Jesus’ Parables

A parable is a literary tool used throughout the Bible. Jesus himself used this method most frequently. Generally speaking, a parable is a fictitious tale, although usually realistic. The normal purpose of Jesus’ parables was to convey a higher, spiritual truth.

The word “parable” (Gr. “parabole”; placing beside) signifies a comparison between two objects. Thus, a parable may contain one main word that’s used to mirror another singular concept or object.

Opening page of Warren Camp’s ‘Parables of Jesus’ Bible-study website

Why Did Jesus Speak in Parables?

Of all the parables in the Bible, Jesus Christ himself made the greatest use of this literary device. One can only imagine the wonder of the occasions: Jesus — drawing from real life issues of agriculture, justice, greed, and love — would capture the attention of whole crowds. Yet despite the simplicity, his stories were filled with eternal, spiritual truths.

Selected Parables in Five Groups

1 — “Kingdom” Parables Study Materials

a. The Sower, Seed, and Soil:  Read Matthew 13:1–23; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

b. The Work of the Enemy:  Read Matthew 13:24–43; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its two video clips.

c. People of the Kingdom:  Read Matthew 13:44–46; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

d. God’s Kingdom Consummated:  Read Matthew 13:47–52; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary.


2 — “Salvation” Parables Study Materials

a. A Lost Sheep, a Lost Coin, a Lost Son:  Read Luke 15:1–32; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

b. Workers in the Vineyard:  Read Matthew 20:1–16; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

c. Come to the Wedding Banquet:  Read Matthew 22:1–14; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Martin Luther’s 1523 sermon; read Warren’s summary.

d. The Narrow Door of Salvation:  Read Luke 13:22–30; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

e. The Pharisee and the Tax Collector:  Read Luke 18:9–14; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.


3 — “Wisdom and Folly” Parables Study Materials

a. Five Foolish Women and Their Friends:  Read Matthew 25:1–13; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary.

b. The Rich Fool:  Read Luke 12:13–21; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary.

c. A Shrewd Man of the World:  Read Luke 16:1–9; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Martin Luther’s 1525 sermon; read Warren’s summary.

d. Wise and Foolish Builders:  Read Luke 6:46–49; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.


4 — “Christian Life” Parables Study Materials

a. A Tale of Two Sons:  Read Matthew 21:28–32; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

b. Two Stories About Lamps:  Read Luke 8:16–18; 11:33–36; listen to both parables’ recitations (chapter 8’s and chapter 11’s); read Warren’s summary.

c. The Good Samaritan:  Read Luke 10:25–37; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary.

d. On Not Giving Up:  Read Luke 11:5–13; 18:1–8; listen to both parables’ recitations (chapter 11’s and chapter 18’s); read Warren’s summary.

e. On Being Thankful:  Read Luke 7:36–50; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary.


5 — “Judgment” Parables Study Materials

a. A Wretched Man’s Wretched End:  Read Matthew 18:21–35; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Martin Luther’s 1527 sermon; read Warren’s summary.

b. The Wicked Trustees:  Read Matthew 21:33–46; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

c. Talents, Servants, Sheep and Goats:  Read Matthew 25:14–46; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary.

d. The Rich Man and Lazarus:  Read Luke 16:19–31; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; and take this fill-in quiz.