How to Use Parables

The use of parables is for instruction in doctrine or the teachings of Jesus. The parables in the Bible show us how important these things were to Jesus by the messages he left to His followers. He knew that we would be the same as the people in His time, and would ignore important things and use our own wisdom and judgment instead of using the Bible as our guide.

Jesus hid the meaning of doctrine in the parables that He taught so that we would have to search for it.

Below is an example of a Parable that Jesus taught and the underlying doctrine He put there:


The Pearl of Great Price

This parable is found in exclusively in Matthew 13:45-46

Matthew 13:45–46 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

As we read the parable of the Pearl of Great Price we should take notice of the Symbolic objects in the text. In this parable we have:


  • Merchant Man
  • Pearls
  • The Pearl of Great Price


  • Seeking
  • finding
  • sell
  • buying


Pearls (Plural)


Pearl of Great Price (Singular)


The main object is the Pearl of Great Price. We should compare this object to other things in the Bible to help us understand what the significance of this object is.

There are 9 places in scripture that mention Pearl or Pearls.

Job 28:18; Matthew 7:6; Matthew 13: 45; Matthew 13:46; 1 Timothy 2:9; Revelation 17:4; Revelation 18:12; Revelation 18:16; and Revelation 21:21

All are in the plural form except for, Matthew 13:46 and Revelation 21:21


The word Pearl is used singularly in:

Matthew 13:45 – One pearl is of great importance. “Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it”.

Revelation 21:21 – Gates of the city are of one pearl. “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl:


  1. There is one Pearl that is more valuable than all the other Pearls.
  2. The only way into the city is through the gate of one pearl.
  3. The use of the word “ONE” in both texts is significant.
  4. John 14:6 says that there is “ONE” way to the father, Jesus Christ.
  5. John 10:9 says that there is “ONE” gate, or door, to salvation.

The Bible evidence points to the fact that Jesus is the “ONE” way to salvation, The Pearl of Great Price.


Since the parable also uses the word in the plural, Pearls, we need to search the Bible for the word “pearls”.

Job 28:12-13

Job 28:12–13 12 But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? 13Man knoweth not the price thereof; Neither is it found in the land of the living.
Job 28:18 18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: For the price of wisdom is above rubies.
Job 28:20–21 20 Whence then cometh wisdom? And where is the place of understanding? 21 Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, And kept close from the fowls of the air.
Job 28:23 23 God understandeth the way thereof, And he knoweth the place thereof.

Matthew 7:6

Matthew 7:6 6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Matthew 13:35

Matthew 13:45 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:

Revelation 18:12

Revelation 18:12
The merchandise of gold, and silver,
And precious stones, and of pearls,
And fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet,
And all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory,
And all manner vessels of most precious wood,
And of brass, and iron, and marble,

Matthew 7:6 indicates that pearls are important.

Revelation 18: 12 uses merchandise (merchant) with the word pearls.

Merchant Man

Merchant = One seeks the truth.

Proverbs 23:23

Sold, or sell all

Sold All = To give everything

  • Acts 2:44-45
  • Matthew 6:19-21
  • Matthew 19:16, 21-22, 27-29

Conclusion / Summary

The Merchant Man sold all for the Single Pearl that he searched for. Christ is that Pearl or Treasure in which is found all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3

In the parable, the Pearl is not a gift. The merchant bought it at a cost of everything he had. When we give ourselves fully to Christ we give all to Him, and He gives all the treasures of Heaven to us, including Himself. We have then obtained the “Pearl of Great Price”.

The Parable has a double meaning. Not only do we give all to Christ to obtain salvation, but Christ saw in fallen humanity that Pearl of Great Price that He was willing to Give up His life to save us. Christ is that Pearl to us, and we are that Pearl to Him. Malachi 3:17. Amazing Grace!

Doctrinal Truth

  • The valuable truths in the Bible are only found by searching for them.
  • The Valuable truths are hidden from the surface reader.
  • When we search the Bible we find Jesus as the savior, then we have found the Pearl of Great Price.
  • Jesus came and paid the Great Price to redeem (buy) men.
  • That Pearl is not without cost to us.
  • We must sell all for that Pearl of Wisdom.

All this teaching in one Parable of only two small verses.

Next: View the List of Bible Parables