Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 16:13

No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Consistency;   Decision;   Hypocrisy;   Jesus, the Christ;   Mammon;   Rich, the;   Servant;   Worldliness;   Scofield Reference Index - Parables;   Thompson Chain Reference - Call, Divine;   Decision;   Divine;   Double-Mindedness;   God;   Invitations, Divine;   Invitations-Warnings;   Moral Agents, Free;   Neutrality, No;   No;   Service;   Steadfastness-Instability;   Undivided Service;   Work-Workers, Religious;   The Topic Concordance - Servants;   Service;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Parables;   Wealth;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Heaven, Heavens, Heavenlies;   Wealth;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Idolatry;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Jesus Christ;   Versions;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Double-Minded;   Luke, Gospel of;   Mammon;   Master;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Gospels;   Love, Lover, Lovely, Beloved;   Mammon;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Almsgiving ;   Covetousness;   Despise;   Devotion;   Discourse;   Hating, Hatred;   Lord (2);   Lust (2);   Mammon;   Organization (2);   Parable;   Perplexity;   Science (2);   Self-Control;   Sermon on the Mount;   Slave, Slavery (2);   Steward, Stewardship;   Wealth;   Wealth (2);   Winter ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Mammon ;   Servant;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Bible, the;   Lazarus;   Mammon;   Steward;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

No servant can serve two masters - The heart will be either wholly taken up with God, or wholly engrossed with the world. See on Matthew 6:24; (note).

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-16.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

See the notes at Matthew 6:24.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-16.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

No servant can serve two masters: either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

This contrasts God and Mammon (personified) as deities between whom every soul must choose. Any attempt to serve both is actually the service of Mammon. Summers pointed out that Luke here used a word for "servant" which actually means "house servant";[23] and this gives an equivalent meaning that "nobody can be a house boy in two different mansions at once!"

For the attention of some who always insist that a parable has only one point, it should be observed that Jesus made no less than four, basing them all upon this parable. Barclay summarized these thus: (1) children of this world are wiser than children of light (Luke 16:8); (2) material possessions should be used to cement ... eternal friendships (Luke 16:9); (3) a man's way of fulfilling a small task is proof of his fitness for a larger one (Luke 16:10-11); and (4) no slave can serve two masters.[24]

[23] Ray Summers, op. cit., p. 191.

[24] William Barclay, op. cit., pp. 216-217.

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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 16:13". "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

No servant can serve two masters,.... See Gill on Matthew 6:24.

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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 16:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-16.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

3 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

(3) No man can love God and riches simultaneously.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/luke-16.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

can serve — be entirely at the command of; and this is true even where the services are not opposed.

hate … love — showing that the two here intended are in uncompromising hostility to each other: an awfully searching principle!

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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.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-16.html. 1871-8.

People's New Testament

No servant can serve two masters. See note on Matthew 6:24.

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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.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/luke-16.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Servant (οικετηςoiketēs). Household (οικοςoikos) servant. This is the only addition to Matthew 6:24 where otherwise the language is precisely the same, which see note. Either Matthew or Luke has put the λογιονlogion in the wrong place or Jesus spoke it twice. It suits perfectly each context. There is no real reason for objecting to repetition of favourite sayings by Jesus.

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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 16:13". "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

Servant ( οἰκέτης )

Properly, household servant.

Serve

See on minister, Matthew 20:26.

The other

See on Matthew 6:24.

Hold to

See on Matthew 6:24.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "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

No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

And you cannot be faithful to God, if you trim between God and the world, if you do not serve him alone. Matthew 6:24.

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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.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-16.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

No servant can serve two masters1: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

  1. No servant can serve two masters. See . See also Galatians 1:10; James 4:4.

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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.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-16.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Ver. 13. See Matthew 6:24.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-16.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 16:13. No servant can serve, &c.— "Beware of indulging even the least degree of covetousness, for it is absolutely inconsistent with piety; insomuch that a man may as well undertake at one and the same time to serve two masters of contrary dispositions and opposite interests, as pretend to please God, while he is anxiously pursuing the world for its own sake." In this manner did our Lord recommend the true use of riches, power, knowledge, and the other advantages of the present life, from the consideration that they are not our own, but God's; that they are only committed to us, as stewards, to be employed for the honour of God, and the good of mankind; that we are accountable to the proprietor for the use we make of them, who will reward or punish us accordingly; and that every degree of covetousness is such a serving of mammon, as is really idolatry, and altogether inconsistent with the duty that we owe to God.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". 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

Observe here, a twofold master spoken of, God and the world. God is our Master by creation, preservation, and redemption; he has appointed us our work, and secured us our wages; the world is become our master by intrusion, usurpation, and a general estimation; too many esteeming it as their chief good, and delighting in it as their chief joy.

Observe, 2. That no man can serve these two masters, who are of contrary interests, and issue out contrary commands. When two masters are subordinate, and in their commands subservient to each other, the difficulty of serving both is not great; but where commands interfere, and interests clash, it is impossible: no man can serve God and the world, but he may serve God with the world; we may be served of riches, and yet serve God; but we cannot serve riches, but we must disserve God; we cannot serve God and the world both, and seek them as our chief good and ultimate end, because no man can divide his heart between God and the world.

Learn hence, that to love the world as our chief good, to seek it as our highest interest, and to serve it as our chief commander, cannot stand with the love and service which we bear and owe to God our Maker. The world's slaves, while such, can be none of God's freemen.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-16.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

13.] See note on Matthew 6:24. The connexion here is,—that we must, while put in trust with the ἄδικος μαμωνᾶς, be serving not it, but God. The saying here applies (as Olshausen remarks) admirably to the Pharisees and Publicans: the former were, to outward appearance, the servants of God, but inwardly served Mammon;—the latter, by profession in the service of Mammon, were, by coming to Jesus, shewing that they inwardly served God.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-16.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 16:13. A principle which does not cohere with what follows (Holtzmann), but proves as indubitable the denial which is implied in the previous question: “ye shall in the supposed case not receive the Messianic salvation.” Ye are, to wit, in this case servants of Mammon, and cannot as such be God’s servants, because to serve two masters is morally impossible. Moreover, see on Matthew 6:24.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/luke-16.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Matthew 6:24".

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 16:13". 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

Не можете служить Богу и маммоне Многие фарисеи учили, что преданность деньгам и преданность Богу полностью совместимы (ст. 14). Это учение было тесно связано с распространенным мнением, что земные богатства означали Божье благословение. Поэтому богатых людей считали любимцами Бога (см. пояснение к Мф. 19:24).Хотя Христос не осуждал богатство само по себе, Он осуждал любовь к богатству и приверженность маммоне. Относительно любви к деньгам см. пояснения к 1Тим. 6:9, 10, 17-19.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-16.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

God and mammon; Matthew 6:24.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-16.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Jesus then caps His arguments with a final statement. All this is true because no one can serve two masters. Anyone who has two masters will not be able to serve them in balance. Always one must take precedence. Thus every man must choose Who or what will be his real master. It is not possible to serve God and Wealth at the same time. One will always be loved more than the other. One will be clung to and the other despised. Thus how we use the wealth entrusted to us actually brings out who is in control. It brings out whom or what we serve, just as the estate manager had served his own interests and not his lord’s.

Thus if we only use our worldly wealth under the direction of God, with no regard for it but as a tool to be used as God wills, then well. But if we allow it to deflect us from doing and being the very best for God, then it will have taken over the mastership, and our commitment will necessarily suffer. Whatever our protestations we are declaring that wealth is our master. We are treating God as though He were less important than possessions. We are thus despising God. That is what Jesus observed in the rich young ruler and why He made such a total demand on him. He knew that wealth had too much of a hold on him, as indeed his final decision proved. He loved wealth rather than God. He was exactly like the estate manager!

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-16.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13.No servant can serve two masters—This verse is found nearly verbatim in Matthew 6:24, on which see our note.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-16.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Even though one may have both God and mammon, namely, be a believer and have earthly resources, it is impossible to serve them both. They both demand total allegiance (cf. Matthew 6:24). Love for God will result in mammon taking second place in life. Conversely if one puts mammon first, God can have only second place (cf. 1 Timothy 6:10). This fact should serve as a warning against unfaithfulness to God and as a warning against enslavement by mammon. Jesus" personified mammon to picture it as God"s rival. Disciples obviously can serve God and mammon, but they cannot be the servant, in the true sense of that word, of both God and mammon. They can only be the servant of one. [Note: See Dave L. Mathewson, "The Parable of the Unjust Steward ( Luke 16:1-13): A Reexamination of the Traditional View in Light of Recent Challenges," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society38:1 (March1995):29-39.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-16.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Luke 16:13. No servant can serve two masters — See note on Matthew 6:24. As if he had said, You cannot be faithful to God, if you trim between him and the world; if you do not serve him alone. Beware, therefore, of indulging, even in the least degree, the love of the world, for it is absolutely inconsistent with piety: “insomuch that a man may as well undertake, at one and the same time, to serve two masters of contrary dispositions and opposite interests, as pretend to please God while he is anxiously pursuing the world for its own sake. In this manner did Jesus recommend the true use of riches, power, knowledge, and the other advantages of the present life, from the consideration that they are not our own, but God’s; that they are only committed to us as stewards, to be employed for the honour of God and the good of men: that we are accountable to the proprietor for the use we make of them, who will reward or punish us accordingly; and that every degree of covetousness is such a serving of mammon as is really idolatrous, and altogether inconsistent with the duty we owe to God.” — Macknight.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/luke-16.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

No servant can serve two masters, &c. This is added to shew us, that to dispose of our riches according to the will of the Almighty, it is necessary to keep our minds free from all attachment to them. (Theophylactus) --- Let the avaricious man here learn, that to be a lover of riches, is to be an enemy of Christ. (Ven. Bede)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-16.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

servant = domestic household servant. Greek. oiketes. Occurs only here; Acts 10:7. Romans 14:4. 1 Peter 2:18.

can = isable to.

serve = do bondservice. Greek. douleuo. As in Luke 15:29.

masters = lords, as in verses: Luke 16:3, Luke 16:5, Luke 16:5, Luke 3:8.

the other. Same as "another" in Luke 16:7.

cannot = are not (Greek. ou. App-105) able to.

God. See App-98.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "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

No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-16.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

13. No servant can be the slave of two masters. See note on Matthew 6:24.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/luke-16.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(13) No servant can serve two masters.—See Notes on Matthew 6:24. Here it obviously comes in close connection with the previous teaching. But its occurrence, in an equally close sequence, in the Sermon on the Mount, shows that it took its place among the axioms of the religious life which our Lord, if we may so speak, loved to reproduce as occasion called for them.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-16.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
servant
9:50; 11:23; Joshua 24:15; Matthew 4:10; 6:24; Romans 6:16-22; 8:5-8; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15,16
hate
14:26
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 17:33 - They feared;  Proverbs 28:11 - rich;  Jeremiah 22:17 - covetousness;  Hosea 10:2 - Their heart is divided;  Hosea 12:8 - Yet;  Matthew 19:23 - That;  Luke 8:14 - and are;  Luke 16:9 - of the;  2 Timothy 4:10 - having;  Hebrews 13:5 - conversation

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 16:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-16.html.