Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 17:10

So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'"
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Duty;   Humility;   Jesus, the Christ;   Supererogation;   Works;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Good works;   Reward;   Servant;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Duty;   Gospel;   Hell;   Reward;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Works, Good;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Eschatology;   Tribulation, the;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Luke, Gospel of;   Parables;   Slave/servant;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Matthew, Gospel According to;   Prayer;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Almsgiving ;   Attributes of Christ;   Back to Christ;   Complacency;   Consciousness;   Discourse;   Duty;   Energy;   Humility;   Loans;   Prize;   Redemption (2);   Reward (2);   Righteous, Righteousness;   Saying and Doing;   Steward, Stewardship;   Trinity (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - 36 Ought Must;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Lutherans;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Duty;   Grace;   Justice;   Salvation;  
Devotionals:
Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - Devotion for October 5;   Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for July 18;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

We are unprofitable servants - This text has often been produced to prove that no man can live without committing sin against God. But let it be observed, the text says unprofitable servants, not sinful servants. If this text could be fairly construed to countenance sinful imperfection, it would be easy to demonstrate that there is not one of the spirits of just men made perfect, in paradise, nor a ministering angel at the throne of God, but is sinfully imperfect: for none of these can work righteousness, in the smallest degree, beyond those powers which God has given them; and justice and equity require that they should exert those powers to the uttermost in the service of their Maker; and, after having acted thus, it may be justly said, They have done only what it was their duty to do. The nature of God is illimitable, and all the attributes of that nature are infinitely glorious: they cannot be lessened by the transgressions of his creatures, nor can they be increased by the uninterrupted, eternal obedience, and unceasing hallelujahs, of all the intelligent creatures that people the whole vortex of nature. When ages, beyond the power of arithmetic to sum up, have elapsed, it may be said of the most pure and perfect creatures, "Ye are unprofitable servants." Ye have derived your being from the infinite fountain of life: ye are upheld by the continued energy of the Almighty: his glories are infinite and eternal, and your obedience and services, however excellent in themselves, and profitable to you, have added nothing, and can add nothing, to the absolute excellencies and glories of your God.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-17.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Are unprofitable servants - We have conferred no favor. We have “merited” nothing. We have not “benefited” God, or laid him under “obligation.” If he rewards us, it will be matter of unmerited favor. This is true in relation to Christians in the following respects:

1.Our services are not “profitable” to God Job 22:2; he “needs” not our aid, and his essential happiness will not be increased by our efforts.

2.The grace to do his will comes from him only, and all the praise of that will be due to him.

3.All that we do is what is our “duty;” we cannot lay claim to having rendered any service that will “bind” him to show us favor; and,

4.Our best services are mingled with imperfections. We come short of his glory Romans 3:23; we do not serve him as sincerely, and cheerfully, and faithfully as we ought; we are far, very far from the example set us by the Saviour; and if we are saved and rewarded, it will be because God will be merciful to our unrighteousness, and will remember our iniquities no more, Hebrews 8:12.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-17.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

So likewise ye,.... This is the accommodation and application of the parable to the disciples of Christ, who whether ministers or private believers, are as servants, and should be as laborious as the ploughman, and the shepherd; and as their condition is, so their conduct should be like theirs: the employment of the ministers of the word lies in reading, prayer, meditation, and study; in preaching the word, and administering the ordinances; and in performing other duties of their office: and every private believer has business to do, which lies in the exercise of grace, as the work of faith, the labour of love and patience, of hope: and in the discharge of duty with regard to themselves, in their families, the church, and the world; and these servants should be continually employed; and when one work is done, another is to be taken in hand: saints should be always believing, hoping, waiting, loving, and doing one good work or another; as preaching or praying, reading, hearing, and doing acts of benevolence and charity; and God and Christ are to be served by them in the first place, and then themselves: but some that would be called the servants of Christ, mind their own bellies, and not the service of Christ at all; others in the service of Christ, seek nothing but themselves; others are for the serving themselves first, and then Christ; but the true servants of Christ, serve him in the first place, and seek first his righteousness, and his kingdom, and the honour of it, believing that all other things shall be added to them: and when these have done all that are commanded them, they are not to think their service thank worthy: as for instance, if the service be preaching the word, a man so employed ought to be thankful to God, that has bestowed ministerial gifts upon him, and makes his labours useful, and uses him as an instrument, to do much good to the souls of men, and for his glory, and has put such an honour upon him; but he is not to expect thanks from God, for his most diligent and faithful performance of his work, or imagine that he merits any thing at his hand thereby: or if the business be hearing the word, a man should be thankful to God, for the word, ordinances, and ministers, for liberty of waiting upon God in such a way; for health of body, and inclination of mind, for such service; and for all the good, profit, and advantage, he gains hereby; but he is not to think that he lays God under any obligation to him by so doing, or deserves thanks, or a favour from him on account of it: or if the employment be prayer, a man should be greatly thankful to the God of all grace, that there is a throne of grace for him to come to; and for a mediator, who is the way of access to God; and for the assistance of the Spirit in prayer; and for all the blessings which are given, as an answer of prayer; but he is never to entertain such a thought, that God is obliged to him for his prayers, or should thank him for them: or if the work be doing of good with worldly substance, such should be thankful to God for their substance he has given them, and for hearts to make use of it; but ought not to conclude, that they hereby merit his favour, or that this is any gain to him: but on the other hand, Christ directs his disciples, saying,

when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you; as preaching, or hearing, or reading, or praying, and every other act of divine and religious worship; or all acts of justice and benevolence among men; every duty both for matter and manner, as it should be, according to the will of God, from right principles, and to right ends, and by the assistance of the Spirit and grace of God:

say we are unprofitable servants; not in such sense as unregenerate men are, who are disobedient, and to every good work reprobate and unfit, Romans 3:12 or as the slothful servant, who did not what his Lord commanded, Matthew 25:30. Nor is this the sense, that they are unprofitable to men; for they may be, and are very useful and serviceable to men, and to the saints; but that they are so to God, by whose grace and strength they are what they are, and do what they do; and can give nothing to him but what is his own, and his due; and so can lay him under no obligation to them, nor merit any thing from him; no, not even thanks, and much less heaven and eternal life. The Persic version, quite contrary to the sense of the words reads, "we are pure or clean servants, for we have done", &c. and the Ethiopic version leaves out the word "unprofitable", and reads "we are servants"; we acknowledge ourselves to be servants:

we have done that which is our duty to do; wherefore, as diligence is highly proper, and reasonable in doing the work of the Lord, humility is necessary, that a man may not arrogate that to himself, which do not belong to him; or boast of his performances; or place any dependence on them: or have his expectations raised on account of them; since when he has done the most and best, he has done but what he should, and what he was obliged to, and in that is greatly deficient: a saying somewhat like this, is used by R. Jochanan ben ZaccaiF26Pirke Abot. c. 2. sect. 8. ;

"if thou hast learned the law much, do not ascribe the good to thyself; for, for this wast thou created.'

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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.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-17.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

5 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

(5) No matter how perfectly we may keep the law, it deserves no reward.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/luke-17.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

unprofitable — a word which, though usually denoting the opposite of profit, is here used simply in its negative sense. “We have not, as his servants, profited or benefited God at all.” (Compare Job 22:2, Job 22:3; Romans 11:35.)

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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 17:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-17.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Unprofitable (αχρειοιachreioi). The Syriac Sinaitic omits “unprofitable.” The word is common in Greek literature, but in the N.T. only here and Matthew 25:30 where it means “useless” (αa privative and χρειοςchreios from χραομαιchraomai to use). The slave who only does what he is commanded by his master to do has gained no merit or credit. “In point of fact it is not commands, but demands we have to deal with, arising out of special emergencies” (Bruce). The slavish spirit gains no promotion in business life or in the kingdom of God.

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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 17:10". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-17.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Unprofitable ( ἀχρεῖοι )

From χρεία , requirement; something which the master must pay. Not useless, but having rendered no service beyond what was due. “The profit does not begin until the servant goes beyond his obligation” (Meyer). “A servant owes all things (Bengel).

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-17.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

When ye have done all, say, We are unprofitable servants — For a man cannot profit God. Happy is he who judges himself an unprofitable servant: miserable is he whom God pronounces such. But though we are unprofitable to him, our serving him is not unprofitable to us. For he is pleased to give by his grace a value to our good works, which in consequence of his promise entitles us to an eternal reward.

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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 17:10". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-17.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

But who is there of you1, having a servant plowing or keeping sheep, that will say unto him, when he is come in from the field, Come straightway and sit down to meat;
    Luke 17:7-10

  1. But who is there of you, etc. In this passage, which is in the nature of a parable, Jesus teaches that duty is coextensive with ability, and explodes the doctrine that it is impossible for a man to do "works of supererogation". Since in God's sight no man can even do his full duty (Psalms 143:2), it is impossible that he can do MORE than his duty. We may be rewarded for the discharge of our duty, but the reward is of grace and not of merit. Compare Luke 12:3-48. The theme is no doubt suggested by Luke 17:6. When one's faith endows him with great gifts he need not consider himself as an unusually profitable servant for he can do no more than it is his duty to do. Godet denies this connection with Luke 17:6, contending that miracles are not among "the things that are commanded", and for those who could bestow it, a gift of healing was as much an obligation as a gift of alms (Matthew 10:8; Acts 3:1-6). The paragraph is a fitting close to a discourse so much of which relates to Pharisaism.

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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 17:10". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-17.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

We have done that; we have done only that, &c.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/luke-17.html. 1878.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS CHECKED

‘So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.’

Luke 17:10

We are all naturally proud and self-righteous. Seldom will a man be found, however wicked, who does not secretly flatter himself that there is somebody else worse than he is. Seldom will a saint be found who is not at seasons tempted to be satisfied and pleased with himself. There is such a thing as a pride which wears the cloak of humility. There is not a heart upon earth which does not contain a piece of the Pharisee’s character.

I. To give up self-righteousness is absolutely needful to salvation.—He that desires to be saved must confess that there is no good thing in him, and that he has no merit, no goodness, no worthiness of his own. He must be willing to renounce his own righteousness, and to trust in the righteousness of another, even Christ the Lord. Once pardoned and forgiven, we must travel the daily journey of life under a deep conviction that we are ‘unprofitable servants.’ At our best we only do our duty, and have nothing to boast of. And even when we do our duty, it is not by our own power and might that we do it, but by the strength which is given to us from God.

II. The true cause of self-righteousness.—How is it that such a poor, weak, erring creature as man can ever dream of deserving anything at God’s hands? It all arises from ignorance. The eyes of our understandings are naturally blinded. We see neither ourselves, nor our lives, nor God, nor the law of God as we ought. Once let the light of grace shine into a man’s heart, and the reign of self-righteousness is over. The roots of pride may remain, and often put forth bitter shoots; but the power of pride is broken when the Spirit comes into the heart, and shows the man himself, and God.

Illustration

‘But you may say, “Though I cannot pretend that I have ever really profited God, and though I have not profited as many people as I ought, or any single person as much as I ought, yet I trust and think I have not led an entirely unprofitable life. I hope I have profited some.” Yes, but have you put side by side with the good you have done to some, the harm you have done to others by your conscious or unconscious influence for wrong: and have you asked yourself which is the greater? It is a very solemn consideration, and no man can put it away from himself—“Has the good or the harm which I have done in life been the greater?” And can any of us say that in any act he ever did, or any word he ever spoke, or any thought he ever thought, his motive was quite pure, no self in it? Did it rise to its proper level? Have you weighed it all fairly? I marvel if you will not yield to your conscience and say, “I have been, to use the very mildest term, I have been an unprofitable servant. I have never done what is my duty; no, not in any one single instance in my whole life; and my best works humble me the most.”’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/luke-17.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Ver. 10. We have done that was our duty] Or, our debt; and it is no matter of merit to pay debts. This made William Wickam, founder of New College, &c., profess he trusted in Jesus Christ alone for salvation: Charles V did the like, when he came to die. {a} And in times of Popery, the ordinary instruction appointed to be given to men upon their death beds, was, that they should look to come to glory, not by their own merits, but by the virtue and merit of Christ’s passion, that they should place their whole confidence in his death only, and in no other thing; and that they should interpose his death between God and their sins, between them and God’s anger. (Dr Usheir in a sermon on Ephesians 4:13)

{a} Cade of the Church, Parei Medul. 883.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-17.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Luke 17:10

Reliance on Religious Observances. Consider how this danger of over-reliance on religious observances is counteracted in the case of serious minds.

I. The evil in question—supposing it to exist—is singularly adapted to be its own corrective. It can only do us injury when we do not know its existence. When a man feels and knows the intrusion of self-satisfied and self-complacent thoughts, here is something at once to humble him and destroy that complacency. To know of a weakness is always humbling. Now humility is the very grace needed here. Knowledge of our indolence does not encourage us to exertion, but induces despondence; but to know we are self-satisfied is a direct blow to self-satisfaction. Here is one great safeguard against our priding ourselves on our observances. Evil thoughts do us no harm, if recognised, if repelled, if protested against by the indignation and self-reproach of the mind.

II. But, again, if religious persons are troubled with proud thoughts about their own excellence and strictness, I think it is only when they are young in their religion, and that the trial will wear off; and that for many reasons. It does not require much keenness of spiritual sight to see how very far our best is from what it ought to be. Try to do your whole duty, and you will soon cease to be well-pleased with your religious state. If you are in earnest, you will try to add to your faith virtue, and the more you effect the less will you seem to yourself to do. The more you neglect your daily domestic, relative, temporal, duties the more you will pride yourself on your formal, ceremonial observances.

III. The objection that devotional exercises tend to self-righteousness, is the objection of those—or, at least, is just what the objection of those would be—who never attempted them. A religious mind has a perpetual humiliation from this consciousness—namely, how far his actual conduct in the world falls short of the profession which his devotional exercises involve.

IV. But, after all, what is this shrinking from responsibility, which fears to be obedient lest it should be, but cowardice and ingratitude? To fear to do our duty, lest we should become self-righteous in doing it, is to be wiser than God; it is to distrust Him; it is to do and to feel like the unprofitable servant, who hid his lord's talent and then laid the charge of his sloth on his lord, as being a hard and austere man.

J. H. Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. iv., p. 66.


References: Luke 17:10.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvi., No. 1541; J. Thain Davidson, Sure to Succeed, p. 279; J. H. Thom, Laws of Life, vol. i., p. 182; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., p. 132; H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. i., p. 32. Luke 17:11-14.—W. Wilson, Christ setting His Face to go to Jerusalem, p. 126. Luke 17:11-19.—H. W. Beecher, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvii., p. 152; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. viii., p. 85. Luke 17:12-14.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvii., No. 1635. Luke 17:14-16.—Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxviii., p. 161.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/luke-17.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 17:10. Unprofitable servants: ' Αχρειοι, mean, and inconsiderable, who cannot pretend to have merit in any thing. It deserves remarking, that our Saviour applies this,—not to the servants in the parable, but to his disciples,—to all men: for it cannot, I conceive, in strictness be said, that he is an unprofitable servant to his earthly master, who does all things whatsoever his master commands; but of men, as the servants of God, it may very justly be said. The Hebrew word שׁפל shepel, which the LXX render by the word αχρειος, 2 Samuel 6:22 seems truly to express the meaning of this place:—base, vile, inconsiderable, humble. "We are but unprofitable servants," says venerable Bede; "servants, because bought with a price, unprofitable because our service cannot profit the Lord, or because we are not worthy of the future glory: therefore this is the perfection of faith in men, if, all precepts being fulfilled to the utmost of their power, they acknowledge themselves imperfect." Dr. Waterland, in a sermon on the subject, explaining the phrase, observes, that, upon the whole, when any, even the best of fallen men, profess themselves to be unprofitable servants of God, they may reasonably be supposed to mean, that they are creatures who can make no beneficial returns, no proper requitals, to their Creator; that they are mortal creatures, who neither can nor will do any thing without the aids of divine grace: and further, that they are also sinners, who, instead of meriting a reward, or claiming it as a debt, cannot so much as claim from any right in themselves impunity in God's sight, but must be content to sue to him, in the humble petitionary form, for reward, for grace, and even or impunity; referring all to God's mercy and goodness, and that also purchased for them by the alone merits of Jesus Christ.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-17.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

10.] This shews the sense of the parable, as applying to our own thoughts of ourselves, and the impossibility of any claim for our services to God.

In Romans 6:23 (see also the foregoing verses) we have the true ground on which we look for eternal life set before us;—viz. as the gift of God whose servants we are,—not the wages, as in the case of sin, whose we are not. In the case of men this is different; a good servant is εὔχρηστος (Philemon 1:11), not ἀχρεῖος, i.e. οὗ μὴ ἔχει τις χρείαν,—Etym. Mag. See Acts 17:25.

The case supposed introduces an argument à fortiori: ‘how much more, when ye have failed in so many respects.’ ‘Miser est quem Dominus servum inutilem appellat, Matthew 25:30; beatus qui se ipse.’ Bengel.

Thus closes the series of discourses which began with ch. Luke 15:1.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-17.html. 1863-1878.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 1552

THE OBEDIENT SERVANT

Luke 17:10. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

PRIDE is deeply rooted in the heart of man. It was that which first instigated him to disobedience; he wished to be as God [Note: Genesis 3:5.]. Since his fall it leads him openly to cast off his allegiance to the Supreme Being, and to become a god unto himself, independent, self-seeking, and self-sufficient. This principle operates even in the renewed mind, and endangers the acceptance of our persons and services [Note: 1 Timothy 3:6.]. Our Lord frequently cautioned his Disciples against it. He had just inculcated the arduous duty of forgiving injuries [Note: ver. 3, 4.], and had assured them that, however difficult it might be, faith would enable them to fulfil it [Note: ver. 3, 6.]; but, aware that such obedience might serve as an occasion for pride and vain-glory, he now teaches them, by a just comparison [Note: ver. 7–9.], what thoughts they should ever entertain even of their best services. We shall consider,

I. The comparison—

The extent of God’s authority over us is not sufficiently considered. There is no slave so much at his master’s disposal as we are at God’s. The Jews exercised a most despotic power over their servants—

[Some of the servants among the Jews were captives taken in war: others were slaves bought with money. Over these, their master had unlimited authority. They were regarded by him as his stock, and, like his cattle, were transmitted to his children as a part of their inheritance [Note: Leviticus 25:44-46.]. They were employed in all kinds of services: nor did their master esteem himself indebted to them for any services they might perform. This was perfectly well known to those whom our Lord addressed [Note: In this land of liberty this state of things does not exist: would to God it did not in any part of the British dominions!]. Perhaps many of his hearers had servants whom they so treated. Hence our Lord appealed to them respecting the truth of his statement.]

But God has an infinitely higher claim to our services—

[He originally formed us in the womb. We have not a faculty which we did not receive from him. This gives him an entire right over us [Note: Isaiah 44:21.]. He, upon this very ground, has an unlimited authority over the greatest monarch, as much as over the meanest slave [Note: Job 31:13-15.]. He has preserved us every moment since our first existence in the world. However he may have made use of second causes, he has been “the author of every blessing” we have enjoyed. The beasts are not so dependent on their owner as we on him. On this ground he claimed the homage of his people of old [Note: Exodus 20:2-3.], and may justly demand our utmost exertions in his service. He moreover has bought us with a price: he has paid down a sum which exceeds all calculation. Silver and gold were insufficient for the cost: nothing would suffice but the blood of his only dear Son. Behold, he withheld not the mighty ransom [Note: 1 Peter 1:18-19.]. He delivered up his Son for us all [Note: Romans 8:32.]. And has not this given him a right over us? Can we say in any respect that “we are our own?” or, is not the Apostle’s inference just, That we should therefore glorify him with our bodies and our spirits which are his [Note: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.]?]

Hence it is evident that we can never confer an obligation upon him—

Even hired servants do not confer an obligation by the services they render. Much less do they, who belong to their master as his purchased possession. Least of all can we make God our debtor. We can do no more than what is our absolute duty to do. Works of supererogation exist only in the conceits of blind superstitious papists. The idea of performing them is arrogant in the extreme. None can entertain it in their minds without involving their souls in utter ruin. I he point is decided for us by the voice of inspiration [Note: Romans 11:35-36.].]

The justness of the comparison being made to appear, we proceed to consider,

II. The command grounded upon it—

The injunction in the text is manifestly grounded on the preceding comparison. It imports,

1. That we should not be puffed up with a conceit of our high attainments—

[There is no notice taken of our manifold defects. It is supposed that we actually do all that is commanded us; yet even on that supposition we have nothing to boast of. However perfect our obedience were in all other respects, pride would at once debase it all: God will have no flesh to glory in his presence. The very angels, who never fell, are constrained to give all the glory to God [Note: Revelation 5:11-12.]. The Seraphim around the throne veil their faces and their feet as unworthy to behold or to serve their Maker [Note: Isaiah 6:2.]; and the glorified saints cast their crowns at the feet of Jesus, ascribing all their happiness to him alone [Note: Revelation 4:10.]. Sinful man therefore can never have whereof to glory before God. His zeal and holiness can be of no account with God if once they be made the grounds of his confidence. God, so far from approving such a proud boaster, would abhor him [Note: James 4:6.], and would surely abase him in the day of judgment [Note: Proverbs 16:5.].]

2. That we should be humbled under a sense of our unprofitableness—

[It is not possible that our works should profit God [Note: Psalms 16:2.]”. Nothing that we can do can render him more happy or more glorious [Note: Job 22:2-3.]. We should live and act under a sense of this. The Apostles themselves were directed to consider their best works as worthless [Note: The text.]. Indeed, the truly enlightened in all ages have judged thus of themselves. Job abhorred himself in dust and ashes [Note: Job 40:4; Job 42:6.]. Isaiah seemed to himself like a poor leper, at the very moment that he was favoured with a heavenly vision [Note: Isaiah 6:5.]. Paul accounted himself “less than the least of all saints,” yea, the very “chief of sinners [Note: Ephesians 3:8. 1 Timothy 1:15.].” In this light should we continually view our best performances, and acknowledge that “our very righteousnesses are as filthy rags [Note: Isaiah 64:6.].”]

Address—

1. Those who are looking for acceptance through their own works—

[How manifestly is your spirit contrary to that which the Gospel recommends! You are endeavouring to establish a righteousness of your own: you not only think to compensate for your sins, but to have a degree of merit sufficient to purchase heaven. Perhaps you profess only to rely on your works in part; but in whatever degree you expect them to weigh, you so far make God your debtor. Hear, I pray you, the voice of Christ in the text. Renounce from henceforth all self-righteousness, and self-dependence, and learn to say with the great Apostle, “I count all things but dung for the knowledge of Christ [Note: Philippians 3:8-9.].”]

2. Those, who, professing to trust in Christ, are indulging self-complacency—

[It is inexpressibly difficult to maintain a truly humble spirit. Pride will rise in spite of our better judgment, and often operate when we are least aware of it. Our love of man’s applause too often appears even under the garb of humility. Let us guard against self-deceit. God sees through the veil of our hypocrisy, and will leave us to feel the sad effects of our corruption: he has warned us plainly of our danger [Note: Proverbs 16:18.]. “Let him therefore who thinketh that he stands, take heed lest he fall [Note: 1 Corinthians 10:12.]:” let him “not be high-minded, but fear [Note: Romans 11:20.].”]

3. Those who are dejected because of their unprofitableness—

[It is well to be humbled under a sense of our infirmities; but the feeling of them is an effect of divine grace. Our contrition therefore should be tempered with thankfulness. Let us not forget that such a state of mind is approved of God. Instead of desponding, let us cleave more steadfastly to Christ [Note: Acts 11:23.]. The viler we are in our own eyes, the more precious let him be to us. Thus will he increase, as we decrease [Note: John 3:30.]; and we ourselves shall be exalted in proportion to our self-abasement [Note: Matthew 23:12.]. Let us in the meantime do all that we can to serve him. If we cannot profit him by fulfilling his commands, we may please him. Let that be our constant ambition [Note: 2 Corinthians 5:9. φιλοτιμούμεθα.]. Then, though we have no claim upon him for a reward, he will requite our services; nor shall the smallest attempt to honour him be overlooked [Note: Ephesians 6:8.].]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/luke-17.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 17:10. ὅταν ποιήσητε, when ye shall have done) The consideration of the apostles was at the time fixed too intently upon the obedience which they had heretofore rendered, especially as they saw the scandalous perversity [or the perversity which took offence ( σκάνδαλον) at the Saviour] on the part of others. See ch. Luke 16:14. The Lord calls them back from the remembrance of such things [which tended to lead them to exalt themself by the comparison].—[ λέγετε, say ye) We are to understand and supply the following, So your faith will become great. When the obstacles to faith have been taken out of the way, among which rashness and self-confidence easily hold the first place, faith of its own accord increases. For then the pure and unmixed grace of the Lord has unrestricted room for its exercise.—V. g.]— ὅτι) ὅτι seems twice to have the same force by Anaphora.(183)δοῦλοι ἀχρεῖοι, unprofitable [dispensable] servants)(184) The emphasis lies on the word servants (slaves), and every servant ought to confess himself unprofitable from the very fact that he is a servant who owes all things [to his heavenly Master], who, if he is guilty of a delinquency, deserves stripes; if he does all things required of him, he deserves nothing as a matter of debt; he ought to feel as if he had done nothing; no thanks are to be considered due to him, whose part it is not to demand aught of importance to be assigned to him as regards either trouble or reward. God can do without our usefulness (services), being Himself alone ‘good.’ Romans 11:35. [Who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again], Matthew 19:17. David saith, ἔσομαι ἀχρεῖος [Engl. Ver., vile], ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς σου καὶ μετὰ τῶν παιδισκῶν, ὧν εἶπάς με μὴ δοξασθῆναι, 2 Samuel 6:22, where the antithesis δοξασθῆναι follows, not without mention of servants [ παιδισκῶν]. He is wretched whom the Lord calls an unprofitable servant, Matthew 25:30 : Happy is he who calls himself so. As to the word ἀ χρειο͂ ς, see Eustathius.(185) There is a Metonymy of the consequent for the antecedent. Say ye, We are unprofitable servants; that is to say, there is no greater return of thanks due to us, than if we had done nothing: Job 9:21; Job 10:15.(186) Even the angels may call themselves unprofitable (dispensable) servants of God. And also the servant of a man may call himself an unprofitable servant, although he be profitable (serviceable) to his master. The reason is, I. The condition itself of a slave or servant [which makes service a matter of course, not something that can claim a reward]. II. In respect to God, there is to be added His own perfect blessedness. Acts 17:25 [Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things]. ἀχρεῖος is either used transitively, of one who is not profitable to another: or intransitively, of one who is of no profit to himself: and this again either of one’s own accord, as David says that he will be [in the passage quoted above, 2 Samuel 6:22], (not in the Hebrew, but in the Greek), or else involuntarily, as a servant or slave.— ὠφείλο΄εν, we were bound by our duty) as servants. The emphasis rests on this word, rather than upon the word, πεποιήκαμεν, we have done.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-17.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

See Poole on "Luke 17:8"

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 17:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-17.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

рабы ничего не стоящие Т.е. мы не заслуживаем никакой особой чести.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-17.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

No man ever did or ever can do for God more than He requires; and no mere man ever did his whole duty. Of course, no man can perform works of supererogation, that is, more than enough to save himself; he cannot do enough to insure his own salvation, nor can he ever be saved except through the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/luke-17.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“Say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done that which it was our duty to do.’ ”

They are to say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done that which it was our duty to do.’ Thereby they will be saved from the dangers of pride and arrogance (1 Timothy 3:16; 1 John 2:16), and of thinking of themselves more highly than they ought to think (Romans 12:3). By ‘unprofitable’ is meant that they render a full service in accordance with their contract but do nothing above that which gives their master more than his due and thus merits extra reward.

Note how in the section chiasmus (above) this is paralleled with the story of the Pharisee who does think that he does his duty and is very proud of the fact, in contrast with the one who comes humbly seeking mercy, and is thereby justified (Luke 18:9-14).

One Grateful Ex-Leper and Nine Less Grateful Ones (Luke 17:11-19).

This story follows aptly after the previous one, for there the transplanting of the Kingly Rule of God among the nations was in mind, and here we have a multiplying of what occurred in the incident in Luke 5:12-15, the cleansing of skin-diseased persons who symbolise Israel in its sin, expanded by the inclusion of a Samaritan, ‘this stranger’, to include the wider world. Already non-Jews are coming back to God and entering under the Kingly Rule of God! The transplantation of the Sycamine tree has begun.

Skin disease was held in horror by all, and skin diseased men and women were seen as to be avoided. In both Jewish and Samaritan Law they were expected to avoid human company, except for their own kind, and to call ‘unclean, unclean’ so as to warn people to keep away from them (Leviticus 13:43-46). For in both Jewish and Samaritan Law skin disease rendered them permanently ritually unclean. They could neither live among men nor approach the Dwellingplace of God. And any who came in contact with them became ‘unclean’ and unable to enter the Temple until they again became clean.

There are a number of indications in the Old Testament that Israel were seen as the equivalent of skin diseased persons. Isaiah could cry out, ‘We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags’ (Isaiah 64:6), a typical picture of a skin diseased person (even though uncleanness through menstruation was primarily in mind there), and some have seen in the Servant of Isaiah 52:14; Isaiah 53:3-4 the picture of a skin diseased person as He bore the sin of others. Moreover the picture in Isaiah 1:5-6 of Israel as covered with festering sores could well have been that of a skin diseased person. And it was recognised that the worst fate that could befall a man who usurped the privileges of God’s sanctuary was to be stricken with skin disease ( 2 Chronicles 16:16-21). Never again could he enter the Temple of the Lord. So like the skin diseased man, Israel were unclean before God (Haggai 2:14) (It is true that in Haggai it is by contact with death. But being permanently skin diseased was seen as a living death, so the thoughts are parallel). This was no doubt why Jesus saw such healings of skin diseased people as evidence of the presence of the Messiah (Luke 7:22). Thus a skin diseased man was a fit depiction of Israel’s need and the world’s need.

So when ten skin diseased men approach Jesus for healing, including one stranger, we may well see behind it the intention of depicting not only Israel, but the world in its need, a need which can only be healed by the Messiah (compare Luke 7:22). There may also be intended a reminder of the fact that a greater than Elisha was here. Elisha had enabled the healing of a skin diseased man (2 Kings 5), and he also a ‘stranger’, although he had not done it by his word. Rather he had sent him to wash seven times in the Jordan. He had put him firmly in the hands of God, and God had healed him. And he, like the Samaritan here, had returned to give thanks. But here Jesus takes the healing on Himself. It is He Who heals them at a distance by His thought. The implication of this could be drawn by the reader.

We have become so used to healing miracles that probably not one reader stops in wonder at what happened here. Ten men whose lives were devastated by skin disease receive their lives back again, and all at a word from Jesus. His signs and wonders continue. And yet unquestionably in this section they are only mentioned because they have another lesson to teach. Here it is the widening of the success of the Kingly Rule of God, the importance of gratitude, and the centrality of faith.

Analysis.

a As they were on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing along the borders of Samaria and Galilee and as He entered into a certain village, there met him ten men who were skin diseased, who stood afar off (Luke 17:11-12).

b They lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us” (Luke 17:13).

c When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And thus it happened that, as they went, they were cleansed (Luke 17:14).

d And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, with a loud voice glorifying God, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks, and he was a Samaritan (Luke 17:15-16).

c And Jesus answering said, “Were not the ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” (Luke 17:17).

b “Were there none found who returned to give glory to God, save this stranger?” (Luke 17:18).

a And He said to him, “Arise, and go your way. Your faith has made you whole” (Luke 17:19).

Note that in ‘a’ the men stood afar off an in the parallel the Samaritan is made whole by faith. In ‘b’ all call for mercy, while in the parallel only one returns to give glory to God. In ‘c’ all are cleansed, and in the parallel only one of those cleansed returns to give glory to God. And centrally in ‘d’ we have the stranger who returns to give glory to God and offering his thanks to Jesus.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-17.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10.Ye—Ye apostles.

Unprofitable—In the sense that we have laid God under no obligations. We have received from God all we have and are, and have done no more than just meet the demands of mere right. We are like a debtor that has paid but his just due, and no return of thanks but mere courtesy need be made to him. We are the servant who is but just square with his master, and so deserves no favour. Had Adam lived pure, he would have done no more than his duty, for each moment of his existence. God could not then have justly punished him: but he would have no claim for special reward from God. God would have the right to dispense with him at any moment; might drop him into nonexistence at any instant. He would live every moment upon the pure favour of God. The purest angel exists by grace and not by merit. From this it follows:

1. That the sinner can be forgiven and saved only by grace. If he has been guilty, even at a single instant, of a sin of omission, he can never afterwards repair it; for he can never at any future moment do more than the duty of that moment. He can earn no surplus merit to fill up the blank of the past. And, in all probability, that one sin will so debilitate him morally and spiritually that he will sin again and again; so that debility and depravation will be the result. Much more, if he commit a positive sin will his whole moral nature be unhinged.

2. There can be no surplus merit in one man to save another. The Church of Rome strangely taught that we can do more than our duty; which deeds she calls works of supererogation. Against these the eleventh of our twenty-five articles is aimed. “Voluntary works, besides, over, and above God’s commandments, which are called works of supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety. For by them men do declare that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake than of bounden duty is required: whereas Christ saith plainly, When ye have done all that is commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants.”

Although we can do to God no favour, no profit, and no service, yet he affords us the privilege of doing that which he consents to receive as service, and for which he graciously accepts us as profitable servants. Hence when our Lord speaks as in Luke 12:37, though there is a verbal contradiction, there is a most beautiful harmony.

Our Lord now, leaving Peraea and Eastern Judea, departs to Bethany, raises Lazarus, and is induced by the machinations of the Pharisees to depart to Ephraim on the confines of Judea and Samaria. Here, as John tells us, Jesus abode for some weeks with his disciples. Distance from Jerusalem was necessary for safety; and doubtless what ministry Jesus and his disciples performed during this period extended rather into Samaria northward than into Judea. Accordingly the next notice we have of Jesus in the following verse, finds him starting from Ephraim eastward. See HARMONY, p. 101.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-17.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Jesus drew the application. His disciples should have the same attitude as good servants. By claiming to be unworthy they were not saying that they were totally worthless people. They meant that they were unworthy of any reward because all the service they had rendered was simply their duty to their Master. In the context the particular duty in view was forgiving generously ( Luke 17:3-4), but the teaching applies generally to all the duties that disciples owe God.

Jesus and the apostles taught elsewhere that the prospect of reward should motivate disciples to serve the Lord ( Matthew 6:19-21; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10; 1 John 2:28; 1 Peter 4:13; 1 Peter 5:1-4). Jesus was not contradicting that here. Here his point was that God is under no obligation to reward us. He will do so because He chooses to do Song of Solomon, not because He has to do so. Our attitude should be that God does not need us to serve Him and that serving Him is only our duty for which He is under no obligation to reward us.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-17.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 17:10. Even so ye also. The application, here plainly made, is that nothing can be claimed in God’s service on the ground of merit. Even ‘the Apostles’ (Luke 17:5) could make no such claim. The verse should guard the interpretation of the parable of the unjust steward from the idea that earthly wealth can buy heavenly favor. From God we can claim nothing, save as He has promised it.

When ye have done all, etc. Our Lord does not say that they would or could do all. The fact that none have done so, makes the argument the stronger.

Say we are unprofitable servants, etc. ‘Unprofitable’ here does not have a bad sense. Any profit or merit would arise from the servant’s doing more than his duty, but if he did all his duty, while no blame could attach to him, no merit could be allowed. Thus all works of supererogation are denied, and all claim on the ground of our goodness or fidelity. The moral necessity for justification of faith, afterwards so plainly stated by Paul, is found in this verse; but He who uttered it is Himself the Object of that faith. He was kind and merciful in thus speaking, for the words, apparently severe, are not only true, but so necessary to keep our pride from leading us away from Christ. It is better that we should confess to the Master: ‘we are unprofitable servants,’ than that He should call us so (Matthew 25:30).—With this thought, the series of discourses closes.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-17.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Luke 17:10. , so, in the Kingdom of God: extremes meet. The service of the Kingdom is as unlike that of a slave to his owner as possible in spirit; but it is like in the heavy demands it makes, which we have to take as a matter of course.— , commanded. In point of fact it is not commands but demands we have to deal with, arising out of special emergencies.— : the words express the truth in terms of the parabolic representation which treats of a slave and his owner. But the idea is: the hardest demands of the Kingdom are to be met in a spirit of patience and humility, a thing possible only for men who are as remote as possible from a slavish spirit: heroic, generous, working in the spirit of free self-devotion. Such men are not unprofitable servants in God’s sight; rather He accounts them “good and faithful,” Matthew 25:21. Syr. Sin[135] reads simply “we are servants”.

[135]yr. Sin. Sinaitic Syriac (recently discovered).

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-17.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Unprofitable servants. Because our service is of no profit to our Master; and he justly claims it as our bounden duty. But though we are unprofitable to him, our serving him is not unprofitable to us; for he is pleased to give, by his grace, a value to our good works, which, in consequence of his promise, entitles them to an eternal reward. (Challoner) --- The word useless, when joined to servant, generally means a servant from whom his master does not derive the service he has a right to expect; as in St. Matthew xxv. 30. Here the word is taken in a less odious sense. It means a servant who does not testify sufficient zeal and ardour in his master's service, who is not very eager to please him. With regard to God, we are always useless servants, because he wants not our services; and without his assistance, we can neither undertake nor finish any thing to please him. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-17.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

So likewise ye = Thus ye also.

shall = may.

say, We = say that (Greek. hoti) we.

unprofitable = not needed, no use for. This may be for various reasons. Occurs only here and in Matthew 25:30, where the reason maybe for having done wickedly. Not the same word as in Romans 3:12. Titus 3:9. Philemon 1:11, Hebrews 13:17.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-17.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants. The word 'unprofitable' [ achreioi (Greek #888)], though in modern English denoting the opposite of profit, is here used in its proper negative sense, 'We have not profited' or 'benefited God at all by our services.' The connection of this with the subject discoursed of may be thus expressed-`But when your faith has been so increased as both to avoid and forgive offences, and do things impossible to all but faith-even then, be not puffed up as though you had laid the Lord under any obligations to you.' (Compare Job 22:2-3; Romans 11:35)

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-17.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) Say, We are unprofitable servants.—There is something very suggestive in the use of the same word as that which meets us in the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:30). God, we are taught, may recognise and reward the varying use which men make of gifts and opportunities. But all boasting is excluded; and in relation to God the man who has gained the ten talents has to own that he has nothing that he has not received, and to confess that he stands, as it were, on a level with the “unprofitable servant.” Any personal claim on the ground of merit falls to the ground before such a declaration, and still more any speculative theory of works of supererogation, and of the transfer of the merits gained by them from one man to his fellow-servants and fellow-sinners.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-17.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
1 Chronicles 29:14-16; Job 22:2,3; 35:6,7; Psalms 16:2,3; 35:6,7; Proverbs 16:2,3; Isaiah 6:5; 64:6; Matthew 25:30,37-40; Romans 3:12; 11:35; 1 Corinthians 9:16,17; 15:9,10; Philippians 3:8,9; Philemon 1:11; 1 Peter 5:5,6
Reciprocal: Genesis 32:10 - not worthy of the least of all;  Numbers 6:18 - and put it;  1 Samuel 15:13 - I have performed;  Job 10:15 - righteous;  Jeremiah 32:23 - they have;  Ezekiel 1:23 - which;  Luke 15:29 - Lo;  Luke 18:12 - fast;  2 Corinthians 12:11 - though

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-17.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

10.We have done what we were bound to do. That is, “we have brought nothing of our own, but have only done what we were bound by the law to do ” Christ speaks here of an entire observance of the law, which is nowhere to be found; for the most perfect of all men is still at a great distance from that righteousness which the law demands. The present question is not, Are we justified by works? but, Is the observance of the law meritorious of any reward from God? This latter question is answered in the negative; for God holds us for his slaves, and therefore reckons all that can proceed from us to be his just right. Nay, though it were true, that a reward is due to the observance of the law in respect of merit, it will not therefore follow that any man is justified by the merits of works; for we all fail: and not only is our obedience imperfect, but there is not a single part of it that corresponds exactly to the judgment of God.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 17:10". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-17.html. 1840-57.