Bible Story of the Good Samaritan - Verses and Meaning

Read the full Bible story of the Good Samaritan and learn the meaning of this parable from Jesus.
Christianity.com Editorial Staff
Man helping someone up

Who Was the Good Samaritan?

Jesus tells the parable, or story, of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 of the New Testament. In that Bible chapter, he says, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him."

The Good Samaritan was the person who had mercy upon the man that was half-dead and robbed on the side of the road. After a priest and Levite passed the downtrodden man, showing him no mercy or compassion, the Samaritan took care of him and saved his life.

Meaning of the Good Samaritan Parable

The meaning of the Good Samaritan parable from Jesus is very simple: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Before telling the story of the Samaritan, Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment of all. He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

The parable of the Good Samaritan is a story to illustrate how we “love our neighbors as ourselves.” When other people need our help the most, like the man on the road, is when our love for neighbor is truly tested. Jesus tells us to be like the Good Samaritan, helping others in times of need, and not the Priest and Levite who ignored their neighbor.

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Painting of "The good Samaritan" (about 1890) by Alfonso Cattaneo

The Good Samaritan: Bible Verses

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Luke 10:25-37 - "On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. 'Teacher,' he asked, 'what must I do to inherit eternal life?' 'What is written in the Law?' he replied. 'How do you read it?' He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' 'You have answered correctly,' Jesus replied. 'Do this and you will live.' But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?' In reply, Jesus said: 'A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. "Look after him," he said, "and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have." Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?' The expert in the law replied, 'The one who had mercy on him.' Jesus told him, 'Go and do likewise.'”

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself in Scripture

Mark 12:28-34 - "One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, 'Of all the commandments, which is the most important?' 'The most important one,' answered Jesus, 'is this: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." The second is this: "Love your neighbor as yourself." There is no commandment greater than these.' 'Well said, teacher,' the man replied. 'You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.' When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, 'You are not far from the kingdom of God.' And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions."

1 John 4:7 - "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God."

Leviticus 19:18 - "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord."

1 Corinthians 16:14 - "Let all that you do be done in love."

Discover more Bible Verses about Love

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Originally published November 20, 2019.