth is not a sign of God’s favor

A key lesson is that material wealth is not an indication of spiritual status or God’s approval. True riches are found in a relationship with God and in living according to His will.

Poverty is not a curse

Being poor does not mean one is cursed or out of favor with God. The parable shows that Lazarus, despite his poverty and suffering, was comforted in the afterlife, indicating that God’s judgment is based on faith and character, not material possessions.

Live with godly contentment

Christians are encouraged to live a life of contentment, peace, and love, as these virtues have eternal value and contribute to a fulfilling life on earth and in the hereafter.

Never neglect the poor and oppressed

The parable also underscores the importance of caring for those in need. Christians are called to be compassionate and generous, sharing their resources with the less fortunate. Everything we have been given is a gift from God and should be used for the flourishing of others, regardless of their social status.

Judgment is inescapable

The story also serves as a reminder that everyone will face judgment after death. Christians should live with the awareness that their actions have eternal consequences and should strive to align their lives with God’s teachings of compassion, humility, and service to others.

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Read More Parables In the Bible

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is just one of many parables in the Bible. Use the links below to explore more of Jesus’ parables, their meanings, and life lessons.

Summary of the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

We hope you enjoyed this summary of the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

As you discovered, the Parable of the Wedding Feast appears in Luke 16:19–31. And the primary meaning of the parable is that there are eternal consequences of one’s earthly actions, especially when showing indifference to the suffering of others. The life lessons include wealth is not a sign of God’s favor, poverty is not a curse, Christians should live with godly contentment, never neglect the poor and oppressed, and judgment is inescapable.

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