The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard Meaning & Scripture


Lord’s Library editors assembled this short resource which offers a Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard meaning and summary, with key Scriptures.

This parable uses the story of laborers hired at different times of the day to convey a message about God’s grace and the nature of His kingdom. In it, Christ describes a landowner who goes out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. He agrees to pay them a standard daily wage. Throughout the day, he goes out at different times—and hires more laborers, promising to pay them whatever is right.

When evening comes and it’s time to pay the laborers, the ones who were hired last receive a wage, the same as those who worked the full day. When those who had worked all day see this, they expect to receive more but also receive a denarius. They complain to the landowner about the perceived unfairness, saying that those who worked only one hour received the same pay as those who worked all day.

The landowner responds by telling them that he has not been unfair to them and that he paid them what they agreed upon. He goes on to explain that he has the right to be generous and asks them if they are envious because he chose to be kind to those who worked less.

The Gospel

Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard Meaning

The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard meaning can be found in Matthew 20:1-16:

Matthew 20:1-16

“For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.”

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Timothy Andrew

Timothy Andrew

Tim is the Founder of Lord's Library. He believes the Bible commands us to minister "as of the ability which God giveth" (1 Peter 4:11). Tim aspires to be as The Lord's mouth by "taking forth the precious from the vile" (Jeremiah 15:19) and witnessing The Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15: 1-4) to the whole world.

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