And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples. —Mark 4:33-34
The Gospel Truth this quarter highlights the parables of Jesus. Parables were an important part of the teachings of Christ, and they should be a valuable resource for teaching today. Parables illustrate truth in ways that a list of facts can never do. While Christ’s teachings were not pretentious, He spoke to the heart of issues in relative simplicity. Bible scholars and theologians quibble at times over the definition of a parable and what makes something a parable versus an illustrative story. A true parable is a story with a hidden truth containing a comparison of a natural occurrence with a spiritual lesson.
My burden is to encourage people to study the parables and to immerse themselves in the wonderful teaching illustrations of Christ. Everyone learns differently, and Christ obviously thought it important enough to reach people with stories and examples that the truth might be understood.
A few years ago, I had the privilege of conducting a ministers’ meeting over a number of days with a group in Africa. On many past occasions we had teaching sessions and doctrinal studies together. I felt the need for something different. God inspired me with the power of the parables. My eyes were opened to the wonderful truths that are contained in the parables of Christ. For days, the ministers studied the parables and shared the lessons together. I was so blessed to be able to give pertinent lessons after each presentation that dealt with a wide array of subjects: prayer, forgiveness, salvation, the love of God, the judgment, sin, the Kingdom of God, mercy, eternity, heaven, hell, evangelism, and the list goes on. There is much doctrine and truth contained in these stories, and they engage people in a way that lecture-style teaching cannot.
I pray that God will inspire you to read the parables and discover the wealth and power contained therein.
Michael W. Smith