1. Exposition

What does Mark mean with the word “parables”?

Mark 4:2 (ESV)

2 And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:

Although in our parlance the term “parable” has become a special designation for the detailed expressive stories of the Saviour, it is not correct to read that specific meaning in 4:2. Mark uses the word parabolé for all speaking in images, for any indirect indication of what one means. Thus we read in Mark 3:23 that Jesus speaks in images (“in parables”) to those who represent him as co-worker of Beelzebul. What then follows in 3:23–27, however, is not a complete story (a “parable”), but a series of connected images in which Jesus speaks indirectly about himself and about his opponents.1