Devotional: Luke 16:19

Introduction to Devotional: Luke 16:19

The Bible, central to Christian beliefs and practices, is a compilation of books each offering unique insights and teachings. Among these, the New Testament contains parables and teachings of Jesus, providing guidance and wisdom for believers. Today, we delve into Luke 16:19, a verse from the New International Version (NIV), which forms a part of the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. This parable begins:

There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.

Devotional: Luke 16:19


The Gospel of Luke, attributed to Luke the Evangelist, is believed to have been written around 60-80 AD. This Gospel is particularly noted for its attention to the marginalized and outcast of society, highlighting Jesus’ teachings on social justice, mercy, and compassion.

Luke’s Gospel was written in the context of a diverse early Christian community, grappling with issues of wealth, poverty, and social justice. The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, found in Luke 16:19-31, serves as a critical commentary on the use of wealth and the responsibilities of the rich towards the poor.

This parable is unique to Luke’s Gospel and is part of a series of teachings and parables by Jesus on wealth and poverty, which includes the story of the dishonest manager earlier in the same chapter.

Verse Analysis

Luke 16:19 introduces us to the rich man, depicted as living in opulence, dressed in purple and fine linen. The color purple, in ancient times, was associated with royalty and extreme wealth, as it was costly to produce. Similarly, fine linen was a symbol of luxury. This description sets the stage for a contrast between the extravagant lifestyle of the rich man and the destitution of Lazarus, introduced in the following verses.

The verse serves as a vivid illustration of wealth and comfort, hinting at themes of social inequality and indifference. It is the precursor to the moral lesson that unfolds through the parable, where the rich man’s indifference to Lazarus’s plight is central.

Theological Implications

This verse, and the parable as a whole, carry significant theological implications. They challenge the reader to reflect on the use of wealth and the moral responsibility towards those in need. The stark contrast between the rich man and Lazarus highlights themes of justice, mercy, and the consequences of ignoring the needy.


Different Christian denominations might interpret this verse through varied lenses. Generally, it is seen as a call to social justice and compassion for the poor. It is often interpreted as a warning against materialism and a reminder of the impermanence of earthly wealth in contrast to spiritual riches.

The parable aligns with other teachings in the Bible that emphasize care for the needy and the dangers of wealth becoming an idol (e.g., Matthew 19:24, James 2:5).

Application in Daily Life

For believers, this verse can inspire a conscious reflection on their attitudes towards wealth and poverty. It challenges individuals to act with generosity and compassion, emphasizing the Christian duty to care for the less fortunate.

Practically, this could mean engaging in charitable acts, volunteering, and being mindful of the needs of others. It also calls for a personal examination of how one’s lifestyle may indirectly contribute to social inequality.


Luke 16:19 sets the stage for a profound moral teaching in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. It confronts readers with the realities of wealth, poverty, and the moral implications of indifference. This verse, and the parable it belongs to, encapsulate a key aspect of Christian ethics – the call to compassion, justice, and the responsible use of wealth. It remains a poignant reminder of the deeper spiritual truths that govern Christian life, urging believers to live in a way that reflects concern and love for all, especially the marginalized.

6 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Devotional: Luke 16:19

What Is the Significance of the Rich Man’s Attire Being Described in Such Detail?

The description of the rich man’s attire in Luke 16:19 is significant for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the color purple was a symbol of wealth and royalty in ancient times, as purple dye was expensive and often reserved for the elite. Fine linen was also a luxury item. This detailed description underscores the extreme wealth and opulence of the rich man, setting up a stark contrast to Lazarus’s extreme poverty. This contrast is central to the parable’s message about the dangers of wealth when it leads to indifference to the suffering of others.

Does Luke 16:19 Imply That Being Rich Is Inherently Wrong or Sinful?

Luke 16:19 itself does not suggest that being rich is inherently wrong or sinful. The critical issue highlighted in the parable is not wealth itself, but rather the rich man’s indifference and lack of compassion towards Lazarus. The Bible contains many passages that address wealth, often focusing on the attitude and actions of the wealthy, rather than wealth itself. The parable teaches about the responsibility that comes with wealth and the importance of using one’s resources to help those in need.

Who Was Lazarus in Luke 16:19, and Why Is He Important in the Parable?

Lazarus, in this parable, is a destitute and sick man who lies at the rich man’s gate, longing for scraps from his table. He is important as he represents the suffering and marginalized in society. His eventual comfort in the afterlife contrasts with the rich man’s fate, highlighting themes of justice and reversal of fortunes.

Does the Parable in Luke 16:19 Teach About the Afterlife?

While the parable describes the afterlife, its primary purpose isn’t to give a detailed account of heaven or hell. Instead, it uses the imagery of the afterlife to convey a moral lesson about how we live our lives, particularly concerning wealth and compassion.

How Does This Verse Relate to the Broader Message of the Gospel?

Luke 16:19 fits into the broader Gospel message by emphasizing the importance of love, mercy, and the reversal of earthly fortunes in God’s kingdom. It reflects Jesus’ teachings about the responsibility that comes with wealth and the kingdom values of caring for the poor and marginalized.

Can This Verse Be Interpreted as a Call for Social Justice?

Yes, this verse can be interpreted as a call for social justice. It challenges readers to consider their responsibility towards the poor and oppressed and suggests that ignoring such responsibilities has spiritual implications.

How Do the Themes Expressed in Luke 16:19 Relate to or Find Echoes in Other Verses and Passages in the Bible?

Luke 16:19 introduces the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, a powerful narrative told by Jesus to illustrate profound truths about life, death, and the afterlife. This parable speaks to issues of wealth, compassion, the finality of death, and the realities of heaven and hell. Let’s explore this verse and its relation to other parts of the Bible:

James 2:5 – “Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?”
Relation: James 2:5 presents a contrast to the rich man in Luke 16:19, emphasizing that material wealth is not indicative of one’s standing in God’s kingdom, but rather, spiritual richness and faith are valued.

Matthew 25:31-46 – “When the Son of Man comes in his glory…he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats…”
Relation: This passage, like the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, deals with the themes of judgment and the consequences of one’s actions, particularly towards the needy, in the afterlife.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 – “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
Relation: 1 Timothy 6:17-19 advises the rich to avoid arrogance and to place their hope in God, not wealth, echoing the implicit warning in the parable against a life focused solely on luxury and neglecting spiritual and moral responsibilities.

Proverbs 21:13 – “Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be heard.”
Relation: Proverbs 21:13 reflects the theme of the parable, suggesting that neglecting the needy can lead to dire consequences, a concept illustrated through the fate of the rich man.

Luke 12:16-21 – “And he told them this parable: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest… But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you.'”
Relation: This parable, like that of the Rich Man and Lazarus, emphasizes the folly of placing one’s security in wealth, and the suddenness of death that can render such wealth meaningless.

Luke 16:19, in the context of the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, along with related scriptures, underscores profound spiritual truths about wealth, compassion, and the afterlife. These verses collectively highlight the importance of righteous living, empathy for the less fortunate, and the reality of divine judgment. The parable serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of materialism and the neglect of spiritual and moral duties, reminding believers of the values that are truly important in the eyes of God.

A Prayer Inspired by Luke 16:19

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19 serves as a profound reminder of the importance of compassion and the responsibilities that accompany wealth. It invites us to reflect on our own lives, the ways we treat others, and our response to those in need. As we turn to prayer, let us seek guidance and wisdom in understanding and applying these lessons in our daily lives, fostering a heart of generosity and empathy.

Our Prayer Inspired by Devotional: Luke 16:19

Heavenly Father,

We come before You, humbly reflecting on the teachings of Luke 16:19, where You have shown us the stark contrasts of life and the consequences of our actions. We recognize the ease with which we can become consumed by our own comforts and neglect the needs of those around us.

Lord, we ask for Your guidance to open our eyes to the plight of the less fortunate, those like Lazarus, who may be silently suffering at our gates. Grant us compassionate hearts that see beyond our own wealth and privileges. Teach us to understand the true meaning of stewardship and generosity, that we may use our blessings to bless others.

In Your wisdom, guide us to discern the needs of those around us and respond with kindness and empathy. Help us not to be blinded by material wealth but to be rich in love and good deeds. Let the story of the rich man and Lazarus be a constant reminder to us of the importance of living a life that reflects Your love and grace.

Forgive us, Father, for times when we have been indifferent to the suffering of others. Renew in us a spirit of humility and service, that we may genuinely care for our brothers and sisters in need. May our actions and choices be pleasing to You, reflecting the love of Jesus Christ, who taught us to love unconditionally.

We thank You for Your unending grace and mercy. Help us to walk in Your ways, to be beacons of hope and light in a world in need of Your love.

In Jesus’ name, we pray,


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