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Parables

The Bible

Bible Usage:

Dictionaries:

  • Included in Eastons: Yes
  • Included in Hitchcocks: No
  • Included in Naves: Yes
  • Included in Smiths: Yes
  • Included in Websters: Yes
  • Included in Strongs: Yes
  • Included in Thayers: Yes
  • Included in BDB: Yes

Strongs Concordance:

 

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Parable

(Gr. parabole), a placing beside; a comparison; equivalent to the Heb. mashal, a similitude. In the Old Testament this is used to denote (1) a proverb (1 Samuel 10:12; 24:13; 2 Chronicles 7:20), (2) a prophetic utterance (Numbers 23:7; Ezekiel 20:49), (3) an enigmatic saying (Psalms 78:2; Proverbs 1:6). In the New Testament, (1) a proverb (Mark 7:17; Luke 4:23), (2) a typical emblem (Hebrews 9:9; 11:19), (3) a similitude or allegory (Matthew 15:15; 24:32; Mark 3:23; Luke 5:36; 14:7); (4) ordinarily, in a more restricted sense, a comparison of earthly with heavenly things, "an earthly story with a heavenly meaning," as in the parables of our Lord.

Instruction by parables has been in use from the earliest times. A large portion of our Lord's public teaching consisted of parables. He himself explains his reasons for this in his answer to the inquiry of the disciples, "Why speakest thou to them in parables?" (Matthew 13:13-15; Mark 4:11, 12; Luke 8:9, 10). He followed in so doing the rule of the divine procedures, as recorded in Matthew 13:13.

The parables uttered by our Lord are all recorded in the synoptical (i.e., the first three) Gospels. The fourth Gospel contains no parable properly so called, although the illustration of the good shepherd (John 10:1-16) has all the essential features of a parable. (See also List of Parables in Appendix.)


Smith's Bible Dictionary
Parable

(The word parable is in Greek parable (parabole) which signifies placing beside or together, a comparison, a parable is therefore literally a placing beside, a comparison, a similitude, an illustration of one subject by another.

McClintock and Strong. As used in the New Testament it had a very wide application, being applied sometimes to the shortest proverbs, (1 Samuel 10:12; 24:13; 2 Chronicles 7:20) sometimes to dark prophetic utterances, (Numbers 23:7,18; 24:3; Ezekiel 20:49) sometimes to enigmatic maxims, (Psalms 78:2; Proverbs 1:6) or metaphors expanded into a narrative. (Ezekiel 12:22) In the New Testament itself the word is used with a like latitude in (Matthew 24:32; Luke 4:23; Hebrews 9:9) It was often used in a more restricted sense to denote a short narrative under which some important truth is veiled. Of this sort were the parables of Christ. The parable differs from the fable (1) in excluding brute and inanimate creatures passing out of the laws of their nature and speaking or acting like men; (2) in its higher ethical significance. It differs from the allegory in that the latter, with its direct personification of ideas or attributes, and the names which designate them, involves really no comparison. The virtues and vices of mankind appear as in a drama, in their own character and costume. The allegory is self-interpreting; the parable demands attention, insight, sometimes an actual explanation. It differs from a proverb in that it must include a similitude of some kind, while the proverb may assert, without a similitude, some wide generalization of experience.

ED.) For some months Jesus taught in the synagogues and on the seashore of Galilee as he had before taught in Jerusalem, and as yet without a parable. But then there came a change. The direct teaching was met with scorn unbelief hardness, and he seemed for a time to abandon it for that which took the form of parables. The worth of parables as instruments of teaching lies in their being at once a test of character and in their presenting each form of character with that which, as a penalty or blessing, is adapted to it. They withdraw the light from those who love darkness. They protect the truth which they enshrine from the mockery of the scoffer. They leave something even with the careless which may be interpreted and understood afterward. They reveal on the other hand, the seekers after truth. These ask the meaning of the parable, and will not rest until the teacher has explained it. In this way the parable did work, found out the fit hearers and led them on. In most of the parables it is possible to trace something like an order.

  1. There is a group which have for their subject the laws of the divine kingdom. Under this head we have the sower, (Matthew 13:1; Mark 4:1; Luke 8:1)... the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:1) ... etc.
  2. When the next parables meet us they are of a different type and occupy a different position. They are drawn from the life of men rather than from the world of nature. They are such as these

    the two debtors, (Luke 7:1) ... the merciless servant, (Matthew 18:1) ... the good Samaritan, (Luke 10:1) ... etc.

  3. Toward the close of our Lord's ministry the parables are again theocratic but the phase of the divine kingdom on which they chiefly dwell is that of its final consummation. In interpreting parables note

    (1) The analogies must be real, not arbitrary; (2) The parables are to be considered as parts of a whole, and the interpretation of one is not to override or encroach upon the lessons taught by others; (3) The direct teaching of Christ presents the standard to which all our interpretations are to be referred, and by which they are to be measured.


Webster's 1828 Dictionary
Parable

PAR'ABLE, noun [Latin parabilis.] Easily procured. [Not used.]

PAR'ABLE, noun [Latin parabola; Gr. to throw forward or against, to compare to or against; as in confero, collatum, to set together, or one thing with another.] A fable or allegorical relation or representation of something real in life or nature, from which a moral is drawn for instruction; such as the parable of the trees choosing a king, Judges 9:1; the parable of the poor man and his lamb. 2 Samuel 12:1; the parable of the ten virgins, Matthew 25:1.

PAR'ABLE, verb transitive To represent by fiction or fable.


Naves Topical Index
Parables

Of the trees
Judges 9:8-15

Of the lamb
2 Samuel 12:1-6

Of the woman of Tekoa
2 Samuel 14:5-12

Of the garment rent in pieces
1 Kings 11:30-32

Of the prisoner of war
1 Kings 20:39-42

Of the thistle and cedar
2 Kings 14:9

Of a vine of Egypt
Psalms 80:8-16

Of the vineyard
Isaiah 5:1-7; Isaiah 27:2-3

Of the husbandman
Isaiah 28:23-29

Of the skins filled with wine
Jeremiah 13:12-14

Of the vine
Ezekiel 15:1-8; Ezekiel 17:5-10; Ezekiel 19:10-14

Of the two eagles
Ezekiel 26:17

Of lions' whelps
Ezekiel 19:1-9

Of Aholah and Aholibah
Ezekiel 26:23

The boiling pot
Ezekiel 24:3-5

The gourd
Jonah 4:10-11

The sheet let down from heaven in Peter's vision
Acts 10:10-16

The two covenants
Galatians 4:22-31

The mercenary soldier
2 Timothy 2:3-4

Of the husbandman (N.T.)
2 Timothy 2:6

Furnished house
2 Timothy 2:20-21

The athlete
2 Timothy 2:5

Looking-glass
James 1:23-25
Jesus, The Christ, Parables of; Symbols; Types