Jesus taught extensively in parables, so much so that
“he did not speak to them without a parable”Matt 13:34
According to some commentators, when Jesus speaks in the Synoptic gospels fully one third of the time it is a parable.1 Do we recognize the power of these teachings? When Jesus taught in parables it was polarizing. People wanted to make him king or kill him. Riots started. Crowds marveled at his teaching and authority (Matt 7:27-28). The parables of Jesus were raw and polarizing. They made a significant impact with people – they were not just nice stories for children. It was Bailey who observed that:
The more familiar a parable, the more it cries out to be rescued from the barnacles that have attached themselves to it over the centuries2
There are many reasons why barnacles attach to parables and change the shape of Jesus teaching. Interpretations are layered on past interpretations. Rather than read Jesus teaching, we filter them through our faith traditions preferred understandings. Here’s a few reasons:
- Our lived experience colours our reading. Features in the text stand in stronger or fainter relief based on our own life stories. There is limited overlap between the lives of most first world countries and the rural poor of Galilee.
- A classic demonstration of this was Powell’s experiment reciting key elements of the parable of the Prodigal Son. 6% of an American group remembered the famine as a key element. 84% of a Russian group included the famine.3 Life experience impacted what stood out to each group.
- Social historical distance blinds us to the obvious. What was a given for the first audience is sometimes strange or unknown to us. Word patterns, common metaphors, in-jokes, pop culture references are barriers. Deprived of the common assumptions about ‘how things are’ we can approach Jesus parables missing critical information. The impact of this varies, but it is always a risk.
- In the quest for the entertaining, novel and “deep” readings take on a life of their own. This is abundantly plain in the strong tendency in many traditions to allegorise parables and find meanings in every detail, no matter how incidental, in Jesus’ words.
We can expound the parables to say things which are of themselves true but not necessarily what Jesus meant. To call this ill-founded exposition a misunderstanding or misapplication appears harsh, often good positive truths are being taught. But by altering the message of Jesus we can inadvertently water down the parables. We can rob them of their power. In short, we accidentally tame the parables. Perhaps our discipleship can be improved by unleashing the parables – by giving them back their ancient confrontational power, as uncomfortable and challenging as this can be.
Jesus the Jewish parable master
Parables were not Jesus’ invention. As Young notes there were thousands of rabbinic parables and we should not imagine Jesus invented parables as a teaching method. According to Young this brought some consternation to some Rabbis who preferred more technical teaching, but as one Rabbi said to another – parables made the word accessible:
R. Abbahu answered him: “I will tell you a parable. To what may the matter be compared? It may be compared to two men. One of them was selling precious stones and the other various kinds of small ware. To whom do the people rush? Is it not to the seller of various kinds of small ware?”4
Rather than wonder whether Jesus invented parables – clearly he didn’t – a more relevant question Young continues is:
how far the parables of Jesus are the expression of his own specific message and how far he has accepted common Jewish theology and incorporated it in his own message5
A consequence of these Jewish roots is the use by Jesus of
…a large number of “standard metaphors” (most notably the king standing for God) which were so frequently used by the rabbis that Jesus’ audiences almost certainly would have interpreted them in fairly conventional ways. More recent studies have surveyed the imagery of various Old Testament and intertestamental texts and expanded the list of stock symbols which would have had relatively fixed meanings in Jesus’ day6
These realities make comparison with Greek parables somewhat redundant. Jesus maintained a distinctly Jewish approach to teaching is sometimes debate in the scholarly circles on what a parable is and the Greek distinction between parables and similes. However the context of Jesus’ parables is distinctly Jewish. There are a number of Jesus parables there are very clear reworkings of existing Jewish material (eg wheat and tares).
Why Parables? To reveal or conceal?
A number of times Jesus’ use of parables is questioned. Why did he use them? Jesus answered a number of times with a reference back to Isa 6:9-10. The longest citation is in Matt 13:13 where he says:
For this reason I speak to them in parables: Although they see they do not see, and although they hear they do not hear nor do they understand. 14 And concerning them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: ‘You will listen carefully yet will never understand, you will look closely yet will never comprehend. 15 For the heart of this people has become dull; they are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes, so that they would not see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ 16 “But your eyes are blessed because they see, and your ears because they hear.”
Jesus makes it clear that the disciples were privileged to hear. In the MT the text of Isa 6:9-10 is quite harsh – it reads that God was making impossible for the people to hear. This is very clear in some versions like the LJJV which translates Isa 6:10 as:
Make the heart of this people fat, And make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears
Such a reading suggests they had no free will in the matter. However this is not the point being made – certainly not what the Lord is saying. Instead he is presupposing the lack of reaction (or negative one)– rather than it being God’s fault. This is clearer when we realise that Matthew’s citation comes from the LXX (refer negative reaction Matthew is not quoting from the MT.
The quotation itself is given in verbatim agreement with LXX, except for the omission of αὐτῶν, “their,” after ὠσίν, “ears,” in v 15 (Matthew’s fulfillment quotations usually depart extensively from the LXX). The first two lines of the quotation were already anticipated in v 13. As Isaiah said, they will hear but not at all (οὐ μή, emphatic negative) understand, will see but not at all (same emphatic negative) perceive (ἴδητε)…The syntax of the LXX here and in the following lines is rather different from that of the Hebrew…more scope is given to the responsibility of the Jews than is done in the Hebrew text. …It is the unbelieving people who have shut their own eyes…It was primarily because they were unwilling to repent that they saw, heard, and understood so poorly…The LXX version thus suits Matthew’s purposes much better than the Hebrew text does7
So having pointed to the LXX let’s go there with the words of Isa 9:6-10:
Go and tell this people, ‘You will hear by hearing and not understand; and although looking, you will look and not see.’ For the heart of this people has been thickened; and they have heard with difficulty with their ears, and they closed their eyes lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I will heal them8
They closed their eyes. The problem was the choice of the people. The parables were a mechanism for sorting out the genuine. The disciples and general public in Jesus day would have understood this. As Young notes:
…The idea is not that his teachings have secret messages that can be decoded only by his inner circle of disciples. Rather, his followers are devoted to the practice of Jesus’ teaching. They hear the word and do it. They can understand the mystery because of their decision to obey. But for the others the message is heard only in simple parables, so easy to understand but so difficult to put into practice. They hear but do not understand. In reality, they understand the parables perfectly well but are unwilling to decide to practice the teaching. For the disciples, the mysteries of God are plain because they are practicing what they have learned.
…They see but do not see, and hear but do not understand, in the sense that no one sees and understands unless without obeying fully the demands of the Torah9
How did a parable sort people out? By its nature a parable invites us to think more than a straightforward command.
A speaker or writer who has a viewpoint he wishes his audience to accept that it does not currently hold will seldom succeed by means of a straightforward explanation of his position. Rather he has to think of some innocuous method of introducing the subject, while at the same time challenging his listeners to think of it in a new way. A carefully constructed allegory may well accomplish what its nonmetaphorical, propositional counterpart never could…clarity and concealment go hand in hand as Jesus seeks a creative and disarming way to revolutionize his audiences’ thinking about the kingdom of God10
As Blomberg goes on to say people chose not to see because they didn’t like the choice. A point of decision is the inevitable end of any correctly understood parable – and this is what leads to division and people choosing not to hear:
Jesus’ parables leave no neutral ground for casual interest or idle curiosity. They sharply divided their original audiences into disciples and opponents. They must continue to function in the same way today.11
Seeing the parables as just a delivery mechanism can be a limiting view though. Bailey notes the parables provide an opportunity for contemplation and learning:
A parable is an extended metaphor and as such it is not a delivery system for an idea but a house in which the reader/ listener is invited to take up residence.12
The parables are not about concealing the truth from all but a special few. Parables provoke a reaction, either positive or negative. Jesus employed them as a vehicle to deliver some unpleasant truths and also to engage his audience often an extended metaphor that would enable ongoing reflection and contemplation.
The importance of social historical context to understanding
Without historical context we can readily miss the point of a parable or perhaps take longer to grasp the nuance. By way of example the Beatles’ song penned by Paul McCartney “Let it be” features the lyrics
“when I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be…”
Growing up I was told this was a reference to the Catholic teachings about Mary the mother of Jesus mysteriously coming to McCartney to help ease his stress.13 Later I learned Paul’s father was part of his life and that as a young teenager he lost his mother (Mary) to cancer. Rather than a Catholic hymn, instead I was hearing an orphan mourn his sole parent. Ouch. Totally missed the point.
This misunderstanding is in recent time. We need to remember that:
“The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.”14
A few years ago I was in Vanuatu doing some pastoral work. A fellow Australian gave a great bible class about Jesus as the Good Shepherd. The only problem was at the end of the class the locals asked what a sheep was. There are no sheep in Vanuatu. Most of the talk explaining the Lord’s words totally missed the audience due to the local context.
Removed in time, place, language and culture we are even more likely to miss some of the power of Jesus teachings because of a lack of awareness of the historical detail. Eg when confronted by the Pharisees and Herodians asking about paying tax (Mark 12:13-17) we know Jesus said render to Caesar the things that are Caesars and God the things that are God’s’ based on the image on a coin. What is not obvious to us is that the Romans permitted local copper currency to circulate without an image on it to avoid offending Jewish religious sensibilities. But when asked these zealots have the image bearing silver coin Jesus requests – demonstrating that their nationalist trap was hypocritical – they had Roman currency on them.15 Jesus’ brilliant statement is the second response to the question. The first would already have resulted in the crowd moving allegiance from the Herodian/Pharisee block to the Lord. While not critical, this shows sometimes there are layers in the stories which would have been apparent to the listeners which we can miss.
How to defang a parable through social historical misunderstanding
The parable of the unforgiving debtor in Matt 18:23-35 is well known. A slave owned the king 10,000 talents and promised to pay but was forgiven. The same fellow was owed 100 denarii and showed no mercy in collecting the debt. Consequently the king punishes the slave. The simple lesson Jesus draws is that we should forgive our debtors to avoid negative judgement from God. I’ve heard many an exposition stating the truism that God forgives us so much and we are reluctant to forgive a friend who doesn’t repay us for fast food meal of burger and fries, or some trifling sum of money. That is a nice exhortational point and is a truism. We should forgive some who owes us a small amount of money. However Jesus’ parable is far more powerful than this. 100 denarii was 100 days wage.16 Translate that into today’s average wages in a western context and Jesus is not talking about forgiving someone for the price of a fast food meal. He wants us to forgive three to four months wages. That’s a lot to forgive. Exposition which misses the actual value of 100 denarii to Jesus audience can understate the extent of forgiveness Jesus requires. However, this is still a misleading interpretation for it is divorced from Galilee in Jesus day which experienced:
“general hardship if not political exploitation in an agricultural society undergoing the regular difficulties of famine, disease, and migration for work and stability, in addition to the trials of land dispossession, tenancy, unemployment, taxation, and indebtedness”17
100 denarii was the difference between life and death for those on barely above the survival line. While you might not starve, you could well be forced to sell yourself (or your family members) into slavery. Is Jesus asking a trifling thing now? A simple yes I will forgive is harder when your life savings are gone and your family in mortal peril… forgive that Jesus says.
Failing to appreciate both the quantum of money and the economically vulnerability of the audience leads to robbing the parable of its power. In effect we can be forgiving but only until 7 times, not the effectively unlimited times our Lord demands (cp Matt 18:22). Misunderstanding limits the parable, minimises its demands on us and places it in a neat box which we can manage, clear of conscience and untroubled by the Master’s teaching.
Are the parables allegories? Is every part of the story significant? Over time people have seen all sorts of points in the details of parables. Looking at the parable of the Good Samaritan for example one finds the following readings:
|Who||Origen18||St Augustine19||John Carter20,21||R Heath22||Sallin23||My margin||J. Halévy24|
|Wounded man||Adam||Adam||Us||Jesus or us|
|Jerusalem||Paradise||The heavenly city||Place of blessing||With God|
|Jericho||The world||Place of curse||Leaving God|
|The thieves||Evil powers||The devil||Sin|
|Priest||Mosaic law||Mosaic law||Law & sacrifice||Old religious order||Mosaic law and self righteous|
|Samaritan||Jesus||Jesus||Jesus||Us||Law keeping covenant community without cult||Jesus or us||Layman (as opposed to clerics|
|Ass||The body of Christ|
|Oil & win||gospel||God’s word|
|Inn keeper||The bishop||Apostle Paul|
|2 Silver coins||Father & Son (or Bread & Wine)||Price of redemption|
|Promise of return||Second Coming|
Finding meaning in each element of the parables, no matter how small the detail, reflects perhaps the enthusiasm of the individual rather than message Jesus was conveying, as Plummer notes on this parable:
The Fathers delight in mystical interpretations of the parable…Such things are permissible so long as they are not put forward as the meaning which the Propounder of the Parable designed to teach. That Christ Himself was a unique realization of the Good Samaritan is unquestionable. That He intended the Good Samaritan to represent himself, in His dealings with fallen humanity, is more than we know.25
The scriptural evidence speaks against focusing too much on details. The gospel writers change details to make parables meaningful to their different audiences. Some examples (see Blomberg for more detail26) include:
- The wise man builds his house on a rock in Matt 7:24but digs a foundation in Luke 6:48. This makes sense of the practice for Luke’s Gentile readers – who used different construction techniques due to their geography.
- Mustard was planted in the ground Mark 4:31 (because Jewish laws forbade it going in a garden) but naturally for the Gentile readers of Luke 13:19 the mustard seed is planted in a garden
The minor details are clearly not integral to the story and therefore should not form the basis of exploratory exposition. We should focus on the core of Jesus’ teaching. Bro JS Simpson observes that seeking to make such connections is not necessarily a bad thing but if it becomes a focus then God’s:
…word may lose its power to cleanse us, and become instead merely a source of material for discussion. We shall then study it, not to learn God’s will, but to exercise our intellects and perhaps to discover some new thing to expound to our friends.27
It is a little more dangerous than this though. Allegories change the shape of the parable and thereby alter its power. For example with the Good Samaritan:
- Do I have to be the good neighbor if Jesus is the ultimate Good Samaritan?
- Is the beaten-up man heading away from God and getting the inevitable just deserts of his terrible life choices? Does this limit my obligation – or at least alter my attitude to him? Yes!
- If the oil and wine represent the gospel, do I have to help the poor or just the poor in spirit?
- Should I really provide mere material support if there is no conversation opportunity in view given the that the Good Samaritan delivered the man to the care of the covenant community (the inn)?
Allegories can limit the power of the parable, wrapping it into a neat story about Jesus rather than a challenge to our moral code. It becomes easier to manage the parable if we allegorise it. Putting our teaching over the top of Jesus’ first case meaning is dangerous and unnecessary. It runs a massive risk of reshaping the parables to a more comfortable, less confrontation mold. He is the master teacher. Let his teaching speak in its own authentic initial voice!
So what of the Parable of the Samaritan helper?
The context is the challenge of the lawyer. Who is my neighbor? The lawyer was seeking to justify himself but had the context of debate around this subject on his side. To whom do I owe a duty of love? You could use the Old Testament to derive at least three different answers.
- You could adopt a geographic definition. Lev 19:34 included anyone living in the land as a neighbour – including strangers.
- More narrowly you could use Lev 19:18 to define a neighbor on genealogical lines – only the descendants of Jacob were neighbours.
- Most narrowly a neighbor could be only people who loved God (in your opinion!) based on David’s expressed hatred of those who opposed God in Psa 139:21-22. The non canonical book Sirach 12:1–4 positively told you not to help a sinner.28
So depending on how you used your bible you could derive a range of answers and pick one to suit your preference. Thank goodness the tendency to extract the meaning which best suits us is no longer a problem today! Obviously the final answer – only those you deem God’s faithful followers – provides the most comfortable answer. Perhaps this is why Jesus gives a most uncomfortable answer!
Aside – a historical precedent
In 2 Chron 28 the northern kingdom of Israel attacked and defeated the southern kingdom of Judah. 200,000 captives were taken to Samaria – presumably to them be sold into slavery. A prophet suggested this was not a great idea and so the nobles provided care for captives . The captives were then transported to Jericho – the wounded were transported on donkeys. In the interests of accuracy it should be noted there is likely no connection between the Samaritans of Jesus day and the Jews in Samaria apart from geography (and that they were considered apostate by the southerners in each case).
Was this the basis of Jesus’ parable? He makes no specific allusion to the history. No clear teachings are alluded to by Luke. It seems best to see this as perhaps Jesus taking some history and shaping a new narrative which was within the bounds of credibility due to the past, but derived none of its pedagogic value from history.
So the parable
Why did Jesus have a priest fail to help the victim? We are not told initially. Many speculate that the priest’s avoidance of the issue was due to a ritual concern for cleanliness. Snodgrass however states that
nothing – not even purity laws – legitimately stood in the way of saving a life29
We are none the wiser as to the priest’s failure. Nor should we assume Jesus was tapping into a vein of ani-priest sentiment. For:
the assumption that the priest and Levite belonged to the upper classes, but many priests and Levites did not. Some were poor. Further, no evidence of anticlerical attitudes exists in the first century Judaism except for that directed against the priestly aristocracy who ran the Temple30
This accords with the seemingly humble circumstances of Elizabeth and Zachariah, parents to John the Baptist.
When the Levite appears and similarly fails to intervene, Jesus builds the tension in the story. It is very unclear how his parable will resolve the lawyer’s question, but at least the audience had an idea what was coming next. Jesus has set the foundations for a triad structure. Just as most English speakers know when a presenter says “Knock knock” they have a part to play in setting up a joke, so Jesus’ listeners would have recognised soon enough the structure of Jesus parable when the Levite comes and fails the test of neighbourliness. The priest, Levite and the people was a standard triad arrangement31 – this is what his audience would have expected, a normal Jew was coming next.
The story could take one of two probable paths.32 The “normal” Jew would help the man, hence neighbourliness is “living in the love of the common people” (with apologies to Paul Young) and the religious elites were in some way deficient. Alternatively maybe the Jew would also fail and the whole thing would end badly with the lesson that without this new rabbi Jesus, there could be no love.
What comes next was shocking. A Samaritan. The impact is lost on us. Intergenerational conflict and enmity is not the experience of most westerners. The Jews and Samaritans hated each other. This was a long standing blood feud with religious disagreement thrown in. A more unclean vile disgusting person you could not imagine. People smuggler? Arms dealers? Drug pushers? Whatever offends you deeply is a step in the right direction but probably not the whole journey to understanding the passionate hatred. The lawyer was about to learn that:
Grace comes in surprising ways and from sources people seldom suspect33
The Samaritan’s work
The Samaritan just does. Confronted by a naked possibly dead individual there is no hesitation. The Samaritan failed to check a few things first though:
- Was the victim a Jew, Samaritan, a good person, a Roman, a sinner?
- Did the individual even want help from a Samaritan? He didn’t actually ask for it.
- Would the Samaritan’s intervention make any difference (the guy could have been dead!)
- Did he have the skills and resources?
- Would the victim convert to accept the Samaritan Pentateuch and the superiority of Gerazim to Zion?
- Did this situation result from some poor life choices by the victim? Travelling that dangerous road was asking for it really…
Without the burden of such questions the Samaritan acts. Here was a needy human. The Samaritan shows no thought of reward, agenda or judgement. This is what neighbourly love looks like (the questions above not so much). But there is more.
The Samaritan does everything for man he can. Short, medium and long-term care is provided that extends past the end of Jesus’ story. The Samaritan all but writes a blank cheque to the inn keeper for future care costs!
Go do likewise says the Lord in Luke 10:37, be the Samaritan, be neighbourly. Plummer observes this a present imperative.34 Keep on doing the same – a life long habit needs to be developed.
This was a radical and hard teaching. The presence of the Samaritan with all the negative connotations, should alert us to the power of the teaching. Jesus is hammering a point. The most despised humans were used by Jesus as a radical example of being a neighbour. Jews considered Samaritans an abomination – but here the Samaritan is clearly the hero. Why use the Samaritan as the good guy? Because Jesus wants us to understand that:
The heretic expressing love is more God-like than the people of God.
It’s not a contest. It’s a warning. A command. An expectation. Go and be doing the same, indiscriminately showing love. Snodgrass is worth quoting at length here:
Jesus’ answer to the lawyer’s question turns out to be a negation of the question’s premise that there are boundaries to the definition of neighbour. The question “Who is my neighbour?” ought not be asked. No thought is allowed that a human can be a non-neighbour. Franz Leenhardt’s often used statement is compelling “One cannot define one’s neighbour; one can only be a neighbour”. We cannot say in advance who the neighbour is; rather nearness and need define “neighbour”. As TW Manson commented “love does not begin by defining its objects: it discovers them” and “while mere neighborhood does not create love, love does create neighbourliness”. S Kierkegaard captured the goal by saying, “to love one’s neighbour means, while remaining within the earthly distinctions allotted to one, essentially to will to exist equally for every human being without exception”35
Here is the challenge – Go and be a neighbor. Unlike the Samaritan we have the advantage of the calling of God (like the Priest and Levite!!!). Empowered and enlightened by the covenant community our neighborliness should be greater than any Samaritans! That was the point – there is no value in “knowing God, loving the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind” if it doesn’t empower you to be a loving neighbor, the exemplar of a loving neighbor.
Further, a loving neighbor doesn’t love by only throwing bibles at people, or decide who deserves help based on morality, proximity, or prioritise these people, or or or. No.
Go and continually do likewise!
No boundaries. No preconditions. No religious agendas. Just show love.
Some question whether being a neighbor is dependent on the perspective of the ditch (eg Nolland36). However the judgement is invited from the parable’s external observer, not its participants. Regardless, the perspective has value as a point of reflection. Is our service – judged from the perspective of the ditch – loving? More powerfully though we might ask the bigger questions. What difference are we making to the beaten up? To the widows and fatherless? To the anonymous, disposed and powerless? If we are not breaking our journey to aid these needy ones – regardless of circumstances – are we even on the right road?
Parables are a fundamental feature of Jesus teaching. We are removed in culture, language and daily experience from Jesus’ audience. This combined with well-intentioned trajectories of exposition means the past is even more a foreign place than we might imagine.
Parables were a powerful tool which demanded decision, which required individuals to either step into the light or shrink back to the dark, harden their hearts and shut their ears and eyes….
We need to try and remove the barnacles – free the parables to express their ancient, confronting power. If it doesn’t hurt perhaps we are doing it wrong. It is only when the parables are unleashed that we can hear our Master’s authentic voice, when we can allow him to challenge us and thereby change us into being more like him remembering that :
the kingdom of God is demonstrated not in idle talk but with power1 Cor 4:20 NET
And perhaps a final word from Snodgrass
hearing is authenticated in doing…the parable exposes any religion with a mania for creeds and an anemia for deeds.37
May our personal religion be one of continual, radical giving love.
Featured image by Zephyris.
- Young, B. H. (2012). The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation(p. 7). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
- Bailey, K. E. (2008). Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels (p. 343). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.
- Richards, E. R., & O’Brien, B. J. (2012). Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible(p. 14). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- Young, B. H. (2012). The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation (p. 12). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
- Flusser, D. (2012). Foreword. In The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation (p. ix). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
- Blomberg, C. (1990). Interpreting the parables (p. 37). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- Hagner, D. A. (1998). Matthew 1–13 (Vol. 33A, p. 374). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
- Brannan, R., Penner, K. M., Loken, I., Aubrey, M., & Hoogendyk, I. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Septuagint (Is 6:9–10). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- Young, B. H. (2012). The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation (pp. 268–269). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
- Blomberg, C. (1990). Interpreting the parables (p. 54). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- Blomberg, C. (1990). Interpreting the parables (p. 327). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- Bailey, K. E. (2008). Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels (p. 280). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.
- Some still maintain this is the case despite McCartney’s comments see www.catholicstand.com/a-lesson-on-text-criticism-and-the-beatles-let-it-be/ visited 21 Feb 2019
- This opening line of L. P. Hartley’s The Go-Between is quoted in D. Lowenthal, The Past ls a Foreign Country (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1985) xvi.
- Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Mk 12:16–17). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- Biblical Studies Press. (2005). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
- Milinovich, T. (2016). Galileans. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- Edwards, J. R. (2015). The Gospel according to Luke. (D. A. Carson, Ed.) (p. 324). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.; Nottingham, England: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Apollos.
- Blomberg, C. (1990). Interpreting the parables (p. 31). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- (1929). The Christadelphian, 66 (electronic ed.), 103.
- (1935). The Christadelphian, 72 (electronic ed.), 544.
- (2001). The Christadelphian, 118 (electronic ed.), 414.
- Nolland, J. (1998). Luke 9:21–18:34 (Vol. 35B, p. 590). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
- Fitzmyer, J. A., S. J. (2008). The Gospel according to Luke X–XXIV: introduction, translation, and notes (Vol. 28A, p. 887). New Haven; London: Yale University Press.
- Plummer, A. (1896). A critical and exegetical commentary on the Gospel according to S. Luke (p. 289). London: T&T Clark International.
- Blomberg, C. (1990). Interpreting the parables (p. 81). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- (2001). The Christadelphian, 91 (electronic ed.), 110–111.
- Bock, D. L. (1996). Luke (p. 300). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
- Snodgrass, Klyne. (2008) Stories with intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus (pg 355) Grand Rapids, MI USA. William B Eerdmans Publishing Co
- Snodgrass, Klyne. (2008) Stories with intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus (pg 354) Grand Rapids, MI USA. William B Eerdmans Publishing Co
- Pao, D. W., & Schnabel, E. J. (2007). Luke. In Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (pp. 321–322). Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos.
- Nolland, J. (1998). Luke 9:21–18:34 (Vol. 35B, p. 594). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
- Blomberg, C. (1990). Interpreting the parables (p. 233). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- Plummer, A. (1896). A critical and exegetical commentary on the Gospel according to S. Luke (p. 289). London: T&T Clark International.
- Snodgrass, Klyne. (2008) Stories with intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus (pg 357) Grand Rapids, MI USA. William B Eerdmans Publishing Co
- Nolland, J. (1998). Luke 9:21–18:34 (Vol. 35B, p. 592). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
- Snodgrass, Klyne. (2008) Stories with intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus (pg 358) Grand Rapids, MI USA. William B Eerdmans Publishing Co