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A Brief Overview of the Gospels: A Bible Study - Part 4

Updated on March 29, 2013

In this lesson we will look at the parables of Jesus and the women of the Gospels. Take your time and think and meditate through them.


The next comparison we will look at is that of the Savior’s parables. A total of 37 parables are given in the Gospels depending on how you count. Some may only find 33. Some have found 38 or more.

We must look at what a parable is to discover the number. A parable is in a sense, an illustration. It is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. It is a truth that is laid down side by side with a story to better explain the original intent of the story. Strong’s dictionary gives his definition of the word parable: par-ab-ol-ay From G3846; a similitude (“parable”), that is, (symbolically) fictitious narrative (of common life conveying a moral), apoth gm or adage: - comparison, figure, parable, proverb.

Parables do not generally use personal names, as does the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. Further, this account is not an illustration but fact, removing it even further from the realm of parables. Let us consider the parables of our Lord:

  1. The two houses (Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49)

  2. Forgiving the 50 and 500 (Luke 7:41, 42)

  3. Subduing a strong man (Mark 3:22-30)

  4. The seed and sowing (Matthew 13:1-9; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:4-15)

  5. The wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43)

  6. Planting and harvesting (Mark 4:26-29)

  7. Mustard seed (Matthew 13:31, 32; Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18, 19)

  8. Leaven (Mark 13:33; Luke 13:20, 21)

  9. Finding a fortune (Matthew 13:44)

  10. The pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45, 46)

  11. Sorting out fish (Matthew 13:47-50)

12. A man and his treasure (Matthew 13:52)

13. The old and new (Matthew 9:16, 17; Mark 2:21, 22; Luke 5:36-39)

14. Likening of a generation (Matthew 11:16-19; Luke 7:31-35)

15. Forgiving and not forgiving (Matthew 18:23-35)

16. Who is your neighbor? (Luke 10:25-37)

17. Cleaning house (Matthew 12:43-45; Luke 11:24-26)

18.A fool and his money (Luke 12:16-21)

19. The home fires (Luke 12:32-40; Matthew 24:43, 44)

20. The Servant and ruler (Matthew 24:45-51; Luke 12:42-48)

21. A figless fig tree (Luke 13:6-9)

22. The least and the feast (Luke 14:7-11)

23. The folly of excuses (Luke 14:15-24)

24. Three lost items (Luke 15:1-32)

25. The steward (Luke 16:1-13)

26. When our best is least (Luke 17:7-10)

27. The importunate widow (Luke 18:1-8)

28. The Pharisee and publican pray (Luke 18:9-14)

29. The first shall be last (Matthew 20:1-16)

30. Three stewards and their silver (Luke 19:11-27)

31. Changing their minds (Matthew 21:28-32)

32. The vicious vinekeepers (Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 21:9-19)

33. The dressed wedding guest (Matthew 22:1-14)

34. The fig tree (Matthew 24:32-35; Mark 13:28-31; Luke 21:29-33)

35. Five useless lamps (Matthew 25:1-13)

36. The parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30)

37. The sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-46)

Notice the breakdown of the parables by books. Matthew tells of 22 parables. Mark lists eight parables. Luke gives an account of 23 parables. John gives none. Keep in mind who the writers were writing to as they list their parables (See Part 1).

Women of the Gospels

“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (I Timothy 2:11, 12). This statement by Paul has stirred up much trouble in churches through the ages. The truth is that women have a very high priority with God. In the Gospels alone several women are mentioned, most in a positive light. Let us examine these:

1. Mary of Bethany (sister to Martha and Lazarus (John 11:1); Commended by Christ for organizing her priorities (Luke 10:42); Anointed the feet of Jesus (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3; John 12:3)

2. Mary, the mother of James and Joses, may have been the wife of Cleopas (Luke 24:18); She was at the cross (Matthew 27:56, 61); She was at his burial (Mark 15:47); She came to the empty tomb (Mark 16:1)

3. Mary Magdalene was freed of seven devils (Mark 16:9); She was the first to see the risen Christ (John 20:1-18)

4.Mary, the mother of Jesus presented Him to the world (Luke 1, 2); She was present at His first miracle (John 2:1-11); She followed His ministry (Matthew 12:46); She was present at the cross (John 19:25)

5. Salome, the wife of Zebedee and mother of James and John (Mathew 27:56; Mark 15:40, 16:1)

6. Salome, the daughter of Herodias, danced before Herod at the beheading of John the Baptist (Matthew 14:3-11; Mark 6:17-28)

7. Herodias, wicked granddaughter of Herod the Great married her Uncle Philip; Later she left him for Herod Antipas; It was the rebuke of John the Baptist for this sin (Luke 3:19, 20) that led to his beheading (Matthew 14:3-14; Mark 6:14-29)

8. A poor Widow commended by Christ for giving her all (Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-3)

9. Elisabeth, the wife of Zacharias and mother of John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-57)

10. Anna, the daughter of Phanuel; widowed after seven years; She became a prophetess and proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah (Luke 2:36-38)

11. A weeping and repentant woman wiped the feet of Jesus with her tears (Luke 7:36-38)

12.The Samaritan woman accepted Christ and started a revival by returning to her home and leading the whole town to Christ (John 4:5-42)

13. Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus reminded to keep her affections on heavenly things (Luke 10:41)

14. An Adulterous Woman forgiven by Christ (John 8:1-11)

15. Two servant girls accused Peter of following Christ at which time Peter denied knowing the Lord (Matthew 26:69, 71)

Out of the sixteen women mentioned only Salome and Herodias were mentioned in a negative light. Each woman had her importance to the combined message of the Gospels. When good is done, God honors it regardless of who does it. Likewise, when evil is done, God judges it regardless of who commits it.

In our next and last study of the Gospels, we will look at several religious groups that played a part in the Greatest Story Ever Told; that story's name - Jesus.


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    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Good to hear from you TJ,

      I was just thinking Genesis 1:27 says, ". . . male and female created he them." Both male and female are created in the same image - the image of God, so there is absolute equality. Might we play our parts well.

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 5 years ago

      The fact that Jesus gives women certain priorities in the Bible is a fact that released me from thinking that positions and purposes had to be like men's. I embrace the different roles and purposes He has given to both. They once made issues of equality for me until I understood that His purposes and how He has chosen for us to express them has nothing to do with equality but exhibiting His spectacular being and the role He has chosen for us to play in that.

      A handy reference article to view both parable and women of the New Testament collectively.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      you're quite welcome, Karen.

    • shofarcall profile image

      shofarcall 5 years ago

      Hi Bill,

      Will be perusing the content of this hub with a fine tooth comb and pondering over it for some time to come. Thank you dear brother. God Bless

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks Jeff! Glad you could stop by.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Thanks for the visit Jackie. It;s always good to hear from you.

    • profile image

      JThomp42 5 years ago

      Again, great job my friend!!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This will be ideal to make a study of in a couple of weeks, thanks so much!

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Absolutely Michael, thanks for the visit!

    • Michael Adams1959 profile image

      Michael Adams1959 5 years ago from Wherever God leads us.

      AND the story we all need to tell is just that--- The story of Jesus!