December 9, 2023
“Parable” is defined in MerriamWebster.com this way: “a usually short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle,” and it uses the example: “the Biblical parable of the Good Samaritan.” It also uses this second definition: something (such as a news story or a series of real events) likened to a parable in providing an instructive example or lesson.”
Regarding my Bible reading, I was first planning to write how the entire Bible is very much like an allegorical parable, and I reacted negatively to the first of the two dictionary definitions — especially to the “accusation” about being “fictitious.” Leaning way too far into my crusade to defend the Bible against all on-comers, those who misunderstand its words and precepts, and those using erroneous concepts in cynical attacks on Christians and Christianity, and likewise against Jesus, God, and the Bible… Well, I almost fell over my ship’s taffrail into the raging sea!
But the Skipper of my ship caught me. He always seems to be there when I need Him — whether I know I’m in trouble or not!
Nevertheless, it turns out both types of parables are used in the Bible. The most familiar would be Jesus’ parables. They were fictitious in nature, but not drawn from mythology or strange fables. They were drawn from real life and illustrated practical applications with moral substance. (So, a bit different from Aesop’s fables, even though Aesop was presenting practical lessons in his stories in the form of morality plays.)
You see, any mention of “fictitious” while discussing the Bible raises my overly sensitive hackles.
Nevertheless, what I was planning on asserting was that the whole Bible can be seen as a parable — only that it is an historical documentation of God’s revelations using real people in their real lives. The series of events — whether highly ethical or extremely evil, and whether reflecting well on Biblical heroes or not — they give validity, verity, propriety, and practicality for us to consider today.
No matter how a person looks at it, God, through either definition of “parable”, is purposefully revealing His character and how we should or should not respond to Him and His lessons in living our lives.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)