I was given the opportunity to do a two part series in our adult Wednesday night Bible study, I was blessed in the preparation and the lessons went well, so I decided to post the outlines used. This is part 1 of 2. God bless.
What is a steward?
1 Cor 4:1-2
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
1 Peter 4:10
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Stewards: NT:3623 oikonomos (oy-kon-om’-os); from NT:3624 and the base of NT:3551; a house-distributor (i.e. manager), or overseer, i.e. an employee in that capacity; by extension, a fiscal agent (treasurer); figuratively, a preacher (of the Gospel): KJV – chamberlain, governor, steward.[i]
In the stewardship parables (parable of the talents in Matthew 25/ parable of the pounds in Luke 19) the people entrusted with the wealth of the master was his servants
doulos (1401), from deo, “to bind,” “a slave,” originally the lowest term in the scale of servitude, came also to mean “one who gives himself up to the will of another,” e.g., 1 Cor. 7:23; Rom. 6:17, 20, and became the most common and general word for “servant,” as in Matt. 8:9, without any idea of bondage. In calling himself, however, a “bondslave of Jesus Christ,” e.g., Rom. 1:1, the apostle Paul intimates (1) that he had been formerly a “bondslave” of Satan, and (2) that, having been bought by Christ, he was now a willing slave, bound to his new Master. See servant.[ii]
So in it’s most basic elements a steward was a Bondman or bond-slave to his master. This is much different than the thought of slavery that was in America. The longest period of time a slave could serve was seven years. After that time he was free to go with what he came in with (if he had a wife, he could take her with him). But if the man decided that he loved his master, or the master gave him a wife and he wanted to stay with her, he could become a bondman and he would have his ear placed against he wall and they would punch a hole in it and he would be the master’s servant forever.
What are the characteristics of a steward?
- Faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2) NT:4103 pistos (pis-tos’); from NT:3982; objectively, trustworthy; subjectively, trustful:KJV – believe (-ing, -r), faithful (-ly), sure, true.[iii]
- What words would you use to describe a faithful steward? (honest, trustworthy, has integrity, is plugged into the masters needs, is committed to the masters plan (pastor has preached on some of this recently, hasn’t he?) think of Eliezar (Eldest servant may have been Eliezer of 15:1ff. He worshiped God (vss. 26ff., 52); he was devoted to Abraham (vss. 12b, 14b, 27); and he was dedicated to finishing the task (vss. 33, 56). If he was Eliezer, then his loyalty in serving the heir who had displaced him is all the greater)[iv]
- Humble, meek, loyal.
- What does a servant own? Nothing, anything he has is at the pleasure of the master.
What is the Christian suppose to primarily to be a steward over?
- Mysteries of God (1 Corinthians 4:2) Mysteries-NT:3466 musterion (moos-tay’-ree-on); from a derivative of muo (to shut the mouth); a secret or “mystery” (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites):KJV – mystery.[v]
- So what are the mysteries of God? The mysteries of God were the previously hidden secrets which God revealed to the apostles and prophets of the NT period.[vi]
- Gifts of God (1 Peter 4:10) Gift: NT:5486 charisma (khar’-is-mah); from NT:5483; a (divine) gratuity, i.e. deliverance (from danger or passion); (specifically) a (spiritual) endowment, i.e. (subjectively) religious qualification, or (objectively) miraculous faculty: KJV – (free) gift.[vii]
- Not the gift but any gift. Any talent, ability or blessing in general given to us is a gift from God (James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.)
Parables of Stewardship:
14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
- What is a talent? NT:5007 talanton (tal’-an-ton); neuter of a presumed derivative of the original form of tlao (to bear; equivalent to NT:5342); a balance (as supporting weights), i.e. (by implication) a certain weight (and thence a coin or rather sum of money) or “talent”: KJV – talent. Each person will get at least 1 talent to use for God.
- In Luke’s telling of this parable, each servant got 1 pound (NT:3414 mna (mnah); of Latin origin; a mna (i.e. mina), a certain weight: KJV – pound). Do you think there is any meaning in the differences in the amounts given? (Maybe one is the mysteries of God given to all, and the others are the gifts that are given in accordance to ability, or the dictates of the Holy Spirit [cf. 1 Cor 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.])
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
- There will be a reckoning. Christians will not be judged on their salvation but what they did with what God did for them after salvation. This is sometimes called the “beama seat” judgement.
- 1 Cor 3:11-15 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithfull over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
- What did the first two servants have in common?
- We all want to hear at the end of our lives “enter into the joy of the Lord” but are we willing to do what it takes to get it?
24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
- Does this man really know the master or does he just know about him?
- Does his argument make sense?
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
- Why didn’t the servant do as he was suppose to? Why don’t we do what we are suppose to?
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
- Did his fear excuse him with the master? What does that tell us? (no excuses will be accepted by God for what we did not do)
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
- Does this tell you anything about the third servant?
The fact that the latter man is called wicked and slothful and an unprofitable servant (vs. 30) who is cast out into outer darkness, certainly indicates that he was not a true disciple of the Master. The idea of this illustrative parable is that all true believers will produce results (elsewhere, “fruits”) in varying degrees. Those who produce no results are not truly converted. [viii]
[i] Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.
[ii] W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.
[iii] Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.
[iv] Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.
[v] Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.
[vi] William MacDonald; edited with introductions by Arthur Farstad, Believer’s Bible commentary: Old and New Testaments [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995 by William MacDonald.
[vii] Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.
[viii] Jerry Falwell, executive editor; Edward E. Hinson and Michael Kroll Woodrow, general editors, KJV Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1994.