The Words used in the parable - "entrusted them his property" (Mt. 25:14); "talents" the monetary unit with specified quantity; "traded" and "made" - all commercial term relate to "money".

Text: Mt. 25: 14-30 (texts linked for its length)

  • 3
    It is clearly a metaphor. All that we have and are is the property of the Creator and is entrusted to us to be used and 'traded' - for profit. +1.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 30, 2020 at 7:39

3 Answers 3


When Jesus told parables, they were stories from everyday life. The parable of the talents is no exception. A τάλαντον (talanton) was a unit of WEIGHT (about 34 kg) but mostly applied to a quantity of gold, except in Rev 16:12 where it is used to weigh a hailstone of ice.

When used of money and gold, it represented then (and now) an exceedingly large sum of money.

Now, how this parable is to be interpreted is another matter entirely. The usual understanding (with which I and most interpreters broadly agree) is that these talents of gold are supposed to represent the resources gifted to us by God, such as:

  • innate abilities
  • Supernatural gifts known as spiritual gifts as described in 1 Cor 12, 14, Eph 4, Rom 12 etc.
  • The gifts of time
  • The gift of actual money and its management
  • Opportunities

A fairly typical interpreter is Ellicott who comments on Matt 25:15 thus:

Here there is an “ability” presupposed in each case, prior to the distribution of the talents, and we are led accordingly to the conclusion that the latter stand here less for natural gifts than for external opportunities—for possessions, offices, what we call “spheres of duty.” These, we are told, are, in the wisdom of God, given to men, in the long run, “according to their several ability.” So taken, the parable does not repeat the lesson of that which precedes it, but is addressed, not as that is to all Christians, but specifically to those who hold any vocation or ministry in the Church of Christ, or have in their hands outward resources for working in it.


In the parable of talents, does Jesus speak on the “money -talent” or natural aptitude(s)? What is the return(s) Jesus expected?

Recommend reading the "Parable of the Talents". Matthew 25:14-30


In this parable of the talents, Jesus talks of a man that went on a journey, in a similar parable Jesus talked of a man that went on a journey to receive a kingdom.. Luke 19:12 Both parables refer to Jesus that ascended to heaven in 33 C.E.

(A talent (33 kg) would be worth about USD $1,400,116.57. today (From Wikipedia- Google)

Luke 19:12 NASB

So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then to return.

In the parable of the talents Jesus says that he gave to one of his slaves five talents, this is an enormous sum of money, valued today at about USD 7,000,000.00, to the other two talents and to the other one talent. And told them to make use of the money to make more money for him.

To the man even a talent was a valuable sum of money, what was most valuable to Jesus, was his preaching work to make more disciples:

Luke 4:43 NASB

43 But He said to them, “I must also preach the kingdom of God to the other cities, because I was sent for this purpose.”

Matthew 28:19-20 NASB

19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to follow all that I commanded you, and behold, I am with you [c]always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus expects his followers to work hard and according to their abilities ( talents) to make more disciples.


Two thousand years ago, the word "talent" was a unit of weight, which was also used as a unit of money. (Similarly the word "pound" is used for both weight and money today.)

That parable was taught to countless generations and known by everyone. As a result, the word "talent" eventually became a metaphor for any precious gift that one was expected to use and look after.

People began using the parable as a way of telling others that they shouldn't waste their abilities and skills. It wasn't until the 15th century though, that the word was specifically used to mean one's innate abilities.

This is of course not the original meaning of the word (though perhaps it isn't such an inappropriate use).

Meaning "special natural ability, aptitude, gift committed to one for use and improvement" developed by mid-15c., in part perhaps from figurative sense "wealth," but mostly from the parable of the talents in Matthew xxv.14-30

talent | Origin and meaning of talent by Online Etymology Dictionary

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