A few years ago, someone spent their entire blog broadcast discrediting my ministry. One of the main points of criticism was that I used too many life stories to illustrate a biblical truth or prophetic insight. He thought my illustrative parables made me somehow suspect in his eyes. It was inferred that I should just stick to the Word, or at least, his understanding of the Word.
After teaching a series of four parables, the Scripture tells us, “Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand. In fact, in his public ministry, he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them” (Mark 4: 33-34). About 40-years ago the “he never taught without using parables” thing caught my attention. I haven’t been able to shake that understanding. when it comes to how we teach.
We tend to think a more complicated, foot-noted, and overly academic teaching presentation using Thesaurus-inspired language makes truth more intellectual and believable. It doesn’t. That approach only works with those who can understand the stuffy language used by its presenters and leaves the rest of us with glazed-over eyes. Jesus taught in plain language. If the truth cannot be reduced to the simplest of images and explanations, we still have some work to do before we open our mouths or type another sentence.
Wisdom is not represented by complicated language. It must be so simple a child could understand the truth without the presence of an adult interpreter. Simple has always been and will continue to be the most profound form of teaching.