How many parables are in the Bible?

parables in the Bible
Question: "How many parables are in the Bible?"

Answer:
A parable is a story told to illustrate a truth. Jesus’ parables were teaching aids and can be thought of as extended analogies, comparing two things or ideas. A common description of a parable is that it is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Jesus told many parables; in fact, at least for a time in His ministry, Jesus relied heavily on story-telling: “He did not say anything to them without using a parable” (Mark 4:34).

Counts of the parables in the Bible differ because categorizing various teaching tools is a subjective undertaking. Some parables in the Bible are clearly labeled as such. Others are not specified as parables, but they clearly match any reasonable definition of the word. If we define parable loosely enough to include all parabolic instruction (such as Proverbs 25:11), the number of “parables” naturally rises. Some count about 100 parables in the Bible; others see over 250. There are over 30 parables of Jesus recorded in the Synoptic Gospels (the Gospel of John has none). All parables are short, but some are quite brief.

Here is a list of parables in the Bible, defining parable as “a fictional yet realistic story that illustrates a spiritual truth”:

Parables Told by Jesus

The Two Builders (Matthew 7:24–27; Luke 6:46–49)
The Sprouting Seed (Mark 4:26–29)
The Children of the Marketplace (Matthew 11:16–19; Luke 7:31–32)
The Unclean Spirit (Matthew 12:43–45; Luke 11:24–26)
Tree and Its Fruit (Matthew 12:33–37; Luke 6:43–45)
The Strongman’s House (Matthew 12:29–30; Luke 11:21–23)
The Sower and the Seed (Matthew 13:3–9; Mark 4:1–9; Luke 8:4–8)
The Wheat and the Tares (Matthew 13:24–30)
The Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31–32; Mark 4:30–32; Luke 13:18–20)
Leaven in the Dough (Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20–21)
The Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44)
The Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45–46)
The Dragnet (Matthew 13:47–50)
Treasures New and Old (Matthew 13:52 )
The Moneylender (Luke 7:41–43)
The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–42)
The Friend in Need (Luke 11:5–8)
The Rich Fool (Luke 12:15–21)
The Master’s Return (Luke 12:35–40)
The Unfruitful Fig Tree (Luke 13:6–9)
The Great Banquet (Luke 14:15–24)
The Lost Sheep (Matthew 18:12–14; Luke 15:3–7)
The Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:23–34)
The Lost Coin (Luke 15:8–10)
The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32)
The Dishonest Steward (Luke 16:1–8)
The Master and His Servant (Luke 17:7–10)
The Widow and the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1–8)
The Laborers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1–16)
The Wicked Vine Dressers (Matthew 21:33–46; Mark 12:1–12; Luke 20:9–19)
The Two Sons (Matthew 21:28–31)
The Wedding Banquet (Matthew 22:1–14)
Faithful vs. Wicked Servants (Matthew 24:45–51; Mark 13:32–37; Luke 12:41–48)
The Wise and Foolish Virgins (Matthew 25:1–13)
The Three Servants and the Talents (Matthew 25:14–30; Luke 19:11–27)
The Ten Servants and the Minas (Luke 19:12–27)
The Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31–46)
[Some consider the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31) to be a parable; others consider it to be a true story that Jesus told.]

Other Parables in the Bible
The Poor Man’s Ewe Lamb (2 Samuel 12:1–4)
The Poor Wise Man (Ecclesiastes 9:14–18)
God’s Vineyard (Isaiah 5:1–6)
The Plowman (Isaiah 28:23–29)
The Potter (Jeremiah 18:1–10)
The Boiling Pot (Ezekiel 24:3–5)
The Two Harlots (Ezekiel 23:2–21)
The Lion’s Cubs (Ezekiel 19:2–9)
The Eagles and the Vine (Ezekiel 17:1–10)

Recommended Resource: All the Parables of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer

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Related Topics:

What is a parable?

Why did Jesus teach in parables?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Unforgiving / Unmerciful Servant?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Good Samaritan?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Rich Fool?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Mustard Seed?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Sower?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Prodigal Son?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Talents?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Ten Minas?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Sheep and Goats?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Fig Tree?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Ten Virgins?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Vineyard?

What is the meaning of the Parables of the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Wedding Feast?

What is the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Two Sons?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard?

What is the meaning of the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price?

What is the meaning of the parable of the friend in need (persistent neighbor)?

What can we learn from the parable of the persistent widow and unjust judge?

What is the meaning of the parables of fasting at the wedding feast, the old cloth, and the wineskins?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1-13)?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Growing Seed (Mark 4:26-29)?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Dragnet?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:15-24)?

What is the meaning of the Parable of the Leaven?


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