A Figure of speech
Christ’s use of parables
Christ’s use of parables, contd.
The parables of Christ
The parables of Christ, contd.
Why did Jesus teach by the use of Parables?
Stories with Intent offers pastors and students an accessible and comprehensive guide to Jesus' parables. Klyne Snodgrass explores in vivid detail the context in which these stories were told, the purpose they had in Jesus' message, and the ways theyMore Stories with Intent offers pastors and students an accessible and comprehensive guide to Jesus' parables. Klyne Snodgrass explores in vivid detail the context in which these stories were told, the purpose they had in Jesus' message, and the ways they have been interpreted by the church and modern scholarship. While holding a consciously evangelical approach, Snodgrass deals throughout with a broad spectrum of opinions and interpretations.
He begins by surveying the primary issues in parables interpretation. Offering both a new, more functional classification system for Jesus' parables and guidelines for interpreting them, he provides an overview of other parables -- often neglected in the discussion -- from the Old Testament, Jewish writings, and the Greco-Roman world. The remaining chapters group the longer and more important parables of Jesus thematically and give a comprehensive treatment of each, including background and significance for today.
To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up .Community Reviews
Eric Black rated it liked it
almost 2 years ago
Definitely thorough. An academic treatment of Jesus' parables that will likely overwhelm non-seminary types but that provides a great deal of information not available in other resources.
Each parable discussion is divided into the following sections:
• parable type
• a list. Read full review
Jeff rated it it was amazing
almost 8 years ago
This book is simply incredible.
For those interested in a very detailed study of Jesus' parables, this is the book. The author lists interpretations from ancient, medieval, and modern writers, and then gives his own conclusions. The book is thick (probably 800+ pages), and. Read full review
Meagan Gillan rated it it was amazing
almost 3 years ago
Such a definitive work on the parables from a gracious, godly scholar!
Brian rated it really liked it
over 4 years ago
While preaching a short series on The Parables of Jesus, I purchased and started reading Klyne Snodgrass's Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus. Comprehensive it is. This book is 846 pages long (though over 300 pages of this are bibliography. Read full review
Sonny rated it it was amazing
about 2 years ago
Stories with Intent can best be classified as a resource manual, comprehensive guide, or handbook on the parables of Jesus. Klyne Snodgrass explores the context in which these stories were told, their purpose, and the ways they have been interpreted by the church and mode. Read full review
Wing Cheung rated it really liked it
about 1 year ago
This is an exhaustive and exhausting tome. Textual, contextual, philological and historical backgrounds are all thoroughly discussed. Redactional analyses are explored. The emphasis is on how not to read too much into the parables and know where to stop. The author makes. Read full review
Dustin Bagby rated it it was amazing
about 5 years ago
The most thorough study of the parables I've ever seen or read. This is a fantastic volume and indispensable if you are studying or preaching the parables. The background work that Snodgrass puts into this is incredible. His interpretations are well founded on solid schol. Read full review
David rated it it was amazing
about 4 years ago
This is a sensational resource for preaching the parables. Snodgrass has a thorough familiarity with the vast wealth of literature on the parables. I particularly appreciated the organization of each chapter/section. Made it very easy to skip parts you weren't all that in. Read full review
jon rated it it was amazing
over 2 years ago
Stories with Intent by Klyne Snodgrass is the best book on the parables of Jesus on the market. You will not find a more thorough and erudite treatment of the subject as manageable and serviceable practical to a spectrum of readers. Scholars and serious students and pasto. Read full review
Matthew rated it really liked it
over 4 years ago
Certainly not the only book out there on parables, but one of the most comprehensive and important. If you work with the parables, you can't ignore Snodgrass. This book is a wonderful reference work on the parabolic material.
In this accessible guide to interpreting the Bible, senior New Testament scholar Robert Stein helps readers identify various biblical genres, understand the meaning of biblical texts, and apply that meaning to contemporary life. This edition has been completely revised throughout to reflect Stein's current thinking and changes to the discipline ove.
Number of pages. 240 | Publication Date. 2011-06-01 | ISBN-13. 9780801033735
The Gospels contain many hard sayings of Jesus, but perhaps none have puzzled and intrigued readers as much as Jesus’ discourse on the coming of the Son of Man in Mark 13. Is Jesus speaking entirely of an event in the near future, a coming destruction of the temple? Or is he referring to a distant, end-of-the-world event? Or might he even be spe.
Number of pages. 160 | Publication Date. 2014-10-05 | ISBN-13. 9780830840588
This useful and practical book provides the college student, seminarian, church study group, and interested lay person with a much-needed introductory guide on the "how" (method) and the "what" (message) of Jesus' teachings. In this revised edition, Robert Stein updates his classic work, adds a new bibliography, and introduces use of the New Revise.
Number of pages. 220 | Publication Date. 1994-01-01 | ISBN-13. 9780664255138
In this new addition to the BECNT series, respected New Testament scholar Robert Stein offers a substantive yet highly accessible commentary on the Gospel of Mark. The commentary focuses primarily on the Markan understanding of the Jesus traditions as reflected in this key New Testament book. For each section in Mark, the author analyzes how it fit.
Number of pages. 848 | Publication Date. 2008-11-01 | ISBN-13. 9780801026829
THE NEW AMERICAN COMMENTARY is for the minister or Bible student who wants to understand and expound the Scriptures. Notable features include:* commentary based on THE NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION;* the NIV text printed in the body of the commentary;* sound scholarly methodology that reflects capable research in the original languages;* interpretatio.
Number of pages. 642 | Publication Date. 1993-01-15 | ISBN-13. 9780805401240
The time is ripe for a new account of the life of Jesus. It has been over twenty-five years since an evangelical New Testament scholar has written a textbook survey of this type. Today the landscape of Jesus and Gospel studies has been radically transformed by new questions and critical challenges. No less remarkable is the contemporary renaissance.
Number of pages. 290 | Publication Date. 1996-11-28 | ISBN-13. 9780830818846
A substantial introduction to basic issues of interpretation for students of the Synoptic Gospels.
Number of pages. 302 | Publication Date. 2001-06-01 | ISBN-13. 9780801022586
The Parables of Jesus Christ an introduction
Parable means to lay beside or more properly defined it means to lay side by side. It is a comparison of two objects in order to teach. It is a saying or a story that drives home a point by using illustrations from everyday life. Here is a paraphrase of a comparison of similar figures of speech given by R. C. Trench (Notes on the Parables of Our Lord,1861);
Fable; a fable is a story that can contain truth. the difference between a fable and a parable is that a fable is of the earth alone. whereas a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. A fable never lifts itself above the earth, it never has a higher goal. In a true parable you will find no transgression of the laws of nature.
Myth; a myth is a story that claims believe me or not I am the truth. It does not claim to be the mere vehicle of the truth, but claims itself to be truth. In myths there are speaking trees and reasoning animals, such things will not be found in a parable. Truth and fantasy blend together in the myth, in contrast the parable is distinct in its form and essence its shell and its kernel.
Allegory; in an allegory there is no room for interpretation as the interpretation of the two things being compared is constantly unrolling as the allegory unfolds. Its interpretation is self contained unlike the parable which calls for the hearers to bring interpretation to it. Jesus also employed this method of teaching such as found in Johns gospel.
In the parable the illustrations make the truth easier to understand, and it presents a vivid picture to the mind. The parable follows principles of natures laws. Parables appeal to the feelings. the intelligence, the spirit. the imagination. In their interpretation the parables parts all have significant roles to play, the rocks, the birds, the leaven, the fish, the soils. G.R. Beasley Murray (Jesus and the Kingdom of God, G.R. Beasley -Murray, 1986 x ) sums them up this way stating; " The concentration of thought in few words that characterizes his sayings eludes cursory examination." This only naturally leads us to the conclusion that the parable must be placed in the restraints of interpretation. Bernard Ramm ( Bernard Ramm, Protestant Biblical interpretation, 1956, p.257 ) gives the following four points;
1.) Determine the one central truth the parable is attempting to teach.
2.) Determine how much of the parable is interpreted by Jesus himself.
3.) Determine whether there are any clues in the context concerning the parables meaning.
4.) The comparative rule
While Jesus did not invent the parable. Jesus is the only one who used it in the N.T. He used it often and effectively. R.F. Cappon (The Parables of the Kingdom R.F. Cappon,1985) puts it this way. " Jesus spoke in strange, bizarre, disturbing ways. He balked at almost no comparison, however irreverent or unrefined.Apparently, he found nothing odd about holding up, as a mirror to God's ways, a mixed bag of questionable characters: an unjust judge, a savage king, a tipsy slave owner, an unfair employer, and even a man who gives help only to bona-fide pests." It is interesting to see that when this teaching began to be applied by Jesus it was such an abrupt change of form that His disciples asked him why he did it. It was of great value for Him to teach this way. This was an effective means of revealing truth to the spiritually hungry and ready mind while at the same time concealing it from others. You see, Jesus came as Israels King and only after His rejection did He employ this method of teaching. Those who had rejected Him were not to know the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, and to those who believed God He would be revealed: I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: 3Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. 4We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. In the parables we find a treasure of both truth and life. Preserved in His word and left for us to enjoy. The study of them and the other teachings of our Lord will cause us to understand him and ourselves better.
Bibliography; The New International Dictionary of the Bible, J. D. Douglas, M.C. Tenney,1987 Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, M.C. Tenney,1976 The Parables of the Kingdom R.F. Cappon,1985 Jesus and the Kingdom of God, Beasley-Murray,1986 Notes on the Parables, R.C. Trench,1861 Protestant Biblical Interpretation,B. Ramm,1956 Outlines/Parables/intro/B.Duensing/92698
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Communicating with images and stories
Like the rabbis of his time, Jesus used simple word-pictures, called parables, to help people understand who God is and what his kingdom or reign is like. Jesus used images and characters taken from everyday life to create a miniature play or drama to illustrate his message. This was Jesus most common way of teaching. His stories appealed to the young and old, poor and rich, and to the learned and unlearned as well. Over a third of the Gospels by Matthew, Mark, and Luke contain parables told by Jesus. Jesus loved to use illustrations to reach the heart of his listeners through their imagination. These word-pictures challenged the mind to discover anew what God is like and moved the heart to make a response to God's love and truth. Like a skillful artist, Jesus painted lively pictures with short and simple words. A good picture can speak more loudly and clearly than many words. Jesus used the ordinary everyday to point to another order of reality � hidden, yet visible to those who had �eyes to see� and �ears to hear�. Jesus communicated with pictures and stories, vivid illustrations which captured the imaginations of his audience more powerfully than an abstract presentation could. His parables are like buried treasure waiting to be discovered (Matthew 13:44 ).
How can ordinary everyday images and stories, such as hidden treasure, a tiny mustard seed, a determined woman looking for her lost coin, a barren fig tree, a pearl of great price, and some uninvited wedding guests, portray timeless and extraordinary truths? Jesus taught by use of comparisons. �To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed. � (Mark 4:30-31). God's kingdom or reign is like what happens in Jesus' stories. The comparisons have to do with a whole process, and not simply with an object or person alone. While his parables are rooted in a specific time and place, they nonetheless speak of timeless realities to people of every time and place. They underline the fact that God works in every age and he meets us in the ordinary everyday situations of life.
� I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world. �
What is a parable?
A parable is a word-picture which uses an image or story to illustrate a truth or lesson. It creates a mini-drama in picture language that describes the reality being illustrated. It shows a likeness between the image of an illustration and the object being portrayed. It defines the unknown by using the known. It helps the listener to discover the deeper meaning and underlying truth of the reality being portrayed. It can be a figure of speech or comparison, such as �the kingdom of God. is like a mustard seed. or like yeast� (Luke 13:19, 21). More commonly it is a short story told to bring out a lesson or moral. Jesus used simple stories or images to convey important truths about God and his kingdom, and lessons pertaining to the way of life and happiness which God has for us. They commonly feature examples or illustrations from daily life in ancient Palestine, such as mustard seeds and fig trees, wineskins and oil lamps, money and treasure, stewards, workers, judges, and homemakers, wedding parties and children's games. Jesus' audience would be very familiar with these illustrations from everyday life. Today we have to do some homework to understand the social customs described.
Jesus' parables have a double meaning. First, there is the literal meaning, apparent to anyone who has experience with the subject matter. But beyond the literal meaning lies a deeper meaning � a beneath-the-surface lesson about God's truth and his kingdom. For example, the parable of the leaven (see Matthew 13:33 ) describes the simple transformation of dough into bread by the inclusion of the yeast. In like manner, we are transformed by God's kingdom when we allow his word and Spirit to take root in our hearts. And in turn we are called to be leaven that transforms the society in which we live and work. Jerome, an early church father and biblical scholar remarked: �The marrow of a parable is different from the promise of its surface, and like as gold is sought for in the earth, the kernel in a nut and the hidden fruit in the prickly covering of chestnuts, so in parables we must search more deeply after the divine meaning.�
Jesus' parables often involve an element of surprise or an unexpected twist. We are taken off guard by the progression of the story. The parable moves from the very familiar and understandable aspects of experience to a sudden turn of events or a remarkable comparison which challenges the hearer and invites further reflection. For example, why should a shepherd go through a lot of bother and even risk his life to find one lost sheep when ninety-nine are in his safe keeping? The shepherd's concern for one lost sheep and his willingness to risk his own life for it tells us a lot about God's concern for his children who go astray.
How to read the parables
Jesus told his disciples that not everyone would understand his parables. �To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not hear� (Luke 8:10). Did Jesus mean to say that he was deliberately confusing his listeners? Very likely not. Jesus was speaking from experience. He was aware that some who heard his parables refused to understand them. It was not that they could not intellectually understand them, but rather, their hearts were closed to what Jesus was saying. They had already made up their minds to not believe. God can only reveal the secrets of his kingdom to the humble and trusting person who acknowledges the need for God and for his truth. The parables of Jesus will enlighten us if we approach them with an open mind and heart, ready to let them challenge us. If we approach them with the conviction that we already know the answer, then we, too, may look but not see, listen but not hear or understand.
When reading the parables it is important to not get bogged down in the details of the story. The main point is what counts. Very often the details are clear enough, but some are obscure (for example, why would a rich man allow his dishonest steward to take care of his inventory; see Luke 16:1-8 ). A storyteller doesn't have to make every detail fit perfectly. Each parable will typically present a single point. Look for the main point and don't get bogged down in the details. In addition, Jesus often throws in a surprise or unexpected twist. These challenge the hearer and invite us to reflect. Jesus meant for his parables to provoke a response. If we listen with faith and humility then each will understand as he or she is able to receive what Jesus wishes to speak to each of our hearts.
Recommended reading for further study:
For a list of the parables with short commentaries
The Parables of Jesus can be found in all the canonical gospels, and in some of the non-canonical gospels, but are located mainly within the three synoptic gospels. They represent a key part of the teachings of Jesus, forming approximately one third of his recorded teachings. Christians place high emphasis on these parable s; since they are the purported words of Jesus, they are believed to be what the Father has taught, indicated by John 8:28 and 14:10.  
Jesus' parables are seemingly simple and memorable stories, often with imagery, and all convey messages. Scholars have commented that although these parables seem simple, the messages they convey are deep, and central to the teachings of Jesus. Christian authors view them not as mere similitudes which serve the purpose of illustration, but as internal analogies in which nature becomes a witness for the spiritual world.  
Many of Jesus' parables refer to simple everyday things, such as a woman baking bread (parable of the Leaven ), a man knocking on his neighbor's door at night (parable of the Friend at Night ), or the aftermath of a roadside mugging (parable of the Good Samaritan ); yet they deal with major religious themes, such as the growth of the Kingdom of God. the importance of prayer, and the meaning of love .
In Western civilization, these parables formed the prototype for the term parable and in the modern age, even among those who know little of the Bible. the parables of Jesus remain some of the best known stories in the world. Roots and sources
As a translation of the Hebrew word מָשָׁל mashal. the word "parable" can also refer to a riddle. In all times in their history the Jews were familiar with teaching by means of parable s and a number of parables also exist in the Old Testament. The use of parables by Jesus was hence a natural teaching method that fit into the tradition of his time.   The parables of Jesus have been quoted, taught, and discussed since the very beginnings of Christianity .Nature of parables of Christ
Parables are one of the many literary forms in the Bible, but are especially seen in the gospels of the New Testament. Parables are generally considered to be short stories such as the Good Samaritan. and which are differentiated from metaphorical statements such as, "You are the salt of the earth." A true parable may be regarded as an extended simile (Blomberg, C. L. Interpreting the Parables). Although some suggest parables are essentially extended allegories, others emphatically argue the opposite.  Dr. Kenneth Boa states that "Parables are extended figures of comparison that often use short stories to teach a truth or answer a question. While the story in a parable is not historical, it is true to life, not a fairy tale. As a form of oral literature, the parable exploits realistic situations but makes effective use of the imagination. Some of the parables [of Christ] were designed to reveal mysteries to those on the inside and to conceal the truth to those on the outside who would not hear." Canonical gospels
The three synoptic gospels contain the parables of Jesus. There is a growing number of scholars, who also find parables in the Gospel of John. such as the little stories of the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-5) or the childbearing woman (John 16:21).  Otherwise, it includes allegories but no parables. Several authors such as Barbara Reid, Arland Hultgren or Donald Griggs comment that "parables are noticeably absent from the Gospel of John".    
The Catholic Encyclopedia states: "There are no parables in St. John's Gospel. In the Synoptics. we reckon thirty-three in all; but some have raised the number even to sixty, by including proverbial expressions."  The Gospel of Luke contains both the largest total number of parables (24) and eighteen unique parables; the Gospel of Matthew contains 23 parables of which eleven are unique; and the Gospel of Mark contains eight parables of which two are unique.
In Harmony of the Gospels. Cox and Easley provide a Gospel harmony for the parables based on the following counts: Only in Matthew: 11, only in Mark: 2, only in Luke: 18, Matthew and Luke: 4, Matthew, Mark and Luke: 6. They list no parables for the Gospel of John. Other documents
Parables attributed to Jesus are also found in other documents apart from the Bible. Some of these overlap those in the canonical gospels and some are not part of the Bible. The non-canonical Gospel of Thomas contains up to fifteen parables, eleven of which have parallels in the four canonical Gospels. The unknown author of the Gospel of Thomas did not have a special word for "parable," making it difficult to know what he considered a parable.  Those unique to Thomas include the Parable of the Assassin and the Parable of the Empty Jar .
The noncanonical Apocryphon of James also contains three unique parables attributed to Jesus.  They are known as "The Parable of the Ear of Grain", "The Parable of the Grain of Wheat ", and "The Parable of the Date-Palm Shoot". 
The hypothetical Q document is seen as a source for some of the parables in Matthew, Luke, and Thomas. Purpose and motive
In the Gospel of Matthew (13:10–17) Jesus provides an answer when asked about his use of parables: 
The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" He replied,
"The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables:
Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand."
While and may suggest that Jesus would only speak to the "crowds" in parables, while in private explaining everything to his disciples, modern scholars do not support the private explanations argument and surmise that Jesus used parables as a teaching method.  Dwight Pentecost suggests that given that Jesus often preached to a mixed audience of believers and non-believers, he used parables to reveal the truth to some, but hide it from others. 
Christian author Ashton Axenden suggests that Jesus constructed his parables based on his divine knowledge of how man can be taught: 
This was a mode of teaching, which our blessed Lord seemed to take special delight in employing. And we may be quite sure, that as "He knew what was in man" better than we know, He would not have taught by Parables, if He had not felt that this was the kind of teaching best suited to our wants.
In the 19th century, Lisco and Fairbairn stated that in the parables of Jesus, "the image borrowed from the visible world is accompanied by a truth from the invisible (spiritual) world" and that the parables of Jesus are not "mere similitudes which serve the purpose of illustration, but are internal analogies where nature becomes a witness for the spiritual world". 
Similarly, in the 20th century, calling a parable "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning", William Barclay states that the parables of Jesus use familiar examples to lead men's minds towards heavenly concepts. He suggests that Jesus did not form his parables merely as analogies but based on an "inward affinity between the natural and the spiritual order." Themes
A number of parables which are adjacent in one or more gospels have similar themes. The parable of the Leaven follows the parable of the Mustard Seed in Matthew and Luke, and shares the theme of the Kingdom of Heaven growing from small beginnings.  The parable of the Hidden Treasure and parable of the Pearl form a pair illustrating the great value of the Kingdom of Heaven. and the need for action in attaining it. 
The parables of the Lost Sheep. Lost Coin. and Lost (Prodigal) Son form a trio in Luke dealing with loss and redemption. Other parables Art
Of the thirty or so parables in the canonical Gospels, four were shown in medieval art almost to the exclusion of the others, but not mixed in with the narrative scenes of the Life of Christ . These were: the Ten Virgins. the Rich man and Lazarus. the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan.  Artists famous for depicting parables include Martin Schongauer, Pieter the Elder Bruegal and Albrecht Dürer. The Workers in the Vineyard also appears in Early Medieval works. From the Renaissance the numbers shown widened slightly, and the various scenes of the Prodigal Son became the clear favorite, with the Good Samaritan also popular. Albrecht Dürer made a famous engraving of the Prodigal Son amongst the pigs (1496), a popular subject in the Northern Renaissance. and Rembrandt depicted the story several times, although at least one of his works, The Prodigal Son in the Tavern . a portrait of himself as the Son, revelling with his wife, is like many artists' depictions, a way of dignifying a genre tavern scene. His late Return of the Prodigal Son (Hermitage Museum. St Petersburg ) is one of his most popular works.Poetry and hymns
As well as being depicted in art and discussed in prose, a number of parables form the inspiration for religious poetry and hymn s. For example, the hymn "The Ninety and Nine" by Elizabeth C. Clephane (1868) is inspired by the parable of the Lost Sheep :
There were ninety and nine that safely layIn the shelter of the fold.But one was out on the hills away,Far off from the gates of gold.Away on the mountains wild and bare.Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.Away from the tender Shepherd’s care. Harmony of parables
A sample Gospel harmony for the parables based on the list of key episodes in the Canonical Gospels is presented in the table below. For the sake of consistency, this table is automatically sub-selected from the main harmony table in the Gospel harmony article, based on the list of key episodes in the Canonical Gospels. Usually, no parables are associated with the Gospel of John. just allegories. See also Further reading
Helmut Koester. 1990. Ancient Christian Gospels: Their History And Development. Trinity Press International. Philadelphia, USA. 196–200.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Parables of Jesus ".
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