Parables: The Greatest Stories Ever Told

Parables: The Greatest Stories Ever Told

Examine Jesus' parables in this 12-session study guide.

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.

Session One
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.
Matthew 13:1–23

Session Two
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.
Luke 15:1–32

Session Three
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.
Luke 10:25–37

Session Four
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.
Matthew 18:21–35

Session Five
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.
Luke 18:1–8

Session Six
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

Session Seven
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.
Matthew 19:16–20:16

Session Eight
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.
Matthew 24:36–25:13

Session Nine
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

Session Ten
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.
Luke 18:9–14

Session Eleven
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?
Luke 12:13–21

Session Twelve
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.
Luke 16:19–31

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.

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