And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. [John 20: 30,31 KJV]

Is John referring to the parables in John 20: 30, 31 ?

Why does John's Gospel contain no parables in Christ's sayings?

What is the evidence for their being any parables in John?

Which verses are they?

How do you differentiate between metaphor, parabolic and allegory?

  • I have edited your question to bring it into line with the requirements of BH. As it stood, your question was attempting to raise a 'biblical topic' and was not referring to a specific text and two users had voted to close on that account. My edit is to preserve your question and to give opportunity for more answers, as I think it is, fundamentally, a good question and I have up-voted it myself.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 9, 2020 at 12:25
  • John also says that the world doesn't have enough space for all the material he left out, whereas the parables fit nicely into three other gospels. They may well be among the things he was thinking of, but there's no reason to think he had them in mind specifically and exclusively. Feb 9, 2020 at 13:24

1 Answer 1


One must put these reasons together to explain why John left out parables. First the Gospel of John was written after the synoptic gospels. Some evidence for this is only the Gospel of John mentions Peter by name as cutting off the ear of the high priest’s servant. The speculation is that Peter was alive when the synoptics were written, and his name was left out to protect him. Another is that the synoptics leave out the account of Lazarus being raised from the dead. The speculation is that this was also to protect Lazarus. If John wrote his gospel after their deaths, then they no longer needed protection.

A second reason is John’s Gospel is about as long as what’s practical to write on a scroll, and he avoided repeating what was in the synoptics as if he expected his readers to already be familiar with them. When John did repeat accounts, he seemed to do so to include details left out of the synoptics. Note John 20:30-31 in ESV:” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Also note John 21:25 in ESV, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

Thus, the best guess as to why John didn’t include any parables in his gospel is that John thought the parables in the synoptics sufficient and didn’t see the need to include any more.

  • (+1) These seem to me to be very sensible observations. Is it thought that all of John's writings were published after he was released from Patmos (about 95 AD) or is the opinion that his gospel account and epistles were published earlier ?
    – Nigel J
    Feb 9, 2020 at 12:27
  • 1
    95 AD is within the traditional dating. Some date John after Peter's death, but before the fall of Jerusalem, still after the other gospels.
    – Perry Webb
    Feb 9, 2020 at 13:16

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