I appreciated this article by Tullian Tchividjian.
He considers Jesus’ parable about the Good Samaritan and presents an interpretation which emphasises the fact that it was told in the context of a discussion about eternal life.
I think Tchividjian helpfully points out that to contend that Jesus’ lesson is that eternal life is gained by treating more people better undercuts the real focus of the story.
There are ethical implications about how we treat others, but these are based on Jesus’ portrayal of himself as the outsider who sacrificially care.
There are some issues to consider about this interpretation, but it is interesting in that it asks us to find Jesus in the story, not just as the one telling the story.

For every good story in the Bible there’s a bad children’s song. This is the one I remember for the Good Samaritan:
The man who stopped to help, right when he saw the need; he was such a good, good neighbor, a good example for me.
On the surface, this little ditty may seem harmless. The problem, however, is that Jesus wants us to identify with every person in the parable except the good Samaritan. He reserves that role for himself.

Read the whole post at Liberate.

5 thoughts on “Who Is The Good Samaritan? (via Tullian Tchividjian)

  1. Alistair bain says:

    Well I’m not going to read the whole thing. And I’m sure that he will say much more than what you’ve quoted.

    But to say that” Jesus wants us to identify with every person in the parable except the good Samaritan. He reserves that role for himself” can’t be right. Can it?

    The gospel makes us ethical. We are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus.

    So while we can start out seeing that Jesus is the GS, we are, in faith, to move to seeing us as GS’s as well.

    TT makes me nervous. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s his over the top rhetoric.

    But I just don’t like this way of reading scripture. We read every story as though it’s law – then are called upon to trust in Christ. And then what? I would say we are to be Good Samaritans.

    1. Gary Ware says:

      I share the same questions. It’s why I like having a blog where I can muse about such things.
      I do think it’s helpful to look at a story which has such an obvious Christ figure in it from the initial perspective of the person and work of Jesus himself, and then see the salvation/kingdom imperatives first and the ethical implications/obligations as flowing from that.
      And the idea of reading the story as though it’s law which then calls us to trust in Christ strikes me as the traditional evangelical way of dealing with stories such as this: Jesus reveals the scope of God’s law is always such that they are impossible for us to attain, so pointing out our need of an atoning Saviour. That’s how I would have heard this story taught in the past.
      But you’re right, the application of the story has to make room for ‘strive to be a good Samaritan’ rather than ‘striving to be a good Samaritan will convict you that you can’t’.
      There’s a fair bit of love for Robert Farrar Capon in Tchividjian’s stuff, and I do wonder how that will work its way out in a way that is not antinomian theoretical universalism.

      1. tabain says:

        yes. we are on the same page here.

        I haven’t heard of Capon. I’ll have to look him up.

  2. Here’s something from Mike Bird who thinks that Tullian’s interpretation is wrong as well.


    1. Gary Ware says:

      I thought about you when I read Mike’s post this morning.
      There’s some stuff going on with Tullian’s ‘One Way Love’ hermeneutic that I’m trying to get my head around.
      David Robertson in Scotland wrote a review which raised questions.
      Scott Clark countered negatively and critically to the questions raising sympathy to Mike Horton.
      I wonder if it’s why Kevin DeYoung keeps posting stuff on sanctification as if responding to something without saying what it is.
      I accept Bird’s (and your) point, by the way.

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