PMW 2020-022 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
A reader recently responded to an aside comment that I made in an article on the Olivet Discourse. Though the issue is not a major one, it is an interesting one nevertheless. And it is at least potentially helpful for better understanding the matter before us.
THE INTERPRETIVE CONCERN
The reader writes:
“I can’t imagine why you would think that Mt 25: 31 & 32 is not a parable. Sheep and goats are metaphors which is exactly what makes a parable a parable.”
Thanks for reading my posts, and taking the time to interact. Much appreciated!
However, I believe you are mistaken in assuming that because “sheep and goats are metaphors” that this is what “makes a parable a parable.” Just a quick observation regarding your statement about metaphors and parables: we speak in metaphors all the time today without anyone claiming we are speaking in parables. You are apparently working with an inadequate definition of a parable.
Your comment indicates that you have not done any extensive work in dealing with parables. Defining a “parable” is a lot more complex than you suppose. I have a dozen books on the parables of Jesus in my library. They invariably have to wrestle with the definition of a “parable.” Defining “parable” is a widely debated issue in New Testament interpretation.
But now regarding your basic concern, which is found in your statement: “I can’t imagine why you would think that Mt 25:31 32 is not a parable.”
I would admit that there are, in fact, many scholars who believe that the Sheep and Goats Discourse is a parable. However, I do not believe they are correct; and I am not alone in this. I will be presenting numerous observations on Matthew 25:31–46 by leading scholars that deny that the passage is a parable. No one should respond to these men by complaining: “I can’t imagine why you would think that Mt 25: 31 & 32 is not a parable.” Continue reading