Understanding Parables as One of Jesus’ Teaching Methods

Topics: Jesus, Meaning of life, Teacher Pages: 5 (1203 words) Published: August 1, 2013
UNDERSTANDING PARABLES AS ONE OF JESUS’ TEACHING METHODS

By

Gcinekile Sharon Mogokgwane

A Project

Submitted to Reverend Lebetwa

Assembly Bible College

In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements For
BIB1032/3

The Life of Christ in the Synoptic Gospels, Third Edition

Assembly Bible College

July 2013

Table of Contents

Introduction............................................................................................................................... 3

Definition of Parable................................................................................................................ 3

An explanation of why Jesus used Parables...............................................................................3

The four Guidelines for interpreting Parables............................................................................5

Conclusion.................................................................................................................................6

References.................................................................................................................................7

Introduction

This paper aims to give a definition of the word “parable”, give an explanation of why Jesus deliberately used parables and finally give guidelines for interpreting parables. A study of Christ’s parables is both interesting and enlightening; hence it is also vital for one’s spiritual understanding. This is true because Christ established doctrines in His teaching that He often illustrated by a parable. Nearly one third of all Jesus’ recorded words involved this method of teaching, we must understand His parables if we are to grasp clearly what He taught. Understanding parables and how to interpret them will increase our knowledge of some of the main themes of Christ’s teachings.

Definition of Parable

Intellectuals of the Bible note that the word parable comes from a Greek word which means “to put things side by side” (Comparison and analogy are two English words that give a similar meaning.) A parable is a system of teaching in which the teacher uses familiar concepts or ideas to illustrate unfamiliar concepts in terms the learner understands. In the bible context, the unfamiliar concepts are spiritual truths.

Jesus’ approach in using this method was uncomplicated and distinctive. He used known examples from everyday life and nature and used them to teach spiritual truth. It has thus been concluded that a parable can be defined as “an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.”

Jesus’ Use of Parables

Parables are not just trite stories for unintelligent people or children but they put into concrete form the substance of faith. They dealt with all the topics that people faced in their search for meaning and purpose, including death, resurrection, the church, evangelism, social concern forgiveness, justification and sanctification. Over and above that they had a revolutionary quality because they challenged many of the ideals and values that people held. It’s no secret that Jesus used them on purpose to shock, to provoke and cause His hearers to respond. It was not his mission to explain everything to everyone’s satisfaction; rather His goal was to point out that His hearers’ previous understandings and explanations were unsatisfactory. His purpose was to direct their thanking and actions into a whole new realm.

Parables make teachings easier to remember and apply. Learners respond well to stories that they can understand readily and remember easily. So frequently, He probed the depth of life and truth by telling simple stories that portrayed clearly and graphically what He wanted to communicate. Jesus knew that people tend to forget abstract teaching, but a story tends impress itself upon their memories for a long time.

Parables were also the style of teaching of the day. Just as it is fashionable...

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