READ: Matthew 13:44-46
- Parables are ripe for misinterpretation and misapplication. Parables are stories, and stories have to have details to have a plot. But when studying parables, you don’t have to try to find a direct connection to every detail. For example, many people raise questions about the morality of hiding the treasure. Shouldn’t whoever found it (presumably a worker) have given it to the landowner instead of sneakily buying the property? Not the point.
- Or, some raise the issue with the value of pearls. Why didn’t Jesus use an object of greater value, like diamonds? On the one hand, pearls were rarer then than now and thus had more value. But, still, not the point. Jesus used a valuable item the audience knew something about. He wasn’t giving a lesson in gemology. He was establishing an analogy.
- Can we buy our way into the kingdom? Isn’t salvation an act of grace? Do we earn salvation? Again, not the point. Jesus isn’t describing entrance requirements. He is establishing how difficult it is to make the Kingdom a priority. One last example, is Jesus the man/merchant? Does He gives his life as the trade for the Kingdom? No.
- Why do people think they need to find a meaning for every detail in the parables?
- How do you know when you are misapplying the details?
- Which details distracted you and caused you to look for something other than the point?
PRAY: Ask God to help you interpret and apply Scripture faithfully. Pray that you can develop good study skills for Scripture. Ask God for guidance in reading the Bible.