Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 16:10

"He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Faithfulness;   Injustice;   Integrity;   Jesus, the Christ;   Probation;   Servant;   Worldliness;   Scofield Reference Index - Parables;   Thompson Chain Reference - Injustice;   Justice-Injustice;   The Topic Concordance - Faith/faithfulness;   Unjustness;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Faithfulness;   Injustice;   Servants;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Parables;   Wealth;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Heaven, Heavens, Heavenlies;   Wealth;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Mammon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Luke, Gospel of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Almsgiving ;   Asceticism (2);   Circumstantiality in the Parables;   Common Life;   Discourse;   Faithfulness (2);   Mammon;   Occupation (2);   Paradox;   Property (2);   Righteous, Righteousness;   Selfishness;   Spiritualizing of the Parables;   Steward, Stewardship;   Wealth (2);   Winter ;   Worldliness (2);  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Bible, the;   Lazarus;   Steward;   Trade;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

He that is faithful in that which is least, etc. - He who has the genuine principles of fidelity in him will make a point of conscience of carefully attending to even the smallest things; and it is by habituating himself to act uprightly in little things that he acquires the gracious habit of acting with propriety fidelity, honor, and conscience, in matters of the greatest concern. On the contrary, he who does not act uprightly in small matters will seldom feel himself bound to pay much attention to the dictates of honor and conscience, in cases of high importance. Can we reasonably expect that a man who is continually falling by little things has power to resist temptations to great evils?

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-16.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He that is faithful … - This is a maxim which will almost universally hold true. A man that shows fidelity in small matters will also in large; and he that will cheat and defraud in little things will also in those involving more trust and responsibility. Fidelity is required in small matters as well as in those of more importance.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-16.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much: and he that is unrighteous in a very little is unrighteous also in much.

Geldenhuys supposed that Christ included this verse in the parable in order "to prevent a possible misunderstanding owing to the commendation of the unjust steward. Here Christ insists upon the necessity of fidelity in dealing with earthly possessions."[22] A man's faithfulness is measured by what he does with whatever amount of it there may be. People who suppose that if they were rich they would give large sums to charity, and who yet give nothing from their meager possessions, are deceiving themselves. What a man does with a little is a fair measure of what he will do with much.

ENDNOTE:

[22] Norval Geldenhuys, op. cit., p. 419.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-16.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He that is faithful in that which is least,.... In quantity and quality, especially the latter; in that which is of little value and worth, at least when compared with other things:

is faithful also in much: in matters of greater consequence and importance: the sense of the proverb is, that, generally speaking, a man that acts a faithful part in a small trust committed to him, does so likewise in a much larger; and being tried, and found faithful in things of less moment, he is intrusted with things of greater importance; though this is not always the case: for sometimes a man may behave with great integrity in lesser matters, on purpose that he might gain greater confidence, which, when he has obtained, he abuses in the vilest manner; but because it is usually otherwise, our Lord uses the common proverb; and of like sense is the following;

and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much: that man that acts the unfaithful part in a small matter, and of little worth, generally does the same, if a greater trust is committed to him.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-16.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

2 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

(2) We ought to take heed that we do not abuse our earthly work and duty and so be deprived of heavenly gifts: for how can they properly use spiritual gifts who abuse worldly things?
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/luke-16.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

He, etc. — a maxim of great pregnancy and value; rising from the prudence which the steward had to the fidelity which he had not, the “harmlessness of the dove, to which the serpent” with all his “wisdom” is a total stranger. Fidelity depends not on the amount entrusted, but on the sense of responsibility. He that feels this in little will feel it in much, and conversely.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-16.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Faithful in a very little (πιστος εν ελαχιστωιpistos en elachistōi). Elative superlative. One of the profoundest sayings of Christ. We see it in business life. The man who can be trusted in a very small thing will be promoted to large responsibilities. That is the way men climb to the top. Men who embezzle in large sums began with small sums. Luke 16:10-13 here explain the point of the preceding parables.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-16.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

That which is least

A general proposition, yet with a reference to mammon as the least of things. See Luke 16:11.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-16.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

And whether ye have more or less, see that ye be faithful as well as wise stewards. He that is faithful in what is meanest of all, worldly substance, is also faithful in things of a higher nature; and he that uses these lowest gifts unfaithfully, is likewise unfaithful in spiritual things.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-16.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much1: and he that is unrighteous in a very little is unrighteous also in much2.

  1. He that is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. In the administration of small properties entrusted to us on the earth, we reveal our disposition and temper as stewards quite as well as if we owned half the universe.

  2. And he that is unrighteous in a very little is unrighteous also in much. God does not judge by the magnitude of an act, but by the spiritual principles and motives which lie back of the act. A small action may discover and lay bare these principles quite as well as a large one.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-16.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

Ver. 10. He that is faithful] Mr Diodati’s note here is, "The right use of riches in believers is a trial of their loyal use of their spiritual graces and gifts. And, on the contrary, the abuse of the one showeth the abuse of the other. God likewise taketh away his spiritual graces from them, who do not use the temporal ones well."

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-16.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Luke 16:10

Living to God in small Things.

I. Notice how little we know concerning the relative importance of events and duties. We use the terms great and small in speaking of actions, occasions, or places, only in reference to the mere outward look and first impression. We are generally ignorant of the real significance of events, which we think we understand. Almost every person can recollect one or more instances where the whole after-current of his life was turned by some single word, or some incident so trivial as scarcely to fix his notice at the time. The outward appearance of occasions and duties is, in fact, almost no index of their importance, and our judgments concerning what is great and small are without any certain validity. These terms, as we use them, are, in fact, only words of outward description, not words of definite measurement.

II. It is to be observed that, even as the world judges, small things constitute almost the whole of life. The great days of the year, for example, are few, and when they come they seldom bring anything great to us. And the matter of all common days is made up of little things, or ordinary or stale transactions.

III. It very much exalts, as well as sanctions, the view I am advancing, that God is so observant of small things. He upholds the sparrow's wing, clothes the lily with His own beautifying hand, and numbers the hairs of His children. The works of Christ are, if possible, a still brighter illustration of the same truth. Notwithstanding the vast stretch and compass of the work of redemption, it is a work of the most humble detail in its style of execution. When perfectly scanned, the work of Christ's redemption, like the created universe, is seen to be a vast orb of glory, wrought up out of finished particles.

IV. It is a fact of history and of observation, that all efficient men, while they have been men of comprehension, have also been men of detail.

V. It is to be observed that there is more of real piety in adorning one small than one great occasion. The piety which is faithful in that which is least is really a more difficult piety than that which triumphs and glares on high occasions.

VI. The importance of living to God in ordinary and small things is seen in the fact that character, which is the end of religion, is in its very nature a growth. And, accordingly, there never has been a great or beautiful character which has not become so by filling well the ordinary and smaller offices appointed of God. Private Christians are instructed by this subject in the true method of Christian progress and usefulness. If it is your habit to walk with God in the humblest occupations of your days, it is very nearly certain that you will be filled with the Spirit always. Why is it that a certain class of men, who never thrust themselves on public observation by any very signal acts, do yet attain to a very commanding influence, and leave a deep and lasting impression on the world? They are the men who thrive by constancy and by means of small advances, just as others do who thrive in wealth. They live to God in the common doings of their daily life as well as in the more extraordinary transactions in which they mingle. And their carefulness to honour God in humble things is stronger proof to men of their uprightness than the most distinguished acts or sacrifices. Such persons operate principally by the weight of confidence and moral respect they acquire, which is the most legitimate and powerful action in the world. If a Christian of this stamp has not the talents or standing necessary to lead in the most active forms of enterprise, he will yet accomplish a high and noble purpose in his life. The silent savour of his name may, perhaps, do more good after he is laid in his grave, than abler men do by the most active efforts.

H. Bushnell, The New Life, p. 191.


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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/luke-16.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 16:10. He that is faithful, &c.— "If you make that use of your riches which I have been recommending, (which of course implies living faith, the grand principle of all good works) you shall be received into those everlasting habitations, where all the friends of goodness dwell; because by your fidelity in managing the small trust of temporal advantages committed to your care, you shew that you are capable of the much greater trust of heavenly honours and employments.Whereas, if you do not use your riches or temporal advantages for the glory of God, and the good of mankind, you shall be banished for ever from the abodes of the blessed; because, by behaving unfaithfullyin the small trust committed to you, you render yourselves both unworthy and incapable of a share in the everlasting inheritance."

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-16.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Our blessed Saviour having declared to his followers, in the foregoing verses, the great advantage they shall reap by a charitable distribution of temporal good things, he acquaints them in these verses with the great detriment and disadvantage that will redound to them if they do otherwise.

1. If they be not faithful in rightly employing temporal riches, they must not expect that God will entrust them with spiritual and heavenly, which are the true riches. God will deal with his servants, as we deal with ours, never trust them with much, whom we find unfaithful in a little.

2. If they be not faithful in the improvement of these outward things, which God entrusts them with but for a time, and must shortly leave them to others; how can they expect, that God should give them those spiritual good things, which shall never be taken away from them to whom they are given.

Where note, 1. That the riches we have are called not our own, but another man's' If we have not been faithful in that which is another man's. Because God has not made us proprietors, but dispensers; not owners, but stewards of these things; we have them for others, and must leave them to others; we are only trustees for the poor; if much be put into our hands, it is to dispense to others according to our Master's orders; let us be faithful then in that which is another man's; that is, with what God puts into our hand for the benefit of others.

Note, 2. That though our gifts are not our own; yet grace or spiritual goods are our own: others may have all the benefit of our gifts, but we shall have the benefit and comfort of our own grace; this treasure we cannot leave to others, and it shall never be taken away from ourselves.

Note, 3. That God is just, and will be eternally justified in denying his special grace to those, who do not make use of his common gifts. Would men be faithful in improving a little, God would entrust them with more; did they not abuse the trust of his common gifts, he would not deny them the treasure of his saving grace, called here, The true riches.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-16.html. 1700-1703.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 16:10. πιστὸς, he who is faithful) The mention of mammon being repeated (Luke 16:9, and Luke 16:11), indicates that this has a close connection with what goes before. And yet it is not prudence now, as heretofore, but fidelity, which the Lord commends. For fidelity generates and directs prudence. πιστὸς, ἀληθινὸν ( נאמן), and πιστεύσει, are conjugates.— ἐν ἐλαχίστῳ, in that which is least) Theology concerns itself with the greatest and with the least things. For it is in this view that the antithetic word πολλῷ, “in much,” acquires also the force of a superlative, as רַב.— ἄδικος, unjust) In antithesis to πιστὸς, faithful.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-16.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

This is a usual sentence, (our Saviour made use of many such), as to which kind of speeches it is not necessary they should be universally true, it is sufficient if they generally be so. Besides that, our Saviour plainly speaketh here according to the common opinion and judgment of men. Men ordinarily judge that he who is faithful in a little thing, of no high concern or moment, will be faithful in what is of a higher concern, or greater moment; and if they have found a person unfaithful in a small thing, they will conclude that he will he so in a greater, and not trust him: though sometimes it falls out otherwise, that one who is faithful enough in some trifling things, prove unfaithful in a greater trust, where unfaithfulness will turn more to his profit; and on the contrary, he that is untruthful in a little thing, may prove more faithful in a greater; but none will trust to that: and that is our Saviour’s design, to teach us that God will do by us as we in the like case do by our servants or neighbours.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 16:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-16.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Верный Это была, вероятно, распространенная пословица. Ср. 19:17; Мф. 25:21.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-16.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Faithful; as God’s steward.

In that which is least; our Saviour teaches that it is not the quantity committed to us that God will regard, but our fidelity in using it; and that our disposition is as thoroughly tried by a small as by a large amount of property or influence.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-16.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10.Faithful in’ least’ in much—If we are faithful in this world’s least, we are faithful for eternity’s

much. Unjust in the least’ in much—Our least sin is committed for eternity, and if unforgiven must result in an eternal woe proportionate to its guilt. We may, by our degrees of unrighteousness, more or less sink ourselves deeper into perdition; but the slightest unremoved condemnation is eternal.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-16.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

He that is faithful in that which is least. This seems to have been a common saying, and that men judged of the honesty of their servants by their fidelity in lesser matters. For example, a master that sees his servant will not steal a little thing, judges that he will not steal a greater, &c. --- And he that is unjust in that which is little, is unjust also in that which is greater. The interpreters take notice, that here temporal goods are called little, and spiritual goods are called greater; so that the sense is, that such men as do not make a right use of their temporal goods, in the service of God, will not make a good use of spiritual graces as they ought to do. See Maldonatus. (Witham)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-16.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

He that is faithful, &c. This is the Lord"s own teaching, which gives the reason why "No! "is the true answer to His question in Luke 16:9.

faithful. App-150.

in. Greek. en. App-104.

also in much = in much also.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-16.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. A maxim of great pregnancy and value; advancing now from the prudence which the steward had, to the fidelity which he had not; to that "harmlessness of the dove" to which "the serpent," with all his "wisdom" or subtilty is a total stranger. But what bearing has this maxim on the subject of our parable? A very close connection. 'As for me (some would say) I have too little of "the unrighteous mammon" to be much interested in, this parable.' 'You are wrong,' is the reply: 'That is the speech of the slothful servant, who, because he was entrusted with but one talent by his master, went and hid it in the earth instead of using it. Fidelity depends not on the amount entrusted, but on the sense of responsibility. He that feels this in little will feel it in much, and conversely.'

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-16.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) He that is faithful in that which is least . . .—The context shows that by “that which is least” is meant what men call wealth, and which to most of them seems as the greatest, highest good. To be faithful in that is to acknowledge that we have it as stewards, not as possessors, and shall have to give an account of our stewardship. The word of warning was meant, we may believe, specially for the disciples. They, coming, for the most part, from the poorer classes, thought that they were in no danger of worshipping mammon. They are told, probably with special reference to the traitor Judas, that the love of money may operate on a narrow as well as on a wide scale, and that wrong-doing in the one case tests character not less perfectly than in the other. This seems truer to the meaning of “much” than to find in it simply the higher wealth of the kingdom of God, generically different from the former, though this also may be included in the wider operation of the laws thus asserted.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-16.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
faithful in
11,12; 19:17; Matthew 25:21; Hebrews 3:2
he that is unjust
John 12:6; 13:2,27
Reciprocal: Genesis 39:6 - he left;  Genesis 47:14 - Joseph brought;  Joshua 1:1 - Moses' minister;  2 Kings 12:15 - for they dealt;  2 Kings 22:7 - they dealt faithfully;  Nehemiah 7:2 - a faithful man;  Nehemiah 13:13 - counted;  Proverbs 28:20 - faithful;  Matthew 24:45 - is;  Luke 12:48 - For;  Luke 16:8 - unjust;  Acts 4:32 - ought;  1 Corinthians 4:2 - that;  1 Corinthians 16:2 - as God;  2 Corinthians 8:12 - if;  Ephesians 1:1 - which;  1 Timothy 3:13 - they;  2 Timothy 2:2 - faithful;  Titus 2:10 - showing;  Hebrews 3:5 - faithful;  3 John 1:5 - General

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-16.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

10.He who is faithful in that which is least. Those maxims are proverbs taken from ordinary practice and experience, and it is quite enough if they are generally true. It will sometimes happen, no doubt, that a deceiver, who had disregarded a small gain, shall display his wickedness in a matter of importance. Nay, many persons, by affecting honesty in trifling matters, are only in pursuit of an enormous gain; (298) as that author (299) says: “Fraud establishes confidence in itself in small matters, that, when a fit opportunity shall arrive, it may deceive with vast advantage.” And yet the statement of Christ is not inaccurate; for in proverbs, as I have mentioned, we attend only to what usually happens.

Christ, therefore, exhorts his disciples to act faithfully in small matters, in order to prepare themselves for the exercise of fidelity in matters of the highest importance. He next applies this doctrine to the proper stewardship of spiritual graces, which the world, indeed, does not estimate according to their value, but which far surpass, beyond all question, the fading riches of this world. Those persons, he tells us, who act improperly and unfaithfully in things of small value, such as the transitory riches of the world, do not deserve that God should entrust to them the inestimable treasure of the Gospel, and of similar gifts. There is, therefore, in these words an implied threatening, that there is reason to fear lest, on account of our abuse of an earthly stewardship, we fail to obtain heavenly gifts. In this sense, what is true is contrasted with riches, as what is solid and lasting is contrasted with what is shadowy and fading. (300)

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:10". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-16.html. 1840-57.