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Results from: Answers, Notes On or After: Fri 11/28/14 Ordered by Date
Ma'am, click on your name. There will also be a link to update your profile. State in your profile which church you attend. Tell us some other things about yourself. We want to know, so that we can more rightly pray for you.
Here are a few notes from my seminary class in hermeneutics that might be of value, specifically dealing with sound parabolic interpretation:
Definition: A parable is a brief story drawn from human life or nature, not related to an actual event, but is true to life and, concerning the listeners, is given for the purpose of teaching a spiritual truth.
CHARACTERISTICS OF PARABLES
1. Parables teach a truth using the technique of similarity or illustration.
2. Parables are usually very short, thus they are intended to be easily remembered.
3. Parables can be described as simultaneously very simple and very complex.
4. Parables use earthly things as teaching instruments.
5. Parables have only one primary point.
6. Parables typically are composed of three parts: (1) the setting (cultural context); (2) a story; and (3) a spiritual application.
7. Parables are intended to teach faithful disciples.
8. Parables are intended to hide the truth from the disobedient.
GUIDELINES FOR INTERPRETING PARABLES
1. Study the setting and the cultural background.
2. Read the story in its natural meaning. In other words, take it literally.
3. Determine the one central truth taught in the story. Learn to separate the unimportant details from the important issues. (Note that this isn't always an easy thing to do.)
4. Check to see if Jesus or other Scriptures interpret the parable for you. (Note: If Jesus gives an explanation, DO NOT look any for another!)
5. Check to see if the interpretation or point of a parable is dealt with in a doctrinal section of the scriptures, particularly the epistles. (This principle is called the Analogy of Faith.)
6. Check with good commentaries. (Use the commentaries to verify that your interpretation is not too far off from what is understood in Christian Biblical orthodoxy.)
7. Look for specific applications of the point of a parable to your own life. Apply what you discover to your life in a specific way.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Solid interpretation must ALWAYS precede application. You cannot apply what you do not understand.
I believe you were asking about Matthew 13:10-13. Yes, Jesus does say that the parable is a sacred secret.
There seems to be several reasons for this parable or illustration, and the circumstances in which it was told.
1. He told the disciples, they were granted the ability to understand. Revealed by God's spirit to his christian servants. Notice, because they inquired why he did so, they were granted understanding. So he was looking for servants who hungered for the knowledge of God. Only then did he grant them understanding. Once, they given the meaning,they were not to keep the message a secret, but to proclaim it to others.
2. Once the meaning of the parable was explained to the disciples, they could clearly see the truth in the message, as each soil described different heart conditions. They were able to see it directly in how the crowds did not understand and did not inquire its meaning.
There, of course, was another aspect of Jesus statement, being, "sacred secrets". He did explain that Jehovah God will reveal the meaning in his time, to whom he chooses. This again, was understood by the disciples, due to the fact that the crowds in general didn't understand. As we see how knowledge gets dispensed at 1 Corinthians 2:6-16.
As for parables in general, sometimes they are not understood, even by the intended listener, until the point is made clear to them. At such a time, it can deeply touch their emotions, causing them to acknowledge and/or motivate change. We can clearly see this in the parable that Nathan told King David regarding the man who owned a single sheep and the rich man who had many, but took the only one the man with little means had. David responded, "this man deserves to die! And as we know, Nathan was making the reference to David himself. As seen at 2 Samuel 12:1-13.
Ma'am, might I suggest that you write something about yourself in your profile? This is generally very helpful for the rest of us. For example, if we know that you are Roman Catholic, we will understand that certain questions are already settled for you. Or if you are a Methodist, then we know that much of your theology is rooted in John Wesley's teaching. In this way, we reduce the possibility of bringing offense, and enhance the possibility that we will render appropriate answers for you. :-)
Based on your comment, "This [parables] was in an effort to help the listener understand the point more clearly." (sic) How then do you handle the following passage from Matthew?
"And the disciples came and said to Him, 'Why do You speak to them in parables?' Jesus answered them, 'To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.'" (Matthew 10:10-13)
"Christ Himself is the Christians' armory. When they put on Christ, they are then completely armed from head to foot. Are their loins girt about with truth? Christ is the truth. Have they put on the breastplate of righteousness? Christ is our righteousness. Are their feet shod with the gospel of peace? Christ is our peace. Do they take the shield of faith, and helmet of salvation? Christ is that shield, and all our salvation. Do they take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God? Christ is the Word of God.
"Thus they put on the Lord Jesus Christ; by his Spirit fight the fight of faith; and, in spite of humans, of devils, and of their own evil heart, lay hold of eternal life. Thus Christ is all in all. --John Bunyan (1628-1688)
The parabole served as a means of teaching or communicating an idea. It was simply a method of explaining something not quite familiar by "placing it beside" another similar thing, more familiar to the listener.
This was in an effort to help the listener understand the point more clearly. It literally was a means of simplifying a lesson, as Jesus was most famous for doing so, out of love for his listeners.
"Doctrine: It is an indispensable duty incumbent on Christians to be fearers of God. 'Fear thou God' (Ecclesiastes 5:7). 'That thou mayest may fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD' (Deuteronomy 28:58). This goes to the very constituting of a saint. One can no more act as a Christian without fear, than he can act as a man without reason. This holy fear is the fixed temper and complexion of the soul; this fear is not servile but filial. There is a difference between fearing God, and being afraid of God; the godly fear God as a child does his father, the wicked are afraid of God as the prisoners is of the judge. This divine fear will appear admirable if you consider how it is mixed and interwoven with several of the graces." --Thomas Watson (1620-1686)