Parable - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words


[ 1,,G3850, parabole ]
lit. denotes a placing beside" (akin to paraballo, "to throw" or "lay beside, to compare"). It signifies "a placing of one thing beside another" with a view to comparison (some consider that the thought of comparison is not necessarily contained in the word). In the NT it is found outside the Gospels, only in Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 11:19. It is generally used of a somewhat lengthy utterance or narrative drawn from nature or human circumstances, the object of which is to set forth a spiritual lesson, e.g., those in Matt. 13 and Synoptic parallels; sometimes it is used of a short saying or proverb, e.g., Matthew 15:15; Mark 3:23; Mark 7:17; Luke 4:23; Luke 5:36; Luke 6:39. It is the lesson that is of value; the hearer must catch the analogy if he is to be instructed (this is true also of a proverb). Such a narrative or saying, dealing with earthly things with a spiritual meaning, is distinct from a fable, which attributes to things what does not belong to them in nature.

Christ's "parables" most frequently convey truths connected with the subject of the kingdom of God. His withholding the meaning from His hearers as He did from the multitudes, Matthew 13:34, was a Divine judgment upon the unworthy.

Two dangers are to be avoided in seeking to interpret the "parables" in Scripture, that of ignoring the important features, and that of trying to make all the details mean something.

[ 2,,G3942, paroima ]
denotes "a wayside saying" (from paroimos, "by the way"), "a byword," "maxim," or "problem," 2 Peter 2:22. The word is sometimes spoken of as a "parable," John 10:6, i.e., a figurative discourse (RV marg., "proverb"); See also John 16:25, John 16:29, where the word is rendered "proverbs" (marg. "parables") and "proverb."

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words