See Matthew 15:14-15 as an example; it could be a story or just a proverb -- the use varies.

A Parable is a narrative constructed for conveying an important spiritual truth.

A parable is possible -- a fable is not possible (see Judges 9:8-15 and 2 Kings 14:9).

Use of parables by Christ.

  • Parables illuminate teaching
  • Parables test the hearts of hearers (Luke 20:19; Matthew 13:11-17)

Rules for interpreting parables.

Determine the scope of teaching, seize that one central truth, make all details fit to that truth.

  • Compare with context and other scripture. What was the parable intended to illustrate?
  • Some meanings are given at the beginning, some at the end, some at both.
  • Luke 13:1, 9; 19:11: (beginning)
  • Matthew 25:13; Luke 16:9: (end)
  • Matthew 18:21, 35; Luke 12:15, 21: (both)
  • Check parallel passages.
  • Luke 15:4-7 compared with Matthew 18:12-14

No conclusion should be gathered from any part of the parable.

Parables should not be made the first source or the sole source of doctrine.