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Why Did Jesus Teach Parables

I was wondering why Jesus taught in 'parables' that were hard to understand. Why did he do that? Why not teach things more simply?
Thank you,

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Warwick pointed to the apropriate verses, but you need to consider the whole answer presented in Mt 13:11-23:

Mt 13:15 For this peoples heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

Some deliberately reject the truth because accepting it requires them to "change" their mind and heart--it requires them to repent. Repentance means to give up, or turn away from, what you are (sinful) and to become what Jesus is (sinless).
---BruceB on 4/12/09

As a mankind human, we have limited for every things, The King Salomo had been rembering us how to find a straight way of God (Proverb.3: 5-6) and Jeremy told that we must only ask to God what else we want to understand (Jeremiah 33:3). We can able to understand if God wants, like Paul's scribes on Roman 12:2. But about all of its just for glorify Him (Rom.11:36).
Thank my Lord.
---Martua on 2/18/09

See Matt. 13:10,11 "The disciples came to him and asked, 'Why do you speak to the people in parables? He replied 'The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you but not to them.'"

A little puzzling but it has occurred to me that Jesus was aware who the true seekers were and enlightened them, but spoke in parables so that 'them' those who only sought to see miracles and such, not to seek Him, would not understand.

This not understanding could cause some among them to want to understand and therefore become true seekers- seek and you shall find.
---Warwick on 2/17/09

What was so difficult to understand? Didn't Jesus tell the scribes and the Pharisees, "Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you." Even some "high class people" believed Him, so understanding is neither above nor below anyone. More than understanding is required, "Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.", nor even seeing miracles, "But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:".
---Nana on 2/17/09

Consider listening to a conversation two people are having about places and events you are unfamiliar with. For instance, say you are a teenager in California listening to two old Irish women talking about events that occurred in Dublin. How well would you be able to track their conversation? With out knowledge of their culture, you would likely not be able to stay up on their conversation for long.

Christ told parables then that would have made perfect sense to the people of his community and times. I have often read the parables and been confused by the things he said, but once I learned of the historical references and such they made sense. Bible study is important, but so is history study.
---Bill_Biggs on 2/14/09

best answer I've read so far? God made it hard to understand because he wanted to. Dont take this too far, about the apostles knowing more stuff, we'll get dangerously close to man-made doctrine
---alexia on 9/11/07

Jesus explained them to his disciples in private because as he said it was for them to know. Not everyone.

After his ascention he sent back the Holy Ghost to discern the scriptures.
That is the importance of the baptism of the Holy Ghost that so many scoff at.

Paul said that the Spirit of God knows the things of God and the spirit of man only knows the things of man.
The deep spiritual things that glorify Jesus are foolishness to the spirit of man.

---Frank on 9/10/07

If you read 1 Corinthians 2:7, But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory. I believe that Jesus spoke in parables because of two reasons, So that we who are true believers would search the scriptures which would grow us into a more mature saint of God. And as it was written through Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness but to us who are saved it is the power of God.
---Cynthia on 9/10/07

Jesus wanted people to have to depend on the Holy Spirit for guidance. He did it to keep things spiritual. If Jesus was direct about His passages and just said the truth directly ,the truth then becomes to easy too learn and less faith becomes required to understand the truth. God wanted us praying when it comes to understanding Him not reading the Bible once and saying "I get it." God wants it to be difficult so we will depend on Him for understanding His Word.
---Matthew_from_LA on 9/10/07

Most of the people of Jesus' time were not highly educated, so He had to speak in ways they could understand. It's much like stories we read to our children that teach a moral lesson instead of just telling them what's right or wrong. Hearing or seeing examples helps them to comprehend.
---fran on 9/10/07

I always believed that Jesus spoke in parables because it was easier to understand, using examples of every day life that the apostles and others could relate to. Later on Jesus told His disciples that he would no longer speak in parables, but would speak plainly because the disciples were now ready to hear the truths and what He needed to say to them.
---taylor on 10/28/05

Part 2

He used Isaiah's answer for His reason, And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them."
---David7647 on 10/28/05

Part 1

The disciples asked Him that very same question. His answer, "Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given." He did not want the people to understand Him.
---David7647 on 10/28/05

It is kinda like he doesnt want to force you to do it his way he wants you to have the desire to know him. He knew those that loved him would take the time to pray and ask what it meant. he knew that this would help weed out the sheep from the wolves. imagine giving away a million dollars how many people would come to your door. but if you disguise it and so people think it is just 100 you'll get those who really need it trying. you weed out the greedy ones
---Judith on 8/24/05

Why: Matthew 13:10-17
---Leon on 8/20/05

Teaching in "parables" was one of the best ways to teach in that day. We find them hard because we don't understand the culture of that time. (For example: have you ever seen a 'fig tree?') There are times parables are used for teaching today, but will seem complicated and confusing to people years from now. (Especially if they are reading something written in North Amercia and they are in some middle Eastern country.
---WIVV on 8/7/05

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You've heard the saying that a picture is woth a thousand words;,Parables are "word pictures" very effective way of teaching!
---1st_cliff on 7/28/05

If you read Matthew 13:11-15, you'll find that Jesus tells the disciples in this passage the reason for His teaching in parables. It might be a "little" hard to accept if you believe that God is only a God of love.
---tommy3007 on 7/28/05

Remember that the culture that they lived in was very different than ours. Things that we do not understand at first were second nature to them.

However, he did not always speak plainly at the start of his ministry. As it got closer to the end of his time, he spoke in terms they would understand more readily.

Also, early on, he told people he healed NOT to tell anyone as he did not want to draw undue attention to himself. Later, he was much more public about such things.
---Bruce5656 on 7/27/05

The parables are actually very simple to understand, spoken in stories that people of His time would be familiar with. They're always in answer to a question or comment made by someone else, followed by an explanation of the story made by Jesus Himself. There were even parables in the the tree who would be king (Judges 9)
---Ann5758 on 7/27/05

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There were enemies of the cross who wanted to spoil the kingdom, so in order to keep them out Jesus spoke in dark sayings, so the simple would understand and be saved, but the evil would not understand and so not be able to enter in and corrupt the kingdom.
---Eloy on 7/27/05

I would imagine that Jesus told the parables in a way that He KNEW they would understand. Many of them were followed by explanations of each part of the story anyway e.g. the parable of the sower - the seeds that fell amongst the thorns meaning .... the seeds that fell on stoney ground meaning ... etc.
---Xanthi on 7/27/05

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