Come Follow Me - New Testament
“Who Hath Ears to Hear, Let Him Hear”
- Our hearts must be prepared to receive the word of God.
- Jesus’s parables help us understand the growth, destiny, and
value of His Church.
- At the end of the world, the Lord will gather the righteous
and destroy the wicked.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the Scriptures at LDS.org.
Lesson Handout (PDF)
Jesus Teaches In Parables
WHAT ARE PARABLES?
- "A parable is a symbolic story that imparts gospel
truths by comparing them to earthly things." (New Testament:
Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, p45)
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "Parables are short stories which
point up and illustrate spiritual truths. Those spoken by Jesus deal with real
events, or if fictitious, are so consistent and probable that they may be
viewed as the commonplace experiences of many people." (DNTC, 1:283)
WHY DID JESUS TEACH IN PARABLES?
- Many doctrines are reserved for the faithful.
- Not all people of all ages and under all circumstances are prepared to
receive the fullness of all gospel truths.
- The Lord reveals his truths to men line upon line.
- Parables serve as filters. Based upon one's righteousness, the filter
allows more of the truth to be revealed.
- Parables hide gospel doctrines from those whose hearts are hardened.
- Jesus instructed the Twelve to keep the mysteries to themselves and not
give that which is holy to the dogs. Again, the parable serves as a filter.
- Parables reveal truths to those whose hearts are open and receptive.
- Elder McConkie: "Yet parables, planted in the
minds of truth seekers, help them remember the issues involved until such
time as the full and plain knowledge parts the parabolic veil and stands
revealed for all to see. And parables form a reservoir of knowledge about
which even the saints can ponder and inquire as they seek to perfect and
expand their limited views of gospel themes." (Mortal Messiah, 2:240)
- Parables are types and shadows of heavenly things.
- Elder McConkie: "They may serve as illustrations
of gospel principles; they may dramatize, graphically and persuasively, some
gospel truths; but is not their purpose to reveal doctrine, or, standing
alone, to guide men along the course to eternal life. Parables can only be
understood, in their full and complete meaning, after one knows the
doctrines about which they speak." (Mortal Messiah, 2:241)
- Parabolic teaching is often an act of mercy.
- "...for of him unto whom much is given much is
required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the
greater condemnation." (D&C 82:3)
- To offer truths to wicked and ungodly creatures, which they will most
assuredly reject, is to do more than cast pearls before swine. It is to make
possible a greater condemnation upon those who reject the greater light.
- Parables open the door to added light and knowledge.
- Elder McConkie: "Parables are a call to
investigate the truth; to learn more; to inquire into the spiritual
realities, which through them, are but dimly viewed. Parables start truth
seekers out in the direction of further light and knowledge and
understanding; they invite men to ponder such truths as they are able to
bear in the hope of learning more. Parables are a call to come unto Christ,
to believe his doctrines, to live his laws, and to be saved in his kingdom.
They teach arithmetic to those who have the capacity to learn calculus in
due course. They are the mild milk of the word that prepares our spiritual
digestive processes to feast upon the doctrinal meat of the kingdom." (Mortal
View a brief video
explaining why Jesus taught in parables
13:10-17. The Lord's explanation for teaching in parables.
Note: Much of the discussion in this section is based on Elder Bruce R.
McConkie's writing on parables in Volume 2 of The Mortal Messiah.
Our Hearts Must Be Prepared to Receive the Word of God
13:3-8 (see also Luke
8:5-8). Parable of the sower.
Explanation of the Parable of the Sower:
- In this parable the Lord is talking about the condition of the soil, not
the sower or the seed.
- Four kinds soil:
- The soil by the wayside.
- "Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When
any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then
cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.
This is he which received seed by the way side."(Matthew 13:18-19)
- WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
- Those who are hardened by false doctrines and evil deeds. The word
cannot even sprout and begin to grow in such persons.
- Elder Dallin H. Oaks: "They are like
teachings that fall upon a heart hardened or unprepared."
(General Conference, April 2015)
- Joseph Smith: "Men who have no principle
of righteousness in themselves, and whose hearts are full of iniquity,
and have no desire for the principles of truth, do not understand the
word of truth when they hear it. The devil taketh away the word of truth
out of their hearts, because there is no desire for righteousness in
them." (TPJS, p. 96)
- The soil in stony places
- "But he that received the seed into stony
places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth
it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when
tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is
offended." (Matthew 13:20-21)
- WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
- They who believe the word:
- They know the Book of Mormon is true.
- They have a testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith.
- They have the testimony of Jesus in their souls.
- They do not press forward with a steadfastness in Christ.
- Do not continue to learn the doctrines of salvation.
- Do not pay tithes and offerings or serve the Church.
- Do not endure to the end.
- When persecution, trials, or temptation arise they are unable to
- The new plant withers in the bright sun of gospel light.
- Elder Neil L. Anderson: "Offense comes
in many costumes and continually finds its way onstage. People we
believe in disappoint us. We have unanticipated difficulties. Our life
doesn't turn out exactly the way we were expecting. We make mistakes,
feel unworthy, and worry about being forgiven. We wonder about a
doctrinal issue. We learn of something spoken from a Church pulpit 150
years ago that bothers us. Our children are treated unfairly. We are
ignored or underappreciated. It could be a hundred things, each very
real to us at the time.
"In our weakened moments, the adversary seeks to steal
our spiritual promises. If we are not watchful, our injured, childlike
spirit will retreat back into the cold, dark crust of our former bloated
ego, leaving behind the warm, healing light of the Savior."
(General Conference, October 2010)
- Elder Dallin H. Oaks: "This is the
circumstance of new members who are merely converted to the missionaries
or to the many attractive characteristics of the Church or to the many
great fruits of Church membership. Not being rooted in the word, they
can be scorched and wither away when opposition arises. But even those
raised in the Church—long-term members—can slip into a condition where
they have no root in themselves. I have known some of these—members
without firm and lasting conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we
are not rooted in the teachings of the gospel and regular in its
practices, any one of us can develop a stony heart, which is stony
ground for spiritual seeds." (General Conference, April 2015)
- The soil where thorns grow.
- "He also that received seed among the thorns is
he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the
deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful." (v22)
- WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
- The seed is good and the soil is good.
- They choose to let the thorns and thistles grow along with the
seeds of righteousness.
- They seek to serve both God and mammon at the same time.
- The cares of the world lead them astray.
- The lusts of the flesh lead believing men astray.
- The Lord is not seeking part time saints.
- Elder Dallin H. Oaks: "The most subtle
thorns to choke out the effect of the gospel word in our lives are the
worldly forces that Jesus called the 'cares and riches and pleasures of
this life'." (General Conference, April 2015)
- Joseph F. Smith: "The great
difficulty is—we are too careless, listless and unconcerned in relation
to what is taught us from time to time; we do not weigh, with that
thought and care that we should do, the instructions and counsels which
we receive. We allow other things to occupy our minds; the cares of the
world, the desire for gain, the anxiety to promote our own interests and
to provide for the necessities of life choke out the word of God to some
extent." (Journal of Discourses, 13:336)
- The good soil.
- "But he that received seed into the good ground
is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth
fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." (v23)
- WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
- They that hear, understand, endure, bring forth fruit; receive the
word in an honest and good heart, keep the commandments, and bring forth
fruit with patience.
- They will be judged and rewarded according to their works.
- Those who keep the whole gospel law shall bring forth an hundred
fold and inherit the fullness of the Father's kingdom.
- Others shall gain lesser rewards in the mansions which are
- Elder Dallin H. Oaks: "We have the seed of the gospel word. It
is up to each of us to set the priorities and to do the things that make
our soil good and our harvest plentiful. We must seek to be firmly
rooted and converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We achieve this
conversion by praying, by scripture reading, by serving, and by
regularly partaking of the sacrament to always have His Spirit to be
with us. We must also seek that mighty change of heart that replaces
evil desires and selfish concerns with the love of God and the desire to
serve Him and His children." (General Conference, April 2015)
Joseph Smith: "This parable was spoken to
demonstrate the effects that are produced by the preaching of the word. And we
believe that it has an allusion directly to the commencement, or the setting
up, of the kingdom in that age." (TPJS, p97)
Jesus's Parables Help Us Understand the Growth, Destiny, and Value of His
Parable of the Wheat & Tares
This parable will be discussed in the next section.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
Parable of the mustard seed.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS PARABLE?
- Parables can have many meanings.
- According to the Prophet Joseph Smith it represents the Church as it
shall come forth in the last days (see TPJS, pp. 98-99).
- Joseph Smith "Let us take the Book of Mormon, which
a man took and hid in his field, securing it by his faith, to spring up in the
last days, or in due time; let us behold it coming forth out of the ground,
which is indeed accounted the least of all seeds, but behold it branching
forth, yea, even towering with lofty branches, and God-like majesty, until it,
like the mustard seed, becomes the greatest of all herbs. And it is truth, and
it has sprouted and come forth out of the earth, and righteousness begins to
look down from heaven, and God is sending down His powers, gifts and angels,
to lodge in the branches thereof." (TPJS, p98)
- Wilford Woodruff: "When this kingdom commenced
it was like a mustard seed, very small, but the Lord has sustained it and he
will continue to control it to the end of time. Although peace is being taken
from the earth yet this kingdom will thrive and prosper until every kingdom
and government shall be broken to pieces, and every power shall be subject to
the God of heaven." (Journal of Discourses, 10:16)
- President Ezra Taft Benson: "That the Church
of Jesus Christ would have an inconspicuous beginning and then enjoy
phenomenal growth was likewise predicted. Jesus used the comparison of the
small mustard seed to describe the early beginning of His church. But
eventually, He declared, that insignificant seed would become a great tree and
many would find refuge in its branches. ...
"As men have attempted to assess the Church at a given
period of time, in many instances they have not been able to see its forward
movement and potential. The growth of the Church, like the growth of grass or
trees, has been almost imperceptible to the eye, but little by little, line by
line, precept by precept, the Church has matured.
"Simultaneous with the early development of the Church
was a spirit of opposition and persecution. Wherever the tiny 'mustard seed'
was planted, attempts were made to frustrate its growth. But notwithstanding
all the efforts to destroy the work—even the murder of the Prophet Joseph
Smith and his brother—the Church prospered and grew. There were those who
thought the Church would fail with the deaths of the martyrs Joseph and Hyrum,
but they did not perceive, as Daniel foretold, that this latter-day kingdom
should 'never be destroyed'." (General Conference, April 1980)
Parable Of The Leaven
13:33. Parable of the leaven.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS PARABLE?
- The mustard seed became a tree that displayed the kingdom of heaven on
earth before the world, but the leaven worked silently, without observation,
unknown to many among men, to establish the plans and purposes of God.
- In this parable we see the glory and triumph of the kingdom in the hearts
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "The leaven of life, the leaven of
righteousness, the leaven of the word of God--the yeast of eternal truth--is
'kneaded' into the souls of men. Then its spreading, penetrating, lifegiving
effect enlarges the soul and 'raises' sinners into saints." (Mortal
- President Joseph Fielding Smith: "We carry to
the world the olive branch of peace. We present to the world the law of the
Lord, the truth, as it has been revealed in the latter days for the redemption
of the dead and for the salvation of the living. We bear no malice nor ill
will toward the children of men. The spirit of forgiveness pervades the hearts
of the Saints, and they do not cherish a desire for or feeling of revenge
toward their enemies. They say in their hearts, let the Lord judge between us
and our enemies; as for us, we forgive them, and we bear no malice toward any.
While it may be said, and it is in a measure true, that we are but a handful
in comparison with our fellowmen in the world, yet we may be compared with the
leaven of which the Savior spoke which will eventually leaven the whole world.
Men must set aside their prejudices, personal desires, wishes, and
preferences, and pay deference to the great cause of truth that is spreading
abroad in the world." (General Conference, October 1968)
WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THE LORD USED THREE MEASURES OF MEAL IN THIS PARABLE?
- We don't know, but the Prophet Joseph Smith did state the following: "It
may be understood that the Church of the Latter-day Saints has taken its rise
from a little leaven that was put into three witnesses." (TPJS, p100)
Parable of Hidden Treasure
13:44. Parable of hidden treasure.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS PARABLE?
- The gospel is hidden from those whose hearts are not yet prepared, even
though the Church operates openly and its fruits are visible.
- If you are a convert, you probably knew of the Church, but until
your heart was ready the treasure was not exposed.
- The treasure of the gospel seems to be found by chance - maybe a friend
shared the gospel or missionaries knocked on your door.
- Once the treasure was sufficiently exposed, you were willing to give up
your past to possess this new treasure.
- Elder Mark E. Peterson: "Each one of us has a
soul to save. Each has the opportunity to obtain eternal life. Since our souls
are so precious, we should leave no stone unturned in our effort to save them.
... Salvation is the treasure in the field; and if we only realized its worth,
we would give all that we have to obtain it. Shall we not waken to this
important lesson?" (General Conference, October 1973)
Parable of the Pearl of Great Price
13:45-46. Parable of the pearl of great price.
This parable is much like the previous parable, except:
- Here Jesus speaks of the earnest and devout investigator seeking to find
- Once again, after finding the pearl or truth, they are willing to sell all
that they have to possess it.
Elder E. Ray Bateman: "You and I know the gospel
of Jesus Christ is the pearl of great price. Each of those little grains of sand
are Abraham’s children. They need to be cultured to become pearls. They need the
right friend, a responsibility to help them grow in service, and nourishment
with charity to retain them to truly become pearls of great worth in our
Father's kingdom." (General Conference, October 1998)
Elder Delbert L. Stapley: "Each of us has the
responsibility to seek that goodly pearl, the kingdom of heaven, which is,
according to the Savior's parable, the pearl of great price. Its attainment is
worth every effort and sacrifice we make. To be saved in the kingdom of God is
the greatest of all the gifts of God, for there is no gift greater than the gift
of salvation, and he that hath eternal life, proclaims the Lord, is rich."
(General Conference April 1973)
Consider the story of Parley P. Pratt:
- Parley was a man searching for the pearl of great price.
- He joined the Campbellite faith because it taught more of the truth than
most religions of his day. He even became a minister.
- Parley knew that it was not complete and continued his search for the
- After reading the Book of Mormon he knew that he had found the pearl and
gave his all to the Lord's kingdom in order to possess the pearl.
- Except for one brief incident, Parley remained true to the faith and
active in the Lord's service until his murder while on a mission in Arkansas.
Parable of the Gospel Net
13:47-50. Parable of the gospel net.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS PARABLE?
- The fishers of men cast their net and bring many into the Church.
- Not everyone joins because he or she loves the truth. Then there are
those that fail to remain faithful.
- Some join or remain due to social pressure.
- Some may join for economic advantage.
- Others join to inherit property, marry selected persons, or gain
- All such shall be cast away with the wicked.
- Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "There are many reasons for coming into
the earthly kingdom of heaven; salvation is a personal matter, and only those
who meet the divine standards will find eternal place and lot with the saints."(Mortal
- Elder Neal A. Maxwell reminds us none of us that come into the gospel net,
the Church, are perfect. We all need to work together to make true
Saints out of all of us. Elder Maxwell: "The
Church is for the perfecting of the Saints, hence new arrivals are entitled to
expect instant community but not instant sainthood—either in themselves or in
others. It takes time and truth working patiently together to produce the
latter in all of us.
"Meanwhile, as we work together, we notice each other's
weaknesses. Hence all are urged to 'succor the weak, [to] lift up the hands
which hang down, and [to] strengthen the feeble knees'." (General
Conference, October 1980)
At the end of the World, the Lord Will Gather the Righteous and Destroy the
- "Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into
the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the
parable of the tares of the field." (v36)
- "He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the
good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the
children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The
enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and
the reapers are the angels." (v37-39)
- The field: = the world.
- The sower = the Lord = the apostles, missionaries, and members of the
- The good seed = the children of the kingdom = converts and members of the
- The tares = children of the wicked one = the carnal and sensual people who
choose a false system of religion or belief because it permits them to gratify their
passions and live after the manner of the world.
- The enemy = the devil.
WHY DID THE LORD ALLOW THE WHEAT TO GROW ALONG WITH THE TARES?
- There must needs be opposition in all things (see 2
- Joseph Smith: "Now we learn by this parable, not
only the setting up of the Kingdom in the days of the Savior, which is
represented by the good seed, which produced fruit, but also the corruptions
of the Church, which are represented by the tares, which were sown by the
enemy, which His disciples would fain have plucked up, or cleansed the Church
of, if their views had been favored by the Savior. But He, knowing all things,
says, Not so. As much as to say, your views are not correct, the Church is in
its infancy, if you take this rash step, you will destroy the wheat, or the
Church, with the tares; therefore it is better to let them grow together until
the harvest, or the end of the world, which means the destruction of the
wicked." (TPJS, p97)
- Elder Quentin L. Cook reminds us: "As
individuals, disciples of Christ, living in a hostile world that is literally
in commotion, we can thrive and bloom if we are rooted in our love of the
Savior and humbly follow His teachings." (General Conference, April
"As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the
fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth
his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and
them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall
be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the
sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."(v40-43)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "The scope and sweep of the
message here revealed is as broad as the earth and as enduring as the ages. The
wheat is now being gathered out from among the tares. Israel is being gathered
into the sheepfold of the Good Shepherd. Messengers from heaven--Peter, James,
and John; Moses, Elijah, and Elias; and all the angelic host who have restored
priesthoods, conferred keys, and given powers to men--have joined hands with
mortals on earth to gather the elect and to seal up the law and bind up the
testimony against those who are to be burned when the Son of Man comes. Soon the
harvest will be fully ripe; the wheat will be stored in the Lord's barns; the
tares will be bound in bundles; and the burning will commence." (Mortal
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Though repetitious, I want to conclude with this previously quoted statement
from Elder McConkie, "Parables are a call to investigate
the truth; to learn more; to inquire into the spiritual realities, which through
them, are but dimly viewed. Parables start truth seekers out in the direction of
further light and knowledge and understanding; they invite men to ponder such
truths as they are able to bear in the hope of learning more. Parables are a
call to come unto Christ, to believe his doctrines, to live his laws, and to be
saved in his kingdom. They teach arithmetic to those who have the capacity to
learn calculus in due course. They are the mild milk of the word that prepares
are spiritual digestive processes to feast upon the doctrinal meat of the
kingdom." (Mortal Messiah, 2:245)
Record your thoughts on the parables of the Master. What did you learn by a
study of these parables?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Volume 1, by Bruce R. McConkie (DNTC)
Journal of Discourses
New Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding
The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, Volume 2, by Bruce R. McConkie
This outline is provided as supplementary material and is not
intended to replace the official lesson manual. It is not endorsed by The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am wholly responsible for the content.
I do my best to see that the content is in
harmony with the teachings and doctrine of the Church.
Gospel Doctrine Class
Page created by: email@example.com.
Please E-Mail comments.
Changes last made on:
07 February 2019