6 Tips For Reading Jesus’ Simple Stories
This Sunday we begin a 3-week mini-series in Jesus’ parables. A parable is a simple story with a deeper meaning.
Expect that characters or objects in a parable will symbolise something else.
- Look for the atypical
Jesus is often trying to draw our attention to the unusual element in each story:
e.g. it is atypical (to the original hearers) for a Samaritan to exercise costly care.
e.g. it is atypical for a father to run and embrace the son who shamed him.
- Be consistent with the rest of the Bible
If your interpretation of a story contradicts another clear teaching in the Bible, reconsider your approach. God, who wrote the Bible through humans, does not contradict himself.
- Pay attention to what precedes and what follows
It is no accident that the parables are arranged in a particular order. Often, upon close reflection, you will realise that two adjacent parables are connected.
- Seek to apply it personally
It could be easy to treat the parables as a riddle to be solved, but their real power lies in the ability to encourage, correct, rebuke and warn us.
- Remember the big picture
In all of these stories, Jesus is still on his way to the cross. Therefore, these are not merely moral lessons – Jesus’ simple stories point to the centre of his mission; dying on the cross for our sins in our place as our substitute and rising again.
Click below to download a daily reading guide
that can help you interpret the parables.