Mark your calendars for the 2015 Harding Bible Lectureship: it will be held on September 27-30. The theme will be “SECRETS OF THE KINGDOM – Unlocking the Treasures of the Parables.” There is a popular understanding of the parables as being cleverly constructed stories that simplify complex themes so “you can’t miss it” – nifty little narratives that are so simple even the dullest of readers can get the point. That is not at all how Jesus explained them!
Matthew 13:10-12 tells us, “The disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Why do you speak to the people in parables?’ He replied, ‘The knowledge of the secrets of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.’”
The parables will never make sense to people unless the listeners already possess a certain quality. The parables will unlock the secrets of the kingdom only for individuals who already have the proper preparation to receive them.
What is that quality? Here’s a clue: this passage comes in the middle of two connected sections – the parable of the sower and the soils precedes it, and Jesus’ explanation of the parable that follows it. What is the “good soil” that responds to the word by bringing forth a crop? It is the man with the “good and honest heart” (Luke 8:15). Without that quality, we will never grasp the meaning of the Word, and it will never produce any fruit in our life.
It’s not only what the texts say to us, but what we bring to them, that enables us to grasp their meaning! The parables, therefore, are not just didactic – they are prophetic. They stand in judgment of us by presenting us with truths we will comprehend only if we are spiritually receptive. It reminds me of the prayer of Jesus in Matthew 11:25, where he says, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”
My goal, therefore, should be more than simply reading the Scriptures: I should also be cultivating the humility it takes to have a teachable, reachable heart.
I invite you to join us on the campus of Harding University this fall on September 27-30 as together we unlock the “Secrets of the Kingdom.” To learn more, go to http://www.harding.edu/lectureship.
Salt, Leaven, and Light newsletter
The College of Bible and Ministry at Harding University seeks to lead all students to know, live and share God’s Word and to understand, love and serve God’s world through and beyond their chosen vocation.
Salt, Leaven, and Light is a quarterly publication of the Office of Church Relations that reports on our efforts to meet that goal.
I am privileged to associate and work with the outstanding Bible faculty who serve here. Their work truly provides “salt, leaven, and light” in our world.
I invite you to open the latest issue of SLL below and learn the latest news of what they are doing for good and for God!
-Dan Williams, Ph.D. Vice-President for Church Relations