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Through the Bible: Parables

Through the Bible (Prayer Meeting)  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A discussion of interpreting parables.

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Parables are one of Jesus’ best known teaching devices.

Parables used illustrations from daily life to teach spiritual truths.

The point of the parable was often immediately clear to those listening without a need for interpretation.

Parables are not allegories.

Parables have often been misinterpreted because they have been interpreted like allegories.

Jesus fully intended to be understood.

Jesus used parables as a way of calling for a response from the hearer.

There are two primary kinds of parables: True parables (stories) and similitudes (similarity/likeness/comparison).

Parables are like jokes.

Like jokes parables have “punch” to them.

This is how Jesus called for a response.

To understand the punch we need to know the point of reference and the unexpected turn.

Parables have often been misinterpreted because they have been interpreted like allegories.
If you miss these you will miss the point of the parable.

The point of reference is what creates ordinary expectations among the hears.

The unexpected turn is when the expectations are shattered.

There are two primary kinds of parables: True parables (stories) and similitudes (similarity/likeness/comparison).

The meaning of a parable is found in its intended response.

The meaning is determined by how it was originally heard. What did the original audience hear when they heard the parable?
This is how Jesus

Keys for Understanding:

Discover the original audience to whom they were spoken.

When the audience is given do three things.

1. Sit and “listen” to the parable again and again.

2. Identify the points of reference intended by Jesus that would have been picked up by the originals hearers

3. Try to determine how the original hearers would have identified with the story, and therefore what they would have heard.

When the audience is not given find the point of reference.

by finding the point of reference we can typically determine who the audience was and what the intended response was.

A Special Note about “Kingdom of God” parables.

While all parables are about the Kingdom of God these are telling us “it is like this with the Kingdom of God”.

Kingdom of God parables have two points.

1. Judgement is impending; disaster and catastrophe are at the door.

2. But there is Good News: salvation is freely offered to all.

Essentially these are calls to respond to Jesus and his mission.

Any questions, comments, clarifications?

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