What Are the Parables of Jesus?


Quick Answer

The parables of Jesus are 46 stories told by Jesus during various sermons that were recorded by the writers of the Christian Bible. Taken as a whole, they make up a large percentage of Jesus' teachings. They are found in all four canonical Gospels, but mainly in Mark, Matthew and Luke, which are known as the synoptic Gospels. Some famous parables include the parable of the Good Samaritan, the parable of the Prodigal Son and the parable of the Leaven.

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Full Answer

Jesus used parables to help his followers understand his teachings and his message of God's love and redemption. Jesus was far from the first person to employ the explanatory power of parables; he adopted a literary tradition that had roots in the philosophical conversations of Ancient Greece and in Old Testament tradition.

Jesus used three main types of parable in the Gospels: similitude, parable and exemplary story. Similitude parables compare everyday experiences of normal people with aspects of God's kingdom or teachings. Traditional parables expound on a fictional story in order to convey a broad message, and exemplary parables are longer tales that draw explicit and specific parallels between ideas. Parables are considered valuable in the Christian faith because they are directly spoken by Jesus and are therefore symbolic of God's direct message.

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