The features of the Parable in the Bible include:
1. Simplicity: Parables often revolve around everyday events or objects, making them relatable and easily understood by a wide audience. Jesus intentionally used common imagery to connect with people from various walks of life.
2. Fictional characters and settings: Although the parables were not historical accounts,
What is a parable? In short, it is a simple story to provide a more profound lesson or teaching! From the divine wisdom of Jesus Christ, we can learn transcendent, everlasting truths in the simple parables of the Bible. A general definition of “parable” is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.
In the Bible, Jesus teaches His disciples and followers by using parables, among other methods. Parables were a way to convey moral, transcendent principles in an allegoric story that people could understand and relate to. A parable is a teaching method that uses the familiar to illustrate unfamiliar concepts. It is a story or saying that demonstrates a truth using comparison, hyperbole, or a simile.
In Greek rhetoric, people used them for argumentation, clarification, or to prove something. Parables can be one-liners, such as “you are the salt of the earth” from Matthew 5:13 or “do not throw your pearls to pigs” from Matthew 7:6.
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The Parable In The Bible
Jesus was a storyteller. The stories and illustrations He told were called parables and there is something unique about them that made them stand out.
Throughout the more than 40 parables that Jesus taught throughout the Bible, He used parables to influence and challenge the thinking of the original audience and to help people consider a different perspective about Himself and the kingdom of God.
Parables can do the same for us today as they did for the original audience. They can give us a fresh perspective on Jesus’ ministry and understanding that God offers His kingdom to EVERYONE. They show us that by choosing Christ, we are putting Jesus first instead of status, money, or success.
What Is A Parable
The Bible is full of parables, which are figurative sayings that use simple, common stories to illustrate moral, spiritual, or prophetic truths 1. Jesus often taught his disciples and followers using parables, which were easy to understand and relate to. Parables can also be found in the Old Testament, where they convey wisdom, judgment, and predictions. Parables can take different forms, such as similitudes, allegories, proverbs, riddles, and symbols.
One of the most well-known parables in the Bible is the Parable of the Lost Son (also known as the Parable of the Prodigal Son), which appears in Luke 15:11-32 1. The story is about a father who has two sons. The younger son asks his father for his share of the inheritance and goes to a far-off country where he squanders all his wealth on wild living. When a famine strikes the land, he is forced to work as a swineherd. He realizes that even his father’s servants have enough food to eat, and he decides to return home and ask for forgiveness. His father welcomes him back with open arms and throws a feast to celebrate his return.
Another well-known parable is the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37). The story is about a man who is robbed and beaten by thieves on his way from Jerusalem to Jericho. A priest and a Levite pass by without helping him, but a Samaritan stops to help him. The Samaritan takes care of the man’s wounds and pays for his lodging at an inn.
The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23) is another famous parable. The story is about a farmer who sows seeds in different types of soil. Some seeds fall on rocky ground and do not grow; others fall among thorns and are choked by them; still others fall on good soil and produce a crop.
The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14–30) is about a man who entrusts his servants with different amounts of money before going on a journey. Two of the servants invest their money and earn more money for their master, but one servant buries his money in the ground. When the master returns, he rewards the two servants who invested their money but punishes the servant who buried his money.
How Many Parables Are In The Bible
|Salt of the Earth||Matthew 5:13||Mark 9:50|
|Lamp Under a Bowl||Matthew 5:14-16||Mark 4:21-22||Luke 8:16, 11:33|
|Wise and Foolish Builders||Matthew 7:24-27||Luke 6:47-49|
|New Cloth on an Old Coat||Matthew 9:16||Mark 2:21||Luke 5:36|
|New Wine in Old Wineskins||Matthew 9:17||Mark 2:22||Luke 5:37-39|
|The Two Debtors||Luke 7:40-43|
|The Sower||Matthew 13:1-23||Mark 4:1-20||Luke 8:4-15|
|The Good Samaritan||Luke 10:25-37|
|The Friend at Midnight||Luke 11:5-13|
|Growing Seed||Mark 4:26-29|
|The Rich Fool||Luke 12:13-21|
|The Watchful Servants||Mark 13:35-37||Luke 12:35-40|
|Unfruitful Fig Tree||Luke 13:6-9|
|The Weeds||Matthew 13:24-30, 36-4|
|The Seed||Matthew 13:31-32||Mark 4:26-30||Luke 13:18-19|
|Yeast||Matthew 13:33||Luke 13:20-21|
|The Concealed Treasure||Matthew 13:44|
|The Pearl||Matthew 13:45-46|
|The Casting of the Net into the Sea||Matthew 13:47-50|
|Owner of a House||Matthew 13:52|
|The Lost Sheep||Matthew 18:12-14||Luke 15:3-7|
|The Unforgiving Servant||Matthew 18:23-35|
|The Vineyard Workers||Matthew 20:1-16|
|Lowest Seat at the Feast||Luke 14:7-14|
|The Great Feast||Luke 14:16-24|
|Cost of Discipleship||Luke 14:28-33|
|The Lost Coin||Luke 15:8-10|
|The Prodigal Son||Luke 15:11-32|
|The Shrewd Manager||Luke 16:1-13|
|The Rich Man and Lazarus||Luke 16:19-31|
|Master and His Servant||Luke 17:7-10|
|Persistent Widow||Luke 18:1-8|
|The Two Sons||Matthew 21:28-32|
|The Vineyard Owner||Matthew 21:33-44||Mark 12:1-11||Luke 20:9-18|
|The Marriage Feast||Matthew 22:1-14|
|Fig Tree||Matthew 24:32-35||Mark 13:28-31||Luke 21:29-33|
|Faithful and Wise Servant||Matthew 24:45-51||Luke 12:42-48|
|The Pharisee and the Tax Collector||Luke 18:9-14|
|Ten Virgins||Matthew 25:1-13|
|The Talent||Matthew 25:14-30||Luke 19:11-27|
|The Sheep and the Goats||Matthew 25:31-46|
Parables In The Bible And Their Meaning
Here are ten of the parables taught by Jesus Christ in the Gospel. You can find a full list here of His parables that total over 40!
1. The Lamp – Matthew 5:14-16
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
2. The Mustard Seed – Matthew 13:31-32
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
3. Hidden Treasure – Matthew 13:44
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
4. The Lost Sheep – Matthew 18:10-14
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
5. The Budding Fig Tree – Matthew 24:32-35
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[a] is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Faithful vs. The Wicked Servant – Matthew 24:45-51
“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
6. The Heart of Man – Mark 7:14-23
Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”
After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.”
He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
7. The Good Samaritan – Luke 10:29-37
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
8. The Rich Fool – Luke 12:13-21
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
9. The Lost Coin – Luke 15:8-10
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins[a] and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
10. The Pharisee and The Tax Collector – Luke 18:9-14
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
In conclusion, parables are an important part of the Bible. They teach us moral lessons through simple stories that are easy to understand and relate to. Parables can be found throughout both the Old Testament and the New Testament. They convey wisdom, judgment, predictions, and spiritual truths. Some of the best-known parables include the Parable of the Lost Son, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the Parable of the Sower, and the Parable of the Talents.