Exploring Jesus' Use of Parables Essay

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The parables of the New Testament have been a subject of question since Jesus told them. How should they be interpreted? What do they mean? Jesus had a specific intent when he used parables to speak to the people. The understanding of his intent influences what meaning a person gains from reading his parables. In order to properly understand, one must reach past any pre-conceived notions or understandings of the parables and examine three major functions of influence on interpretation: the nature and context of the parables, whether the parables were meant to have simple or complex meanings, and whether Jesus meant for the meanings to be hidden or revealed. To neglect any of these criteria would be to reject full understanding. Different…show more content…
177). The parables were also a “form of indirect communication” (Snodgrass, 2012, p. 177). Jesus told stories not because he wanted to give them direct advice on the subjects of the stories, but to give them a new view of reality through the analogies of what he told (Snodgrass, 2012, p. 177). For example, in the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13, Jesus was not actually giving advice on how to plant seed (Matthew 13, New International Version). It was an analogy about different types of believers and where the seed of his words would fall. Some would accept it and grow, some would accept it and grow for a time and then fizzle out, and some would never accept it and therefore produce no growth whatsoever (Matthew 13). Jesus’ parables were analogies, and to fit with the people’s understandings of the time, he used outside references (Snodgrass, 2012, p. 177). Again, using the parable of the sower as an example, the people of the time understood what he was talking about because he used planting as an analogy. In contrast, not as many people today would understand his analogy. His parables were designed for the people and the setting he was in (Smith, 1948, p. 23). But, to offer understanding, Jesus used outside references to realities of the time to help the people see the subjects he was speaking about in a new, possibly clearer way (Snodgrass, 2012, p. 177). Jesus’ parables worked metaphorically,
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