Parable of the Talents: Verse, Meaning & Lesson

The Parable of the Talents is in Matthew 25:14–30 and Luke 19:12–27. Jesus told this parable to teach that it is essential to utilize gifts and resources God has given us for the benefit of His Kingdom, as we will be held accountable for how we steward them.

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

Note: This parable is also referred to as the Parable of the Minas and the Parable of the Bags of Gold.

Parable of the Talents In Scripture

Matthew 25:14–30 – Parable of the Talents

14  “For it is like a man going into another country, who called his own servants and entrusted his goods to them. 15  To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his own ability. Then he went on his journey. 16  Immediately he who received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17  In the same way, he also who got the two gained another two. 18  But he who received the one talent went away and dug in the earth and hid his lord’s money.

19  “Now after a long time the lord of those servants came, and settled accounts with them. 20  He who received the five talents came and brought another five talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents. Behold, I have gained another five talents in addition to them.’

21  “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

22  “He also who got the two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents. Behold, I have gained another two talents in addition to them.’

23  “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things. I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

24  “He also who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you that you are a hard man, reaping where you didn’t sow, and gathering where you didn’t scatter. 25  I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the earth. Behold, you have what is yours.’

26  “But his lord answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant. You knew that I reap where I didn’t sow, and gather where I didn’t scatter. 27  You ought therefore to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back my own with interest. 28  Take away therefore the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29  For to everyone who has will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who doesn’t have, even that which he has will be taken away. 30  Throw out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

Read Matthew 25

Luke 19:12–27 – Parable of the Talents

12 He said therefore, “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13  He called ten servants of his and gave them ten mina coins, and told them, ‘Conduct business until I come.’ 14  But his citizens hated him, and sent an envoy after him, saying, ‘We don’t want this man to reign over us.’

15  “When he had come back again, having received the kingdom, he commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by conducting business. 16  The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten more minas.’

17  “He said to him, ‘Well done, you good servant! Because you were found faithful with very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’

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18  “The second came, saying, ‘Your mina, Lord, has made five minas.’

19  “So he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’

20  Another came, saying, ‘Lord, behold, your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief, 21  for I feared you, because you are an exacting man. You take up that which you didn’t lay down, and reap that which you didn’t sow.’

22  “He said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant! You knew that I am an exacting man, taking up that which I didn’t lay down and reaping that which I didn’t sow. 23  Then why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank, and at my coming, I might have earned interest on it?’ 24  He said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to him who has the ten minas.’

25  “They said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ 26  ‘For I tell you that to everyone who has, will more be given; but from him who doesn’t have, even that which he has will be taken away from him. 27  But bring those enemies of mine who didn’t want me to reign over them here, and kill them before me.’ ”

Read Luke 19

Parable of the Talents Meaning

This parable means to engage with the resources God gives us to produce positive outcomes for His Kingdom. Jesus used this metaphor to illustrate stewardship and the expectation to use one’s gifts and abilities in service to God.

If Christians ignore this command, then several things can happen:

  • Loss of Reward: The servant who hid his talent was reprimanded and lost the opportunity for reward. Similarly, failing to use your God-given talents can result in a loss of heavenly rewards.
  • Stunted Growth: Not using talents can lead to spiritual stagnation. Without exercising your gifts, you may miss out on personal and spiritual development.
  • Missed Opportunities: By not using talents, Christians may miss chances to serve others, share the gospel, and make a positive difference in the world.
  • Judgment: The parable ends with the unfaithful servant being cast out, symbolizing the severe consequences of ignoring God’s gifts. This serves as a warning to take the command to use talents seriously.

Parable of the Talents Lessons

Utilize Your Gifts

The main lesson of the parable is that it encourages us to use our God-given talents and abilities, not waste them. Each person is given different gifts, and it’s important to use them to serve God and others.

Work Diligently

We are to actively engage in work that glorifies God, serves the common good, and furthers His Kingdom.

God Provides What We Need

A deeper lesson of the parable is that it shows how God gives us all we need to fulfill His call. We are expected to be productive with what we have been given for His glory.

Be Responsible

We are stewards of the resources God entrusts to us, whether they are spiritual gifts, abilities, time, or treasures. We are accountable for how we use them, so use them responsibly.

Faithfulness Leads to Reward

The servants who were faithful and used their talents wisely were rewarded. This lesson teaches us that faithfulness in small things can lead to greater responsibilities and blessings.

These lessons remind us to be proactive and responsible with the gifts and opportunities God provides, always working towards the growth of His Kingdom.


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Read More Parables In the Bible

The Parable of the Talents 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 Talents

We hope you enjoyed this summary of the Parable of the Talents.

As you discovered, the Parable of the Talents appears in Matthew 25:14–30 and Luke 19:12–27. And the primary meaning of the parable is that it is essential to utilize the gifts and resources God has given us for the benefit of His Kingdom, as we will be held accountable for how we steward them. The life lessons include to utilize your gifts, work diligently, God always provides what you need, be responsible with your gifts and resources, and faithfulness leads to greater responsibilities and rewards.

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