A Christian reading of the Bible must not question its authenticity. Instead, it needs to try to discern the truth in the poetic text, which is highly charged with symbols, allegories, metaphors and smiles.
Most importantly, Christian reading of the Holy Book has to be based on the ‘method’ that Jesus himself has taught. The entire Matthew 13 was an explanation of the style in which the whole Bible was written, and a demonstration on how to break its code, as far as laymen are concerned.
Example 1= Matthew 13:18-23
The Parable of the Sower Explained
The parable was based on an analogy(1) between the context in the story and the real context of the receivers of the message of Christ. The parts of the analogy are as follows:
|“A sower went out to sow.||1- God’s messengers are likened to a farmer; a sower of seeds,
2-God’s message is likened to the seed
3-The type of listener/believer is likened to the type of ground/earth the seeds were planted in.
4-A long-lasting faith, which is the result expected from sending the message, is likened to the fruit born from planting the seed in each type of ground.
|4 And as he sowed,||It means: “as He was communicating the message”.|
|some seeds fell along the path,||19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it,…
A non-discerning mind/heart is likened to a path which is hard at its surface. Neither the path nor the mind allows things/information to sink in deep.
|and the birds came and devoured them.||..the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.
The evil one who keeps coming to these people to steal what they have in their hearts (such as love or will), is likened to the birds/scavengers who come to devour the seeds.
|5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up since they had no depth of soil,||20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy,|
|6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away.||21 yet he has no root in himself but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.|
|7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.||22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.|
|8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.||23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”|
|9 He who has ears,[a] let him hear.”||Whoever (any listener) has insight, let him/her discern the word of God and understand it.|
The aim of Jesus in this chapter is not only to explain those particular parables to his disciples. Chapter 13 in Matthew has a bigger purpose which is to explain the main style used in the whole Bible in order for the reader to be able to analyse it and understand it accordingly. So, Jesus’ explanation of the two parables was in itself a metaphor indicating the analogy between the structure of the message in those two parables and that of the whole Bible.
Next, we find in the same chapter an explanation behind the reason for the style adopted by God/Jehovah in the entire Bible.
Matthew 13: The Purpose of the Parables
10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you, it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them, it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
“You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
15 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears, they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
So why the use of parables in the Bible? According to this chapter, there are two types of people;
The first type: it has been given (to them) to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, The second type: it has not been given.
The reason why it has been given to some and not to others is that some have a certain requirement or attribute and others don’t. 12 For to the one who has more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
So what could this attribute be? Further reading of the scripture may reveal the answer in the long run. But for now, no explanation could be given as why some people have been given to Jesus and some not. John chapter 6 describes all the benefits of being in Christ.
Jesus said in John 6: 35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Those who God has given to Jesus are equipped to decipher his message; the Word. They will also be given secret knowledge through the Holy Spirit and they will have the right eyes to see and the right ears to hear.
However, those who God did not give to Jesus, they will not be given any secret knowledge. And even if they acquired a secret knowledge by themselves (through others) this will be taken away from them.