How many parables are in the Bible?

Have you ever heard a story with a lesson? That’s what parables are, and they’re all over the Bible. Parables are short tales meant to teach us something, and Jesus was really good at telling them.

Imagine thirty-five or even more than one hundred of these stories sprinkled throughout the Bible! Most of these parables live in parts of the Bible named Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Luke’s part alone has twenty-four!

But hang on because there’s no exact number that everyone agrees on. Some people say there are about 46 parables while others think maybe there could be as many as 250 different ones if you look really hard! The cool thing is that these stories talk about important stuff like being nice to others and how families should love each other.

There aren’t any parable stories in John’s part of the Bible though. One famous story is about a man from Samaria who helped someone in need when nobody else would. Another talked-about tale is about a son who leaves home but then comes back and his family welcomes him with open arms.

These tales have been told for thousands of years but still mean something today. Let’s jump into some amazing stories together!

How Many Parables are in the Bible?

Dive into the realm of biblical allegories where the exact tally of parables juggles between a modest 35 to an overwhelming 100+, each weaving its own tapestry of moral fiber across the New Testament.

Peel back the layers of scripture in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to reveal these enigmatic gems that have left scholars debating numbers and meanings for centuries.

Variations in Count: From 35 to over 100

Counting parables in the Bible is like trying to count stars in the sky. Some say there are about 35, but others think there might be more than 100. This big range comes from how people decide what counts as a parable.

A story? An analogy? It all depends on how you look at it.

Books in the Bible tell these tales differently, too. Matthew, Mark, and Luke have most of them; they’re known for sharing Jesus’s stories that teach big lessons through small tales.

John’s book is different—fewer stories but still with deep meanings. Each writer chose their own way to share wisdom that makes us think and learn about life’s big questions.

Breakdown by Book: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

Diving right into the specifics, let’s dissect the distribution of parables across the relevant books of the Bible. The numbers are intriguing!

Book Total Parables Unique Parables
Matthew 23 11
Mark 8 2
Luke 24 18
John 0 0

Matthew brims with narrative treasures, offering 23 parables to its readers, while Mark, the more succinct gospel, presents a total of 8. Luke leads the charge, however, with a substantial 24 parables, out of which 18 are exclusive to its chapters. On the other hand, John’s Gospel starkly differs, featuring no parables, but instead focuses on lengthy discourses and “I AM” statements. This fascinating distribution paints a diverse theological landscape within the canonical gospels.

Authorship and Composition of the Bible

Many people helped write the Bible over hundreds of years. They came from different places and had various jobs. Some were shepherds, others kings, fishers, or poets. This mix made the Bible full of different ideas and styles.

Each part tells us about God in a special way.

The parables Jesus told are mostly in books named Matthew, Mark, and Luke. These three books see things in similar ways and are called Synoptic Gospels. There are also stories like these in other books not part of the main Bible today.

These stories show us that even back then, people shared Jesus’s words in their own ways.

Notable Parables of Jesus

Dive into the heart of Jesus’ lessons where parables dance out his timeless truths, like a divine choreography etching spiritual insights into our everyday. Among these narrative gems, certain tales resonate through time, echoing with a profound familiarity that tugs at the soul’s deepest questions and yearnings.

Parable of the Good Samaritan

A man was traveling and got into big trouble. Thieves beat him up, took his clothes, and left him nearly dead by the road. A priest walked by but didn’t stop to help. Then a Levite saw the man but he also passed by on the other side of the road.

Finally, a Samaritan came along. Even though Samaritans and Jews usually did not get along, this Samaritan felt sorry for the hurt man.

The Good Samaritan bandaged his wounds, put him on his own donkey, and took him to an inn to take care of him. The next day he gave money to the innkeeper and said ‘Look after this man’.

He promised to pay any extra costs when he returned. This story taught us about kindness that crosses boundaries or differences between people—it’s all about helping others no matter who they are.

Parable of the Prodigal Son

Moving from the story of someone who helps a stranger, we come to the tale of family love and forgiveness. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a touching part of Jesus’s teachings in the Gospel of Luke.

It’s about a young man who takes his share of his dad’s wealth and goes away, spending it all on wild living. He finds himself in trouble when the money runs out and he has to work feeding pigs.

Feeling sorry for what he did, he decides to go back home. He plans to ask his father if he can work as a servant because he does not feel worthy to be called his son anymore. But something amazing happens—his father sees him coming from far away and runs to welcome him back with open arms! He throws a big party because he’s so happy that his lost son has come home.

This story shows us how strong parental love can be and how everyone deserves grace no matter what they have done wrong. It sits alongside other parables like those about lost sheep and lost coins, showing us that finding things that are lost is worth celebrating!


Alright, let’s wrap this up. Counting parables in the Bible isn’t like counting apples in a basket. Different folks say different numbers – from 35 to over 100! What really matters is what these stories do: they teach us, make us think, and touch our hearts.

Whether it’s 46 or more, each parable packs a punch with lessons that last a lifetime.

Discover more about the authors who penned these enduring stories by exploring the authorship and composition of the Bible.


1. What is a parable?

A parable is a short story with a moral or spiritual lesson that Jesus told in the Bible.

2. How many parables did Jesus tell in the Bible?

Jesus told about 40 parables that are written down in the Bible.

3. Are all of Jesus’ parables found in every book of the New Testament?

No, not every book; Jesus’ parables are mostly found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s books.

4. Can I find a list of all the parables somewhere in the Bible?

The Bible doesn’t have one list, but you can find them throughout the books where they appear by reading or searching for them.

5. Should I understand these parables literally?

Parables use stories to share deeper truths and should be thought about for their lessons rather than taken only as literal events.

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