In this 12-session study, you will explore the meaning of Jesus’ many parables and the important truths they reveal about the Christian life.
This section introduces the topic, explains the structure followed in each study, and offers tips for those approaching the study on their own as well as those participating in a group.
Parable of the Sower
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus talks about different types of soil in order to explore human receptivity to God and different responses to spiritual truth. The Parable of the Sower is Jesus’ most important parable because it provides more clues than any other parable as to the nature of parables and how they should be interpreted.
The “Lost” Parables
We often fear rejection from other humans—and we also may feel this way about God. But in three parables about lostness—the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son—Jesus sets us straight about God’s loving regard for sinners.
The Good Samaritan
We know that one of the two great commandments is that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. What makes a neighbor? Geographical proximity? Race? Religion? Sharing the same social or economic status? In this study, a religious leader asks Jesus to tell him what it means to love one’s neighbor. With his response Jesus overturns our traditional definitions and shatters our stereotypes.
The Unforgiving Servant
In this parable Jesus teaches us how important it is to respond with gratitude to his abundant love and generous mercy, so that we can to let go of our fear and self-judgment and freely extend love and mercy toward others.
The Widow and the Judge
Praying Christians often give up hope. Why? Why do many of us stop expecting anything when we pray “Thy will be done”? In this parable Jesus tells us why we should always pray and never give up.
The Wheat and the Weeds
As followers of Jesus we live in an environment which is hostile to his life and teachings and to his way of love. Although it is difficult to live in a world of evil, this parable tells us that judgment is something we need to leave in God’s hands.
Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43
Parables of Money and Self-Worth
In this passage Jesus challenges our human concepts of fairness and worth. He shows us that kingdom values are often the opposite of what we expect.
The Wise and Foolish Virgins
In the series of short parables, Jesus calls us to not give up hope. He calls us to trust his love and his promise that he will come for us one day. He calls us to wait in expectation for his return.
Parable of the Talents
God has entrusted each of us with resources to use in the furthering of his kingdom of love. We each have been called to invest the resources we have been given so they can grow and multiply.Matthew 25:14–30
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector
Our prayers reveal who and what is most important to us. They expose our innermost feelings about ourselves and about God. In this parable we overhear the prayers of two men. Jesus told this story to people “who looked down on everyone else.” It is a parable which speaks against spiritual pride and judgmentalism.
Parable of the Rich Fool
This parable illustrates a tension in the heart of every Christian, affecting poor and rich alike. How do we resolve the conflict between our desires for earthly and heavenly treasure, earthly and heavenly security, kingdom values, and the values of the world?
The Rich Man and Lazarus
Christianity does not teach passive suffering in the face of injustice and oppression. This parable reminds us that Christ calls us to serve those who are in need. It also emphasizes that suffering in this life can be replaced by bliss in the next.
Total number of pages: 70
John White served as a medical missionary with New Tribes Mission. Later he was appointed associate general secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students of Latin America. He wrote 25 books as well as numerous articles and study guides. A much sought-after speaker, he lectured around the world at churches, conferences and leadership events. John White died in 2002, but his written ministry lives on, with over 1.5 million of his books in print.