Author: Ron Graham
Word family: Parable, parabolic.
Synonyms: Story with a moral, analogy, similitude, allegory, illustrative narrative, symbolic anecdote
Related ideas: Interpretation, kingdom of God, the Judgment
Definitions: To tell a parable means to cast a familiar idea beside an unfamiliar idea in such a way that the comparison helps people to better understand and grasp the unfamiliar idea. A story is told, certain features of which are analogous or parallel to the points or principles one wishes to drive home.
Greek References: parabolee 3850 (Strong) from 3846 paraballo, cf 3942. Note that para means beside, and ballo means to cast or throw. So parable means to cast beside.
Comment: Jesus was a consummate teller of parabless. He used to often speak in parables rather than speaking in plain language. He did this so that hostile listeners could make no case against him whilst genuine listeners would find his parables memorable and illuminating (Matthew 13:10-17).