To whom much is given much is required is an often quoted truth from the Bible.
The biblical truth of Luke 12:48 serves as a guiding principle in a world full of opportunities and blessings: “To whom much is given, much is required.” It is an often quoted phrase—by Christians and non-Christians alike.
This simple yet profound saying reminds us that the privileges and advantages we enjoy come with a responsibility to give back and make a positive impact. It’s like being handed a plate full of cookies—the more you have, the more you share with others.
What does the Bible say about much is given much is expected?
The exact phrase “to whom much is given, much is required” is in the parable of the talents in the Gospel of Luke. The gospel of Luke is addressed to “most excellent Theophilus” (Luke 1:3). Theophilus was a man of influence who seemed to desire to know more about Christianity.
The meaning of the verse is the same in the various forms of the Bible, the only thing that’s different is the words used. What’s most important is the message, as the Word of God is alive and powerful and is more than the letters in ink.
The KJV phrases Luke 12 verse 48:
“But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
Here are a few translations of the same verse in newer translations:
The American Standard version expresses the verse in the Gospel of Luke:
“but he that knew not, and did things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more.”
The World English Bible states:
“but he who didn’t know, and did things worthy of stripes, will be beaten with few stripes. To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.”
And the ESV says:
“But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.”
The phrasing may vary slightly, but the essence of the message remains consistent.
What is the meaning of Luke 12 verse 42 to 48?
People often quote the verse “To whom much is given much is required” as a reminder that those who have been blessed with abundance or privilege have a great responsibility to use their resources for the greater good. In other words, the more blessings we receive, the more we are expected to give back to others.
Those blessings can be different gifts, such as:
- Spiritual gifts (gifts of the holy spirit).
- Financial resources.
- Musical ability.
- Social status.
- And much more…
Even a new beginning is a blessing from God. Once we receive a new start, we have the choice to use it for ourselves or to help others as well.
The meaning of the parable is that we are stewards of the blessings and resources that God has given us. God expects us to use those committed things for His glory and for the benefit of others—as good stewards of God. Simply said, the more we have, the more we are expected to give back.
We don’t get our blessing to enjoy ourselves, but to share with others, to lift others up, and to encourage them (Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:16; Phil. 2:4)). And we never need to worry that nothing is left for ourselves! As the more we give to others, the more God will give us.
How can we apply this message in our lives?
- Recognize the blessings and resources that God has given you. Reflect on what you have and how you can use it to serve others.
- Be a good steward of what you have. Use your resources wisely and productively, and seek to multiply them for the benefit of others.
- Give generously and sacrificially. Give your time, talents, and resources to serve others and advance God’s kingdom.
- Be accountable. Recognize that you will be held accountable for how you use the blessings and resources that God has given you. Seek to use them in a way that honors Him and serves others.
In conclusion, “to whom much is given much is required”, is a powerful reminder of our responsibility as stewards of God’s blessings and resources. This responsibility should come from our hearts. We need to make it our own and do it because we want to and because of our love for God. Then it will become relation. But if we do it because we have to do it, it becomes religion and is meaningless.
We should see the single Bible verse in Luke 12 in its context. If we interpret individual Scriptures, we may misinterpret them. Let’s have a look at the full parable. The parable of the talents in Luke 12:42-48, as told by Christ Jesus, illustrates the message of accountability and using what we have to benefit others.
In the story, a master gives his servants talents (money), and he expects them to use them wisely and productively while he is away for a long time. When the master returns, he holds accounts with his servants. The servants who invest their talents and gain a return are praised and rewarded, while the one who buried his talent and gains nothing is rebuked and punished.
The New King James Version (Luke 12:42-48) says:
“And the Lord said, ‘Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more’.”
Common usage of to whom much is given much is required
The line of wisdom “to whom much is given much is required” is commonly used to highlight the responsibility that comes with privilege, power, or wealth. It implies that those who have been given more resources or opportunities have a greater responsibility to use them wisely and to serve others.
This idea applies to more than just religion. We can use it in relation to education, career, and social status. It reminds us that with great blessings comes great responsibilities, and that we should always strive to make a positive impact on the world.
Funny enough, many wealthy people use the principle of Luke 12:48, even though they aren’t Christians. Still, when they apply it, they bear the fruits of it. That is because God’s principles are eternal and it is the way God works.
Here are 7 examples by famous people of common use of the truth of Luke 12 verse 48:
- “To whom much is given, much is required.” – John F. Kennedy.
- “I do believe that when you have been blessed with an opportunity, you also have a responsibility to give back.” – Sheryl Sandberg.
- “Much is required from those to whom much is given.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.
- “To whom much is given, much will be expected.” – Oprah Winfrey.
- “The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.” – Corrie ten Boom.
- “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill.
- “The more you have, the more is expected of you.” – Bill Gates Sr.
These statements all reflect that people who have been given significant privileges, opportunities, or resources have a corresponding responsibility to contribute positively to society or to use their advantages for the betterment of others. President J.F. Kennedy literally based it on the KJV, as he often used to do in his speeches.
Prayers related to the verse to whom much is given much is required
The principle of much is given much is required reminds us that our blessings are not just for our own benefit, but for the benefit of others. We can bring glory to God and make a tangible difference in the world by using our resources to serve and love those around us.
The more we give, the more we receive—not just in terms of material blessings, but in the joy and fulfillment that comes from serving others and living a life of purpose. So embrace the challenge of much is given much is required, and use your blessings to be a blessing to others.
A powerful way to help us remember and apply the Biblical principle is to be a prayer warrior and pray about it. Here are a few example prayers:
Prayer to be given much
Gracious God, You are the God of the possible. You are the ruler of everything! Your resources are unlimited. Your heavenly storehouse is full. You desire to give me so much more than I can even think or ask for. I am grateful for Your love and care.
Thank You for keeping my heart humble as I walk in Your benefits given to me. Help me not to raise myself above others, but to remain truly faithful to You. As a child of God, I know I can ask You anything. I also know that Your gifts come with great responsibility. I ask You, in Jesus’ Name, give me more. More grace, more blessings, more health, more energy, more stamina, and more wisdom. All to the glory of Your Name. And help me use these not just to enrich myself, but to benefit others and let Your Kingdom grow. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Prayer to be a faithful servant
Lord Jesus, thank You for accepting me despite all my shortcomings and flaws. I am a sinner; I know that very well. I am grateful for Your sacrifice and Your love.
Thank You for all the different gifts You already gave me and for everything You are still going to do. Honestly, I am humbled by Your grace.
In all of this, there is one single thing I desire—the only thing I want—is to live in Your house all the days of my life, delighting in Your perfections and meditating in Your Temple. Help me keep this heart. Help me remain a faithful steward of God. Thank You. Amen.
Prayer to be a wise manager
Father God, thank You for trusting me with Your gifts. Help me be a wise manager, whether I receive a small or a larger amount. As the quantity doesn’t matter because You watch whether I am faithful with little. Help me not to despise the small things, but be a good and wise manager over everything You give me.
I want to live for Your glory and use my blessings to help others. Give me the wisdom, stamina, energy, and strength to continue walking in Your light. And at the proper time, let me receive my reward. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
In conclusion, the principle of to whom much is given much is required, is a powerful reminder of our responsibility to use our blessings for the greater good. It challenges us to be faithful and wise stewards of the resources and opportunities that God gives us, and to seek opportunities to serve and make a positive impact.
As we do so, we not only fulfill our responsibility to God, but we also experience the joy and fulfillment that come from living a life of purpose.
May we pray for the wisdom and strength to be faithful servants and wise managers of the blessings that God has entrusted to us. Let us trust in His grace and guidance as we seek to make a difference in the world and fulfill our calling as God’s children.
Christel Owoo is a Confidence Coach, Mentor, Women’s Ministry Leader, Author, Wife, and Mom. She writes about Bible Study, Christian Living, and Personal Growth on her website, through guest blogs, devotionals, books, and in Christian magazines.
Her ministry is to help Christian women live confidently and victoriously in Christ, to the fullest of their God-given potential. Christel’s books speak of life-changing encounters and second chances when you follow, obey, and apply the Word of God.