By Madelon Maupin, Board of Trustees
Madelon Maupin has been facilitating a Bible Study workshop at the A/U Ranches to full-capacity groups for nine years. Here she shares a glimpse of last year’s program.
Each year we select a book of the Bible for in-depth study. In the past eight years, those have included books such as Daniel, Isaiah, John, Galatians, I Thessalonians and Romans. In 2015, I decided to focus instead on some of Jesus’ most loved material: The Parables. Appearing in three of the four gospels, it was clear these were treasured and well-known stories (The Good Samaritan, The Prodigal Son, etc.) but that perhaps a group of serious Bible students could dig into their meaning more deeply and discover new insights unseen before. And that’s exactly what happened.
With a new location in Wyly Lodge in order to accommodate about 20 more participants than Valerie Lodge could hold, we looked first at that amazing chapter of Matthew 13, where the evangelist writer groups his cluster of parables. Then we noted four parables were also in the first Gospel written, Mark. But Luke is the treasure trove, carrying many parables that we wouldn’t otherwise have, such as the two mentioned above, and beginning at Luke 15.
What a discovery to realize there are only four parables that overlap in the three gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, and that The Sower and the Seed leads them all. For the inquisitive Bible student, bells and whistles start ringing with that kind of insight, prompting questions like: Why is this parable so significant? What are the three Gospel writers trying to tell us by such premier placement?
Most of the parables Jesus tells are colorful – and sometimes enigmatic – stories about the Kingdom of God. We began to glimpse that the Sower parable leads the rest because its focus is how we receive the message of the Kingdom, more than about the Kingdom itself. We learn of four states of soil, or thought, which exhibit various conditions. Only in the fourth are the conditions of soil and cultivation right for harvest.
This and many other insights were shared by participants amidst a mixture of laughter, tears and insight. Come join us!
To learn more about the parables, read Madelon’s blog at www.bibleroads.com. There you can also explore her Biblical education resources, including Bible talks, workshops, webinars, online video courses and study workbooks.
There are still a few spots left for this year’s Bible Study, November 10-14, which will focus on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Learn more and register here.