NextLevel Online: Parables

by Mark Scott

In this series, Dr. Mark Scott (New Testament faculty at Ozark Christian College) will help you to think about parables as the upside down stories that Jesus told to teach about the dynamic reign of God in the world.

Parables



Lessons

Session 1
Session 1

Three Stories Outside of the Gospels

One of the problems with studying the parables of Jesus is that we know the punchline to the stories. In this lesson we tell three stories outside of the Gospels to help us prepare for the study of the parables of Jesus.

Session 2
Session 2

Resources

Kenneth Bailey says that Jesus was a “metaphoric theologian.” Well, if that’s true we are probably going to need some help understanding him because metaphor, symbolism and analogies are not always easy to interpret. This session contains resources that might help us.

Session 3
Session 3

Defining Parable

In session 3, we define what parable is. We get the definitions from different sources as comparison.

Session 4
Session 4

Antecedents

Parables are not unique to Jesus-what he did with them is somewhat unique. There were Hasidic tales, Sufi stories, and Zen anecdotes. Some say there were Buddhist and Chinese ones. Supposedly Aesop’s fables can be traced to Syrian origins. But we have some OT ones, and Judaism has its fair share. There are also Rabbinic ones and Greco-Roman ones. Jesus drew upon some of these and the people to whom Jesus spoke had a reservoir from which to draw to interpret them.

Session 5
Session 5

Functions

As people heard Jesus tell parables, they saw at once that they weren’t about God, so there was nothing in them threatening their own sovereignty. They relaxed their defenses. They walked away perplexed, wondering what they meant, the stories lodged in their imagination. This session covers multiple functions and purposes of parables.

Session 6
Session 6

Purposes

Functions are very similar to Purposes. There are many purposes of parables. So we will expand Lesson 5 into this lesson on purposes..

Session 7
Session 7

Historical Background: the Dress of the Parable

Session 7 covers Historical Background: the Dress of the Parable. It also includes all issues at stake and parables where it matters.

Session 8
Session 8

Special Features

Session 8 covers special features of the parables and where to pay attention to fully understand the message.

Session 9
Session 9

Walking Through Some Parables

Session 9 walk us through some parables (Luke 15:1-32 and Matt 22:1-14).