Institution Granting Degree
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Parables, Luke, Missions, Exegetical
This dissertation provides students of the New Testament and missions a biblical foundation for missions as revealed in the Gospel of Luke, and especially that foundation revealed in the parables found in this gospel. The study first examines the Gospel of Luke and the theme of universal missions found within it. Next, the history and theory of parable research and interpretation are examined. From this point the parables of the double and triple traditions are compared and contrasted in order to determine if Luke reveals his theme of universal missions in these parables.
Ultimately, this study focuses on an exegetical analysis of the parables unique to Luke. A methodology for determining the missionary nature of a given parable is developed and the fifteen parables unique to Luke's gospel are examined accordingly. Through this exegetical analysis, it is determined that 53% of the parables unique to Luke are direct invitations for Jesus' audience to join him in his universal mission. Another 27% of the parables, though not direct invitations to join this mission, support the idea of a universal mission. Together, a total of 80% of the parables found only in Luke support the idea of a universal mission. When added to the ten Lukan parables with Markan and Matthean counterparts, this total is increased to 84%.
It is concluded that Luke, who is writing to a Gentile audience and is himself a Gentile product of the church's missions, is very much concerned with providing his readers a foundation for a universal mission. He relates this foundation through the recurrent concept of missions found within the pivotal missiological themes and texts of his gospel. However, his greatest argument for the necessity of a universal mission comes from the lips of Jesus. This is most evident within the genre of parable. Parable, then, serves as a contextualized form of Jesus' mission imperative and is an invitation for Jesus' auditors to join in that mission.
The dissertation spans the fields of biblical theology, New Testament criticism, and missiology. Sources used for this study come from all three areas, including works which focus specifically on parable interpretation.