In order to grasp the meaning of the parables, one should approach with fresh minds the giving and receiving of God’s Word because this is what the parables do. Through parables Jesus reveals to us the mystery form of His kingdom (Matt. 13:11). Go back in your thinking to Paul’s words that God has revealed truth that human eyes have never seen, human ears have never heard, and things which have never before entered human minds. Paul said later that we are not to look on things that are seen but at things which are not seen. Why? The things that are seen are temporary (locked in time), but things that are not seen are eternal.
Believers traffic in God’s eternal spiritual world explained by God’s Word. We are to take the meaning of the Bible in a plain common sense way, not reading into it things that it does not say. Bible words say what they mean, and they mean what they say. For instance, Peter wrote: “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Pet. 1:16).
Peter, James, and John saw with their own eyes Jesus’s transformation on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:1-2). The transfiguration was a powerful, visible miracle confirmed by three men. Christ’s face shown much brighter than the sun. It was as though He was pulling back His humanity, allowing His deity to shine through. We believe that Peter, James, and John witnessed this transfiguration because said they said they did. And we are to believe their witness.
And not only this, but the three disciples actually heard God’s voice speaking. Jesus “received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’” (2 Pet. 1:18) God spoke, and Jesus and the disciples heard His voice, providing a very credible witness. Peter said that having seen Christ’s shining face and having heard the very voice print of God, their prophetic word is confirmed in writing. We do well to heed their prophetic word.
“And so we have the prophetic word [the Bible] confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture [written Word of God] is of any private interpretation. For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:19-21).
God’s Word came to and through special set-apart sinful humans, like wind filling the sails of a sailboat. The wind moves and guides the boat as the sails respond to the wind. God guided His Word by His Holy Spirit, filling the minds of these men. God’s Spirit guided their minds and their pens as they wrote down His Word. They remained sinners, but God protected the integrity and power of His Word through their sinful minds and through their pens and onto parchment paper. The result is that we hold in our hands the very Word of the living God. In like manner, the Spirit of God teaches our human spirits the meaning of the Word of God, bringing to us its integrity and power (1 Cor. 2:13-14).
What Peter is actually saying is that the written Word of God that we hold in our hands today, the Bible, is a more credible witness than even hearing God’s voice speaking and more powerful than even the miracle of witnessing the Lord Jesus transfigured before them. This explains why as believers, we are to preach the word (2 Tim. 4:2).
This is also why the writer of Hebrews said, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:12-13).
There are times when both parables and metaphors, are effectively used to communicate the spiritual giving and receiving of God’s Word. Think of metaphors first. God has given His Word like rain falling from clouds into the minds of sinful human beings, and like the sound of invisible wind blowing through the trees, and like seeds planted in fields that produce fruit (Isa. 55:8-11; John 3:8; Lk. 8:11). Believers in Christ would do well to memorize these three metaphors and passages that accompany them. When God’s Word fell, it was likened to rain. Therefore, it is unwet rain, or unwet water. God’s Word is viewed as the wind blowing from the mind of God to the minds of human beings.
The spoken Word of God is called in Hebrew “rhema.” This was God’s Word personally spoken to the Old Testament prophets by the living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. The prophets wrote it down and preserved God’s Word in Aramaic and in Hebrew. God’s Word came into the New Testament written in Greek.
The words of the Bible are spiritually living and active, moving first here then there, being blown like the wind. When the words are read, taught, or sung, their truths directed by the Holy Spirit always accomplish God’s purpose, always. Not one word is ever wasted. God’s Word flows like water, but it is not wet. This unwet water is said to wash, but it is a dry washing, to cleanse, but it is a dry cleansing. Paul said that Jesus sanctified and cleansed His church by the washing of water by the Word (Eph. 5:26). It is this unwet water of the Word accompanied by the Spirit that brings new birth (1 Pet. 1:22-25). Continuing the parables!