The problem of the parables of Jesus


This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Parables of Jesus

I quickly realized at least one real problem with the parables of Jesus.  How many were there?  I found one place that claims there are 70 – yes, seventy.  That’s a bit much.

I’m going to start with the list below, from Willmington’s Book of Bible Lists  1)Willmington, H. L. (1987). Willmington’s book of Bible lists (pp. 227–228). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale.  The names of the parables in the table are from the book.  I may change them, or do something in addition to them, as I go along.  Not sure yet.  At first glance, it appears the list is incomplete.  If that turns out to be the case, I’ll be adding to it.  Anyway, I put up a new series for this topic – Parables of Jesus, so if you’d like to keep track of what’s new, you can either keep checking this page (maybe bookmark it), check the series page, or better yet – follow this whole site using one of the methods at the top of the page or the email subscribe box at the top right.

This page is also a pretty good source for links to each of the parables, since the verses will open up the NIV translation of the parable verses (in a new window), and then you can switch to a different translation if you’d like.

The goal here, which will take time, given this isn’t the only topic I’m working on – is to go back to the Old Testament references (if appropriate) and to look at what Jesus was saying to the people at His time.  Then, once we know what it meant to them, we can examine what it means to us today.  The reason for doing all this is that often-times, we find the language today is a watered-down version of what the Bible would have meant to people back then.  There are so many things that would have immediately come to the minds of those listening to Jesus back then that we have no reason to know today.  I’ll try to bring some of that to you here – to bring even more depth of meaning to these parables.

Other than updating the links as I get things written up, not much else is likely to change on this page.  But please – do come back to see progress from time to time.

Parables of Jesus, from Willmington’s book of Bible lists

#Parable NameBible location(s)Link to article - if it's done.
1Two houses in a hurricaneMatt. 7:24–27;
Luke 6:47–49
2Forgiving the 50 and the 500Luke 7:41–42
3Subduing a strong manMark 3:22–30
4The sower, the seed, and the soilMatt. 13:1–9, 18–23; Mark 4:1–20;
Luke 8:4–15
5Satan’s tares in the Savior’s fieldMatt. 13:24–30, 36–43
6From scattering to sicklingMark 4:26–29
7The mighty mustard seedMatt. 13:31, 32;
Mark 4:30–32;
Luke 13:18–19
8The cook’s leaven and the kingdom of heavenMark 13:33;
Luke 13:20–21
9Finding a fortune in a fieldMatt. 13:44
10The pearl of great priceMatt. 13:45–46
11Sorting out a sea catchMatt. 13:47–50
12A trained man and his treasureMatt. 13:52
13A rent cloth and a ruptured containerMatt. 9:16–17;
Mark 2:21–22;
Luke 5:36–39
14A generation of gripersMatt. 11:16–19;
Luke 7:31–35
15The forgiven who wouldn’t forgiveMatt. 18:23–35
16The Good SamaritanLuke 10:25–37
17Seven spirits and a swept houseMatt. 12:43–45;
Luke 11:24–26
18A fool in a fixLuke 12:16–21
19Keep the home fires burningLuke 12:32–40
20A sinning servant and a returning rulerMatt. 24:45–51;
Luke 12:42–48
21A fruitless fig treeLuke 13:6–9
22Choosing the least at a wedding feastLuke 14:7–11
23Two fools and a henpecked husbandLuke 14:15–24
24A missing sheep, misplaced silver, and a miserable sonLuke 15:1–32
25The stewings of a stewardLuke 16:1–13
26The rich man and LazarusLuke 16:19–31
27When our best is but the leastLuke 17:7–10
28A widow and a weary judgeLuke 18:1–8
29A haughty Pharisee and a humble publicanLuke 18:9–14
30The workers in the vineyardMatt. 20:1–16
31Three stewards and their silverLuke 19:11–27
32Two sons who changed their mindsMatt. 21:28–32
33The vicious vinekeepersMatt. 21:33–46;
Mark 12:1–12;
Luke 20:9–19
34A wedding guest with no wedding garmentMatt. 22:1–14
35The fig tree and the futureMatt. 24:32–35;
Mark 13:28–31;
Luke 21:29–33
36Five lamps that went outMatt. 25:1–13
37Three stewards and their talentsMatt. 25:14–30
38Separating the sheep from the goatsMatt. 25:31–46
Series NavigationWhat is a parable? >>

References   [ + ]

1. Willmington, H. L. (1987). Willmington’s book of Bible lists (pp. 227–228). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale.

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