Why did Jesus Speak in Parables?

Sunday School teachers say, “A parable is a simple earthly story teaching a heavenly meaning to help common people understand the truth.” Have you heard this explanation?

But parables are difficult stories that are hard to understand. David said they were dark sayings (Ps 49:4; 78:2), and God called them riddles (Ezek 17:2).

Your Sunday School teacher was very wrong. Parables are confusing.

The disciples did not like Jesus using parables, for they and the multitude could not understand them. So they asked Jesus, “Why speakest thou unto them in parables?” (Matt 13:10).

Jesus said He used parables to confuse the people and keep them from understanding, for He did not want them converted (Matt 13:11-15).

Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. . . .Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. . . . lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Your Sunday School teacher was very wrong again.

Parables are dark and difficult sayings – like riddles, and Jesus used them to keep the multitude from understanding, for He chose to hide the truth from them.

These two errors are also taught in Bible colleges and seminaries, for men cannot stand the idea of Jesus Christ being a sovereign King, Who shows His truth only to His elect.

Did the disciples’ concern cause Jesus to stop using parables? Not at all, for Matthew 13:34 tells us He used them exclusively with this crowd:

All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:
Jesus is a great King, and He does not owe the truth to any man. Truth is a great blessing, which He hides from most and reveals to a few saints in the earth.

Our glorious Lord has concealed His truth from the wise and prudent, and He has revealed it unto babes – even His elect (Matthew 11:25-27).

At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
Do you like the well-known song, “Break Thou the Bread of Life,” written by Mary Ann Lathbury? Consider the last half of its final verse:

Show me the truth concealed within thy Word, And in thy Book revealed I see the Lord.

God has written His Word and designed gospel preaching to conceal the truth from the unregenerate and to reveal it to His saints (I Cor 1:22-24).

For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

We hope you will sing her song with more understanding in the future!