The Secret of Parables

The Secret of ParablesIf you read here often, yesterday for example, you’ll encounter parables. My parables are the least read and least commented upon of all my blogs. The reason is that many people just don’t understand them.

Jesus often told parables, and in literature He’s considered the master of the parable. There are no less than 65 of His parables recorded in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. One of every three of His words is found within a parable, so parables must be important, but what is a parable?

A parable is a teaching method using a story from nature or ordinary life that conveys a single, simple, spiritual truth. Our problem is that we want to assign meaning to every detail rather than understand the one, simple truth being taught, so we miss the point.

Jesus taught in parables for two reasons: (1) everybody likes a good story, (2) to hide simple truth in plain sight (Matthew 13:13-15).

Here’s an example of a parable from Jesus. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit (John 3:8).

The simple point is this: The new birth is a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit, not of man.

When encountering a parable of Jesus (or me), take this approach: explain the meaning of the parable in your own words, using 15 words or less. If you can do that, you are well on your way to understanding the parable.

So go back and read yesterday’s blog again and put your parable-skills to the test.


2 thoughts on “The Secret of Parables

  1. Gary

    Pastor Richard,
    I read and enjoy your “Where Living Begins” post every day. In my ignorance I am confused today by your statement “one in every three of His words is found in a parable”. Would you help me understand what you mean by 1 in 3 words. I was always under the impression all the words were His! Thank you.

    1. Thank you for coming here to read a little about God’s word and work each day Gary. In answer to your question, yes, the Bible is the Word of God, but it contains the words of many different individuals. You’ll find words, for example, spoken by Adam, Moses, Absalom, Mary, and even Satan. By the statement “one in every three of His words”, we mean that 35% of the words spoken by Jesus and recorded in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), He spoke as part of a parable.

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