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.




Learn what Jesus told his disciples when they asked him why he used parables to convey his messages.

 An animated video from Superbook


The answer is found in Matthew 13:34.



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. We can only imagine the wonder of the occasions: Jesus — drawing from real-life issues of agriculture, justice, greed, stewardship, finance, and love — would capture the crowds' attention. 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. Weeds — 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. Hidden Treasure, Valuable Pearl:  Read Matthew 13:44–46; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

d. The Fishing Net, Household Treasures:  Read Matthew 13:47–52; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its two video clips.

e. The Mustard Seed and Yeast:  Read Matthew 13:31–33; Mark 4:30–32; Luke 13:18–21; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

f. The Cost of Discipleship:  Read Matthew 16:24–27; Mark 8:34–38; Luke 9:23–26; 14:25–33 listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

g. The Ten Minas:  Read Luke 19:11–27; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

h. The Strongman:  Read Matthew 12:22–37; Mark 3:22–29; Luke 11:14–23; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

i. The Growing Seed:  Read Mark 4:26–29; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.


2 — “Salvation” Parables Study Materials

a. A Lost Sheep; a Lost Coin; a Lost Son:  Read Matthew 18:10–14; Luke 15:1–32; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch three video clips.

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. The Wedding Banquet:  Read Matthew 22:1–14; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Martin Luther’s sermon; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

d. The Narrow Door of Salvation:  Read Matthew 7:13-14; 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. Ten Virgins (or Bridesmaids):  Read Matthew 25:1–13; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

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

c. The Shrewd Manager (or Unjust Steward):  Read Luke 16:1–15; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Martin Luther’s sermon; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

d. Wise and Foolish Builders:  Read Matthew 7:24–27; Luke 6:46–49; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

e. The Budding Fig Tree:  Read Matthew 24:32–35; Mark 13:28–31; Luke 21:25–33; listen to this parable’s recitations (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21); 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 Matthew 5:14–16; Mark 4:21–25; Luke 8:16–18; 11:33–36; listen to the parables’ recitations (Matthew 5, Mark 4, Luke 8; and Luke 11); read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

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

d. Friend at Midnight, Persistent Widow:  Read Luke 11:5–13; 18:1–8; listen to both parables’ recitations (chapter 11’s and chapter 18’s); read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

e. Two Debtors:  Read Luke 7:36–50; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

f. Blind, Leading the Blind:  Read Matthew 15:13–14; Luke 6:37–40; listen to the parables’ recitations (Matthew 15, Luke 6); read Warren’s summary.


5 — “Judgment” Parables Study Materials

a. An Unforgiving Servant:  Read Matthew 18:21–35; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Martin Luther’s sermon; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

b. The Wicked Trustees/Tenants:  Read Matthew 21:33–46; Mark 12:1–12; Luke 20:9–19; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

c. Bags of Gold (Talents):  Read Matthew 25:14–30; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

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

e. Sheep and Goats:  Read Matthew 25:31–46; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

f. The Great Banquet:  Read Luke 14:15–24; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.

g. The Barren Fig Tree:  Read Luke 13:6–9; listen to this parable’s recitation; read Warren’s summary; watch its video clip.