The Berean Expositor
Volume 2 & 3 - Page 46 of 130
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Berean Expositor Volume 2 & 3
The Parables.
The word, its meaning and dispensational setting.
pp. 26-34
As the student of Scripture grows in grace and knowledge of the truth, things which
once seemed trivial appear of great importance; passages which once he thought he
"knew all about" are approached with deepening humility, to be reread and learned
afresh. Among our earliest recollections, either as scholars in Sunday Schools or as
members of Churches, will be those passages of Scripture known as "The Parables." The
time-worn definition, "An earthly story with a heavenly meaning," is doubtless familiar
to us all. Do we not begin to realize, however, that these parables contain teaching which
our teachers never saw, and that the dispensational key, which has turned the lock of so
many difficulties and opened doors into such treasuries, may be profitably applied to
these "dark sayings"?
The first thing to do is to be sure of the meaning of the word. The word "parable" has
been taken over into the English tongue from the Greek word parabole. Para means
"near" or "beside," and bole is from ballő, "I cast" or "throw." Literally it signifies
something "cast beside" another, and as applied to discourse it means a method of
teaching which demands the use of similitude or comparison.
All the parables of Scripture are weighty and wise sayings. This may be gathered
from the words of the proverb, "The legs of a lame man are not equal, so is a parable in
the mouth of fools" (Prov. 26: 7). The Companion Bible gives the meaning, "The
clothes of a lame man being lifted up expose his lameness, so a fool exposes his folly in
expounding a parable" (see also Prov. 26: 9). An American writer has given a very
helpful translation of Proverbs. Chapter 1: 2-6 reads thus:--
"To know wisdom and admonition; to put a distinct meaning into discriminated
speeches; to accept clear sighted admonition is righteousness and judgment and right
In order to give subtlety to the simple; to the child knowledge and thorough thought.
The wise man will hear and increasingly acquire, and a man already become discerning
will gain in capability to guide.
For putting a distinct meaning into a proverb or an enigma; into the words of the wise
and their intricate sayings:
The fear of the Lord is the main knowledge, a wisdom and a discipline that fools
It is in this frame of mind that we approach these "dark sayings," in the fear of God to
learn their "secret."
In Matt. 13: 35 the Lord quotes from Psa.78: 2 in relation to His speaking in
parables, and therefore we may expect to find some help in that Psalm to guide us to the
right understanding of the purpose of a parable. The heading of the Psalm is "Maschil of