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The Parables of Jesus

Why did Jesus teach in parables, and how can we rightly interpret them?

Jesus' parables were ingeniously simple word pictures with profound spiritual lessons. His teaching was full of everyday stories. Some of them were no more than fleeting remarks about commonplace incidents, objects, or persons. In fact, the most compact of all Jesus' short stories does not even fill a complete verse of Scripture.

Jesus was the master storyteller, and there was not a truism so familiar or doctrine so complex that he could not give it new depth and insight through the telling of a simple story. These narratives epitomize the simple yet powerful profundity of His message and teaching style. --- John MacArthur

In this study, we will look at the context that motivated Jesus to teach in parables and then take a tour of twelve parables in the Gospels to see what they teach and how they impact our lives.

Syllabus

  1. Introduction
    (MacArthur: Introduction, Chapter 1)
  2. The Sower and the Soils: Matthew 13:3–9, Mark 4:3–9, Luke 8:5–8
    (MacArthur: Chapter 2)
  3. The Hidden Treasure: Matthew 13:44
    The Pearl of Great Price: Matthew 13:45–46
    (MacArthur: Chapter 3)
  4. The Workers in the Vineyard: Matthew 20:1–16
    (MacArthur: Chapter 4)
  5. The Good Samaritan: Luke 10:30–37
    (MacArthur: Chapter 5)
  6. The Pharisee and the Tax Collector: Luke 18:9–14
    (MacArthur: Chapter 6)
  7. A Tale of Two Servants: Matthew 24:45-51
    The Wise and Foolish Virgins: Matthew 25:1–13
    The Talents: Matthew 25:14-30
    (MacArthur: Chapter 7)
  8. The Unjust Steward: Luke 16:1–13
    (MacArthur: Chapter 8)
  9. The Rich Man and Lazarus: Luke 16:19–31
    (MacArthur: Chapter 9)
  10. The Persistent Widow: Luke 18:1–8
    (MacArthur: Chapter 10)

Resources

Parables, John MacArthur
Parables Workbook, John MacArthur
The Parables of Jesus: R.C. Sproul Teaching Series
What Do Jesus' Parables Mean?: R.C. Sproul Teaching Series in written format
Harmony of The Parables: MacArthur Study Bible
Harmony of The Parables: Wikipedia