The Meaning and Use of Parables in the New Testament
The New Testament gospels in the Bible are full of parables by Jesus. A parable is defined as “a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson” (as told by Jesus in the gospels). There were many parables he would tell to make the essence of the lesson easier to fathom. There are several reasons why he would use parables. One of the reasons is because parables would make principles easier to understand. Another reason is because they were so easy to remember. Parables were used to explain and teach on controversial problems without getting him into conflict with religious figures of that time. Also you can find in one passage that Jesus answers the question himself as to why he spoke in parables. There are different explanations of why these reasons exist and through this paper they will be illustrated and thoroughly explained.
The more abstruse an idea is, the more difficult it is to get across to someone the actual meaning. One reason Jesus used parables was due to it being easier to grasp the full concept of the idea he was using. For example in Luke 10 Jesus is using the parable of the Good Samaritan. He was speaking to a lawyer who asked a question about inheriting eternal life. The bible says that Jesus explained the parable of a “Good Samaritan” to the lawyer. The story is about a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. During his travel he is robbed of everything and beaten nearly to death. Jesus mentions that a priest walked by the man and showed absolutely no compassion for him and did not stop to help. This was written due to the fact a priest was (and still is) known for a person who desires to help others and full of love, so “love” was not a word for him that enforced activity on behalf of another person. The next person to come by is a Levite, who also should have known the law and to show affection, but instead chose to take the same action as the priest did. The next person is the Samaritan who you would think would be the person to least likely show any love, considering they were known as “low class”. The Samaritan didn’t care what religion or who the person was, he cared because he saw a person in need. So in giving this story Jesus is putting together a diversity in those who follow the law fully in every aspect of their life and those who know the law but do not follow accordingly. As he is telling the lawyer, he is also telling us (the readers) to do the same as well. With this simple story Jesus has made these points: That we should follow the law instead of just knowing it and that we are to love our neighbor no matter the race or religion.
Another comprehension of parables was because they were easy to remember. For some reason, hearing stories always intrigues people. No matter what age a person is, a child all the way to an elder, people love hearing interesting stories. For example the story of the prodigal son is a very good example of a parable to...