What is a parable in the Bible

Keyword: parable

The word describes a speech in pictures and comparisons. Jesus often used this linguistic form for his preaching. A good third of the words he has handed down are parables. In terms of content, they are about God and his kingdom. They show what God is like, how he treats people and what he expects from them. The parables want to convince the audience, encourage them to think along and to rethink; they challenge him to a decision. A total of four basic forms of parables can be distinguished.

(1) A parable in the narrower sense is a comparison that is designed in the form of a narrative. In it, Jesus makes everyday things such as sowing and reaping, baking bread or looking for a lost piece of money as an image of the reality of the kingdom of God. For example, the parable of the mustard seed (Mark 4: 30-32) points to the contrast between the tiny seed and the large mustard plant. In this way it encourages trust that something as inconceivably great as the kingdom of God will actually grow from the inconspicuous beginnings that are already visible in the present. The use of the pictures makes what is meant immediately understandable and serves to ensure that the parables stick well in the mind.

(2) The parable: It takes a one-off, extraordinary case as a comparative figure (e.g. The Workers in the Vineyard, Matthew 20: 1-15; The Prodigal Son, Luke 15: 11-32), which directly communicates the message clearly illustrated.

With the parable in the narrower sense (1) and with the parabola (2) it is important to find the point of comparison, i.e. the "crucial point". Not all individual moves should be interpreted.

(3) The allegory: In contrast to this, the individual components of the allegory are to be interpreted (e.g. in Mark 12: 1-12 the vineyard, the owner, the tenant, etc.).

(4) The example narration: It demonstrates the intended matter in a practical case that serves as an inviting or deterring example (e.g. The Good Samaritan, Luke 10: 29-37; From the rich peasant, Luke 12: 16-21; From the Pharisee and tax collector, Luke 18: 9-14).

Greek name form of the Hebrew name Yeshua.
Literally "Kingdom of God".
Fenced hill or mountainside where vines are grown. Vineyards are common in the land of the Bible. The grapes and the wine are among the most important foods.
Member of a Jewish faith group who took biblical laws very seriously.
For example, they levied customs duties on goods at city gates on behalf of the Roman government, and in doing so also managed to save money.