Thursday, July 11, 2019

Teaching About the Parables

“Through His parables He invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but He also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything. Words are not enough, deeds are required. The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word? What use has he made of the talents he has received? Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables.”  -CCC 546

Resources for teaching the Parables are one of the of the most requested new topics for the blog, and so today I have some great new printables for you! While we can often find cute crafts about the lost sheep or the lost coin, it is harder find ideas for teaching the rich meaning and symbolism with older kids. 

First up, here's a mini poster (available in 8.5x11 or 11x17) with the Parables and Scriptural references.  (I think I got them all- names of the Parables vary from translation to translation, and how they are counted- in groups or as separate stories- varies as well.) But this would make a great resource to get kids thinking about and reading all the Parables Jesus used to teach about the Kingdom.

I've designed a study sheet that can work for any of the parables found in the Gospels.  It has the same graphic as the poster with the "list" and Scripture references.  It is then intended to be used with just one of the Parables.  The student writes the name of the Parable, its location in the Bible, lists and describes the symbols found in the Parable, writes about what Jesus was teaching, and reflects on how it connects to real life.  There is also room on the back for them to apply their understanding of the Parable with an illustration, poem, story, etc. Lots of means of application, hopefully deepening their understanding of Jesus' rich teaching.

You could use this with your own kiddo as a Bible Study at home, choosing one Parable at a time. Or it could be used in a classroom with any Parable you choose.  Or it could be used with a group of students, each of them studying a different Parable but completing the same task and then sharing with the whole class, which can lead to some great comparisons.  This is my favorite style of handout, two sided and intended to be folded as a booklet, because it is perfect for the students to then tuck in the cover of their Bibles to maybe return to another time.

Click here for the Parables Study handout:

Click here for the Parables Mini Poster in 8.5x11 (or here for 11x17)

And a couple of years ago I helped with an adult Bible Study that focused on the Parables.  The pastor would give a short reflection on the Parable of the night, and then we would read and discuss using Lectio Divina and these guides.  They are all formatted in a similar way, but with unique questions and quotes from Saints/popes/Church documents to add to the discussion.  Although these were created for an adult study, I certainly think they could be used/adapted for middle or high schoolers! Click on the images for the whole folder or the links below for the individual handouts.

Good Samaritan
Judge & Widow
Lost Sheep
Pearl of Great Price/Treasure in Field
Prodigal Son
Rich Man & Lazarus/Persistent Friends
Ten Wise Virgins
Good Shepherd
Mustard Seed/Leaven
Sower & Seed
Weeds & Wheat
Workers in Vineyard


  1. Thank you for this lesson post! You are an answer to prayers! Amazing how the Holy Spirit works! As I was doing my morning reflection, I asked for help in making the parables more relatable. Checked my email just now and here it is! Thank you so much! I use many of your ideas in my junior high religion classes, so I am very confident that this will also be a success! May God continue to bless you and your ministry! Christ’s peace!

    1. Hi Katie and Mary Jo,

      I too teach 7th and 8th grade religion in a Catholic School. We have 77 8th graders and 83 7th graders this year. I teach about the parables to 7th grade. We are busy answering the question, "Who do you say that I am?" Thank you, Katie, for a great resource for teaching multiple parables to my students. I, of course, have them share the parables with each other. But then we go out to evangelize other classrooms. The primary grades love have these presentations. Your guide helps to focus the deeper meaning. Peace.. Martha