Thomson Presbyterian Church
Parable Intro
  • Parables

    What are they?
    Kistemaker
    True Parables: “These use an illustration from daily life within reach of anyone who hears the parable.” p.9 i.e. Seed growing into a flower, sheep wandering, woman losing a coin, etc . . .
    Story Parables: “does not rely on an obvious truth or generally accepted custom.”p. 10 i.e. a Judge who pronounces judgment to a persistent widow
    Illustrations: “Example stories” i.e. Good Samaritan, rich man and Lazarus
    differs from a story in that it deals with the character on an individual and set an example to be either “avoided or imitated.” p. 10
    R.T.France, Open-eneded and challenge the listener:
    “So parables, given without explanation, are open-ended. In a situation some are open to truth and some are not, parables, as imaginative challenge rather than simple proposition, are an appropriate way to communicate new ideas.”

    Purpose

    What is their purpose?
    Matthew 13:10–16 ESV
    10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “ ‘ “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” 15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
    To connect to the common man through imagery and story telling.
    “Jesus was fully acquainted with human life in its multiple ways and means.” p. 12
    Doctrine (teaching) made simple
    “Jesus taught the parables to communicate the message of salvation in a clear and simple manner.” p. 13
    One simple meaning
    They weren’t for everyone
    In Matt 13 Jesus plainly teaches that not all would understand the parables. They were intentionally restrictive.
    Matt 13:9, 11:15,
    Matthew 13:16–17 ESV
    16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
    Jesus begins to separate the Wheat and Chaff
    Verses 15 and 16 show a sharp distinction
    Parables are for those within God’s Kingdom, not those without
    Not a tool for evangelism
    A teaching tool used by Master to disciple
    Therefore, we being disciples should have discernment to interpret and understand, HS
    And, as disciples we can agree this is meant for our sanctification
    “Here we find people divided sharply into two groups, the enlightened disciples and the others who cannot grasp the truth however much they see and hear.” - R.T. France, NICNT, Matthew, p.507.
    Special for the disciples of Jesus of the time
    They would become the witnesses to these truths
    Progressive revelation
    Secret work of Christ to avoid those who sought to kill him See https://ref.ly/logosres/nt252dorianivideos?art=art002
    Although initially given to the original disciples, they are teachings that can be applied to all of God’s disciples
    Special revelation for those who are a part of the Kingdom of God
    God closes the ears and eyes (quote Isaiah 6:9-10)
    Matthew 13:14–15 ESV
    14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “ ‘ “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” 15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’
    France on this separation and its harshness:
    Focus on “the positive blessing of God’s gift of knowledge graciously made available.” p.508
    Sovereignty of God, “nothing that happens can happen without God.”
    When set to Parables there allows for a positive response by some.
    “Where there are ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders,’ it is presumably always possible for an outsider to become an insider.
    Kingdom parables are about repentance.

    Principles of intepretation

    How should we read them?
    They differ from allegory in that they are real examples and not just symbols. Think of Pilgrim’s Progress, The Chronicles of Narnia. One is “like” the other.
    Kistemaker p. 17-18
    Historical Setting. “the interpreter ought to make a study of the historical setting of the parable, including a detailed analysis of the religious, social, political, and geographical circumstances revealed in the parable.”
    Literary setting. “The literary and grammatical structure of the parable.”
    Main point checked by Scripture.
    Practical application for the reader today.

    Takeaway

    In God’s Kingdom people respond differently to the words of Christ
    Some receive it and understand it, even apply it
    others hear and cannot understand it
    God’s sovereignty
    God uses the words of Jesus to open eyes and ears of his elect
    When we hear them we are tested to respond
    Wilkins, NIVAC p.478
    They “test the heart of the listener”
    “Give instruction” to responsive disciples

    Application

    Listen to these parables and hear what Christ has that “tests” your heart and “instruct” you
    Pray that God will give you understanding, since he is the one who opens eyes and ears
      • Matthew 13:10–16ESV

      • Matthew 13:15ESV

      • Matthew 13:16ESV

      • Matthew 13:14–15ESV

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