The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19–31 has garnered attention and commentary by Christians for millennia. The primary interest in the parable arises from the fact that it is the only such story that Jesus told in which some sort of conscious life immediately after death is described, actually in quite vivid detail. That Jesus predicted the Final Judgment and the end of the world, the resurrection of the dead and His glorious Second Coming is seen over and over throughout the Gospels and in the rest of the New Testament. But what happens to a person immediately on death? Do they sleep in the grave as many texts throughout Scripture indicate? Or is there some post-mortem shadowy or other existence in between death and the resurrection of the dead? Hence, the great interest in the parable. Scholarship has focused major attention on the issue of the afterlife and there are serious issues to be resolved concerning the parable’s teaching on that subject. But redressing the neglect of the parable’s teaching on wealth and poverty, justice and mercy is also needed. Consequently, this two-part study will address both topics. Part one will review and critique the scholarly debate over the meaning of the parable’s teaching on the afterlife. Part two will review the scholarly debate on wealth and poverty in the parable and present a narrative analysis of the story and illustrate how the narrative details point toward the major focus and emphasis.



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