Day 1

Why Did Jesus Speak in Parables?

from the The Parables of Jesus reading plan

Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:33-34

BY She Reads Truth

I will open my mouth in parables;
I will declare things kept secret

from the foundation of the world.
—Matthew 13:35

The Prodigal Son. The Good Samaritan. The Pearl of Great Price. You’ve heard the stories, but do you know them in their original context? In this 3-week study of the Parables of Jesus, we will read through many of the well-known—and not so well-known—stories Jesus used to teach hearers, both then and now, about how to live as His followers. Each day we will read parables in their immediate context, focusing on a different category of parables each week. In lieu of reading a devotional response, we will work through a series of questions to understand the meaning of the text and take to heart the “secrets of the kingdom.”

Editor’s Note: In this Parables study, Jesus Himself is telling us stories—stories He wants us to reflect on and process. Rather than asking our writers to write their own stories about Jesus’ stories, we thought it would serve you and the text better to provide questions to help you dig into the meaning of each day’s parable. If you find a parable or passage particularly confusing, stop and pray. Ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you in His Word, and thank Him that we can know Him without knowing all the answers to our questions.


Week 1: Parables about God’s Kingdom

Parables are stories with a point. They are designed to make us think about what is being said, why, where, to whom, and in what context. To get to the heart of Jesus’ parables, we need to pull them apart and take a careful look at the details He gives us. One detail that runs through this week’s selection of parables is that Jesus says they all describe the kingdom of God in some way. As you read through these passages, use the following questions to unpack the stories Jesus tells.


Day 1 Reading: Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:33-34


1. Today’s reading gives us not only a parable, but Jesus’ own words about why He used them. How would you summarize why Jesus spoke in parables? How does that help prepare you to read through them?

2. What situation or problem is addressed in today’s particular parable, and what is the outcome of the story?

3. What is the central point of this parable?

4. What is your response to this parable?



Post Comments (166)

166 thoughts on "Why Did Jesus Speak in Parables?"

  1. Emily Dolch says:

    What I’m taking from this particular parable is that our understanding of the Gospel increases when we take things in. When our soul comprehends versus just listening or reading. When we pray, meditate, and focus on whatever Jesus is saying – that’s when we start to get it. We have to fully grasp things to the best of our abilities, because shallow understanding isn’t enough and it won’t fulfill our souls.

    1. Catherine Mauer says:

      So very true! Sorry for the late response but I just added this study!

  2. Jakelyn Spencer says:

    Just as we sugar coat things to make them more desirable or to be understood easier, Jesus was doing the same. He needed to turn the soil and ready their hearts to hear, listen, and see all of the lords goodness. He chose parables to ready them. He tells these feel-good-stories and examples of where God has provided to show the unbelievers how good He is.

    1. Emily Dolch says:

      I love this! I just started this study too!

  3. Heather Hall says:

    I think it’s easier to understand and relate to a parable. To fully immerse yourself as the seed. You see what happens to the seed and you feel connected with the seed; once the reader finishes the parable they can fully see that they are the seed and take useful tips on how to tend for their seed.

  4. Marisa Benton says:

    In Matthew 13:13-17, Jesus tells us exactly why He spoke in parables. I like the instruction Jesus gives in the last part of verse 15: understand with their hearts AND turn, that I may heal them. It is a heart issue and only The Lord can reveal his word to us, but it does require action on our part, too. Otherwise, like someone else said, they are just stories not truth.

  5. aliyah saunders says:

    i think Jesus uses parables for us to understand him and His word better.

  6. Jenny says:

    I am fascinated about the description of the ground in each part of this parable….the path, where the birds stole away the seed is hard…maybe representing a hard heart? the one with the thorns….somehow that person allowed things to grow in their heart that wasn’t good (the thorns). it is so interesting to me that God used this parable to discuss people’s hearts and their receving of the word of God. the soil of a person’s heart must be soft, to accept the word, and we must SEEK to understand, hold it as precious in our hearts and allow God to do the growing He has planned for us!

  7. Angela Gegeyan says:

    I think this can be related in every way of life. When we are told something and don’t understand it is important to ask why and what. I feel though sometimes we read the word to just read it and we may understand it but we fail sometimes that God didn’t put these words in the Bible to just put it. It’s so important to seek the Fathers word in order to live not in a earthly way but in ways that God see’s us in his eyes. In other words, God wants us to to live through his eyes and his ears. Hence the reason why Jesus speaks through parables.

  8. Sherri K. says:

    I have heard the expression that parables are “heavenly stories with earthly meanings”

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