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Parable Interpretation

by Bobby Bruno  
4/09/2014 / Bible Studies

I agree with the allegorical school of interpreting the parables of Jesus. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary an allegory is "the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence; a symbolic representation." This definition describes Jesus' use of parables exactly. But, while there is usually only one point that Jesus makes in the parables He teaches, there seem to be more to the message than just that one point. Sometimes a parable gives us a command (Mt 9:37); sometimes it tells us how we should live as Christians (Mt 25:1-13); sometimes it tells us about the world around us (Mt 13:3-8); and sometimes all of these things put together (Lk 6:46-49). The spiritual messages contained in an allegorical parable can convict us of sin (Mt 18:3-5), uplift us (Mt 13:44-46), or show us that we are already doing what God expects of us as His children (Mt 5:3-12).

I don't agree that all parables have a moral attached to them, but depend on the message Jesus is trying to convey to those who listen to Him. A moral tale is one that has only one definite point attached to it. To me, a moral tale says "If the wolf in your bed does not look like your grandmother, then it probably isn't your grandmother, but is in fact just a hungry wolf that wants to eat you for lunch." The moral: RUN! As I have mentioned above, not all of Jesus' parables had a moral, but usually tells us about who we are as sinners and who we can be as saints (Mt 13:3-8). I also do not agree with the eschatological school that the parable's future message is for the future only, but I believe that its message can be used in any era to help us in our daily walk with Christ (Lk 10:2).

Comment: "I have heard it said that a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning, and in order to understand a parable one really should know the meaning of it."

Author Response: This is why Jesus masked His meaning in His parables. He always said that those with ears to hear, and eyes to see would understand what He was telling them in His parables. Jesus even told His disciples that He preferred this way because only the spiritual minded would get His meaning. It's the same way today: those who are not spiritually minded can't understand why we would want to give our lives to someone we've never seen with our eyes. I believe that the spiritually minded who aren't saved yet are those the Holy Spirit is preparing to being into the Kingdom. I also believe that Jesus gives us the eyes to see and the ears to hear upon our salvation so that we can understand the Kingdom we have just entered. It's amazing to me how much information there is in just one parable. I am always amazed that the more you re-read any parable, the more you learn and understand about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Kingdom of God. I thank God that He never wants to remain invisible to us.

Comment: "The moralizing school believes that the parables were comparisons not extended allegories, and I just don't see parables as comparisons, I see them as symbolic expressions of a meaning in a story, spiritual, where comparisons is just finding similarities and differences."

Author Response: I don't agree with the moralizing school that the parables were comparisons. Comparisons to what? Jesus' parables were idealized and spoken in a way no one had ever heard before. That's why the people were amazed at Jesus' teachings; no other prophet had ever spoken to them as He had, with authority and with words that didn't include a lot of dos and don'ts. Only Jesus could speak to the heart of man, because Jesus was the Creator of man's heart. Comparing Jesus' parables to anyone else is like comparing Jesus to an ordinary man because Jesus was not an ordinary man. Only God could speak in higher ways than any man ever could. That is why I believe that Jesus spoke in allegory: because the human spiritual heart can only respond to spiritual words and images that were designed to enter the heart and melt the stone in it away for good.

Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.

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