What is: A Parable

Monday, February 05, 2007


I will be using the train for the coming several months going to work in our client's office and morning devotion will be a challenge. The train this morning was packed to the brim and I had no chance to a seat. I needed 40 winks but got none; I wanted a read but can't.

But I managed to do a little reading on the way back: The Parables of Jesus by J. Dwight Pentecost.

According to Pentecost, "the parables of Jesus have long challenged expositors and stimulated preachers, for in their simple form the deepest truths have been revealed. But the very simplicity has been a deceptive snare to the interpreter." And I like this: "They are the means by which abstract ideas are communicated. By transfering ideas from the known realm to the unknown realm, truth in learned in the unknown realm by what is known in the known realm." In the swaying train, I had to read this twice to comprehend it!

In the New Testament, the word "parable" is used of many different figures of speech:

(1) Simile - a stated likeness
The use of "like" or "as" identifies a figure as a simile. Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves ~ Matt 10:16

(2) Metaphor - an implied likeness
So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep ~ John 10:7

(3) Similitude - a common knowledge
In this figure, transference in made from common knowledge, based on what is generally done rather than on what a certain individual actually did. He told them another parable. "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened." ~ Mat 13:33. A person familiar with bread-making can learn truth through these words.

(4) Story - specific
It transfers truth involving a specific incident and calls attention to what one person did. And he said, "There was a man who had two sons ~ Luke 15:11.

The parables of Jesus intrigue me and some totally perplex me. I am reading two books right now, but I am looking forward to digging in deeper into this one.

pearlie
Picture by Bianca de Blok

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3 comment(s)

  1. They are the means by which abstract ideas are communicated. By transfering ideas from the known realm to the unknown realm, truth in learned in the unknown realm by what is known in the known realm." In the swaying train, I had to read this twice to comprehend it!

    This is cool, Pearlie. And I know what you mean by the swaying train :)

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  2. I noticed I was still swaying when I got off the train this morning! lol

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