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PREACHING FROM THE PARABLES

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Title: PREACHING FROM THE PARABLES


1
(No Transcript)
2
PREACHING FROM THE PARABLES
  • Preaching a parable is a novice
    preachers dream
  • but often an experienced
    preachers nightmare.
  • (Thomas O. Long Preaching the Literary forms
    of the Bible Philadelphia Fortress, 1989)

3
Preaching from the parables
  • There are few portions of Scripture as exciting
    and relevant for preaching as the parables. Along
    with apocalyptic, they have been among the most
    written about yet hermeneutically abused portions
    of Scripture.
  • (Grant R. Osborne, The Hermeneutic Spiral
    Downers Grove
    Inter-Varsity Press, 2006)

4
Preaching from the parables
  • Throughout much of the churchs history the
    parables of Jesus have been mistreated,
    rearranged, abused and butchered. Often they are
    still today. They are used more than they are
    heard and understood.
  • (Klyne Snodgrass From Allegorizing to
    Allegorizing A History of the Interpretation of
    the Parables of Jesus. In The Challenge of
    Jesus Parables. Ed. R.N.Longenecker. Grand
    Rapids Eerdmans, 2000).
  •  

5
Preaching from the parables
  • A sermon based on a parable will be similar to a
    movie, whereas a sermon from a Pauline passage
    would more likely resemble a documentary.
  • The purpose of a movie is to entertain, while a
    documentary informs. Movies are mostly fiction
    and deal with imagination documentaries deal
    with facts and real life problems.

6
Preaching from the parables
  • The struggle for the preacher is this do I want
    to merely entertain or do I want to relay
    information that can affect peoples lives? As a
    preacher I want to effect positive change. Heres
    the paradox in the short term, a documentary may
    communicate more clearly, but in the long term, a
    movie may have greater impact! Witness
    Hollywoods contribution to Western values, for
    good or ill.
  • (Fred Penney Preaching the Parables of
    Jesus http//www.preaching.com/resources/articles/
    11550740/)

7
Preaching from the parables
  • In a society which denigrates imperative
    statements, story becomes increasingly more
    important...The power of story in this culture is
    that the storyteller has to fight less against
    the inherent bias which those in a post-modern
    culture have against any kind of propositional
    communication...
  • The power of story is such that, when properly
    used, it circumvents such cynicism. It takes the
    back door to communication and is able to speak
    to others in a way that propositional truth often
    simply cannot.
  • (Samuel Larson, Teaching the Parables to a
    Post-Modern Society Quodlibet Journal Volume 1,
    Number 1 March April 1999
  • http//www.quodlibet.net/articles/lamerson-parabl
    es.shtml)

8
The teaching practice of Jesus
  • See Mark 41-34
  • With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word
    to them, as much as they could understand. He did
    not say anything to them without using a parable.
    But when he was alone with his own disciples, he
    explained everything. (Mark 433-34//Matthew
    1334-35)

9
The teaching practice of Jesus
  • 1. The scope of parables
  • He did not say anything to them without using a
    parable.
  • parabole (Greek) to put (lit. throw) beside
    i.e. to compare
  • mashal (Hebrew) it is like
  • figurative forms of speech of every kind.
  • (J. Jeremias)
  • The one common element is the use of everyday
    experiences to draw a comparison with kingdom
    truths. (Grant R. Osborne)

10
The teaching practice of Jesus
  • 2. The understanding of parables
  • But when he was alone with his own disciples,
    he explained everything.
  • He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God
    has been given to you. But to those on the
    outside everything is said in parables so that,
    " 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
    and ever hearing but never understanding
    otherwise they might turn and be forgiven! "
  • (Mark 411-12//Luke 89-10, Matthew 1310-15
    see Isaiah 69-10)

11
The teaching practice of Jesus
  • 2. The understanding of parables
  • ...it is not that they fail cognitively to
    understand...Rather the understanding that
    outsiders lack is the full-orbed Biblical meaning
    of understanding that which consistently
    refers to people being willing to act on their
    knowledge. Those who are not Jesus followers do
    not understand volitionally they are unwilling
    to become disciples. From an eternal perspective
    that is the only kind of understanding that
    ultimately matters.
  • Craig L. Blomberg Preaching the Parables From
    Responsible Interpretation to Powerful
    Proclamation (Grand Rapids Baker Books 2004)

12
The teaching practice of Jesus
  • 2. The understanding of parables
  • To Jesus original audience the parables both
    revealed and concealed new truths regarding Gods
    kingdom program. Those who rightly responded were
    called disciples and to them it was granted to
    understand the mysteries of the kingdom. The same
    truth was concealed from those who, because of
    hardened hearts, were unreceptive to the message
    of Jesus.
  • Mark L. Bailey Guidelines for Interpreting
    Jesus' Parables,
  • Bibliotheca Sacra 155 617 (1998) 29-38.
    http//www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/article_parables
    _bailey.html

13
The teaching practice of Jesus
Gains and losses He replied, "The knowledge of
the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been
given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will
be given more, and he will have an abundance.
Whoever does not have, even what he has will be
taken from him. (Matthew 1311-12)
  • 2. The understanding of parables
  • Gains and losses
  • His disciples came to him and asked, Why do you
    speak to the people in parables?! He replied,
    "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of
    heaven has been given to you, but not to them.
    Whoever has will be given more, and he will have
    an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he
    has will be taken from him. (Matthew 1310-12)

14
A brief history of the hermeneutics of
parables
  • 1. The allegorical approach to the parables
  •  ? 1900
  • Parables
  • elaborate allegories
  • every detail in each parable
  • deeper spiritual or symbolic significance.

15
A brief history of the hermeneutics of
parables
  • 1. The allegorical approach to the parables
  • the Patristic period
  •  
  • e.g. Origen (185-254 A.D.) - The Parable of the
    Good Samaritan
  • The man who was going down is Adam. Jerusalem
    is paradise, and Jericho is the world. The
    robbers are hostile powers. The priest is the
    Law, the Levite is the prophets, and the
    Samaritan is Christ. The wounds are disobedience,
    the beast is the Lord's body, the inn is the
    Church. ... the two denarii mean the Father and
    the Son. The manager of the stable is the head of
    the Church, to whom its care has been entrusted.
    And the fact that the Samaritan promises he will
    return represents the Saviour's second coming.
  •  

16
A brief history of the hermeneutics of
parables
  • 1. The allegorical approach to the parables
  • the Middle Ages

17
A brief history of the hermeneutics of
parables
  • 1. The allegorical approach to the parables
  • the Reformation
  • Luther et al
  • But see Calvins criticism
  • http//www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom33.ii.vii.ht
    ml

18
A brief history of the hermeneutics of
parables
  • 1. The allegorical approach to the parables
  • up to the 19th century
  • For a modern defence
  • see John Welch
  • The Good Samaritan A Type and Shadow of the
    Plan of Salvation
  • http//www.scribd.com/doc/4569572/Welch-The-Good-S
    amaritan
  • A-Type-and-Shadow-of-the-Plan-of-Salvation

19
A brief history of the hermeneutics of
parables
  • 2. The one-point approach to the parables
    20th
    century
  • Adolf Jülicher (1857-1938)
  • Die Gleichnisreden Jesu (Freinerg Mohr, 1899)
  • parables are extended similes
  • with one single point (unlike allegories)
  • so allegorical details/explanations in the
    Gospels are later editorial additions
  • the aim to recover the authentic nucleus of
    each parable
  • ...almost without exception they have a genuine
    nucleus that goes back to Jesus himself.
  • The message of the parables general moral
    lessons

20
A brief history of the hermeneutics of
parables
  • 2. The one-point approach to the parables
  • C.H.Dodd (1884-1973)
  • The Parables of the Kingdom
  • (Welwyn, England James Nisbet, 1935, revised
    1961)
  • the central motif the kingdom of God
  • a present not future kingdom
  • the aim to recover the original setting of the
    parables in the ministry of Jesus

21
A brief history of the hermeneutics of
parables
  • 2. The one-point approach to the parables
  • Joachim Jeremias (1900-1979)
  • The Parables of Jesus
  • (S.H.Hooke tr. London SCM.1958, revised 1963)
  • uncovering the Palestinian background of the
    parables
  • removing later church editing/allegorical details
  • the main focus - the conflict aspect of the
    parables

22
A brief history of the hermeneutics of
parables
  • 3. Recent approaches to the parables
  • Radical
  • reader-response
  • polyvalent meanings
  • To the extent that reader-response criticism
    requires commentators to apply the parables to
    their own lives rather than being satisfied with
    an exegesis which stops short of personally
    involving the interpreter , it provides an
    invaluable service. But this is not the way it
    usually advertises itself, and many of its claims
    mislead readers into thinking that they have the
    power to actually create meaning for texts.
  • Craig L. Blomberg. Interpreting the Parables
    Downers Grove Inter-Varsity Press, 1990)

23
A brief history of the hermeneutics of
parables
  • 3. Recent approaches to the parables
  • Conservative - limited allegorical meaning
  • studying each parable in its Gospel context
  • and its cultural setting
  • so discovering the main point/s

24
A brief history of the hermeneutics of
parables
  • Conservative - limited allegorical meaning
  • Craig L. Blomberg
  • Interpreting the Parables
  • (Downers Grove Inter-Varsity Press, 1990)
  • all Jesus parables are allegorical on some level
  • each parable makes one main point per main
    character
  • these main characters are the most likely
    elements to stand for something other than
    themselves
  • elements other than the main characters will have
    metaphorical referents only to the extent that
    they fit in with the meaning established by the
    referents of the main characters
  • all allegorical interpretation must result in
    that which would have been intelligible to a
    first-century Palestinian audience
  •  

25
A brief history of the hermeneutics of
parables
  • Conservative - limited allegorical meaning
  • Synthesis of parables (Blomberg)
  • 1. Three main topics
  • the graciousness of God
  • the demands of discipleship
  • the dangers of disobedience
  • 2. The central theme the kingdom of God
  • present and future
  • personal transformation and social concern
  • 3. The identity of Jesus
  • who is he?
  • no room for neutrality

26
A brief history of the hermeneutics of
parables

(Downers Grove, Inter-Varsity Press 1990)
(Grand Rapids Baker
Books 2004)
27
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • Preliminary exegesis
  • discourse structure
  • syntax
  • etymology
  • textual variants
  •  

28
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • STAGE 1 Focus on the historical setting of the
    parable
  • in the life and ministry of Jesus
  • what did it mean for the first hearers
  • in the Gospel in which it is placed
  • what did it mean for the intended readers
  • The task of the interpreter is to find out, if
    he can, the setting of a parable in the situation
    contemplated by the Gospels, and hence the
    application which would support itself to the one
    who stood in that situation. (C.H.Dodd)

29
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • STAGE 1 Focus on the historical setting of the
    parable
  • Clues to discovering the setting
  •  
  • the situation/person which prompts the parable
  • editorial comments or direct speech from Jesus
  • (before and/or after the parable)

30
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • Example Luke 1213-21
  •  
  • Situation Someone in the crowd said to him,
    "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the
    inheritance with me." (verse 13)
  •  
  • Response Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a
    judge or an arbiter between you?" Then he said to
    them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all
    kinds of greed a man's life does not consist in
    the abundance of his possessions." (verses 14-15)
  • Parable Then he told them this parable...
  • The Rich Fool (verses 16-20)
  •  
  • Postscript "This is how it will be with anyone
    who stores up things for himself but is not rich
    toward God." (verse 21)

31
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • Exercise Luke 11 1-13
  •  
  • Situation?
  • The disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray
    (verse 1)
  •  
  • Response?
  • Jesus gives them, a model prayer (verses 2-4)
  • Parable?
  • The Friend at Midnight (verses 5-8)
  •  
  • Postscript?
  • Jesus encourages his disciples to pray with
    confidence and expectation to your Father
    (verses-13)

32
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • STAGE 2 Research the cultural background of the
    parable
  • the Palestinian background the key to
    understanding the original meaning of the
    parables

(Grand Rapids Eerdmans, 1983 )
(London SPCK 2008)
33
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • STAGE 2 Research the cultural background of the
    parable
  • the Palestinian background the key to
    understanding the original meaning of the
    parables
  • The parables confront the exegete with what can
    be called the cultural problem. When studying the
    apostle Paul, one is dealing with theology
    expressed in conceptual language. But in the case
    of parables, their theology is expressed in
    stories about particular people who lived in a
    given cultural setting at a specific time in
    history. To understand the theology of parables,
    therefore, we must recapture the culture that
    informs the text. The culture of Synoptic
    parables is that of first-century Palestine.
  • (Kenneth E. Bailey, Poet and Peasant. Grand
    Rapids Eerdmans, 1976)

34
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • STAGE 2 Research the cultural background of the
    parable
  • the Palestinian background the key to
    understanding the original meaning of the
    parables
  • Palestinian Christians saw their own culture
    reflected in the parables and could therefore
    understand the teller/authors intent directly.
    But when the cultural base of the Church ceased
    to be Palestinian the parables inevitably became
    stories about foreigners. This foreignness of
    the culture that informs the parables we have
    called the cultural problem .
  • (Kenneth E. Bailey, Poet and Peasant. Grand
    Rapids Eerdmans, 1976)

35
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • STAGE 3 Discover the internal structure of the
    parable
  • Since the parable is indeed a literary
    phenomenon, the interpreter must apply
    compositional and rhetorical techniques to
    discover its plot development and literary
    patterns.
  • (Grant R. Osborne The Hermeneutical Spiral,
    Downers Grove Intervarsity Press 2006)
  •  

36
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • STAGE 3 Discover the internal structure of the
    parable
  • Four elements in plot development
  • 1. Situation
  • 2. Complication
  • 3. Resolution
  • 4. Application
  • (Fred Penney Preaching the Parables of
    Jesus http//www.preaching.com/resources/articles/
    11550740/)
  • See also Eugene Lowry How to Preach a Parable
    Designs for Narrative Sermons
    (Nashville Abingdon 1989)

37
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • STAGE 3 Discover the internal structure of the
    parable
  • Example 1 The Good Samaritan (Luke 1025-37)
  • Situation In response to a question on eternal
    life, Jesus tells a story of a man on a journey
    who is mugged and left for dead.
  • Complication Two Jewish holy men, instead of
    being good neighbours, passed him
    by.
  • Resolution Finally, an unlikely man, an outcast
    Samaritan, acts as a neighbour and  shows him
    compassion and kindness.
  • Application Jesus turns to his questioner and
    says, Which of these men was a neighbour?  Go
    and do likewise.
  • (Fred Penney Preaching the Parables of Jesus
    http//www.preaching.com/resources/articles/115507
    40/)

38
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • STAGE 3 Discover the internal structure of the
    parable
  • Example 2 The Pearl of Great Price (Matthew
    1345-46)
  • Situation A merchant spends his life looking for
    rare and exquisite pearls.
  • Complication When he finds the rarest and most
    beautiful of pearls, it costs him everything he
    owns.
  • Resolution He makes a business decision to sell
    all that he has to buy the pearl.
  • Application Will you sell all that you own to
    buy this pearl? Will you recognise the value of
    Gods kingdom and give everything to enter it?
  • (Fred Penney Preaching the Parables of Jesus
    http//www.preaching.com/resources/articles/115507
    40/)

39
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • STAGE 4 Determine the main point/s of the
    parable
  • Different types of parables (Blomberg)
  • 1. Simple Three-Point Parables (11)
  • Examples
  • The Prodigal Son (Luke 1511-32)
  • The Two Debtors (Luke 741-43)
  • The Ten Virgins (Matthew 251-13)
  • The Wheat and the Tares (Matthew 1324-30 36-43)

40
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • STAGE 4 Determine the main point/s of the
    parable
  • Different types of parables (Blomberg)
  • 2. Complex Three-Point Parables (10)
  • Examples
  • The Sower (Mark 43-9 //s)
  • The Good Samaritan (Luke 1025-37)
  • The Talents (Matthew 2514-30//Luke 1912-27)
  • The Labourers in the Vineyard (Matthew 201-16)

41
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • STAGE 4 Determine the main point/s of the
    parable
  • Different types of parables (Blomberg)
  • 3. Two-Point Parables (9)
  •  Examples
  • The Pharisee and the Tax-Collector (Luke 189-14)
  • The Two Builders (Matthew 724-27//Luke 647-49)
  • The Rich Fool (Luke 1216-21)
  • The Unjust Judge (Luke 181-8)

42
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • STAGE 4 Determine the main point/s of the
    parable
  • Different types of parables (Blomberg)
  • 4. One-Point Parables (6)
  • The Hidden Treasure the Pearl of Great Price
    (Matthew
    1344-46)
  • The Tower-Builder the Warring King

    (Luke 1428-43)
  • The Mustard Seed and the Leaven

    (Luke 1318-22
    //s)

43
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • STAGE 5 Relate the main point/s to the wider
    context
  •  
  • of Jesus teaching especially in relation to the
    kingdom
  • of the individual Gospel
  • in the rest of the New Testament

44
Preparation for preaching on the parables
  • STAGE 6. Apply the central truth/s to
    contemporary situations
  • The evocative power of the parables is as great
    today as it was in the first century..The
    parables reach down to the deepest levels of the
    human psyche and will. Moreover, the themes speak
    as clearly today as they did in Jesus day.
    Forgiveness and compassion, and jealousy and
    self-centredness are certainly as meaningful in
    our day as in ancient times. The message of
    divine mercy and the radical demands of the
    presence of the kingdom should ring with a
    clarion call in the church today.
  • (Grant R. Osborne, The Hermeneutic Spiral

    Downers Grove
    Inter-Varsity Press, 2006)

45
Preaching a parable
  • How to preach a parable
  • parabolically not as a series of propositions
  • sequentially following the story-line
  • holistically focus on the main point/s of the
    parable
  • dramatically move towards the denouement

46
Preaching a parable
  • Two related problems

    when preaching from a parable today
  • the loss of impact felt by the first hearers
  • familiarity with the story
  • e.g. The Parable of the Good (!) Samaritan

47
Preaching a parable
  • Two ways to preach a parable today
  • 1. Modernising the parables
  • ...for the parables to have the intended effect,
    they must be modernized, and told in such a way
    as to engender the reaction that was intended
    when they were first delivered.
  • (Samuel Larson, Teaching the Parables to a
    Post-Modern Society Quodlibet Journal Volume 1,
    Number 1 March April 1999

    http//www.quodlibet.net/articles/lam
    erson-parables.shtml)

48
Preaching a parable
  • Two ways to preach a parable today
  • 1. Modernising the parable
  • The limits of modernisation
  • The question that arises, of course, is how far
    can one go in modernizing and re-telling these
    stories? When does the "modernization" stop, and
    creation of an entirely new story begin? How can
    one retain the inspired nature of the story,
    while still modernizing it? These are questions
    that must be answered through an examination of
    methodological issues in contextualization. But
    at the outset it must be stated that the
    canonical version of the parables must be the
    starting place. That is, the contextualized
    version cannot stand on its own. It must stand in
    connection with, and under the authority of the
    Scripture.
  • (Samuel Larson, Teaching the Parables to a
    Post-Modern Society Quodlibet Journal Volume 1,
    Number 1 March April 1999

    http//www.quodlibet.net/articles/lam
    erson-parables.shtml)

49
Preaching a parable
  • Two ways to preach a parable today
  • 1. Modernising the parables
  • An Example of a Contextualized Parable
  • The Parable of the Two Debtors
  • (Matthew 1823-34)
  • (Samuel Larson, Teaching the Parables to a
    Post-Modern Society Quodlibet Journal Volume 1,
    Number 1 March April 1999

    http//www.quodlibet.net/articles/lam
    erson-parables.shtml)

50
Preaching a parable
  • Two ways to preach a parable today
  • 2. Explaining the parables
  • Example The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke
    1025-37)
  • What would you need to explain so that the
    parable had a similar impact on a 21st century
    Western hearer as it had on those who first
    heard it from the lips of Jesus?

51
Exercise The Parable of the Prodigal Son Luke
1511-32
  • 1. This is the third of three parables. 
  • what is the context why did Jesus tell these
    parables?
  •  what differences are there between the three
    parables?
  • 2. What is the significance of the elder son in
    the third parable?
  • 3. What insights from Jewish culture might add
    to our understanding of the parable?
  • Are there any Old Testament echoes in the
    parable?
  • 4. Does the traditional title of the parable
    summarise its message? Can you suggest a better
    title?
  • 5. How might you apply this parable
  • to those who are churchgoers/Christians?
  •  to those who are not?

52
Remembrandt Return of the Prodigal Son
53
Exercise The Parable of the Pharisee and the
Tax-Collector (Luke 189-14) 
  • 1. This parable is one of 15 parables which are
    unique to Lukes Gospel
  • How does it contribute to Lukes purpose and
    emphases in his Gospel?
  •  
  • 2. Why did Jesus tell this parable? 
  • Are there any links with the parable that
    precedes it (verses 1-8) and the two incidents
    which follow it (verses 15-17 18-3
  •  
  • 3. What misunderstandings about the status and
    role of the two main characters might arise in
    the mind of todays reader, and how might an
    understanding of first century Jewish culture and
    religion rectify these?
  •  
  • In retelling the story, what modern day cultural
    substitutes might be used for the two main
    characters? 
  •  
  • 4. Can you suggest a good title for this
    parable?
  •   
  • 5. What is the main application of the parable?
  •    
  • How might you apply it 
  • to those who are from a Christian/religious
    background?
  • to those who are not?

54
Exercise The Parable of the Pharisee and the
Tax-Collector (Luke 189-14) 
  • 1. This parable is one of 15 parables which are
    unique to Lukes Gospel.
  • How does it contribute to Lukes purpose and
    emphases in his Gospel?
  • Why Four Gospels?
  • Donald Bridge
  • Christian Focus, 1996
  •  

55
Matthew
  • Written for Jews
  • Who is Jesus?
  • Jesus the King of the nations
  • Worship him!

56
Mark
  • Written for Romans
  • What did Jesus do?
  • Jesus the Son of God
  • Follow him!

57
John
  • Written for Christians
  • Why did Jesus come?
  • Jesus the Christ, the Son of God
  • Believe in him!

58
Luke
  • Written for Greeks
  • What is Jesus like?
  • Jesus the Saviour of the world
  • Love him!

59
Preaching from the Gospels
  • The distinctive character of each Gospel
  • what is the target audience?
  • what material is unique to this Gospel?
  • what is omitted from shared Gospel material?
  • what is shared with other Gospels?
  • where is it placed in the Gospel?
  • how does it relate to its immediate context?
  • how does it relate to the wider context of the
    whole Gospel?
  • why?

60
Exercise The Parable of the Pharisee and the
Tax-Collector (Luke 189-14) 
  • 1. This parable is one of 15 parables which are
    unique to Lukes Gospel
  • How does it contribute to Lukes purpose and
    emphases in his Gospel?
  •  
  • 2. Why did Jesus tell this parable? 
  • Are there any links with the parable that
    precedes it (verses 1-8) and the two incidents
    which follow it (verses 15-17 18-3
  •  
  • 3. What misunderstandings about the status and
    role of the two main characters might arise in
    the mind of todays reader, and how might an
    understanding of first century Jewish culture and
    religion rectify these?
  •  
  • In retelling the story, what modern day cultural
    substitutes might be used for the two main
    characters? 
  •  
  • 4. Can you suggest a good title for this
    parable?
  •   
  • 5. What is the main application of the parable?
  •    
  • How might you apply it 
  • to those who are from a Christian/religious
    background?
  • to those who are not?

61
Exercise The Parable of the Pharisee and the
Tax-Collector (Luke 189-14) 
  • A sample sermon
  • The Only Way Up is Down
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