Jesus’ 46 Parables in Chronological Order

Jesus’ 46 Parables in Chronological Order
Christian Bible Study ~ Introduction and 26 Lessons

The parables of Jesus embody much of his fundamental teaching. They are quite simple, memorable stories, often with humble imagery, each with a single message. Jesus, for example, likened the Kingdom of God to yeast (an image usually meant as corruption) or a mustard seed. Like his aphorisms, Jesus’ parables were often surprising and paradoxical. The parable of the good Samaritan, for example, turned expectations on their head with the despised Samaritan proving to be the wounded man’s neighbor. The parables were simple and memorable enough to survive in an oral tradition before being written down years after Jesus’ death.
Most Bible scholars say that Jesus parables appear only in the three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). However, if we broaden our view a bit, it seems that Jesus’ three-part story about the sheep, gate, and shepherd in John 10 can also be considered a parable especially as it chronologically falls right after the related parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18:12-14.
      The chronological order of the parables that I have used comes from the very excellent NIV Narrated Bible in Chronological Order (hardcover) and Daily Bible in Chronological Order (paperback) by Dr. F. LaGard Smith of Pepperdine University, published by Harvest House. There is another list of the parables in chronological order floating around on the web, but it lists only 35 parables and does not cite a source for the chronology.
collage of Jesus' parables      The chronology is quite a lesson by itself. You can see that the first group of parables focuses on the fact that there’s a new story being told, that it’s not to be hidden, and it serves as a foundation for what’s coming next. We then have the very important Parables #12 (sower and four types of soil) and #13 (weeds among good plants). This is followed by a group of “Kingdom of Heaven” parables (growing seed, yeast, valuable pearl, etc.). Now that the foundation has been built, Jesus gets into the behavior parables—how he would have you act as a Christian in different situations as a disciple, worker, or tenant. He then moves into using your talents well, remaining watchful, and finally into judgement. Basically it’s the progression of a Christian life. Unfortunately, it’s a progression we miss out on when we read the parables in the order they appear in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
If you plan to lead a group in studying Jesus’ parables, I strongly recommend you look over and allow yourself some time to delve into the leader’s notes from the first lesson (Parables Introduction) before you get going. Also, print out the entire list of parables and give everyone in your group a copy that they can refer to as your study progresses.
I’ve found with my groups that each lesson or discussion takes about 45 minutes to go through. I’ve also found that people can get passionately involved in these lessons and they can easily run much longer if the leader doesn’t keep things moving along.
The discussion questions are slightly different from traditional Bible studies in that they emphasize the application of the scripture to your life today. Unlike some of my other studies, there are Leader’s Guides for only about one-half of the lessons. Many of the questions are designed to be a springboard to further discussion and there is often no truly right or wrong answer. If you have questions or comments, please use the “Contact Me” button on the menu below. I guarantee that I will read your comments, however, as this web site gets more than 3,000 visitors per day, I can’t possibly answer every one.
In response to your requests, these studies are in Adobe PDF format, so they can easily be printed out. The first page provides the NIV scripture verses, the second is the discussion questions. Pages 3 and higher are notes for leaders. For the Bible studies that I lead, I print the scripture verses on one side of a sheet and the discussion questions on the other side. However, if saving paper is not a consideration, print them on two sheets so people can refer to both the verses and the questions without excessive flipping over. If you cannot read PDF files, click to download Adobe Reader.

      Some discussion questions are borrowed or adapted from the book New Testament Lesson Maker from NavPress (ISBN 0-89109-688-4). I highly recommend this book, which is available from CBD as well as most large Christian bookstores. The image above is a painting simply called Parables By James Christensen. James says, “I worked closely with my friend Robert Millet, Professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, in selecting these twelve and we feel that each conveys a special aspect of Jesus’ teachings.” Reproductions of the image are available from many web sites.

Dave Ahl — July 2018


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“The genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David”

Scripture: Matthew 1:1-17

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Ammin’adab, and Ammin’adab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Bo’az by Rahab, and Bo’az the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uri’ah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehobo’am, and Rehobo’am the father of Abi’jah, and Abi’jah the father of Asa, 8 and Asa the father of Jehosh’aphat, and Jehosh’aphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzzi’ah, 9 and Uzzi’ah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezeki’ah, 10 and Hezeki’ah the father of Manas’seh, and Manas’seh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josi’ah, 11 and Josi’ah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. 12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoni’ah was the father of She-al’ti-el, and She-al’ti-el the father of Zerub’babel, 13 and Zerub’babel the father of Abi’ud, and Abi’ud the father of Eli’akim, and Eli’akim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eli’ud, 15 and Eli’ud the father of Elea’zar, and Elea’zar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.

Meditation:  How well do you know your spiritual heritage?  Genealogies are very important. They give us our roots and help us to understand our heritage. Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus traces his lineage from Abraham, the father of God’s chosen people, through the line of David, King of Israel. Jesus the Messiah is the direct descent of Abraham and David, and the rightful heir to David’s throne. God in his mercy fulfilled his promises to Abraham and to David that he would send a Savior and a King to rule over the house of Israel and to deliver them from their enemies. When Jacob blessed his sons he foretold that Judah would receive the promise of royalty which we see fulfilled in David (Gen. 49:10).  We can also see in this blessing a foreshadowing of God’s fulfillment in raising up his annointed King, Jesus the Messiah. Jesus is the fulfillment of all God’s promises. He is the hope not only for the people of the Old Covenant but for all nations as well. He is the Savior of the world. In him we receive adoption into a royal priesthood and holy nation as sons and daughters of the living God (see 1 Peter 1:9). Do you recognize your spiritual genealogy and do you accept God as your Father and Jesus as the sovereign King and Lord of your life?

“Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Messiah and Savior of the world, the hope of Israel and the hope of the nations. Be the ruler of my heart and the king of my home. May there be nothing in my life that is not under your kingship.”

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Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ (between 8 and 4 BC-AD 29?), central figure of Christianity, born in Bethlehem in Judea. Christians traditionally regard Jesus as the incarnate Son of God, and as having been divinely conceived by Mary, the wife of Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth. See Christ; Messiah.
The principal sources of information concerning Jesus’ life are the Gospels, written in the latter half of the 1st century. The scantiness of additional material and the theological nature of biblical records caused some 19th-century biblical scholars to doubt his historical existence. Today, scholars generally agree that Jesus was a historical figure authenticated both by Christian writers and by several Roman and Jewish historians.
Beginning of His Public Ministry
Two of the Gospels, Saint Matthew and Saint Luke, provide information about Jesus’ birth and childhood (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38). No Gospel, however, mentions anything about Jesus from the time he was 12 years old until the time he began his public ministry, about 18 years later. See Matthew, Gospel According to; Luke, Gospel According to.
All three Synoptic Gospels (the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke) record Jesus’ public ministry as beginning after the imprisonment of John the Baptist, and as lasting about one year. Each mentions that Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River and then retired to the neighboring wilderness for 40 days, where the devil tried to tempt him. After this, he moved to Capernaum and began teaching. As his followers increased in number, Jesus selected disciples to work with him (see Apostle).
Growth of Jesus’ Following
Using Capernaum as a base, Jesus and his disciples traveled to neighboring towns. He promised pardon and eternal life in heaven to the most hardened sinners, provided their repentance was sincere. This emphasis incurred the enmity of the Pharisees, who feared that his teachings might lead to disregard for the authority of the Torah. Despite this opposition, Jesus’ popularity increased.
The most significant moment in Jesus’ public ministry was the realization that Jesus was the Christ (Matthew 16:16; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20). This revelation, and the subsequent prediction by Jesus of his death and resurrection, the conditions of discipleship, and his transfiguration are the primary authority for the claims and historical work of the Christian church.
The Last Days
On the Sunday before Passover, Jesus entered Jerusalem. There, he drove from the Temple the traders and moneychangers who, by long-established custom, had been allowed to transact business in the outer court (Mark 11:15-19), and he disputed with the priests, scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees questions about his authority, tribute to Caesar, and the resurrection.
The priests and scribes, concerned that Jesus’ activities would turn the Romans against them and the Jewish people (John 11:48), conspired with Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ disciples, to arrest and kill Jesus (Luke 22:2). On Thursday, during Passover supper eaten with his disciples, he referred to his imminent betrayal and death as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity. In blessing the unleavened bread and wine during the Passover services, he called the bread his body and the wine his blood (Matthew 26:27) (see Eucharist).
After the meal they went to the Mount of Olives, where, according to Matthew (26:30-32) and Mark (14:26-28), Jesus predicted his resurrection. Knowing then that his death was near, Jesus retired to the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44) and was arrested there.
Trial and Crucifixion
The synoptists report that Jesus was taken to a meeting of the supreme council of the Jews, the Sanhedrin, and was condemned to death for blasphemy (Mark 14:62). Only the Roman procurator, however, could impose capital punishment, and so, Jesus was taken before Pontius Pilate for sentencing. Pilate ultimately left the decision to the people, and when they insisted on Jesus’ death, Pilate ordered him executed (Matthew 27:24). Jesus was executed by crucifixion, and late in the day, his body was taken down and laid in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea.
The Resurrection
Early on the following Sunday, his disciples found the tomb empty (Mark 16:1). Later the same day, according to Luke, John, and Mark, Jesus appeared at various locations in and near Jerusalem. All the Gospels add that, for a brief time after his resurrection, Jesus instructed his disciples. Finally, according to Luke (24:50-51), Jesus ascended to heaven. Acts 1:2-12 reports that this ascension occurred 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection.

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Christianity

Christianity

Christianity

In the Roman Empire polytheism was practiced, and religions indigenous to particular Middle Eastern nations became international in the first 3 centuries of the Roman Empire. Roman citizens worshiped Isis of Egypt, Mithras of Persia, Demeter of Greece, and the great mother Cybele of Phrygia. Their cults centered on mysteries (secret ceremonies) and the promise of an afterlife, symbolized by the death and rebirth of the god. The Jews living in the empire preserved their monotheistic religion- Judaism, the world’s oldest (c 1200 bc) continuous religion. Its teachings are contained in the Bible (the Old Testament). First-century Judaism embraced several sects, including the Sadducees, mostly drawn from the Temple priesthood, who were culturally Hellenized; the Pharisees, who upheld the full range of traditional customs and practices as of equal weight to literal scriptural law and elaborated synagogue worship; and the Essenes, an ascetic, millennarian sect. Messianic fervor led to repeated, unsuccessful rebellions against Rome (66-70, 135). As a result, the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and the population decimated; this event marked the beginning of the Diaspora (living in exile).
To avoid the dissolution of the faith, a program of codification of law was begun at the academy of Yavneh. The work continued for some 500 years in Palestine and in Babylonia, ending in the final redaction (c 600) of the Talmud, a huge collection of legal and moral debates, rulings, liturgy, biblical exegesis, and legendary materials.
Christianity, which emerged as a distinct sect in the second half of the 1st cent. ad, is based on the teachings of Jesus, whom believers considered the Savior (Messiah or Christ) and the son of God. The missionary activities of the Apostles and such early leaders as Paul of Tarsus spread the faith. Intermittent persecution, as in Rome under Nero in 64 ad, on grounds of suspected disloyalty, failed to disrupt the Christian communities. Each congregation, generally urban and of plebeian character, was tightly organized under a leader (bishop), elders (presbyters or priests), and assistants (deacons). The four Gospels (accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus) and the Acts of the Apostles were written down in the late 1st and early 2d centuries and circulated along with letters of Paul and other Christian leaders. An authoritative canon of these writings was not fixed until the 4th century.
A school for priests was established at Alexandria in the 2d century. Its teachers (Origen c 182-251) helped define Christian doctrine and promote the faith in Greek-style philosophical works. Pagan Neoplatonism was given Christian coloration in the works of Church Fathers such as Augustine (354-430). Christian hermits, often drawn from the lower classes, began to associate in monasteries, first in Egypt (St. Pachomius c 290-345), then in other E lands, then in the W (St. Benedict’s rule, 529). Popular devotion to saints, especially Mary, mother of Jesus, spread.
Under Constantine (r 306-37), Christianity became in effect the established religion of the Empire. Pagan temples were expropriated, state funds were used to build huge churches and support the hierarchy, and laws were adjusted in accordance with Christian ideas. Pagan worship was banned by the end of the 4th century, and severe restrictions were placed on Judaism.
The newly established church was rocked by doctrinal disputes, often exacerbated by regional rivalries both within and outside the Empire. Chief heresies (as defined by church councils backed by imperial authority) were Arianism, which denied the divinity of Jesus; the Monophysite position denying the dual nature of Christ; Donatism, which denied the validity of sacraments performed by sinful clergy; and Pelagianism, which denied the necessity of unmerited grace for salvation.

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Bible

Bible

Bible, also called the Holy Bible, sacred book or Scriptures of Judaism and of Christianity. The Jewish Bible is the Hebrew Scriptures, 39 books, whereas the Christian Bible is in two parts, the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament. The version of the Old Testament used by Roman Catholics is the Bible of Judaism plus seven other books and additions to books. The version of the Old Testament used by Protestants is limited to the 39 books of the Jewish Bible. The other books and additions to books are called the Apocrypha by Protestants.
Order of the Books
The Bible of Judaism consists of three distinct parts: the Torah, or Law; the Nebiim, or Phophets; and the Ketubim, or Writings. The Christian Old Testament organizes the books according to type of literature: the Pentateuch, corresponding to the Torah; historical books; poetical or wisdom books; and prophetical books. The New Testament includes the four Gospels; the Acts of the Apostles; Epistles; and the Apocalypse, or Book of Revelation.
Importance and Influence
The most widely distributed book in human history, the Bible has been enormously influential as the foundational document of Judaism and Christianity as well as in secular contexts. The literature, art, and music of Western culture in particular are deeply indebted to biblical themes and images.
The Old Testament
The term Old Testament came to be applied to the Hebrew Scriptures on the basis of the writings of Paul and other early Christians who distinguished between the Old Covenant that God made with Israel and the New Covenant established through Jesus Christ. The books of the Old Testament include narratives, poetic works, prophetic works, law, and apocalypses.
Many Old Testament books, including Ruth, Jonah, and Esther, are narratives; some are stories with plot, characterization, and setting description; and some are histories in that they are guided by facts, insofar as the writer can determine and interpret them. They are popular rather than critical works, based on oral traditions that are sometimes unreliable.
The poetic books of the Old Testament include Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon (Songs), and in the deuterocanonical books and the Apocrypha, Sirach and the Prayer of Manasseh. Characterized by parallelism or restatement of lines, as well as by rhythm, the poetic books include many diverse genres, including songs of worship, wisdom poetry, and love poetry.
Most Hebrew prophetic books contain three kinds of literature: narratives, prayers, and prophetic speeches. Speeches predominate, as the essence of prophetic activity was to announce the word of God concerning the immediate future, often by forecasting punishment or salvation (see Prophecy).
Legal materials are sufficiently prominent in the Hebrew Scriptures that the term Torah (Law) came to be applied in Judaism to the first five books, and in early Christianity to the entire Old Testament. Most of the laws are found in Exodus 20 through Numbers 10.
The apocalypse as a distinctive genre arose in Israel after the Babylonian captivity of the Jews (586 to 538 BC). Apocalyptic writings generally reflect the author’s historical view of his own era as a time when the powers of evil are gathering to make their final struggle against God, after which a new age will be established. Daniel is the only apocalyptic book as such in the Hebrew Scriptures.
The Development of the Old Testament
The literary history of the Old Testament is long and complicated, and many of the facts are not known. Behind many of the present literary works stand oral traditions, which in some cases existed for centuries alongside written materials. For more detailed information on literary history, see entries on individual Old Testament books.
According to Jewish and Christian tradition, Moses was the author of the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. Modern scholars believe that the writers of the Pentateuch drew upon several different sources, each from a different writer and period. The oldest source is commonly dated in the 10th or 9th century BC, and the latest source is dated in the 6th or 5th century BC. The writers of these documents worked as editors who collected, organized, and interpreted older traditions, both oral and written. In recent years the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, and 1 and 2 Kings have been recognized as a unified account, called the Deuteronomistic History, of the history of Israel from the time of Moses (13th century BC) to the Babylonian captivity. Based on the last events it reports among other evidence, the Deuteronomistic History seems to have been written about 560 BC. Both the cultic and wisdom poetry of the Old Testament are difficult to date or attribute to particular authors. Few if any of the prophetic books were written entirely by the person whose name serves as the title.
The Canon
The Hebrew Bible and the Christian versions of the Old Testament were canonized in different times and places. The Hebrew Bible became Holy Scripture in three stages: evidence indicates that the Torah became Scripture between the end of the Babylonian captivity and the separation of the Samaritans from Judaism, probably by 300 BC. The canonization of the Nebiim occurred by the end of the 3rd century BC. The contents of the Ketubim remained somewhat fluid until after the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in AD 70.
The second canon- what is now the Roman Catholic version of the Old Testament- arose first as a translation of the earlier Hebrew books into Greek. The process began in the 3rd century BC outside of Palestine. By the end of the 1st century AD, the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint) was in existence. The last major step in the history of the Christian canon took place during the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther removed from his version of the Old Testament the books that were not in the Bible of Judaism and established them as the Apocrypha.
Texts and Ancient Versions
All contemporary translators of the Bible attempt to recover and use the oldest text. No original copies exist. With regard to the Old Testament, the chief distinction is between texts in Hebrew and the translations into other ancient languages. The most important, and generally most reliable, witnesses to the Hebrew are the Masoretic texts, those produced by Jewish scholars (called the Masoretes) who assumed the task of faithfully copying and transmitting the Bible. The standard printed Hebrew Bible in use today is a reproduction of a Masoretic text written in AD 1088. Still existing, however, are older Hebrew manuscripts, of individual books. For instance numerous manuscripts and fragments, many from the pre-Christian era, have been recovered from the Dead Sea region since 1947 (see Dead Sea Scrolls).
The major Greek version of the Hebrew Bible is called the Septuagint. The first Greek translation included only the Torah and was done in Alexandria in the 3rd century BC. Other versions include the Peshitta, or Syriac; the Old Latin; the Vulgate; and the Aramaic Targums, which were not literal translations but rather paraphrases or interpretations of the original.
The Old Testament and History
As the history of Israel was told in the Old Testament, it came to be organized in a series of pivotal events or periods: the exodus, the monarchy, the exile in Babylon, and the return to Palestine with the restoration of religious institutions. Although a considerable body of information concerning the history of the ancient Near East is available from the 3rd millennium BC on, a detailed history of Israel can begin only about the time of King David. The monarchy arose during the 11th century BC in the midst of internal strife and external threat. When David became king in 1000 BC, he ended the Philistine threat and established an empire from Syria to the border of Egypt. The northern tribes rebelled under his grandson Rehoboam, and the two nations, Israel in the north and Judah in the south, separated. Both Judah and Israel fell to foreign armies. The Israelites were sent into exile in Babylon; they were set free in 538 BC, when the Persian king Cyrus the Great established the Persian Empire. At some point during the postexilic period, the history of Israel became the history of Judaism.
Theological Themes of the Old Testament
The most pervasive theological theme of the Old Testament is that Yahweh (the name of God in the Old Testament; see God; Jehovah) is the God of Israel, of the whole earth, and of history. Two other themes include the covenant, which refers mainly to the pact between Yahweh and Israel sealed at Mount Sinai; and law, which was given as a part of the covenant and concerns relations between human beings and rules for religious practice.
The New Testament: Text, Canon, and Early Versions
The New Testament consists of 27 documents written between AD 50 and 150 concerning matters of belief and practice in Christian communities. It is likely that many or all of the documents were written in Greek; however, translations into other languages existed as early as the 2nd century. Critical editions of the Greek New Testament have appeared with some regularity since the work of the Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus in the 16th century.
The 27 books of the New Testament are only a fraction of the literary production of early Christian communities. Many noncanonical Christian writings have been collected and published as New Testament Apocrypha (see Apocryphal New Testament). Knowledge of the literature of the period was increased by the 1945 discovery of the library of a heretical Christian group, the Gnostics (see Gnosticism).
It appears that the earliest attempt to establish a New Testament canon was made about 150 by a heretical Christian named Marcion. By 200, 20 of the 27 books of the New Testament were likely regarded as authoritative. In 367 the 27 books that now constitute the New Testament were determined.
The Literature of the New Testament
As literature, the documents of the New Testament comprise four major types, or genres: gospel, history, epistle, and apocalypse. Within these four categories of literature, many and varied forms appear; these include poems, hymns, confessional formulas, proverbs, miracle stories, beatitudes, diatribes, lists of duties, parables, and others.
History in the New Testament
The New Testament focuses on a historical figure, Jesus of Nazareth (see Jesus Christ), and addresses the problems faced by his followers in a variety of specific contexts within the Roman Empire. A number of difficulties are encountered in a historical reconstruction of the period as revealed in New Testament sources. Nevertheless, scholars generally agree as to the broad chronological outline. The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus began his ministry in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius (Luke 3:1), which would be 28-29. All four Gospels agree that Jesus was crucified when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea (25-36).
Little is known of Jesus before his public life. He was from Nazareth in Galilee, although both Luke and Matthew place his birth in Bethlehem, the ancestral home of King David. Only the books of Luke and Matthew contain birth and infancy stories, and these differ in several details. Many of the books of the New Testament seem to have been written for a later generation; in these books, Jesus’ early followers are dead; high expectation of his final return has waned; and the need for preservation, entrenchment, and institutionalization is evident (see Eschatology; Second Coming).
Major Themes in the New Testament
Consistent with the Old Testament, the God of the New Testament is the creator of all life and sustainer of the universe. However, the New Testament claims in Jesus of Nazareth a unique revelation of God. His person, words, and activities are understood as bringing followers into the presence of God.
Besides Jesus, the Spirit of God, an expression representing the active presence of God, is also used throughout the New Testament. This entity is variously referred to as the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of truth. Other themes include the kingdom of God, salvation, and the inseparable connection between religious belief and moral and ethical behavior.
The Bible in English
The history of the English Bible is the story of its movement from possession and use by clergy alone to possession and use by the laity. Although Christianity reached England in the 3rd century, the Bible remained in Latin and almost exclusively in the hands of the clergy for a thousand years. Between the 7th and 14th centuries, portions of the Bible were translated into English, and some rough paraphrases appeared for instructing parishioners. In 1382 the first complete English Bible appeared in a manuscript by the English reformer John Wycliffe, whose goal was to give the Bible to the people. In 1525 the English reformer William Tyndale translated the New Testament from the Greek text. Other versions followed, including the Douay or Douay-Rheims (also spelled Douai-Reims) Bible, completed between 1582 and 1609, which was commonly used by Roman Catholics in English-speaking countries. In 1604 King James I commissioned a new revision of the English Bible; it was completed in 1611. The King James version underwent several revisions, and between 1946 and 1952 the Revised Standard Version (RSV) appeared. Widely accepted by Orthodox, Protestant, and Roman Catholic Christians, it provided the basis for the first ecumenical English Bible. Jewish translations of the Hebrew Bible into English have been appearing for two centuries.

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All rights reserved.

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Bible Cities

Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
Bible History Online

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Jesus’ 46 Parables in Chronological Order

PARABLES that I have used comes from the very excellent NIV Narrated Bible in Chronological Order (hardcover) and Daily Bible in Chronological Order (paperback) by Dr. F. LaGard Smith of Pepperdine University, published by Harvest House. There is another list of the parables in chronological order floating around on the web, but it lists only 35 parables and does not cite a source for the chronology.
collage of Jesus' parables      The chronology is quite a lesson by itself. You can see that the first group of parables focuses on the fact that there’s a new story being told, that it’s not to be hidden, and it serves as a foundation for what’s coming next. We then have the very important Parables #12 (sower and four types of soil) and #13 (weeds among good plants). This is followed by a group of “Kingdom of Heaven” parables (growing seed, yeast, valuable pearl, etc.). Now that the foundation has been built, Jesus gets into the behavior parables—how he would have you act as a Christian in different situations as a disciple, worker, or tenant. He then moves into using your talents well, remaining watchful, and finally into judgement. Basically it’s the progression of a Christian life. Unfortunately, it’s a progression we miss out on when we read the parables in the order they appear in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
If you plan to lead a group in studying Jesus’ parables, I strongly recommend you look over and allow yourself some time to delve into the leader’s notes from the first lesson (Parables Introduction) before you get going. Also, print out the entire list of parables and give everyone in your group a copy that they can refer to as your study progresses.
I’ve found with my groups that each lesson or discussion takes about 45 minutes to go through. I’ve also found that people can get passionately involved in these lessons and they can easily run much longer if the leader doesn’t keep things moving along.
The discussion questions are slightly different from traditional Bible studies in that they emphasize the application of the scripture to your life today. Unlike some of my other studies, there are Leader’s Guides for only about one-half of the lessons. Many of the questions are designed to be a springboard to further discussion and there is often no truly right or wrong answer. If you have questions or comments, please use the “Contact Me” button on the menu below. I guarantee that I will read your comments, however, as this web site gets more than 3,000 visitors per day, I can’t possibly answer every one.
In response to your requests, these studies are in Adobe PDF format, so they can easily be printed out. The first page provides the NIV scripture verses, the second is the discussion questions. Pages 3 and higher are notes for leaders. For the Bible studies that I lead, I print the scripture verses on one side of a sheet and the discussion questions on the other side. However, if saving paper is not a consideration, print them on two sheets so people can refer to both the verses and the questions without excessive flipping over. If you cannot read PDF files, click to download Adobe Reader.

Dave Ahl — March 2018


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