Series Introduction
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The Series Introduction

A Chronological Study

"To Him who opened His mouth in parables and
uttered things hidden since the creation of the world."
Psalm 78:2


This is a new study to understand the words of Jesus that He spoke in parables to His disciples, the pharisees and others. These studies are of my own design and, of course, are based on the teachings of the many Bible teachers who have gone before. "We will be standing on the shoulders of Giants!"1 [j. Deering,]

This series began in late September, 2021. The individual studies will be added as they are completed. Occasionally there will be studies that are related to the unerstanding of Jesus' parables but are not about a specific parable itself. The ultimate plan is to work through all of the parables presented in the Gospels One-at-a-time, and there are many. As each study is completed it will be listed on our Table of Parables, along with other related studies.

The parables are the direct words of Jesus! Now, open your ears, sharpen your understanding, and hear what He has to say!


Jesus focused his ministry in one small place in Israel: Galilee, in the three cities of Korazin, Capernaum, and Bethsaida. Although many people today assume that Galileans were simple, uneducated peasants who lived in an isolated area, the truth is they interacted more with the world than the Jews of Jerusalem. After all, the Via Maris trade route passed through Galilee, exposing them to many different peoples and cultures.

The Galileans were also the most religious Jews in the world during Jesus' time. They revered and knew the Scriptures well. They were passionately committed to living out their faith and passing their faith, knowledge, and lifestyle to their children. This led to the establishment of vibrant religious communities; a strong commitment to families and country; and active participation in the local synagogues; the community centers of that day. In fact, more famous Jewish teachers came from Galilee more than anywhere else.

The Galileans resisted the pagan influences of Hellenism far longer than their Judean counterparts, and when the great revolt against the Romans and their collaborators finally occurred (AD 66-74), it began among the Galileans.

Clearly God carefully prepared the environment in which Jesus was born and reared so that he would have exactly the context he needed in order to present his message of "the kingdom of heaven" effectively, and so that people would understand and join his new movement.

A deeper knowledge of Galilee and its people helps us understand the great faith and courage of Jesus' disciples, who left Galilee and shared the good news with the world (Evidence indicated that Judas Iscariot was apparently the only non-Galilean among Jesus' twelve, closest disciples). The disciples' courage, the message they taught, the methods they used, and their complete devotion to God and his Word were born in Galilee's religious communities.

From: Focus on the Family -

The parables [Gk. Stories Thrown Alongside], to many, seem like just a collection of interesting stories that Jesus throws in to confuse the religious leaders who confront Him. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The parables are specifically designed for the response of those who hear them. God specifically makes some to hear and some to not hear. The principles found in the parables can only be fully discerned by those who have been prepared by God and then, only by contact with the Word of God and through Faith. It is Jesus who is the Word of God and understanding of these parabolic stories can only be understood through Faith in Him then and now.

The parables are a look into the mirror. We see who we are in relationship to Christ. They show us Christ and His will in and for us. They show us our heavenly Father and they show us His Son's Kingdom - both the easy and pleasant, and the hard and difficult. Jesus has come to be revealed not concealed. His words and His actions are to prove just who He is - Almighty God.

In this study of the parables, use your ears and pay attention. Hear the significance of what is veiled in these parables. Consider the truths revealed carefully. Just as in the whole of Scripture, the characters found there are used as our guides who point to Christ. Therefore, we will be responsible for what He has given us. Grace refused... will be grace withdrawn - it was so in Jesus' day; it is so today.

There are different categories of parables, but we'll save that for the individual lessons. It is important to note that we need to pay special attention the beginning of each parable. Much of the language use is symbolic in nature, but Jesus quite often introduced the "object" of the parable in the first few words. He says things like, "The Kingdom of heaven is like a man who....,” or "The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed...." These particular parables are about The King and His Kingdom, and the King is Jesus. Many miss this important feature. So, there are Kingdom Parables, Christian Life Parables, Wisdom and Folly Parables, Judgment Parables, and others.

Our studies will follow a chronological time-line. We will address story after story in pretty-much the same order as Jesus told them. Along the way we may get a glimpse at the local context and begin to identify with the people, the places, and the times.

Not all of our parables are labeled in the scriptures as "parables," but these symbolic stories carry the same purpose... Real truths veiled in symbolic stories.

Many of the people involved in the parables are symbolic of Israel, Israel's people, and Israel's leadership. Israel's past is full of the provision and love of God and their continual rejection of Him followed by their falling away into idol worship. We need to remember that the Gospels are all about the end of the Old Testament [and the Old Covenant]. Jesus comes to "close out" that nation and that people for the most part and will shortly (the last verses of the book of Matthew) instruct His disciples to move on to the Gentile world, so we should mostly look to those "Last Days" of Israel meanings first, then the application to all the people of God as it applies to both then and now.

It is also important to remember that Israel was a "covenant" nation. They were given a place before God of much love and blessing - just because He chose to love them. Their covenant relationship to Him was, and is, a "conditional" relationship. "If you will... then I will... If you won't... then I won't." Within the covenant relationship was the "salvation" of God - separate but integral to the plan of God for the people of the nation. In the plan of God for Israel, the "remnant" was always the focus of His salvation. It is clear from the scriptures that while God offered His "by grace salvation," only a percentage of people would ever choose and believe Him as their King, Lord and Savior. God is not done with Israel, but that is another story.

The parables lead up to Christ on the Cross. In fact, the last parable -- The tenants and the ten Minas -- end with Jesus' "Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem" and its great contrast of His death on the Cross. "And when He had said these things, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem," Luke 19:28, and "And when He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it," saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44

1 REFERENCE WORKS for the series

James Montgomery Boice, The Parables of Jesus, Moody Publishers, Chicago ©1983

Arnold C. Gaebeline, The Gospel of Matthew, An Exposition, Our Hope, NY ©1910

Harry A. Ironside, Litt.D, Expository Notes on the Gospel of Mark, Loizeaux Brothers NY ©1948

W.H. Van Doren, Suggested Commentary on Luke, I.K. Funk & Co., Ill ©1881

A.A. Bruce, The Trining of the Twelve, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Mi ©1971

The Daily Bible, 1 Chronological Order w. commentary by F. LaGard Smith, Harvest Publishers, Eugene, Or ©1984

J. Vernon McGee, Moving Through Matthew, Thru the Bible Books Foundation, Pasadena, CA – Undated

J. Vernon McGee, Matthew Volume 1, El Camino Press, LaVerne, CA ©1975

Arthur W. Pink, The Prophetic Parables of Matthew 13, Calvary Book Room, Covington, KY – Undated

Richard Chenevix Trench, Miracles & Parables of Christ, M.A., AMG Publishers ©1996

Dr. Paul S. Karleen, The Handbook to Bible Study, Oxford Press, ©1987

H.H. Halley, Halley's Bible Handbook, Zondervan, ©1965

Donald A. Carson - The Gospel Coalition [TGC] - Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Alistair Begg - Truth For Life ministries - Parkside Church, Cleveland [Chargrin Falls], OH

Series Introduction
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The "The Ancient Path" Study materials on this website are made available here free and may be copied for use in Bible study groups, in limited numbers, providing that no charge is made for them. Items that appear as copyrighted materials that are not of our authorship are not to be copied without the express permission the original copyright holders. Every effort has been made to give proper footnote credit for items that are quoted. J. Deering [] is the author and editor of this study. © 2021

Jeremiah 18:15
"Don't stumble from the Ancient Path"

2021-10-19 1925