Bible Notes

Bible Notes

Have You Ever Wondered Why it Was That Jesus Did Speak in Parables?

Chris McCann
January 21, 2018

#143 Have You Ever Wondered ...

Matthew 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

First of all, in order to understand why Christ spoke in parables we have to know exactly who He is-- God tells us in these verses:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,...

Jesus is the Word and the Word was God (therefore Jesus is God) and the Word was made flesh.

He is the embodiment of the Word of God. This means He is the embodiment of the Bible.

If, as so many churches and their theologians say, we are to understand the Word of God only in a plain and literal way, and not look for any other meaning (i.e. spiritual); then why didn't Jesus speak in a plain and literal way? Why did He always speak in parables?

I'm sure, after addressing a crowd and speaking to them only in parables that some of the people in the crowd would find their way to the disciples and ask them what did Jesus just say? What did it mean? And why does He speak to us in parables? Why doesn't He speak to us directly, plainly, so we can understand Him?

Often times the disciples wouldn't understand the meaning of the parable either, so they would have to shrug their shoulders when asked what the parable meant. Here, they decide to ask Jesus Himself: "Why speakest Thou unto them in parables?"

We might wonder along with them? Why did Jesus constantly speak in parables and not speak plainly, literally (the way theologians insist we study the Bible)? After all, wouldn't the best way to get people to understand His message be through a more direct and clear way of speaking?

But this is actually the point of the parable. Christ spoke in parables in order that people of the world NOT understand what He was saying. He didn't want them to understand. To say it plainly, Jesus was intentionally speaking in riddles so that they would not understand the deeper and much more important truth that laid buried underneath His Words. And in doing so, He was also teaching the reader of the Bible the nature of that Holy Book. The Holy Bible is itself written in parabolic form (as a parable is that which hides truth) and while yes, God has given the Bible to the world, He nonetheless has written it in such a way that it is impossible for the natural minded people of the world to understand the spiritual truth that is in it. Here's Jesus' answer to the disciples:

Matthew 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

The corporate church despises what it calls, "spiritualizing" because it’s sensed that this way of interpreting the Bible is beyond its abilities to comprehend and perceive. The corporate church insists that proper hermeneutics be limited to the plain historical and grammatical method of interpretation. Any attempt to go deeper into the Bible and to look of spiritual teachings is ridiculed and reviled as 'reading into the text'. They have developed this method of interpretation precisely because of Jesus' words in Matthew 13:11 regarding the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, "but to them it is not given". They do not understand spiritual things because they are dead in their spirits (that is they were never saved) and are only alive in the natural realm of things. Therefore they insist upon a Biblical interpretation that is like themselves, natural and worldly. The simple reason is because they cannot grasp a hold of that which is spiritual.

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