A Few Thoughts About Parables

The Parable of the Sower
Luke 8:1-10 WEL
1 It came about afterwards, that he went throughout every city and village, announcing and preaching the Good News about the Kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, [as well as]
2 Certain women, who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses, Mary called Magdalene, from whom seven demons were cast out,
3 And Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who assisted him from their assets.
4 When many people had come together and had come to him from every city, he spoke a parable.
5 “A seed planter went out to plant seed, and as he planted seed some fell by the roadside. It was trodden on and the birds of the air ate it.
6 “Some fell on a rock, and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it didn’t have enough moisture.
7 “Some fell among thorns. The thorns sprouted up with it and choked it out.
8 “Others fell on good ground, sprouted, and bare seed—a hundred times more.” After he had said these things, he called out, “He, who has ears to hear, must hear.”
9 His disciples asked him, saying, “What does this parable mean?”
10 He said, “It is given to you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, but to others in parables, so that seeing, they might not see and hearing, they might not understand.
Why did Jesus speak in parables?
B1 Jesus had been ministering over 2 years. The people had heard Him and seen resurrections from dead, people healed of physical illness and demonic possession, the weather controlled, people feed from small amounts of food, etc. Some had believed; most did not.
B2 Those who did believe are His sheep (read all of John chapter 10 but especially John 10:14-27). The nonbelievers are not His sheep. Even though all Jews were part of the chosen nation and chosen people.
B3 The nonbelieving Jews are being punished. They still hear but do not understand. They could have asked but did not.
C1 Compare Matthew 21:45
C2 Clarke writes: The chief priests – perceived that he spoke of them – The most wholesome advice passes for an affront with those who have shut their hearts against the truth. When that which should lead to repentance only kindles the flame of malice and revenge, there is but little hope of the salvation of such persons.
B4 The believing Jews did not understand either, but they ask Him to explain the parable, at least most of the time. In our passage above, they do ask.
Didn’t Jesus want people to understand His teachings?
B1 Yes, but most did not choose to believe.
C1 Refuse to believe, even though they could have. John 3:36 NIV Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
C2 Unbelievers chose to disbelieve. 2 Thessalonians 2:12 NLT Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.
B2 God opens their heart to believe.
C1 Example. The word was preached, and God initiated grace for people to believe. Acts 16:14 NIV One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.
C2 People did spiritual help to understand. 1 Corinthians 2:14 HCSB14 But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually.
C3 The Holy Spirit does that for all people, someplace and sometime in their life. John 16:8 GW He will come to convict the world of sin, to show the world what has God’s approval, and to convince the world that God judges it.
Why are they hard to understand?
B1 Jesus did this on purpose. Those who seek an answer, asked Him.
B2 For us it is more difficult. Some are explained, as the Parable of the Sower and some are not.
How can we understand them?
B1 Read them in context.
B2 Interpret them in the plain, normal sense, not in the allegorical sense.
B3 Under who Jesus is speaking to, their beliefs, their culture, and the situation.
B4 Search for cross references of the same terms. Compare the 11 verses that have the word leaven to help understand the Parable of Leaven in Matthew 13:33.
List of parables. Various lists have from lower 30s to uppers 40s. Some explanations are partial. I didn’t include parallel passages. Study to be approved. All that Jesus did teaches a truth, a principle.
Parable
Taught In
Explained In
Sower
Matthew 13:1-9
Matthew 13:18-23
Wheat and Tares
Matthew 13:24-30
Matthew 13:36-43
Mustard Seed
Matthew 13:31-32
Leaven
Matthew 13:33
Hidden Treasure
Matthew 13:44
Pearl of Great Value
Matthew 13:45-46
Net
Matthew 13:47-48
Matthew 13:49-50
What Defiles
Matthew 15:10-14
Matthew 15:15-20
The Two Sons
Matthew 21:28-30
Matthew 21:31-32
Wicked Tenants
Matthew 21:33-41
The Cornerstone
Matthew 21:42-44
Wedding Feast
Matthew 22:1-14
Ten Virgins
Matthew 25:1-13
Talents
Matthew 25:14-28
Matthew 25:29-30
Blasphemy
Mark 3:22-25
Luke 3:26-30
The Light Under Basket
Mark 4:21-25
Luke 8:17
Growing Seed
Mark 4:26-29
New and Old
Luke 5:36-39
Good Samaritan
Luke 10:25-35
Luke 10:29, 36-37
Rich Fool
Luke 12:16-20
Luke 12:13-15, 21
Barren Fig Tree
Luke 13:6-9
Narrow Door
Luke 13:22-27
Luke 13:28
Guests at Honor
Luke 14:7-10
Luke 14:11
Banquet Invitations
Luke 14:12-24
Lost Sheep
Luke 15:1-6
Luke 15:7
Lost Coin
Luke 15:8-9
Luke 15:10
Prodigal Son
Luke 15:11-32
Possibly Luke 15:10
Dishonest Manager
Luke 16:1-9
Luke 16:10-13
Persistent Widow
Luke 18:1-5
Luke 18:6-8
Pharisee and Tax Collector
Luke 18:9-13
Luke 18:14
Ten Minas
Luke 19:11-25, 27
Luke 19:26
Sprouting Leaves
Luke 21:29-30
Luke 21:31
Other illustrations, etc. could be added to this list as many do; see Luke 7:40-48.
Another list can be found here.
Another helpful article Parable by Kitto
The principal is to believe the Scriptures, see the basic principle, and live it.
A Few Thoughts About Parables
Posted by Choco at 06:53
Labels: Parables, Why parables

 

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