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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

February 1, 2022

The Year of our Lord, Jesus Christ

Matthew 13:3

And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

The parables of the Lord have intrigued Bible readers for over two thousand years. Perhaps the greatest of all parables is the “Seed and the Sower.” This story is related in the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Before looking at this parable in detail consider for a few moments this question. What exactly is a parable?

According to Merriam Webster a parable is: "a usually short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle." Notice a few facts about parables from this definition.

One, they are fictitious stories. Nowhere in Scripture is a story said to be a parable wherein a proper pronoun is used. Many will say that the story related in Luke 16 about Lazarus and the rich man is a parable. However, in that story neither Jesus nor Luke (the write) identifies it as such. To classify that story as a parable is taking a great risk. For a parable is a fictitious story, Lazarus, the rich man, Paradise, and Hell are not fictitious.

Furthermore, a parable is used to illustrate a moral attitude or religious principal. It is like a word picture. It draws an image of a truth with words. The image is a moral or religious teaching that cannot be seen with the physical eye. The illustrations may be simple, but the moral or religious teachings are not. Attitudes and principles cannot be seen hence the need for parables.

Lastly, parables were not only used in the New Testament. They are also found in the Old Testament and always designated as such by the word "parable." Of the sixty-three verses that use that word, eighteen are in the Old Testament, forty-five in the New Testament.

Needless to say, parables are vitally important and used expertly by our Lord.

Until Next Time,

William T. Howe, Ph.D.

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