Unless I have a misunderstanding about what a parable is, I feel that this is not a parable:

Matthew 24:32 (KJV)
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:

I feel a parable is a story, not a statement of fact. Am I wrong? Is this the wrong translation? Thanks!

3 Answers 3


A parable is not necessarily a story, although most parables in the Gospels are stories. Psalm 49:4 and Psalm 78:2 say that a "parable" is a "dark saying". Ezekiel 17: 2 says a parable is a riddle. Habakkuk 2:6 says a parable is a "taunting proverb". When you realize that parables are basically coded ways of speaking, then the parable of the fig tree is really a parable. God wants us to know that He is not speaking about an actual plant but rather the nation of Israel.


I've found that everything in the New Testament and a good deal of the Hebrew scriptures are actually written as parable…meaning that the writers used an underlying literary technique based on the parable to create their texts.

They often took plain spoken information and spun it into parables. My website introduces the topic, and I've written books on it at well, revealing the actual parables and how to understand them.

Parables attributed to Jesus in the New Testament are stand alone parables, but they also play a specific supporting role in larger parables.

The parable of the fig tree in Matthew is found within the final section of Matthew Parable 47. It's the Step Further section, which takes the reader a step further in understanding.

For instance in Parable 47, the Critical Point section is Matthew 24:26-29, warning readers/listeners "to not go out or to not believe them."

The Wisdom or Truth section, which falls in between the Critical Point and Step Further, from the middle of verse 29 to the middle of verse 31, talks about "then they will see the Son of Man Coming in the Clouds…"

The Step Further continues to say that "Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." This section also plays a role in setting up the following parable which appropriately is about "being ready."

The parables give a huge amount of information to readers who know the literary form. That's what my work is about. My website is http://parableblueprint.com.

  • Wow Ann. This is a really good answer.
    – user20490
    Dec 6, 2017 at 23:54

You're right; it isn't a parable, at least not as that English word has come to mean in a very tight technical sense. But neither is e.g. Luke 4:23, "Physician, heal thyself." Therefore, one might decide the Greek word "παραβολή" was used a little more loosely, especially among the commoners, to mean "analogy" or even "saying" or "figuratively speaking..." as in Heb 11:19.

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