Luke 10:25-37

Commentary Excerpt by Tom Boomershine

The parable of the Good Samaritan is the quintessential Jesus parable. It has probably had more impact than any single story of Jesus. Many people have taken the story to heart and have acted on it. All you have to do is look at the number of hospitals called "Good Samaritan" to see how much impact this story has had. Indeed, one of the contexts in which to think about this story is the current debate on health care and the structures of healthcare that are built into Jesus' teaching about the kingdom of God. Through this parable he advocates the extension of health care even to enemies, let alone those who don't have enough money.

So Jesus' story is about the extension of the gifts of the kingdom of God to everyone. It is set in the context of Jesus' journey through Samaria and the long history of conflict between Jews and Samaritans. It follows the peace mission of the seventy in the towns of Samaria.

The mnemonic structure of this story is relatively easy to identify. There are first of all the two episodes of the setting, each of which has the same structure: a question or statement by the lawyer, in the first case a question and in the second case his answer to Jesus, and then Jesus' response to him. In the first episode, the lawyer asks, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus asks a question back, "What's written in the law, what do you read?" He responds, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind and your neighbor as yourself," and then Jesus says, "You have given the right answer; do this and you will live.

"The next episodes are an expansion of that initial structure. The lawyer again asks Jesus a question, "Who is my neighbor?" and Jesus' response is the parable, the next three episodes. The first episode of the parable is the description of the setting: the man who fell into the hands of the robbers. The second is the priest and the Levite, and the third is the Samaritan. The Samaritan episode is by far the longest episode in the whole story.

To read the rest of this commentary, please visit 

Other resources available on

Audio telling of the story, Soundmap, Audio commentary, Original Image - 

Get in touch

Network of Biblical Storytellers International
Indiana Interchurch Center, 1100 W. 42nd St., Suite 160, Indianapolis, IN 46208

TF 1 (800) 355-6627 | PH 1 (317) 931-2352 |

Find out more about us:

Join Our Mail List