[Note by editor: place mouse over Scripture verse for pop up viewing. Also, there are 32 parables listed here by Brown, but the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 is evidenced to be a literal account, for reasons explained here, while larger lists of parables that I have seen contain statements that also would not qualify as proper parables as defined by authors I have read (see below)

The strong man armed


Mt 12:29; Mr 3:27; Lk 11:21, 22.

The unclean spirit


Mt 12:43-45; Lk 11:24-26.

The sower

Seashore of Galilee

Mt 13:3-9, 18-23; Mr 4:3-9, 14-20; Lk 8:5-8, 11-15.

The tares and wheat

Seashore of Galilee

Mt 13:24-30, 36-43.

The mustard seed

Seashore of Galilee

Mt 13:31, 32; Mr 4:30-32; Lk 13:18, 19.

The seed growing secretly

Seashore of Galilee

Mr 4:26-29.

The leaven

Seashore of Galilee

Mt 13:33; Lk 13:20, 21.

The hid treasure

Seashore of Galilee

Mt 13:44.

The pearl of great price

Seashore of Galilee

Mt 13:45, 46.

The draw net

Seashore of Galilee

Mt 13:47-50.

The unmerciful servant


Mt 18:21-35.

The good Samaritan

Near Jerusalem

Lk 10:29-37.

The friend at midnight

Near Jerusalem

Lk 11:5-8.

The rich fool


Lk 12:16-21.

The barren fig tree


Lk 13:6-9.

The great supper


Lk 14:15-24.

The lost sheep


Mt 18:12-14; Lk 15:3-7.

The lost piece of money


Lk 15:8-10.

The prodigal son


Lk 15:11-32.

The good shepherd


Jn 10:1-18.

The unjust steward


Lk 16:1-8.

The rich man and Lazarus


Lk 16:19-31. [Not a parable: see side]

The profitable servants


Lk 17:7-10.

The importunate widow


Lk 18:1-8.

The Pharisees and publicans


Lk 18:9-14.

The laborers in the vineyard


Mt 20:1-16.

The pounds


Lk 19:11-27.

The two sons


Mt 21:28-32.

The wicked husbandmen


Mt 21:33-44; Mr 12:1-12; Lk 20:9-18.

The marriage of the king's son


Mt 22:1-14.

The ten virgins

Mount of Olives

Mt 25:1-13.

The talents

Mount of Olives

Mt 25:14-30.

Source: Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (1871), public domain.

*Supplemental 1 (not by Brown): Luke 16:19-31 is NOT a parable

The Lord did not always teach in parables, and some here, such as the Pharisee and the Publican (Lk 18:9-14) may be an actual account, which the story of the rich man and Lazarus is.

1. In none of the (over 30) parables of the Lord did He name real persons, as He does here with Abraham and Lazarus, while mercifully excluding the name of the 3rd individual.

2. Parables used known physical realities (pearl, tree, weddings, etc,) as corresponding to spiritual realities (the kingdom of God, etc.). But if the Lord was speaking in a parable about a man who died and was in torments, then for the first and only time He would be using science fiction, for according to annihilationists there is no postmortem (after death) ongoing conscious torment in Hell (hades).

3. Annihilationists and others who deny this account as being a literal story try to force this account into being a fictional story speaking symbolically of Lazarus representing the Gentiles, and the rich man as being the Jews, or the Pharisees in particular. However, being in such dire torments commencing at death hardly represents annihilation or anything the Jews realize apart from Christ, unless this is a true account, which applies to all who die in their sins.

While some argue that such things as a drop of water or even having a body and tongue could not exist in such a place as Hell fire, that is a basic mistake of applying the physical laws of the world to the supernatural. Operating in which realm the Lord could come through closed doors with a body of flesh and bones and eat food. (Lk. 24:36-43; Jn. 20:26)

Some assert that the Lord was using a Jewish myth (4 Maccabees 13:17) that taught that when people died they went to either Abraham’s bosom, or to a fiery hell, in order to rebuke this idea (since the Lord taught a different version of it), but which is absurd, as it has the Lord teaching a modified myth to correct a myth. Instead the Lord is correcting their erroneous aspects by teaching the actual reality. Note that Jude does likewise in affirming what the book of Enoch teaches, but which book also speaks of 40' (or 400' depending on source) men.

4. The sinless Christ would never teach of a place and experience as serious as the afterlife that nowhere existed, and to use such a fairy tale as representing a spiritual reality impugns the credibility of the latter.

That Abraham's bosom was paradise is indicated by the Lord's word to the contrite criminal of Lk. 23:43, “Verily I say unto thee, To day thou shalt be with Me in paradise.”

It makes no sense to place the comma after “to day,” as if the Lord needed to distinguish that He said this today rather than tomorrow, and the Lord did not go to Heaven until the resurrection.

Moreover, while OT saints were forgiven under the rubric of the atonement of Christ which the Levitical sacrifices prefigured so that they were not damned for their sins, yet Hebrews makes it clear that the actual putting away of sins and the opening up of Heaven to enter into the presence of the Lord awaited the atonement of Christ.

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:4) And that “the way into the holiest of all [in the heavenly tabernacle] was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.” (Hebrews 9:8)

Next, Ephesians 4:9,10 states that “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?” (Ephesians 4:8-9) and 1 Peter 3:19,20 teaches that by the Spirit the Lord “preached unto the spirits in prison which sometime were disobedient.”

Furthermore, Matthew 27:50-53 records that when Christ died veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom , and And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Which easily corresponds to the scenario of the Lord descending to preach judgment to those in hades (from “sheol” of the OT, which can just mean the grave, but which has a spiritual component as revealed in the NT, and Rv. 20:13 shows it delivering them up for the final judgment), that by rejecting such men as Noah they were in essence rejecting the Lord Jesus.

And that since OT saints could not go directly into the Lord's presence in the holy of holies, they where in Abraham's bosom, which sequestered saints the Lord delivered, thus many graves then actually opened, and some appeared to many after the resurrection.

It is true that Enoch, Elijah and apparently Moses bodily went to Heaven, if not into the Lord's holy of holies, but these would be exceptions. Being bodily taken seems to signify a special status.

Supplemental 2:

Extended Figures of Speech


Parables are extended figures of comparison that often use short stories to teach a truth or answer a question. While the story in a parable is not historical, it is true to life, not a fairy tale. As a form of oral literature, the parable exploits realistic situations but makes effective use of the imagination. Jesus frequently composed parables in His teaching ministry (see Mark 4:34) and used them in response to specific situations and challenges. His parables are drawn from the spheres of domestic and family life as well as business and political affairs. He used imagery that was familiar to His hearers to guide them to the unfamiliar. Some of the parables were designed to reveal mysteries to those on the inside and to conceal the truth to those on the outside who would not hear (Matt. 13:10-17; Mark 4:10-12). This was especially true of the parables that related to the kingdom of God. However, other parables like the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25- 37) and the parable of the landowner (Matt. 21:33-46) could be grasped by unbelievers. —

Parables are short stories that are told in order to get a point across and occur in both testaments of the Bible. The word "parable" (Gk. parabole) was generally used in reference to any short narrative that had symbolic meaning (Louw & Nida 1989, p. 391). There are many stories and saying of Jesus in the New Testament that are identified as parables, but not all of these are parables in the true sense. The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-35) may be regarded as a true parable because it is a complete story with a beginning, ending and plot, but the Leaven in the Meal is a similitude, "You are the salt of the earth" is a metaphor and "Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes" is an epigram (Fee & Stuart 1993, p. 136-137). When "parable" is used in this section it refers to the true parables.

A true parable then may be regarded as an extended simile (Blomberg 1990, p. 32). It is a story that resembles real-life natural situations and does not contain any mythical or supernatural elements (Kuske 1995, p. 97). These stories were told in order to catch the listener's attention and provoke a response. C. H. Dodd (1961, p.16) defines a parable as: "a metaphor or simile drawn from nature or common life, arresting the hearer by its vividness or strangeness, and leaving the mind in sufficient doubt about its precise application to tease it into active thought." They often embody a message that may not be communicated in any other way (Marshall & Tasker, in New Bible Dictionary:Parables). —

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