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Parable of the Widow and Unjust Judge: the Necessity of Prayer

Part Number 00104V1EB0
Parable of the Widow and Unjust Judge: the Necessity of Prayer
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Jesus employs an unusual method when teaching this parable of the Widow & Unjust Judge. He states the parable’s purpose first, then presents the parable, then concludes with a rhetorical question. Luke indicates this is a continuation of Jesus’ teaching parables with the use of a coordinating conjunction translated as Then, And, or Now at the beginning, but not always translated as such. It implies Jesus is the speaker. It was taught near Jericho before Jesus and the twelve returned to Jerusalem (confirmed by verses 31-33). This dates the parable near the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, another important fact to consider in the analysis.

Luke used three key words in verse one, each critical in defining when and how to pray. Each was translated with similar terms as indicated:
  • Need, ought, should: a Greek verb infinitive meaning that which must necessarily take place (something which should be done as the result of compulsion).
  • Always, constant, all times, continually: a Greek adverb used of time (as in at all times, at all occasions).
  • Never lose heart, not to faint, never give up: a Greek verb infinitive meaning to act poorly in some circumstance (become weary or tired of doing something, give up, or become discouraged).
Many English versions place the adverb after pray, indicating the teaching is to pray continuously, as in over and over. This is incorrect. The adverb modifies the verb, not the noun. The teaching is based on praying when circumstances require as opposed to letting the circumstances dictate our prayer life. This teaches the disciples (and all believers) to pray regardless of the size of the problem (big or small), the complexity of the problem (hard or easy), or the timing of the problem (immediate or future). So… why do we hesitate to pray when Jesus teaches the disciples to always pray and not to lose heart over the issues, large or small?

What Luke recorded was critical to the disciples and even more critical for us today. The disciples witnessed the miracles, including Jesus walking on the water. We accept by faith all scripture written by the Holy Spirit contained in the Word of God. We also become discouraged struggling through life’s trials and problems. Our faith is tested daily, and on some days, almost to the breaking point. Prayer is not our first or second choice when dealing with problems, especially those involving our family.

This parable is addressed to the disciples as Jesus will be leaving them soon, and persecution will follow. Taking the intended application out of the context (the issue of Jesus leaving them), we can apply it to our daily situations, especially when our faith is being tested. The example of the Widow and Unjust Judge has a spiritual application extending to us today.

Intended use: individual study or shared in a small group.

Author: This eBook is a joint work by the pastoral and ministry staff of Biblical Teaching Publishers, LLC, based on over 60 years of combined ministry and teaching of parables. This eBook version was compiled by the Editor after much consultation with the contributing staff members.

  1. Preface
  2. Prophecy Clarified
  3. Application to the Disciples
  4. Application to the Church
  5. Application to the Future Believers in Israel
  6. Time Periods Defined in Scripture
  7. God’s Viewpoint of the Unjust Judge
  8. Our Application out of Context
  9. Our Thoughts are Known to God
  10. Application in the Context
  11. The Cries From Under the Altar
  12. Sub-Application 1
  13. Sub-Application 2
  14. Review of Application to the Church
  15. Acknowledgements
  16. Endnotes
Approximately 6,700 words in the body of this ebook.
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Feature: Luke 18:1-8
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