When Jesus teaches in the Gospels and throughout the New Testament, it’s often in the form of stories. These stories are known as parables. Many scholars believe this style of teaching to be inspired by mashalim, a form of Hebrew comparison prominent in the Talmudic Period (2-6th centuries CE). The Parables of Jesus are important representative Bible teachings that are utilized by Christ. Sometimes, as one unravels the meaning of these stories through personal study, they’ll ask, “Why doesn’t He just say the meaning behind these stories outright?” To answer this question and gain proper context, our editors created this resource on the Parables of Jesus. This is the way Christ chose to relay many of the foundational messages of the faith. As a result, our aim is to help you understand what the parables are and why Christ taught in this way. Note: This guide to the Parables of Jesus features some background info below, followed by a list (with verses in order of how they appear in the New Testament) for effective Bible study. A parable is different from a story as it is purposely set up to illustrate a particular spiritual truth in a way that’s highly relatable to its listener, hence the use of the story to drive home a point. According to Bible Study Tools, the source definition of the word parable refers to a placement side-by-side for comparative purposes. The Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines a parable as “A fable or allegorical relation or representation of something real in life or nature, from which a moral is drawn for instruction.” They are typically simple narratives with prominent actions demonstrated and their consequences on full display. They often show how living in a certain way can lead to certain outcomes, either good or bad, with the intention of motivating the listener to live a godly life. In the Greek New Testament, the word parable is παραβολή (parabolē), literally “throwing” (bolē) “alongside” (para-), by extension meaning “comparison, illustration, or analogy.” This definition highlights how a parable would serve as an allegorical story to teach an important lesson in a straightforward way. Parables were once a common form of teaching in Judaism. The people were used to hearing Biblical truths taught in this way. So, in one way, Jesus was speaking in a method He knew would resonate with His audience. During this time, many common people were illiterate and didn’t have the benefit of doing Bible study as we do today. Parables are easily remembered due to their bold characters and rich symbolism. The Parables of Jesus also included common elements of the people’s everyday lives, such as salt, bread, sheep, and more. Christ knew their comprehension of these representations would benefit. Jesus is so often associated with the teaching of parables that the Bible says in Mark 4:34: “But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.” Parables also encourage further thought and study by the listener. In the process of unraveling the story, the listener learns even more and finds practical applications for their lives. In Matthew 13, the disciples bluntly ask Jesus why He speaks in parables. Jesus then quotes the book of Isaiah with the message that He was masking the truth because the disobedient would not listen to the unadulterated truth. Also, the stories challenge the listener in a way that deepens faith. So, in this way, parables were appropriate and helped both those who believed and those who had not yet believed. In short, you can say that parables reveal the truth to those who desire to hear the truth and conceals it from those who have hardened their hearts to it. Parables are an example of God’s mercy towards the hardened. The parables were given in the context of the Jewish leaders’ rejection of Jesus and His work. In this sense, they were examples of mercy given to the undeserving. There is no “official” number of Parables of Jesus listed anywhere. Instead, most internet resources have a different number of Parables of Jesus listed. That is because some name the same parable mentioned in two books as two separate parables. It’s also because different sources have different views of what a parable is. While some sources list as few as 24 parables, others feature a Parables of Jesus list of 40 or more. If you’ve found this article based on your Google search for parables of Jesus list, you know what we mean. Lord’s Library lists 38 parables in this resource. Sometimes the best way to learn what something is is by learning what it’s not. As such, here are a few common verses that are sometimes considered to be parables: Our editors approached this topic from the perspective of the “layman” – that is, someone is using a search engine to uncover insights about a particular Christian topic. As such our definition of a parable is simple and clear: A parable is an allegorical teaching of Jesus Christ that includes a story and a lesson.
Parable Definition: What is a Parable?
Why Did Jesus Speak in Parables?
How Many Parables Are in the Bible?
What Isn’t a Parable?
How We Define a Parable
When Jesus teaches in the Gospels and throughout the New Testament, it’s often in the form of stories. These stories are known as parables. Many scholars believe this style of teaching to be inspired by mashalim, a form of Hebrew comparison prominent in the Talmudic Period (2-6th centuries CE). The Parables of Jesus are important representative Bible teachings that are utilized by Christ.
Sometimes, as one unravels the meaning of these stories through personal study, they’ll ask, “Why doesn’t He just say the meaning behind these stories outright?” To answer this question and gain proper context, our editors created this resource on the Parables of Jesus. This is the way Christ chose to relay many of the foundational messages of the faith. As a result, our aim is to help you understand what the parables are and why Christ taught in this way.
Note: This guide to the Parables of Jesus features some background info below, followed by a list (with verses in order of how they appear in the New Testament) for effective Bible study.
A parable is different from a story as it is purposely set up to illustrate a particular spiritual truth in a way that’s highly relatable to its listener, hence the use of the story to drive home a point. According to Bible Study Tools, the source definition of the word parable refers to a placement side-by-side for comparative purposes.
The Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines a parable as “A fable or allegorical relation or representation of something real in life or nature, from which a moral is drawn for instruction.” They are typically simple narratives with prominent actions demonstrated and their consequences on full display. They often show how living in a certain way can lead to certain outcomes, either good or bad, with the intention of motivating the listener to live a godly life.
In the Greek New Testament, the word parable is παραβολή (parabolē), literally “throwing” (bolē) “alongside” (para-), by extension meaning “comparison, illustration, or analogy.” This definition highlights how a parable would serve as an allegorical story to teach an important lesson in a straightforward way.
Parables were once a common form of teaching in Judaism. The people were used to hearing Biblical truths taught in this way. So, in one way, Jesus was speaking in a method He knew would resonate with His audience. During this time, many common people were illiterate and didn’t have the benefit of doing Bible study as we do today.
Parables are easily remembered due to their bold characters and rich symbolism. The Parables of Jesus also included common elements of the people’s everyday lives, such as salt, bread, sheep, and more. Christ knew their comprehension of these representations would benefit.
Jesus is so often associated with the teaching of parables that the Bible says in Mark 4:34: “But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.” Parables also encourage further thought and study by the listener. In the process of unraveling the story, the listener learns even more and finds practical applications for their lives.
In Matthew 13, the disciples bluntly ask Jesus why He speaks in parables. Jesus then quotes the book of Isaiah with the message that He was masking the truth because the disobedient would not listen to the unadulterated truth. Also, the stories challenge the listener in a way that deepens faith. So, in this way, parables were appropriate and helped both those who believed and those who had not yet believed. In short, you can say that parables reveal the truth to those who desire to hear the truth and conceals it from those who have hardened their hearts to it.
Parables are an example of God’s mercy towards the hardened. The parables were given in the context of the Jewish leaders’ rejection of Jesus and His work. In this sense, they were examples of mercy given to the undeserving.
There is no “official” number of Parables of Jesus listed anywhere. Instead, most internet resources have a different number of Parables of Jesus listed. That is because some name the same parable mentioned in two books as two separate parables. It’s also because different sources have different views of what a parable is. While some sources list as few as 24 parables, others feature a Parables of Jesus list of 40 or more.
If you’ve found this article based on your Google search for parables of Jesus list, you know what we mean.
Lord’s Library lists 38 parables in this resource.
Sometimes the best way to learn what something is is by learning what it’s not. As such, here are a few common verses that are sometimes considered to be parables:
Our editors approached this topic from the perspective of the “layman” – that is, someone is using a search engine to uncover insights about a particular Christian topic. As such our definition of a parable is simple and clear: A parable is an allegorical teaching of Jesus Christ that includes a story and a lesson.
Parables of Jesus in Order Bible Study
The Parable of the Lamp
Also known as The Parable of the Lamp on a Stand, The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Bridesmaids
In the Parable of the Lamp, Jesus teaches the importance of living their faith on their sleeve. He calls his followers “the light of the world.” Believers are to reflect the love of Christ, illuminating the fallen world with the light of God.
Jesus uses a common household item, a lamp, as a metaphor to resonate with His audience. He reminds them that none of them hide a lamp under a bowl. Instead, they are instructed to leave it uncovered so light illuminates the house. In the same way, He calls believers to shine and show the world His love.
The Parable of the Lamp can be found in Matthew 5:14-16, Mark 4:21-25, and Luke 8:16-18:
- Matthew 5:14-16: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
- Mark 4:21-25: “And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.”
- Luke 8:16-18: “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.”
The Parable of the Speck and the Log
The core message of this parable is simple: Christians are not to judge others. Jesus reminds us that we will be judged in the same manner we judge others. His message here is timeless: who of us is without fault enough to judge others?
We are all sinful as human nature has been corrupted by sin. Jesus reminds His audience of this through this parable. Instead of judging others, Jesus calls us to recognize our own sins and repent of them.
The Parable of the Speck and the Log can be found in Matthew 7:1-5 and Luke 6:37-42:
- Matthew 7:1-5: “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
- Luke 6:37-42: “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.”
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders comes from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount from Matthew, and the Sermon on the Plain in Luke. This parable sees Jesus use an aid, the “solid rock”, as being incomparable to devotion to Christ. As such, one should build their spiritual “foundation” on salvation to Christ, and not to this world.
It’s an effective parable because as humans we see solid rock as a strong foundation on which to build. Christ shatters the notion that even the earth’s hardest framing material doesn’t belong in the same conversation. The narrative structures for the appearance of this parable in the Bible differ slightly. Also, this parable is the theme for the popular hymn “Build on the Rock.”
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders can be found in Matthew 7:24-27 and Luke 6:46-49:
- Matthew 7:24-27: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”
- Luke 6:46-49: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.”
The Parable of New Cloth on an Old Garment
Also known as The Parable of New Cloth on an Old Garment, The Parable of New Wine in Old Wineskins
In this parable, Jesus gives two illustrations: sewing a new piece of cloth on an old, damaged garment and pouring new wine into old wineskins. In both illustrations, the message is the same. If one is to embrace a new life of faith in Christ, they have to leave their old life behind.
Jesus is teaching us that if we simply patch faith into our old life, that it will not be compatible. What we live out will not be a genuine expression of faith. The garment will tear and the wineskins will burst. To truly live out the faith, it’s crucial that one embrace a new identity in Christ.
The Parable of the New Cloth on an Old Garment can be found in Matthew 9:16-17, Mark 2:21-22, and Luke 5:33-39:
- Matthew 9:16-17: “No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.”
- Mark 2:21-22: “No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.”
- Luke 5:33-39: “And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink? And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.”
The Parable of the Divided Kingdom
Jesus performed many miracles, including the driving out of demons. Looking to denounce His works, the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of demons! This leads Jesus to deliver a parable to counter their outrageous claims.
The parable is of a divided Kingdom that can no longer stand because of its division. Jesus explains that if Satan and his forces of evil fight amongst themselves that they will only weaken themselves. Jesus continues to explain that by casting out demons by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived. This parable thus confirms Satan’s grip on our world but also the breaking in of the Kingdom of God to drive Him out and reclaim God’s children.
The Parable of the Divided Kingdom can be found in Matthew 12:24-30 and Mark 3:23-27:
- Mathew 12:24-30: “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”
- Mark 3:23-27: “And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.”
The Parable of the Sower
Also known as the Parable of the Soil
In this parable, Jesus tells the story of a farmer planting seeds. Some of the seed falls on a path and is eaten by birds. Other seeds fell in rocky places where there was not enough soil to nourish and give them roots. The rest of the seed fell on good soil where it prospered and provided a bountiful crop!
This parable describes how the receiving of the Gospel blooms in the lives of different people. Some will hear the message of the Gospel but not understand it. Before it can take root, evil snatches it away. Then there are those who reacted positively to the message but don’t keep with it because it has not taken root in their heart. There are those who develop strong roots in the Gospel and it blooms into a massive crop within their hearts as well.
The Parable of the Sower can be found in Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15:
- Matthew: 13:1-23: “The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
- Mark 4:1-20: “And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.”
- Luke 8:4-15: “And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”
The Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat
Also known as The Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds, The Parable of the Weeds, The Parable of the Weeds Among Good Plants, The Parable of the Tares in the Field
This parable tells the story of a farmer planting wheat. When he is sleeping, an enemy of his comes and plants weeds among the crop. The farmer’s servants ask if he wants them to pull the weeds, to which he replies not to. He says if they do, they run the risk of pulling up the wheat with the weeds. Instead, he chooses to let them grow together until the harvest when the weeds can be collected and burned without harming the wheat harvest.
It serves as an allegory to the current state of the world. God lets the righteous live among unbelievers until the time of Jesus’ return. At that time, Jesus will separate God’s children from those who have rejected Him. The righteous will come with Him to eternity while the others will be uprooted and live in eternal separation from God.
The Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat can be found in Matthew 13:24-30:
- Matthew 13:24-30: “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
In this parable, Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed. Though it is the smallest among all seeds, it grows to become a large tree that houses families of birds. In the same way, the Gospel starts as a small seed within the heart and blooms into a life-giving and transformative catalyst in the lives of many.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed can be found in Matthew 13:31-32, Mark 4:30-34, and Luke 13:18-21:
- Matthew 13:31-32: “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”
- Mark 4:30-34: “And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it. And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.”
- Luke 13:18-21: “Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”
The Parable of the Leaven
In this parable, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to yeast baked into bread. Just as a little bit of yeast spreads throughout a large amount of dough, so too does the Gospel spread through human hearts, changing the world one person at a time. The Kingdom of Heaven is built through the spread of the Gospel.
The Parable of the Leaven can be found in Matthew 13:33-34 and Luke 13:20-23:
- Matthew 13:33-34: “Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:”
- Luke 13:20-23: “And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. And he went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,”
The Parable of the Householder
Also known as the Parable of the Homeowner, The Parable of the Scribe
In this parable, Jesus is asking His disciples if they’ve understood the things He was telling them. This came after Christ explained several other parables to them just before. It is once they give an affirmation of “Yea, Lord” that Jesus shares one short, additional parable.
By asking the disciples if they have understood “all these things”, Christ is connecting all the previous parables from Matthew together. This was an impressive feat considering the depth of the storytelling and lesson explanation Jesus provided.
The Parable of the Householder can be found in Matthew 13:51-53:
- Matthew 13:51-53: “Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.”
The Parable of the Hidden Treasure
In another parable comparing the Kingdom of Heaven to something else, Jesus compares it to treasure hidden in a field in a place where only he would know where it was. Then, he sold all his possessions so he could buy that field and claim the treasure as his own.
In this parable, Jesus is teaching that the Kingdom of Heaven is the most valuable thing one could ever attain in this life. It is worth leaving everything else behind to follow it. One should treasure nothing more than the Gospel of the Kingdom.
The Parable of the Hidden Treasure can be found in Matthew 13:44:
- Matthew 13:44: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.”
The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price
Also known as The Parable of the Valuable Pearl
In another comparative parable, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to an expensive pearl. When a merchant finds this great pearl, he sells all he has to attain it. Again, this parable is meant to teach the otherworldly value of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price can be found in Matthew 13:45-46:
- Matthew 13:45-46: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
The Parable of the Net
Also known as The Parable of the Fishing Net
In the Parable of the Net, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a net used for fishing. Fishing was a common occupation at this time, so everyone was familiar with how it was done. When the fisherman brought their nets in, they separated the good fish into baskets but threw the bad ones away.
Jesus explains that this is how it will be at the final judgment. The wicked will be separated from the righteous on that day. The righteous will come to eternity with God while unbelievers experience eternal damnation.
The Parable of the Net can be found in Matthew 13:47-50:
- Matthew 13:47-50: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
The Parable of the Heart of Man
In this parable, Jesus explains how it’s not what goes into our mouth that defiles us, but rather what comes out of it. In Jesus’ time, the reputation of the Pharisees held much weight among the people. They were known for their teaching, strict adherence to the law, and acts of piousness. Part of that adherence to the law was following a very strict set of eating habits to remain undefiled.
Jesus is combating hypocrisy here, saying that their extreme acts of piousness do not make them righteous because the false teachings they were spreading defiled them. Jesus is teaching that one must be careful with their words, spreading only correct doctrine. Editor’s note: Doctrine matters! Knowing and speaking the truth of God’s Word correctly is much more important than extreme acts of religious sacrifice.
The Parable of the Heart of Man can be found in Matthew 15:10-20:
- Matthew 15:10-20: “And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Also known as The Parable of the Wandering Sheep
The Parable of the Lost Sheep is one of the most famous in the entire Bible. It tells the story of a shepherd with 100 sheep. One of the sheep wanders off. Then, the shepherd leaves the 99 sheep behind to look for the single lost sheep.
Jesus tells us that the shepherd is happier about finding the one lost sheep than about the 99 that didn’t wander off. This is parallel to the joy of God when a single lost person returns to Him in faith. The righteous endure the struggles of this life so as many as possible can come to repentance before the day of the final judgment.
The Parable of the Lost Sheep can be found in Matthew 18:10-14 and Luke 15:1-7:
- Matthew 18:10-14: “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”
- Luke 15:1-7: “Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
Also known as The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, The Parable of the King and His Servant
In this parable, Jesus tells the story of a king who wished to settle the accounts of his servants; the king generously forgave a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold. Then that same servant who was forgiven went to collect a debt that another owed him. The person couldn’t pay up. Instead of practicing forgiveness as it was shown to him, he had the debtor thrown in prison until he could pay him back.
Jesus explains at the end of this parable that this is how we will be dealt with at the final judgment. We will be forgiven if we forgive others genuinely and lovingly. But if we refuse to, like the wicked servant, we will not be forgiven and face judgment.
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant can be found in Matthew 18:23-35:
- Matthew 18:23-35: “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou lowest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard
Also known as The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
This parable tells the story of a landowner who hired laborers to work in his vineyard. People came throughout the day, all starting work at a different time but ending the work together. Even though some people worked longer, they all got paid the same. This caused outrage from those who had worked the longest amount of time, as they thought they should be paid more than the people who worked less.
This story parallels how some feel about salvation. Those who have been faithful their whole lives can often find resentment in their hearts over those who have led a mostly sinful life only to accept grace through faith later in life. But we all reap the same rewards in Christ, and we should be happy for those who come to faith at any point in life.
The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard can be found in Matthew 20:1-16:
- Matthew 20:1-16: “For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.”
The Parable of the Two Sons
Here Jesus tells the story of a father who had two sons. He asked both to go work in their vineyard. The first told him no but later changed his mind and decided to obey his father. The second said he would but never went. Jesus points out that the first son was the one who actually ended up listening to his father.
Jesus then tells those not truly walking in the faith that the tax collectors and prostitutes who came to believe the Gospel would enter the Kingdom of God ahead of them. Why? Because they believed the message of the Gospel with all their hearts genuinely. The others simply practiced religious sacrifice without their hearts truly in the right place.
The Parable of the Two Sons can be found in Matthew 21:28-32:
- Matthew 21:28-32: “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.”
The Parable of the Tenants
Also known as The Parable of the Tenant Farmers, The Parable of the Wicked Tenants, The Parable of the Wicked Husbandman, The Parable of the Landowner
The Parable of the Tenants is one Jesus used to show the Pharisees their sin, but one that also teaches an important lesson today. In it, a landowner plants a vineyard and rents it to tenant farmers to take care of. When he sends people to collect the fruit, the tenant farmers kill them. The landowner sends his son, thinking they’ll respect him, but they kill him as well. Then the landowner comes and puts an end to them, giving the farm to other tenants.
Jesus tells the Pharisees this is what will happen to them. They didn’t believe the prophets God sent and they killed them. Now, they were about to kill God’s very Son. Thus, God would take away their status as His chosen people and share it with the Gentiles as well. For us, we must ensure that we do not walk the path of the Pharisees ourselves, but rather live life in a genuine and heartfelt relationship with God.
The Parable of the Tenants can be found in Matthew 21:35-45, Mark 12:1-12, and Luke 20:9-18:
- Matthew 21:33-45: “Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.”
- Mark 12:1-12: “And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some. Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.”
- Luke 20:9-18: “Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time. And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him. But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
Also known as The Parable of the Great Banquet, The Parable of the Marriage Feast, The Parable of the Wedding Feast, The Parable of the Great Supper, The Parable of the Invitation to a Wedding Banquet
In this parable, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a wedding banquet thrown by a king for his son. The king sends out servants to tell the invited guests to come, but they refuse. So instead, the king sends his servants back out to invite everyone off the streets to the banquet, which ended up being filled with guests.
This parable speaks to God’s relationship with His chosen people, the Jews, and His bringing in of the Gentiles. Many of the Jews rejected God, His true message, and His prophets. In light of this, God extended the truth of the Gospel to the Gentiles as well. Now, anyone who accepts the free gift of salvation offered by Christ can come into the faith.
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet can be found in Matthew 22:1-14 and Luke 14:16-24:
- Matthew 22:1-14: “And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.”
- Luke 14:16-24: “Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.”
The Parable of the Budding Fig Tee
Also known as The Parable of the Fig Tree, The Parable of Signs of the Future from a Fig Tree
Here, Jesus speaks of a budding fig tree. He says when the twigs are tender and the leaves come out, you understand that summer is near. In the same way, when the signs of the times appear, you will know that His return is coming soon. This parable reminds one to keep their eyes and ears open to the world around us so we can be prepared for Christ’s return.
The Parable of the Budding Fig Tree can be found in Matthew 24:32-35, Mark 13:28-33, and Luke 21:29-31:
- Matthew 24:32-35: “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
- Mark 13:28-33: “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.”
- Luke 21:29-31: “And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.”
The Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Servant
Also known as The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Servants, The Parable of the Watchful Servants
In this parable, Jesus speaks of a master who goes away and leaves his servant in charge of his household. The wise servant feeds everyone at the proper time and takes care of the matters of the house. But the wicked servant uses his freedom to abuse his power and mistreat the other people of the house. When the master comes back, this wicked servant will face judgment!
Jesus is showing us what will happen to those who don’t follow His teachings during this time He is away. If we neglect all that He has taught us while He is gone, we will be in serious trouble when He returns! And He will come back at a time we do not expect, so we best be ready at every moment.
The Parable of the Faithful and Unfaithful Servant can be found in Matthew 24:45-51, Mark 13:34-37, and Luke 12:35-48:
- Matthew 24:45-51: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
- Mark 13:34-37: “For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”
- Luke 12:35-48: “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all? And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
Also known as the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins
This parable likens the Kingdom of Heaven to ten virgins who went to meet the bridegroom, taking their lamps with them. The wise ones brought oil for their lamps, while the foolish ones did not. When the bridegroom arrived, the wise ones were ready to go out to meet him. The foolish ones were not because they didn’t have enough oil for their lamps.
Jesus is teaching through this parable that we must be prepared for His return. The wise virgins are the ones who had been prepared in every way for His coming. The foolish ones were the ones who were not. We must be ready for His return or we will not be ready to go out and meet Him, getting left behind instead.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins can be found in Matthew 25:1-13:
- Matthew 25:1-13: “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. nd five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
The Parable of the Ten Talents
Also known as The Parable of the Talents, The Parable of the Three Servants Given Talents
In the parable of the ten talents, a man goes on a journey, entrusting his wealth to his servants. He gives them different amounts according to their abilities. Two of the servants doubled what they had been given. The other simply buried the money in the ground, hiding it away until his master’s return.
When the master returns, he praises the two who doubled their share. But the one who simply hid it away was punished and cast out, for he squandered what he was given. This parable teaches that everything is a stewardship from God that we’ve been entrusted with. One must develop the skills and resources He has provided. If one doesn’t, they dishonor God.
The Parable of the Ten Talents can be found in Matthew 25:14-30:
- Matthew 25:14-30: “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The Parable of the Growing Seed
Also known as The Parable of the Seed Growing Secretly
This parable compares the Kingdom of God to growing seeds. All by itself, the soil brings forth grain. When it is ripe, they know the harvest has come. In the same way, the Kingdom of God begins as a seed planted in the heart, growing and growing until it is fully ripe. God sends believers out to harvest and to spread more seeds of faith among the people of the world.
The Parable of the Growing Seed can be found in Mark 4:26-29:
- Mark 4:26-29: “And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.”
The Parable of the Two Debtors
Also known as The Parable of the Money Lender, The Parable of the Returning Owner
In this parable, Jesus is responding to a thought by His dinner host which sparks a teaching. Christ attempts to teach Simon to see a sinner woman as He does. This parable is also an opportunity for Jesus to show Simon and the reader that the woman in this story loves Him more because she has been forgiven of greater sins.
The fact that Christ responded to Simon’s unspoken thought shows him God-like abilities. The Bible then goes on to make a clear comparison between this situation and a story centered around two debtors, both owing different amounts, but both being unable to pay. When the money lender forgives both debts, Jesus asks Simon which debtor would show more love.
The Parable of the Two Debtors can be found in Luke 7:36-50:
- Luke 7:36-50: “And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
The Parable of the Good Samaritan is another of Jesus’ most famous examples. In this story, a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho is attacked by robbers, leaving him half-dead. A priest and Levite both passed him by without offering him any aid. They simply went about their way. But then a Samaritan passed by and recognized his need. He took him back to an inn and looked after the traveler until he returned to health.
To understand this parable, one must understand who the Samaritans were. They were a group of half-Jews hailing from Samaria, who believed God was to be worshipped on their holy mountain instead of Jerusalem. They also only read the first five books of the Bible as inspired Scripture. They were shunned by the rest of the Jews and looked very distastefully upon. So through this parable, Jesus is teaching that good people can come from any place and one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan can be found in Luke 10:29-37:
- Luke 10:29-37: “But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”
The Parable of the Friend at Midnight
Also known as The Parable of the Friend Seeking Bread
Here, Jesus tells a story of someone coming to another’s house at midnight and asking for three loaves of bread to feed a friend who has come to visit them. At first, he won’t give the bread because his household is asleep, and doesn’t want to disturb them. But because of the friend’s persistence, he eventually relents and gets him the bread he asked for.
Jesus teaches this parable to show the kind of desire we must have when seeking God. One must pursue Him and have a relationship with Him. If one does so out of a genuine desire to know Him, like the friend at midnight, He will surely open the door and offer what we seek.
The Parable of the Friend at Midnight can be found in Luke 11:5-13:
- Luke 11:5-13: “And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
The Parable of the Rich Fool
Here, Jesus tells the story of a rich man whose land yielded an abundant crop. He had no place to store his crop, so he decided to build bigger barns to store it in. Then, he decided he would take things easy and live off his surplus. God then reprimanded the man for storing up things for himself instead of giving for the sake of others.
The Parable of the Rich Fool can be found in Luke 12:13-21:
- Luke 12:13-21: “And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
Also known as The Parable of the Unfruitful Fig Tree
This parable tells the story of a fig tree that had not produced a crop for three years. When the owner of the vineyard wanted it cut down for not producing fruit, the man who cared for the vineyard asked him to give the tree one more year to yield a harvest. Jesus is teaching that if we aren’t producing fruit here and now, the time is short until it’s too late. Just as the fig tree only has a year to produce fruit, one must be eager to produce fruit in life before the return (or judgment) of Christ when it will be too late.
The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree can be found in Luke 13:6-9:
- Luke 13:6-9: “He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.”
The Parable of the Invited Guests
Also known as The Parable of the Humbled Guests, The Parable of the Lowest Seat, The Parable of Taking the Lowest Place, The Parable of the Place of Honor
Here, Jesus instructs His listeners about not taking a seat of honor when invited to a wedding feast. He is teaching about humility, then relating it to how the standards of greatness are determined differently in the Kingdom of Heaven compared to here on Earth.
The Parable of the Invited Guests can be found in Luke 14:7-14:
- Luke 14:7-14: “And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”
The Parable of the Lost Coin
Also known as The Parable of the Lost Piece of Money
In the Parable of the Lost Coin, Jesus tells a story about a woman who has ten gold coins. She loses one and tears apart her home to find it. When she does, she rejoices. Jesus explains this one outright, saying that the same kind of rejoicing happens in Heaven when even one sinner comes to repentance.
The Parable of the Lost Coin can be found in Luke 15:8-10:
- Luke 15:8-10: “Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”
The Parable of the Prodigal Son
Perhaps the most well-known parable, here Jesus speaks of a father who has two sons. One son asks for his inheritance early and the father agrees. The son goes out and squanders all the money on a sinful lifestyle. Realizing his sinful ways have landed him at rock bottom, he decides to return home to his father, repent of his sins, and pray for forgiveness.
Thankfully, the father welcomes him with open arms. The Parable of the Prodigal Son teaches that God rejoices when one “returns home” to Him. We, like the prodigal son, must recognize our sins and come running back into God’s arms with a heart of repentance.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son can be found in Luke 15:11-32:
- Luke 15:11-32: “And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”
The Parable of the Unjust Steward
Also known as The Parable of the Unrighteous Steward, The Parable of the Penitent Steward, The Parable of the Shrewd Manager
The Parable of the Unjust Steward is a story told by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. In this parable, Jesus uses a story to teach a lesson about the wise use of worldly wealth and the importance of being faithful in small matters. In summary:
A rich man had a steward (or manager) who was accused of wasting his possessions. The rich man called the steward and told him he would be fired from his position. However, before being dismissed, the steward decided to take action.
He called in each of his master’s debtors and asked them to reduce their debts by writing new promissory notes with lower amounts. This was done to win favor with these debtors and secure his future.
When the rich man found out about what the steward had done, he commended him for his shrewdness because, despite being dishonest, the steward had acted wisely in securing friends for himself using the wealth of his master.
Jesus concludes the parable by saying: “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
The Parable of the Unjust Steward can be found in Luke 16:1-13:
- Luke 16:1-13: “And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus
This parable compares the eternal destiny of two men. The first is a rich man living in luxury while the second is a man named Lazarus, who is destitute and begs at the city gates. The rich man never helped Lazarus in life although he had the means to. When they both die, the rich man goes to hell but looks up and sees Lazarus in heaven alongside Abraham, a beloved figure of the faith.
Here, Jesus is teaching that one mustn’t hoard wealth while others are suffering. God wishes that we would give earnestly of our resources to aid those who are in need. This is the way of Christ and the path that will lead to salvation. If one doesn’t follow these guidelines, they run the risk of finding the same fate as the rich man.
The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus can be found in Luke 16:19-31:
- Luke 16:19-31: “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
Also known as The Parable of the Importunate Widow, The Parable of the Persistent Widow and the Unjust Judge
This parable tells the story of a widow who continuously seeks out a callous judge for justice. He refused over and over again, but still, she would come to him. Eventually, he conceded, knowing it was the only way to stop her.
In the same way, Jesus says that God will ensure that the righteous receive justice. He teaches this to encourage people to treat each other justly so they will not face judgment at His return.
The Parable of the Persistent Widow can be found in Luke 18:1-8:
- Luke 18:1-8: “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
In the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, Jesus tells a story of two men who went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee prays to not be like the tax collectors and other sinners, insinuating his own righteousness. The tax collector prays a prayer of repentance, asking for God’s mercy and admitting his own sinfulness.
Jesus reveals that the tax collector; the one society would deem unrighteous over the Pharisee, is the one who is left justified by God. Here, Jesus is teaching the value of humility and its role in our salvation.
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector can be found in Luke 18:9-14:
- Luke 18:9-14: “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”
The Parable of the Ten Pounds
Also known as The Parable of the Pounds
The Parable of the Ten Pounds can be found in Luke 19:11-27:
- Luke 19:11-27: “And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.”
Parables and the Gospel of John
The style of John’s Gospel is much different than that of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. That is why the first three are known as the Synoptic Gospels and John stands on its own. Part of the difference between John is that it contains no parables in the same way as the other Gospels. Many of the same lessons are taught but via allegories.
For example, the good shepherd in John 10:1-5 and the childbearing woman in John 16:21 are two good examples of allegories, not parables.
Jesus was a master storyteller and his parables can be simple enough for a child to understand, yet they are profound enough to confound the wise. Nevertheless, Christians are commanded to “receive the kingdom of God as a little child” as the Bible says in Mark 10:15.
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