SUGGESTION: Parables interactive

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Apr 18 2016 1:33 PM

One glaring omission in the current array of interactive that assist in finding and selecting Biblical passages is parables. Here is a source to seed such an interactive - and look it already includes most of the deuterocanon Surprise

"Parables" in the Bible
by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

Biblical Terminology:

The Greek noun παραβολή (parabolē) is used a total of 50 times in the New Testament (13 times in Mark, 17 in Matthew, 18 in Luke, twice in Hebrews, but never in John). Etymologically, it stems from the preposition para (“alongside of”) and the verb ballein (“to cast, place, throw”), and thus refers to something that is compared to or juxtaposed with something else. It always refers to some type of “figure of speech” or “literary comparison”; it is usually translated “parable” in English, but sometimes also “lesson” (Mark 13:28; Matt 24:32), “proverb” (Luke 4:23), “symbol” (Heb 9:9), or “figuratively speaking” (Heb 11:19, all in NRSV translations).

Greek parabolē is used in the following NT verses:

  • Mark 3:23; 4:2, 10, 11, 13a, 13b, 30, 33, 34; 7:17; 12:1, 12; 13:28
  • Matthew 13:3, 10, 13, 18, 24, 31, 33, 34a, 34b, 35, 36, 53; 15:15; 21:33, 45; 22:1; 24:32
  • Luke 4:23; 5:36; 6:39; 8:4, 9, 10, 11; 12:16, 41; 13:6; 14:7; 15:3; 18:1, 9; 19:11; 20:9, 19; 21:29
  • Hebrews 9:9; 11:19

Greek parabolē is used frequently in the LXX (the Septuagint = the ancient Greek version of the Hebrew Bible), usually to translate the Hebrew word mashal (pl. meshalim):

  • Num 23:7, 18; 24:3, 15, 20-21, 23; Deut 28:37; 1 Sam 10:12; 24:14; 2 Sam 23:3; 1 Kngs 5:12; 2 Chr 7:20; Tob 3:4
  • Ps 43:15; 48:5; 68:12; 77:2; Prov 1:6; Eccl 1:17; 12:9; Wis 5:4; Sir 1:25; 3:29; 13:26; 20:20; 38:34; 39:2-3; 47:15, 17
  • Mic 2:4; Hab 2:6; Jer 24:9; Ezek 12:22-23; 16:44; 17:2; 18:2-3; 19:14; 21:5; 24:3; Dan 12:8

In the HB/LXX, mashal & parabolē refer to "figures of speech," which can be of many different types (proverbs, maxims, riddles, symbols, fables, parables, allegories).
Similarly in the New Testament, parabolē can refer to figures of speech of various types:

  • short proverbs (1 Sam 10:12; Prov 1:1; Luke 4:23)
  • wisdom sayings (Luke 5:36-39) and maxims (Luke 14:7-11)
  • figurative speech (Mark 4:33) and examples (Luke 12:15-21)
  • riddles (Judg 14:10-18; Mark 7:15-17)
  • taunt songs (Micah 2:4; Hab 2:6)
  • similes (Matt 13:33; 23:27) and metaphors (cf. Matt 5:13-14)
  • more extended story-parables (many examples below)
  • even some allegories (Isa 5:1-7; Mark 12:1-11; Matt 22:1-14)

Moreover, not all the stories or figures of speech identified by biblical scholars as parables are explicitly called “parables” in the Bible itself, including some very famous ones (the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:29-37; the Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-32; the Unjust Steward, Luke 16:1-8; etc.). All of these stories use "comparisons" of various types to make their points.

A related Greek word, παροιμία (paroimia), which also refers to some type of “figure of speech” or “proverb,” is used only seven times in the LXX (Prov 1:1; 26:7; Sir 6:35; 8:8; 18:29; 39:3; 47:17) and five times in the NT (John 10:6; 16:25a, 25b, 29; and 2 Peter 2:22).


Parable-Like Stories in the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible:

  • Gen 49:9 & Num 23:24 – Lions & lionesses
  • Judges 9:7-15 – Trees looking for a king
  • Judges 14:14-20 – Riddle: strong bringing forth sweetness
  • 2 Sam 12:1-4 – Poor man's lamb
  • 2 Sam 14:1-11 – Two brothers striving
  • 1 Kings 20:35-40 – Escaped prisoner
  • 2 Kings 14:9 – Thistle and cedar
  • Isa 5:1-7 – Vineyard yielding wild grapes
  • Ezek 17:3-10 – Eagles and vine
  • Ezek 19:2-9, 10-14 – Lioness & cubs; vine & branches
  • Ezek 24:3-5, 6-14 – Boiling pot (with application)

PAROIMIA (7 times in LXX; 5 times in Greek NT):

  • Prov 1:1 – The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
  • Prov 26:7 – The legs of a disabled person hang limp; so does a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
  • Sir 6:35 – Be ready to listen to every godly discourse, and let no wise proverbs escape you.
  • Sir 8:8 – Do not slight the discourse of the sages, but busy yourself with their maxims; because from them you will learn discipline and how to serve princes.
  • Sir 18:29 – Those who are skilled in words become wise themselves, and pour forth apt proverbs.
  • Sir 39:3 – he seeks out the hidden meanings of proverbs and is at home with the obscurities of parables.
  • Sir 47:17 – Your songs, proverbs, and parables, and the answers you gave astounded the nations.
     
  • John 10:6 – Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
  • John 16:25 – “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly (parrēsia) of the Father.”
  • John 16:29 – His disciples said, “Yes, now you are speaking plainly (parrēsia), not in any figure of speech!”
  • 2 Peter 2:22 – It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “The dog turns back to its own vomit,” and, “The sow is washed only to wallow in the mud.”

PARABOLĒ in the LXX, the Greek OLD TESTAMENT (44 times – NRSV texts here for Hebrew books; RSV texts for Deutero-canonical books):

  • Num 23:7 – Then Balaam uttered his oracle, saying: “Balak has brought me from Aram, the king of Moab from the eastern mountains: ‘Come, curse Jacob for me; Come, denounce Israel!’ ”
  • Num 23:18 – Then Balaam uttered his oracle, saying: “Rise, Balak, and hear; listen to me, O son of Zippor:”
  • Num 24:3 – and he uttered his oracle, saying: “The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is clear,”
  • Num 24:15 – So he uttered his oracle, saying: “The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is clear,”
  • Num 24:20-21 – Then he looked on Amalek, and uttered his oracle, saying: “First among the nations was Amalek, but its end is to perish forever.” / Then he looked on the Kenite, and uttered his oracle, saying: “Enduring is your dwelling place, and your nest is set in the rock;”
  • Num 24:23 – Again he uttered his oracle, saying: “Alas, who shall live when God does this?”
  • Deut 28:37 – You shall become an object of horror, a proverb, and a byword among all the peoples where the LORD will lead you.
  • 1Sam 10:12 – A man of the place answered, “And who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
  • 1Sam 24:13 – As the ancient proverb says: Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? A dead dog? A single flea?
  • 2Sam 23:3 – The God of Israel has spoken, the Rock of Israel has said to me: [he spoke a parable:] One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God,
  • 1Kings 4:32 – He composed three thousand proverbs, and his songs numbered a thousand and five.
  • 2Chron 7:20 – then I will pluck you up from the land that I have given you; and this house, which I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
  • Ps 44:14 – Thou hast made us a byword among the nations, a laughingstock among the peoples.
  • Ps 49:4 – I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.
  • Ps 69:11 – When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them.
  • Ps 78:2 – I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,
  • Prov 1:6 – to understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles.
  • Eccl 12:9 – Besides being wise, the Teacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs.
  • Jer 24:9 – I will make them a horror, an evil thing, to all the kingdoms of the earth--a disgrace, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them.
  • Ezek 12:22-23 – Mortal, what is this proverb of yours about the land of Israel, which says, “The days are prolonged, and every vision comes to nothing”? / Tell them therefore, “Thus says the Lord GOD: I will put an end to this proverb, and they shall use it no more as a proverb in Israel.” But say to them, The days are near, and the fulfillment of every vision.
  • Ezek 16:44 – See, everyone who uses proverbs will use this proverb about you, “Like mother, like daughter.”
  • Ezek 17:2 – O mortal, propound a riddle, and speak an allegory to the house of Israel.
  • Ezek 18:2-3 – What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge”? / As I live, says the Lord GOD, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel.
  • Ezek 19:14 – And fire has gone out from its stem, has consumed its branches and fruit, so that there remains in it no strong stem, no scepter for ruling. This is a lamentation, and it is used as a lamentation.
  • Ezek 20:49 – Then I said, “Ah Lord GOD! they are saying of me, ‘Is he not a maker of allegories?’“
  • Ezek 24:3 – And utter an allegory to the rebellious house and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Set on the pot, set it on, pour in water also;
  • Mic 2:4 – On that day they shall take up a taunt song against you, and wail with bitter lamentation, and say, “We are utterly ruined; the LORD alters the inheritance of my people; how he removes it from me! Among our captors he parcels out our fields.”
  • Hab 2:6 – Shall not everyone taunt such people and, with mocking riddles, say about them, “Alas for you who heap up what is not your own!” How long will you load yourselves with goods taken in pledge?
  • Tob 3:4 – For they disobeyed thy commandments, and thou gavest us over to plunder, captivity, and death; thou madest us a byword of reproach in all the nations among which we have been dispersed. [RSV]
  • Sir 13:26 – The mark of a happy heart is a cheerful face, but to devise proverbs requires painful thinking.
  • Sir 20:20 – A proverb from a fool’s lips will be rejected, for he does not tell it at its proper time.
  • Sir 38:33b – They do not sit in the judge’s seat, nor do they understand the sentence of judgment; they cannot expound discipline or judgment, and they are not found using proverbs.
  • Sir 39:2-3 – he will preserve the discourse of notable men and penetrate the subtleties of parables; /
    he will seek out the hidden meanings of proverbs and be at home with the obscurities of parables.
  • Sir 47:15, 17 – Your soul covered the earth, and you filled it with parables and riddles. / /
    For your songs and proverbs and parables, and for your interpretations, the countries marveled at you.
  • Wis 5:4 – “This is the man whom we once held in derision and made a byword of reproach -- we fools! We thought that his life was madness and that his end was without honor.

PARABOLĒ in the NEW TESTAMENT (50x in Greek; NRSV translations here):

  • Mark 3:23 – And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?”
  • Mark 4:2 – He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:
  • Mark 4:10-11 – When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. / And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables;”
  • Mark 4:13 – And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables?”
  • Mark 4:30 – He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?”
  • Mark 4:33-34 – With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; / he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
  • Mark 7:17 – When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable.
  • Mark 12:1 – Then he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country.”
  • Mark 12:12 – When they realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away.
  • Mark 13:28 – “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.”
  • Matt 13:3 – And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow.”
  • Matt 13:10 – Then the disciples came and asked him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”
  • Matt 13:13 – The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’
  • Matt 13:18 – “Hear then the parable of the sower.”
  • Matt 13:24 – He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field;”
  • Matt 13:31 – He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field;”
  • Matt 13:33-36 – He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” / Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. / This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.” / Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.”
  • Matt 13:53 – When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place.
  • Matt 15:15 – But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.”
  • Matt 21:33 – “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country.”
  • Matt 21:45 – When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them.
  • Matt 22:1 – Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: [royal wedding banquet]
  • Matt 24:32 – “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.”
  • Luke 4:23 – He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.’”
  • Luke 5:36 – He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and sews it on an old garment; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece from the new will not match the old.”
  • Luke 6:39 – He also told them a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?”
  • Luke 8:4 – When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable:
  • Luke 8:9-11 – Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. / He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that ‘looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.’ / “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.”
  • Luke 12:16 – Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly.”
  • Luke 12:41 – Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for everyone?”
  • Luke 13:6 – Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none.”
  • Luke 14:7 – When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable.
  • Luke 15:3 – So he told them this parable:
  • Luke 18:1 – Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.
  • Luke 18:9 – He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt:
  • Luke 19:11 – As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.
  • Luke 20:9 – He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, and leased it to tenants, and went to another country for a long time.”
  • Luke 20:19 – When the scribes and chief priests realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people.
  • Luke 21:29 – Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees;”
  • Heb 9:9 – This is a symbol of the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper,
  • Heb 11:19 – He considered the fact that God is able even to raise someone from the dead--and figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
Parables and Parabolic Images in the Gospels
by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

What is a "Parable"?

Although we usually think of biblical parables as the brief "stories" told by Jesus, the Greek word παραβολή (parabolē) -- and the related Greek παροιμία (paroimia) and Hebrew mashal -- are also used for other short "figures of speech" in the Bible (OT and NT), including proverbs, sayings, riddles, etc. Please see a separate webpage, Parables in the Bible, describing the use of the biblical vocabulary related to parables.

Parables - by James C. Christensen - from http://www.swoyersart.com

Scholarly Definition: "At its simplest a parable is a metaphor or simile  drawn from nature or common life,  arresting the hearer by its vividness or strangeness,  and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt about its precise application  to tease it into active thought."(C. H. Dodd, The Parables of the Kingdom, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1961, p. 5)

Implications of this definition:

  • The meaning of most parables (both the short sayings-parables and the longer story-parables) is not so obvious, or at least it shouldn't be. If we assume we know what Jesus is talking about, we are probably missing the main point; if we are too familiar with the story (having heard it so often before), we might not think carefully enough about its real meaning.
     
  • Most parables contain some element that is strange or unusual. They should cause you to say, "Wait a minute! That's not how farmers do their work! That's not what kings usually do! That's not what normally happens in nature!" And this strange element should cause you to think!
     
  • Parables do not define things precisely, but rather use comparisons to describe some aspect of how God acts or interacts with human beings. Yet to say "A is like B" does not mean that "A is identical to B in all respects"; so one should be careful not to misinterpret or misapply the parables.
     
  • Most parables are open-ended. Rather than reaching a conclusion, they challenge us to keep on thinking!
    Rather than having us "stop thinking", they invite us to "stop and think"!

"Parables"; by James C. Christensen; from Swoyer's Fine Art & Collectibles


Old Testament Background:

Both shorter proverbs and longer story-parables are already found in the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible. Here are only some examples:


The Purpose of Jesus' Parables?

We might think that Jesus spoke in parables to make it easier for people to understand his message. After all, don't all good teachers use memorable stories?
According to the Gospels, however, Jesus surprisingly does NOT expect everyone to understand his parables!
This is clearly expressed in Mark 4:9-13 and Matthew 13:10-17 (see full texts at the bottom of this page ).

In Matthew, at least the disciples of Jesus understand the parables; but in Mark, even they have a hard time understanding, despite receiving extra instructions in private!

  • "Have you understood all this?" They [the disciples] answered, "Yes." (Matt 13:51)
  • And he said to them [the disciples], "Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables?" (Mark 4:13)
  • With many such parables he spoke the word to them [the crowds], as they were able to hear it;
    he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples. (Mark 4:33-34).

Where Are the Gospel Parables?

This page lists all Gospel texts normally identified by scholars as parables, as well as related texts dealing with Jesus' use of parables. From the following tables, you will note that Mark has only few parables and related images; Matthew adds quite a few more; and Luke has by far the most parables in the New Testament, including some of the most famous ones. The non-canonical Gospel of Thomas also contains quite a few parables that are also found in one or more of the Synoptics. In contrast, John's Gospel never uses the word "parable" and has only few very images that are even similar to the parables of the Synoptic Gospels. To compare the texts of parables that appear in two or more of the Gospels, see The Five Gospel Parallels website.

Parables and Parabolic Images in the Gospel according to MARK:

Parables (incl. Sayings, Images, Stories) Mark Matthew Luke Thomas
Wedding Guests Mk 2:19-20 Mt 9:15 Lk 5:34-35 ?
Garments & Wineskins Mk 2:21-22 Mt 9:16-17 Lk 5:36-39 GTh 47b
Beelzebul/Satan & Strong Man Mk 3:23-27 Mt 12:24-29 Lk 11:15, 17-21 GTh 35
Sower & Seed Mk 4:3-8 Mt 13:3-9 Lk 8:5-8 GTh 9
    [Why Jesus Uses Parables] Mk 4:10-12 Mt 13:10-17 Lk 8:9-10 -
    [Interpretation of Sower & Seed] Mk 4:13-20 Mt 13:18-23 Lk 8:11-15 -
Lamp on a Stand Mk 4:21 Mt 5:15 Lk 8:16; and Lk 11:33 GTh 33
    [Sayings about Jesus' Parables] Mk 4:22-25 Mt 10:26; 7:2; 13:12 Lk 8:17-18; 12:2; 6:38b GTh 5; GTh 41
Seed Growing Secretly Mk 4:26-29 [replaced by Mt 13:24-30] - GTh 21c
Mustard Seed Mk 4:30-32 Mt 13:31-32 Lk 13:18-19 GTh 20
    [Jesus' Use of Parables] Mk 4:33-34 Mt 13:34-35 - -
Things That Defile [with explanation] Mk 7:14-17, [18-23] Mt 15:10-11, [15-20] - ?
Salt Mk 9:50 Mt 5:13 Lk 14:34 -
Camel & Eye of Needle Mk 10:25 Mt 19:24 Lk 18:25 ?
Wicked Tenants Mk 12:1-11 Mt 21:33-44 Lk 20:9-18 GTh 65
Budding Fig-Tree Mk 13:28-29 Mt 24:32-33 Lk 21:29-31 -
Doorkeeper Mk 13:33-37 - [cf. Lk 12:35-38] -
Total Number of Markan Parables 13 Mt keeps all but 2 Lk keeps all but 3 GTh has 7 of Mark's


 

Additional Parables and Parabolic Images in both Matthew & Luke, but not in Mark (from the "Q" Source?):
Parable Mark Matthew Luke Thomas
Specks and Planks in Eyes - Mt 7:3-4 Lk 6:41-42 -
Good and Bad Fruit - Mt 7:16-20 Lk 6:43-44 -
Two Houses, Built on Rock or Earth - Mt 7:24-27 Lk 6:47-49 -
Children in the Market Place - Mt 11:16-19 Lk 7:31-35 -
Return of the Unclean Spirit - Mt 12:43-45 Lk 11:24-26 -
Burglar - Mt 24:43-44 Lk 12:39-40 GTh 21b, 103
Servant Entrusted with Supervision - Mt 24:45-51 Lk 12:42-46 -
Going before the Judge - Mt 5:25-26 Lk 12:58-59 -
Leaven - Mt 13:33 Lk 13:20-21 GTh 96
Great Supper - Mt 22:1-10 Lk 14:16-24 GTh 64
Lost Sheep - Mt 18:12-14 Lk 15:3-7 GTh 107
Serving Two Masters - Mt 6:24-25 Lk 16:13 -
Pounds or Talents - Mt 25:14-30 Lk 19:12-27 -
Number of New Parables in Q - 13 13 GTh has 4 of Q's


 

Additional Parables and Parabolic Images in MATTHEW's Gospel (but neither in Mark nor in Luke):
Parable Mark Matthew Luke Thomas
Wheat & Tares - Mt 13:24-30 - GTh 57
[Interpretation of Wheat & Tares] - Mt 13:36-43 - -
Treasure - Mt 13:44 - GTh 109
Pearl - Mt 13:45-46 - GTh 76
Net - Mt 13:47-48 - GTh 8
Unmerciful Servant - Mt 18:23-35 - -
Vineyard Workers & Employer - Mt 20:1-16 - -
Two Sons - Mt 21:28-32 - -
Guest without a Wedding Garment - Mt 22:11-14 - GTh 75
Ten Virgins - Mt 25:1-13 [cf. Lk 13:25] -
Last Judgement / Sheep & Goats - Mt 25:31-46 - -
Number of New Parables in Matthew - 10 - GTh has 5 of Mt's


 

Additional Parables and Parabolic Images in LUKE's Gospel (but neither in Mark nor in Matthew):
Parable Mark Matthew Luke Thomas
"Physician, Cure Yourself" - - Lk 4:23 -
Two Debtors - - Lk 7:41-43 -
Good Samaritan - - Lk 10:25-37 -
Friend Asking for Help at Midnight - - Lk 11:5-8 -
Rich Fool - - Lk 12:16-21 GTh 63
Faithful Servants - - Lk 12:35-38 -
Barren Fig-Tree - - Lk 13:6-9 -
Closed Door - - Lk 13:24-30 -
Choice of Places at Table - - Lk 14:7-11 -
Tower-Builder - - Lk 14:28-30 -
King Planning for Battle - - Lk 14:31-33 -
Lost Coin - - Lk 15:8-10 -
Prodigal Son - - Lk 15:11-32 -
Unjust Steward - - Lk 16:1-8 -
Rich Man & Lazarus - - Lk 16:19-31 -
Servant's Reward - - Lk 17:7-10 -
Unjust Judge - - Lk 18:1-8 -
Pharisee & Publican - - Lk 18:9-14 -
Throne Claimant - - Lk 19:12, 14, 15a, 27 -
Number of New Parables in Luke - - 19 GTh has 1 of Lk's 


Parable-like Images in the Gospel according to JOHN:

The Greek word παραβολή (parabolē) is never used in the Fourth Gospel. However, the Johannine Jesus does use some metaphors and images that are somewhat similar to but also significantly different from the Synoptic parables. John's Gospel four times also uses the related word παροιμία (paroimia = "proverb" or "figure of speech").

Shepherd and Sheep (John 10:1-16)
  • In Matthew 18:12-14 and Luke 15:3-7, Jesus tells a parable about a Shepherd who lost one of his 100 sheep.
  • In John, Jesus directly says, "I am the Sheepgate" (10:7, 9) and "I am the Good Shepherd" (10:11, 14).
Vine and Branches (John 15:1-8)
  • In the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus tells several parables involving workers in vineyards (Mark 12:1-11 & par.; Matt 20:1-16; Matt 21:28-32).
  • In John, Jesus directly says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower" (15:1) and "I am the vine; you are the branches" (15:5).
Paroimia = "proverb" or "figure of speech"
  • John 10:6 - Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
  • John 16:25 - "I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father."
  • John 16:29 - His disciples said, "Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech!
  • Cf. 2 Peter 2:22 - It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "The dog turns back to its own vomit," and, "The sow is washed only to wallow in the mud."

List of Parables and Parabolic Images in the non-canonical Gospel according to THOMAS:

Parable Thomas Mark Matthew Luke
[Sayings about Jesus' Parables] GTh 5 Mk 4:22 Mt 10:26 Lk 8:17; 12:2
Net GTh 8 - Mt 13:47-48 -
Sower & Seed GTh 9 Mk 4:3-8 Mt 13:3-9 Lk 8:5-8
Mustard Seed GTh 20 Mk 4:30-32 Mt 13:31-32 Lk 13:18-19
Burglar GTh 21b [cf. GTh 103] - Mt 24:43-44 Lk 12:39-40
Seed Growing Secretly GTh 21c Mk 4:26-29 [cf. Mt 13:24-30] -
Lamp on a Stand GTh 33 Mk 4:21 Mt 5:15 Lk 8:16; 11:33
Strong Man GTh 35 Mk 3:27 Mt 12:29 Lk 11:21
[Sayings about Jesus' Parables] GTh 41 Mk 4:25 Mt 13:12 Lk 8:18
Garments & Wineskins GTh 47b Mk 2:21-22 Mt 9:16-17 Lk 5:36-39
Wheat & Tares GTh 57 - Mt 13:24-30 -
Rich Fool GTh 63 - - Lk 12:16-21
Great Supper GTh 64 - Mt 22:1-10 Lk 14:16-24
Wicked Tenants GTh 65 Mk 12:1-11 Mt 21:33-44 Lk 20:9-18
Guest without a Wedding Garment GTh 75 - Mt 22:11-14 -
Pearl GTh 76 - Mt 13:45-46 -
Leaven GTh 96 - Mt 13:33 Lk 13:20-21
Burglar GTh 103 [cf. GTh 21b] - Mt 24:43-44 Lk 12:39-40
Lost Sheep GTh 107 - Mt 18:12-13 Lk 15:3-7
Treasure GTh 109 - Mt 13:44 -
Total Number in Thomas 18 - - -


 

Complete List of Parables and Parabolic Images in the Gospel according to MATTHEW:
Parable Matthew Mark Luke Thomas
Salt Mt 5:13 Mk 9:50 Lk 14:34 -
Lamp on a Stand Mt 5:15 Mk 4:21 Lk 8:16; 11:33 GTh 33
Going before the Judge Mt 5:25-26 - Lk 12:58-59 -
Serving Two Masters Mt 6:24-25 - Lk 16:13 -
Specks and Planks in Eyes Mt 7:3-4 - Lk 6:41-42 -
Good and Bad Fruit Mt 7:16-20 - Lk 6:43-44 -
Two Houses Mt 7:24-27 - Lk 6:47-49 -
Garment & Wineskins Mt 9:16-17 Mk 2:21-22 Lk 5:36-39 GTh 47
Children in the Market Place Mt 11:16-19 - Lk 7:31-35 -
Strong Man Mt 12:29 Mk 3:27 Lk 11:21 GTh 35
Return of the Unclean Spirit Mt 12:43-45 - Lk 11:24-26 -
Sower & Seed Mt 13:3-9 Mk 4:3-8 Lk 8:5-8 GTh 9
[Why Jesus Uses Parables] Mt 13:10-17 Mk 4:10-12 Lk 8:9-10 GTh 41
[Interpretation of Sower & Seed] Mt 13:18-23 Mk 4:13-20 Lk 8:11-15 -
Wheat & Tares Mt 13:24-30 [cf. Mk 4:26-29] - GTh 57
Mustard Seed Mt 13:31-32 Mk 4:30-32 Lk 13:18-19 GTh 20
Leaven Mt 13:33 - Lk 13:20-21 GTh 96
[Jesus' Use of Parables] Mt 13:34-35 Mk 4:33-34 - -
[Interpretation of Wheat & Tares] Mt 13:36-43 - - -
Treasure Mt 13:44 - - GTh 109
Pearl Mt 13:45-46 - - GTh 76
Net Mt 13:47-48 - - GTh 8
Lost Sheep Mt 18:12-14 - Lk 15:3-7 GTh 107
Unmerciful Servant Mt 18:23-35 - - -
Vineyard Workers & Employer Mt 20:1-16 - - -
Two Sons Mt 21:28-32 - - -
Wicked Tenants Mt 21:33-44 Mk 12:1-11 Lk 20:9-18 GTh 65
Great Supper Mt 22:1-10 - Lk 14:16-24 GTh 64
Guest without a Wedding Garment Mt 22:11-14 - - GTh 75
Budding Fig-Tree Mt 24:32-33 Mk 13:28-29 Lk 21:29-31 -
Burglar Mt 24:43-44 - Lk 12:39-40 GTh 21b, 103
Servant Entrusted with Supervision Mt 24:45-51 - Lk 12:42-46 -
Ten Virgins Mt 25:1-13 - [cf. Lk 13:25] -
Pounds or Talents Mt 25:14-30 - Lk 19:12-27 -
Last Judgement / Sheep & Goats Mt 25:31-46 - - -
Total Number in Matthew 29 - - -


 

Complete List of Parables and Parabolic Images in the Gospel according to LUKE:
Parable Luke Mark Matthew Thomas
"Physician, Heal Yourself" Lk 4:23 - - -

Garments & Wineskins

Lk 5:36-39 Mk 2:21-22 Mt 9:16-17 GTh 47b
Specks and Planks in Eyes Lk 6:41-42 - Mt 7:3-4 -
Good and Bad Fruit Lk 6:43-44 - Mt 7:16-20 -

Two Houses, Built on Rock or Earth

Lk 6:47-49 - Mt 7:24-27 -
Children in the Market Place Lk 7:31-35 - Mt 11:16-19 -
Two Debtors Lk 7:41-43 - - -
Sower & Seed Lk 8:5-8 Mk 4:3-8 Mt 13:3-9 GTh 9
[Why Jesus Uses Parables] Lk 8:9-10 Mk 4:10-12 Mt 13:10-17 -
[Interpretation of Sower & Seed] Lk 8:11-15 Mk 4:13-20 Mt 13:18-23
Lamp on a Stand Lk 8:16 [cf. 11:33] Mk 4:21 Mt 5:15 GTh 33
[Other Sayings about Jesus' Parables] Lk 8:17-18 [cf. 12:2] Mk 4:22, 24a, 25 Mt 10:26; 13:12 GTh 5; GTh 41
Good Samaritan Lk 10:25-37 - - -
Friend Asking for Help at Midnight Lk 11:5-8 - - -
Strong Man Lk 11:21 Mk 3:27 Mt 12:29 GTh 35
Return of the Unclean Spirit Lk 11:24-26 - Mt 12:43-45 -
Lamp on a Stand Lk 11:33 [cf. 8:16] Mk 4:21 Mt 5:15 GTh 33
Rich Fool Lk 12:16-21 - - GTh 63
Faithful Servants Lk 12:35-38 [cf. Mk 13:33-37] - -
Burglar Lk 12:39-40 - Mt 24:43-44 GTh 21b, 103
Servant Entrusted with Supervision Lk 12:42-46 - Mt 24:45-51 -
Going before the Judge Lk 12:58-59 - Mt 5:25-26 -
Barren Fig-Tree Lk 13:6-9 - - -
Mustard Seed Lk 13:18-19 Mk 4:30-32 Mt 13:31-32 GTh 20
Leaven Lk 13:20-21 - Mt 13:33 GTh 96
Closed Door Lk 13:24-30 - [cf. Mt 25:10-12] -
Choice of Places at Table Lk 14:7-11 - - -
Great Supper Lk 14:16-24 - Mt 22:1-10 GTh 64
Tower-Builder & 
King Planning for Battle
Lk 14:28-32 - - -
Salt Lk 14:34 Mk 9:50 Mt 5:13 -
Lost Sheep Lk 15:3-7 - Mt 18:12-13 GTh 107
Lost Coin Lk 15:8-10 - - -
Prodigal Son Lk 15:11-32 - - -
Unjust Steward Lk 16:1-8 - - -
Serving Two Masters Lk 16:13 - Mt 6:24-25 -
Rich Man & Lazarus Lk 16:19-31 - - -
Servant's Reward Lk 17:7-10 - - -
Unjust Judge Lk 18:1-8 - - -
Pharisee & Publican Lk 18:9-14 - - -
Pounds or Talents Lk 19:12-27 - Mt 25:14-30 -
Throne Claimant Lk 19:12, 14, 15a, 27 - - -
Wicked Tenants Lk 20:9-18 Mk 12:1-11 Mt 21:33-44 GTh 65
Budding Fig-Tree Lk 21:29-31 Mk 13:28-29 Mt 24:32-33 -
Total Number in Luke 38 - - -

Why Do People Have Difficulty Understanding Jesus?

Several New Testament writings (not only all four Gospels, but also Acts and Paul) try to explain why most people did NOT understand or accept Jesus. These explanations often quote Isaiah 6:9-10:

Mark 4:9-13, 24-25 Matt 13:9-17 Luke 8:8-10, 18; and 10:23-24 John 12:37-41

9 And he said, "Let anyone with ears to hear listen!"
10 When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables.
11 And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables;
12 in order that 'they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.'"
13 And he said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables?

24 And he said to them, "Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you.
25 For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away."

9 Let anyone with ears listen!"
10 Then the disciples came and asked him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?"
11 He answered, "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 those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.
13 The reason I speak to them in parables is that 'seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.'
14 With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says: 'You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
15 For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen 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.
17 Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.

8 As he said this, he called out, "Let anyone with ears to hear listen!"
9 Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant.
10 He said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that 'looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.'

18 Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away."

 

 

 

 

Luke 10:23-24
23 Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!
24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it."

37 Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him.
38 This was to fulfill the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah: "Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" (cf. Isa 53:1)
39 And so they could not believe, because Isaiah also said,
40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they might not look with their eyes, and understand with their heart and turn-- and I would heal them."
41 Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him.

Mark 4:33-34 Matt 13:34-35 ISAIAH 6:9-10 Ps 78:1-3
33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it;
34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
34 Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing.
35 This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: "I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world." (cf. Ps 78:2)
9 And he said, "Go and say to this people: 'Keep listening, but do not comprehend; keep looking, but do not understand.'
10 Make the mind of this people dull, and stop their ears, and shut their eyes, so that they may not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and comprehend with their minds, and turn and be healed."

1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,
3 things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us.

cf. Mark 8:17-18 cf. Matt 13:51-52 cf. Act 28:25-27 cf. Rom 11:7-8
17 And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened?
18 Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear?
And do you not remember?
51 "Have you understood all this?" They answered, "Yes."
52 And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."
53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place.
25 So they disagreed with each other; and as they were leaving, Paul made one further statement: "The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah,
26 'Go to this people and say, You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
27 For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn-- and I would heal them
.'
7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened,
8 as it is written, "God gave them a sluggish spirit, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day."

 


Trivia:


Trivia:

  • What's the LONGEST parable of Jesus? - The Lost/Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), with 391 words in the Greek NT, or about 500 words in most English translations.
  • What's the SHORTEST parable of Jesus? - "Physician, heal yourself" (Luke 4:23), although we might consider it a "proverb," it is explicitly called a parabole by Jesus in Luke.
  • What's your FAVORITE parable of Jesus?

Related Resources:

Recommended Readings:

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Mike Aubrey | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 18 2016 2:59 PM

Thanks MJ! We aren't neglecting parables! The interactive is in the works. This looks like really useful information for supplementing what I've already gathered together--especially for the deutero-canon.

Thanks so much!

Posts 18632
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 18 2019 10:52 AM

Mike Aubrey:

Thanks MJ! We aren't neglecting parables! The interactive is in the works. This looks like really useful information for supplementing what I've already gathered together--especially for the deutero-canon.

Thanks so much!

Any update on this? It's been three years!

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Rick Brannan (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 19 2019 10:27 PM

Rosie Perera:
Any update on this? It's been three years!

The update is: We were planning to create a parable interactive, but later it was decided to shelve it. The dataset is available (with documentation), and the data is also in Bible Browser. There are no plans on the horizon to create an interactive.

Rick Brannan
Data Wrangler, Faithlife
My books in print

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Myke Harbuck | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 20 2019 8:38 AM

Rick Brannan (Faithlife):

There are no plans on the horizon to create an interactive.

Crying

Myke Harbuck
Lead Pastor, www.ByronCity.Church
Adjunct Professor, Georgia Military College
Mac OS 10.13.6 High Sierra, Mid 2015 iMac, 2.5GHz i7, 32 gbRAM, 1tbSSD

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Reuben Helmuth | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 20 2019 9:36 AM

Personally, I prefer having the data available in the Bible browser rather than in a "book" in my library. It feels more intuitive to have a more central location for multiple datasets...

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 25 2019 9:58 PM

Rick Brannan (Faithlife):
The dataset is available (with documentation), and the data is also in Bible Browser. There are no plans on the horizon to create an interactive.

This is why I'm often at a loss as to how to respond to FL. The dataset is not available in a usable form without an interactive. There is documentation of the dataset, there is the ability to build queries based on the dataset but there is no access to the dataset as a whole. This means I have no way to tell whether or not the dataset is genuinely useful - I can't see the relative frequency of various entries, I can't see if the groupings appear to be comprehensive or if there are parables I would move. Nor even if there are parables that come to mind that aren't included or extras that are - which would tell me how you actually viewed parables for coding. I can't see how you actually applied your definitions because I can't see both what is in and what is out. There is a reason why Halley's Handbook in the 1950's had many tables ... tables allow you to see at a glance how the entire domain has been divided/classified, what is inside and what is outside the domain, ...

Reuben Helmuth:
Personally, I prefer having the data available in the Bible browser rather than in a "book" in my library

The Browser and the Interactive serve very different functions ... apples to oranges ... one Browser is geared to specific cases, the interactive is geared to the comprehensive view.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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NB.Mick | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 26 2019 5:59 AM

Rick Brannan (Faithlife):
We were planning to create a parable interactive, but later it was decided to shelve it. The dataset is available (with documentation), and the data is also in Bible Browser. There are no plans on the horizon to create an interactive.

Hm. If the dataset is already there, it's "just" a question of visualization to get the interactive done (in my head it looks like the Psalms interactive). I think that MJ has a point, but in my opinion, many users of Logos might never stumble over the dataset - thus the work that has been done is to a largel extent underused (and lacks the exposure to the broader user base that would weed out possible classification errors). 

Users love interactives (okay, there are so much of them some users may get overwhelmed - but then again the parables are a very central topic) and thus you may want to reconsider. Maybe use it as an exercise for an intern, or as a challenge for a group of smart visualization coders in a Hackathon.  

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