Introduction: Unlocking the Parables of Jesus

Study Resources: 

Matthew 13:13-15, 34-35

Ellen G. White Christ’s Object Lessons Chapter 1

What is a parable? A parable is a teaching tool that takes the form of a comparison or a story. It could be a true story of something that happened, or a fictitious story, a comparison, or a word picture–but the purpose is to teach an important lesson. Jesus told parables to help us understand the principles of God’s Kingdom. 

  1. Why did Jesus teach in parables?

    “Because it has been given to ________ to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.”  (Matthew 13:11)

    Jesus taught in parables so that those who were seeking truth would understand, while his sayings would remain a mystery to those who didn’t desire truth. 
  1. What other reasons did Jesus teach in parables?

    A: “that it might be _________________ which was spoken by the prophet, saying: ‘I will open My mouth in ___________________”  (Matthew 13:35)

    Jesus’ parable teaching fulfilled the prophecies about Him!

    B: [God’s] invisible attributes are clearly _____________, being ___________________ by the things that are ____________.” (Romans 1:20)
    Jesus’ parable teaching connected eternal and invisible truth with God’s second book, His self-revelation through creation.

    C: “…and when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.” (Mark 4:34)

    Parables cause us to think and reflect on a principle, fixing it in our minds in concrete ways and providing future opportunities for God to teach us.
  1. Are there different types of parables that Jesus uses in His teaching?

    A: “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: ‘The ____________ of heaven is _____________…’”  (Matthew 13:24)

    Many of Jesus’ parables begin with this exact phrase, showing the similarity of God’s invisible kingdom to something that we are familiar with. This type of parable is known as a similitude.

    B: There was in a certain city a _____________ who did not fear God nor regard man.” (Luke 18:2)

    The parable of the persistent widow is an example of a full parable-story – a one-time event or fictitious story designed to make a point. This is typically longer than the similitude, but doesn’t have to be.

    C: “But a certain _____________, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had ______________.” (Luke 10:33)

    A third type of parable is the exemplary-story, a real-life story illustrating how one ought to live. Instead of an analogy or contrast, it is an actual example of living the principles of God’s kingdom.

What is the ultimate goal of Jesus’ parable teaching?

“And He said to him, ‘You have answered rightly; __________ this and you will ______________.’” (Luke 10:28)
Parables are meant to transform our character and daily life, providing practical guidance for living rather than just abstract theories.