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Parables - Introduction

Of all the 'divers manners' [1] that God has revealed himself to man, parables [2] are one of the most misunderstood. Theologians have been unable to agree on the interpretation of them. Parables of confusion demonstrates the problem where the meanings imposed by various pastors and theologians are compared. [3]

Many teachings about interpreting parables mistakenly assume that parables of scripture are similar to the parables in secular writings. A few chapters of this work are dedicated to understanding the nature of Hebrew parables.

If you haven't already, you will be tempted to jump ahead and read the interpretation of specific parables. You are certainly free to do that. If you do that and judge that the interpretations are just more among many, or that an interpretation is false because it is different than one that Jesus gave the apostles, be sure to return to these chapters to find out how you cheated yourself. For many, they will ring consistently true; being exegeted using a first century hermeneutic.

In the exegesis of the parables, the methods used will be unfamiliar. This work is not intended to go into the proofs of such methods. They will simply be used as the apostles used them. Other works explain them in detail.

The interpretation of parables follow the same rules as the exegesis of the 'mystery' which has been hidden from the beginning. [4] They can be seen in the chapter on Rules.

Parable - Proverb

Parables - Mystery

Parables - Secret

Parables - Riddles

Parables - Prophecy

Parables - Glory of God

Parables of confusion

Parables - Interpretation


Parables without check marks only have the reference scripture. Those with the check marks have some content.


parable seed ground birds stones tribulation love fruit
The Sower and the Seeds (Mark 4:3-9; Matt 13:3-9; Luke 8:5-8) x path x x heat thorns harvest
The Grain of Wheat (John 12:24) grain x x much fruit
The Weeds in the Grain or the Tares (Matt 13:24-30) x x grow together remove tares harvest
The Seed Growing Secretly (Spontaneously) or The Patient Husbandman (Mark 4:26-29) x x sleep harvest
The Mustard Seed (Matt13:31f.;Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18 f.) x x rest
The Leaven (Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20 f.) flour mill stone (imp) milling (imp) multiplies
The Net (Matthew 13:47-50)
The Budding Fig Tree (Matt 24:32 f.; Mark 13:28 f.; Luke 21:19-31)
The Barren Fig Tree (Luke 13:6-9)
The Birds of Heaven (Matthew 6:26; Luke 12:24)
The Flowers of the Field (Matt 6:28-30; Luke 12:27f.)
The Vultures & the Carcass (Matt 24:28; Luke 17:37)
The Tree and its Fruits (Matthew 7:16; Luke 6:43-49)
The Weather Signs (Luke 12:54-56; cf. Matthew 26:2 f.; Mark 8:11-13)


Master and Servant (Luke 17:7-10)
The Servant Entrusted with Authority or The Faithful and Unfaithful Servants (Matt. 24:45-51; Luke 12:42-46)
The Waiting Servants (Luke 12:35-38; Mark 13:33-37)
The Laborers in the Vineyard or The Generous Employer (Matthew 20:1-16)
The Money in Trust or The Talents (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27)
The Lamp (Matt 5:14-16; Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16, 11:31) and The City Set on a Hill (Matt. 5:14b)
The Body's Lamp (Matthew 6:22 f.; Luke 11:34-36)
The Discarded Salt (Matt 5:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34 f.)
The Patch and the Wineskins (Matthew 9:16 f.; Mark 2:21 f.; Luke 5:36-39)
The Householder's Treasure (Matthew 13:52)
The Dishonest Steward (Luke 16:1-12)
The Defendant (Luke 12:58 f.; Matthew 5:25 f.)
The Unforgiving Official or The Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:23-35)
The Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21)
The Wicked Vinedressers (Matthew 21:33-41; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 20:9-16)
The Two Builders (Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49)
The Two Debtors (Luke 7:41-43)
The Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44)
The Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45 f.)


The Closed Door (Luke 13:24-30)
The Doorkeeper (Mark 13:33-37; cf. Matt 24:42)
The Thief in the Night and the Faithful Servants (Matthew 24:42-51.; Luke 12:32-48.)
The Strong Man Bound (Matthew 12:29; Mark 3:27; Luke 11:21 f.)
The Divided Realm (Mark 3:24-26; Luke 11:17-20)
The Unoccupied House or The Demon's Invasion (Matthew 12:43-45; Luke 11:24-26)
The Importunate Neighbor (Luke 11:5-8)
The Son's Request (Matthew 7:9-11; Luke 11:11-13)
The Unjust Judge or The Importunate Widow (Luke 18:1-8)
The Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:9-14)


The Sulking Children or The Children in the Marketplace (Matthew 11:16-19; Luke 7:31-35)
The Arrogant Guest (Luke 14:7-11)
The Bridegroom's Friend (John 3:28)
The Bridegroom's Attendants (Matthew 9:15a; Mark 2:18 f.; Luke 5:34)
The Bride's Girlfriends or Ten Virgins (Matt25:1-13)
The Tower Builder and The Warring King (Luke 14:28-32)
The Wedding Feast or The Unwilling Guests (Matt 22:1-10; Luke 14:16-24)
The Wedding Garment (Matthew 22:11-14)
The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)


The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
The Prodigal Son or The Loving Father (Luke 15:11-32)
The Two Sons, The Apprentice Son, and The Slave and Son (Matthew 21:28-32; John 5:19-20a; John 3:35)
The Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-10)
The Lost Sheep (Matthew 28:12-14; Luke 15:4-7)
The Shepherd, the Thief, and the Doorkeeper (John 10:1-18)
The Doctor and the Sick (Matthew 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 5: 31 f.)
The Great Assize or The Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46)


The New and old clothes and wine (Luke 5:36- 39)


  1. Heb 1:1 ¶ God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
  2. משל
  3. Parables of confusion
  4. Eph 3:9 And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: