Perhaps, some of our readers are familiar with the acronym STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In contrast to STEM, the Bible is an ancient book of literature, which contains things like stories, poetry, and letters. The Bible seeks to teach spiritual truth, not scientific truth. Any disclosure of things like science or medicine is incidental. In fact, in the process of teaching spiritual truth, the Bible uses things like stories and poetry in conjunction with moral propositions. Biblical stories and poetry have a way of exposing and potentially penetrating the inherent hardness of the human heart. Occasionally, Jesus mentioned moral propositions, but primarily, He taught by telling stories and by using figurative language. Through the stories and figurative language, Jesus invited his audience to participate in a higher and spiritual way of thinking, seeing, and being.
At Luke 10:25, we read that a lawyer approached Jesus to test Him. In the New Testament, a lawyer (nomikos) was someone who was a skilled teacher and interpreter of the Mosaic Law. The lawyer wanted to test Jesus’s knowledge and understanding of the Old Testament. The lawyer asked Jesus, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” This is an exceptional question! Next to the question “Who is Jesus?” the question “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” is probably the most significant question that anyone could ever ask. In other words, how do we take possession of or share in the life of God? In response, Jesus asked the lawyer (nomikos), “What is written in the law? How does it read to you?” (Luke 10:26) The Greek verb anaginōskō means “to read,” but it also includes “to know accurately or to understand.” Then the lawyer (nomikos) responded,
YOU SHALL 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 YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.
Jesus, then told the lawyer, “You have answered correctly, do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). Yes, the lawyer gave the correct answer. Authentic living is loving God and neighbor. In the above quote, notice that the word “all” (olos) was used four times, and the word “and” (kai) was also used four times. Practicing true love is repeatedly giving “all” of oneself to God “and” completely (again and again) seeking to do His will by loving God and one’s neighbor.
The lawyer knew the right answer to the question of how to inherit God’s life, but practicing the Christian Life is a far greater challenge. In fact, it is impossible for us to execute the Christian Spiritual Life apart from God’s help. As I have stated many times before, we are challenged to walk by the Spirit, wherein the Word is a light to our feet, trusting in Christ Jesus, while having no confidence in our inherit capacity to live this new, supernatural way of being. This is how we lay hold of eternal life (1 Tim. 6:12). However, the failure of the lawyer to execute the Christian Spiritual Life is seen in the next verse. At Luke 10:29, we read, “But wanting to justify himself, he [the lawyer] said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’”
When we seek to justify self, we seek to establish or prove our own righteousness. Instead, we should be seeking to ascertain and pursue God’s will and His righteousness. Seeking to demonstrate or prove our own righteousness is diametrically opposed to seeking God’s will and His righteousness. The lawyer manifested a very deep hardness of heart, even though he could correctly regurgitate the correct moral proposition. We need to understand that self-righteousness is a very powerful roadblock to our successful execution of the Spiritual Life.
After Jesus was asked, “Who is my neighbor?” He did not provide a specific definition of “neighbor.” Instead, Jesus told the story famously known as “The Good Samaritan.” Jesus was going to teach about “who is my neighbor,” “what is love,” “what is true living,” and “who is a good neighbor” by telling a short, simple, but very deep story. In the process, Jesus was going to accuse the lawyer and Jerusalem’s religious hierarchy of hardness of heart. Perhaps, a few, either by hearing or later reading the story, were going to gain an insight into the power of a Biblical story.
In the story of “The Good Samaritan,” a man was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho (Luke 10:30). The seventeen-mile road dropped 2500 feet, and the journey had a well-deserved reputation of being through a desolate and dangerous landscape. On the road, the man encountered some robbers. The traveler was beaten, robbed, and left half-dead. By coincidence, a priest was traveling down the road and saw the half-dead man along the side of the road (Luke 10:31). However, the priest passed by on the other side of the road and offered no assistance. Then a Levite was traveling down the same road, and the Levite also passed by the injured man, on the other side of the road, offering no assistance (Luke 10:32).
By telling the story, Jesus criticized the Jewish hierarchy (the Sadducees) of callousness and hardness of heart. But when a Samaritan came down the same road, the Samaritan felt compassion for the injured man (Luke 10:33). This was a surprising development in the story because traditionally the Jews viewed the Samaritans to be impure, inferior, and unfaithful. There was an inherent attitude of hostility between Jews and Samaritans. In contrast to the priest and the Levite, the Samaritan offered medical aid to the half-dead man by bandaging his wounds. It is also noted that the Samaritan treated the injured man by pouring oil and wine on his wounds (Luke 10:34). The Samaritan transported the injured man to a local inn by using his own animal (Luke 10:34-35) and then stayed the night at the inn with the injured man. Finally, on the following morning, the Samaritan paid the innkeeper and promised to pay the innkeeper for any additional expenses that might be incurred in caring for the injured man (Luke 10:35).
At the end of the story, Jesus then asked the lawyer, “Which of these three proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” (Luke 10:36) The lawyer correctly answered, “The one who showed compassion…” (Luke 10:37). The lawyer followed the logic of the story, but it is interesting to note that the lawyer said, “The one who showed compassion” instead of “The Samaritan who showed compassion.” In my opinion, this revealed a continuing hardness of heart by the lawyer. Then Jesus told the lawyer, “Go and do the same” (Luke 10:37), meaning, go and be a true neighbor and practice love to your neighbor, which is true living. Of course, the passage does not tell us what happened to the lawyer. Everyone who hears the story is placed in the same position as the lawyer. It is much easier to state or agree with a moral proposition than to actually practice the Christian Spiritual Life. We must be willing to continually listen to the Spirit and the Word – and practice obedience to God.
Finally, it can be pointed out that the story of the Good Samaritan provided an example of First Century medicine. The wounds of the injured traveler were treated with oil and wine. This disclosure was incidental to the greater spiritual meaning of the story. In a similar way, the Bible was never meant to be a book about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics). In contrast, the Bible was designed to reveal spiritual truths through things like stories and poetry, in addition to moral propositions. Any disclosure of things like science or medicine is incidental to the greater spiritual message.
 “G314 – anaginōskō – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 30 Aug, 2023. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g314/nasb20/mgnt/0-1/>.
 “Luke.” Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Volume 1. Gen. Editor, Mark Strauss, et al., Zondervan Academic, 2002, p. 415.