Most of the well-known parables are found in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Who hasn’t at least heard of the powerful stories of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) or the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). It was the main teaching method of Jesus Christ and his parables have been quoted, taught, and discussed since the very beginning of Christianity. They were a popular way to hold an audience’s attention, using familiar characters and activities, to illustrate an important moral point. Aside from the Bible, parables also appear in Islamic and Buddhist sacred texts and even in works of modern literature.
The word parable comes from the Greek word, “parabole”, meaning comparison, illustration, analogy, and is an ancient Eastern literary genre. It can be described as a short, fictional story that teaches a lesson through comparison, and usually involves a person who faces a moral dilemma or someone who makes a bad decision and then suffers the consequences.
Parables are often confusing and present a type of riddle that we as humans are left to decipher; not an easy task. But let’s think about why parables would be the best way to get a message across to the general public, back in Jesus’s day and even in today’s world.
First of all, they are easier to recall and apply to real life. Do you remember as a child when you were studying for a test, and you made rhymes or songs to remember the material? A parable is kind of the same thing – when you find yourself struggling with something, that parable just might help you find an answer.
Secondly, they stand the test of time. Parables deal with basic principles, so they never go out of style. Jesus’s parables are still relevant today after 2,000 years.
They also allow us to say things that might otherwise get us in trouble. In old England, parables and rhymes were a form of social and political commentary where it wasn’t permitted to say things directly. All those nursery rhymes, like Humpty Dumpty and Little Jack Horner were political satires, allowing the authors to say what they wanted without actually saying it.
Most importantly though, is that parables have the amazing effect of planting seeds that sprout later down the road. They have a way of making us think, and though we might not understand the point today, we will think about it, discuss it with others and try to figure out what it means - and in time, help us figure things out.
1. Most of the well-known parables are found in?
A. The Koran
B. The Torah
C. Ancient Scripts of the Egyptians
D. Alien Texts
E. The Old and New Testaments of the Bible
2. A parable was notably used to?
A. Influence a revolution
B. Convince others to convert to Christianity
C. Hold an audience’s attention to illustrate an important moral point
D. Confuse the audience
E. None of the above
3. The word parable comes from Greek word, Parabole, which means?
A. Comparison, illustration, and analogy
B. Riddle or puzzle
E. Short story
4. Parables are often confusing, and present what?
A. A code only known to those who can crack it
B. Messages from beyond
C. A type of riddle that we are left to understand and decipher
D. A story meant to teach the reader a certain lesson
E. A secret knowledge only a few can learn
5. In Old England, parables were:
A. Meant to tach children about morality
B. A form of social and political commentary
C. Taught to get others in trouble
D. The way people received an education
E. Religious songs