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Appendix 1: The People Of The Parables

Interpreting The Parables

Itís important to read the parables correctly. The parables of the Rabbis were used to explain doctrines which they had already stated in so many words. The parables of the Lord Jesus are different; they are themselves His message, the Gospel of the Kingdom, and not just illustrations of things which He had elsewhere plainly stated. The sheer number of parables in the Lordís teaching is itself striking; to understand them is to understand His message. Some estimate that around one third of the Lordís teaching was in parables, and that He spoke about 60 parables(1). Whilst the Rabbis occasionally used parables, hardly any great teacher has more than two parables attributed to him(2). Paul, as we have shown elsewhere, so frequently alluded to the parables, both consciously and unconsciously. They made a huge impact on him, as they should with us. Indeed, the list of his sufferings in 2 Cor. 11:23-27 use the very terms which we meet in the Lordís parables of judgment- being hungry, thirsty, cold, naked, beaten, threatened, imprisoned etc. ďA parableĒ is likened to a thorn that goes into a manís hand in Prov. 26:9. Only a fool will respond to it like a drunk man, numb to the pain. Parables arenít painless, homely stories. Simple as that.

1-1 Elements Of Unreality

1-2 End Stress

1-3 The Sower Parable 

1-4 The 11th Hour Worker

1-5 The Two Carpenters

1-6 The Fanatic Shepherd

1-7 Parables of Israel

1-8 The Call Of The Gospel

1-9 The Parables Of Judgment

1-10 Divine Delegation

1-11 Unanswered Questions In The Parables

2-1 The Parable Of The Prodigal

2-2 Prodigal Israel

2-3 The Prodigal's Repentance

2-4 Killing The Fatted Calf

2-5 The Elder Brother

3-1 The Good Samaritan


(1) T.W. Manson, The Teaching of Jesus (Cambridge: C.U.P., 1951) p. 69 lists 65 parables of Jesus. A.M. Hunter analyzed the teaching of the Lord Jesus and found that ďthe parables of Jesus comprise more than one-third of his recorded teachingĒ, and that in Luke, 52% of the Lordís recorded teaching is parables! See A.M. Hunter, Interpreting The Parables (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960) p. 7.

(2) A.M. Hunter, The Parables Then And Now (London: Westminster, 1971), p. 15.