6 Tips For Reading Jesus’ Simple Stories

This Sunday we begin a 3-week mini-series in Jesus’ parables. A parable is a simple story with a deeper meaning.


  1. Symbolism

Expect that characters or objects in a parable will symbolise something else.


  1. Look for the atypical

Jesus is often trying to draw our attention to the unusual element in each story:

e.g. it is atypical (to the original hearers) for a Samaritan to exercise costly care.

e.g. it is atypical for a father to run and embrace the son who shamed him.


  1. Be consistent with the rest of the Bible

If your interpretation of a story contradicts another clear teaching in the Bible, reconsider your approach. God, who wrote the Bible through humans, does not contradict himself.


  1. Pay attention to what precedes and what follows

It is no accident that the parables are arranged in a particular order. Often, upon close reflection, you will realise that two adjacent parables are connected.


  1. Seek to apply it personally

It could be easy to treat the parables as a riddle to be solved, but their real power lies in the ability to encourage, correct, rebuke and warn us.


  1. Remember the big picture

In all of these stories, Jesus is still on his way to the cross. Therefore, these are not merely moral lessons – Jesus’ simple stories point to the centre of his mission; dying on the cross for our sins in our place as our substitute and rising again.


Click below to download a daily reading guide 

that can help you interpret the parables.

Daily Reading Guides

Why did we open two new gatherings?

Grace City started with a vision to see thousands of disciples throughout Sydney and beyond, radically committed to the cause of Christ. It was a vision to give ourselves wholeheartedly to the Great Commission: to call on people to repent from sin, trust in Jesus and to have their lives and eternal destinies transformed forever. It was a vision of dying to self and living for Christ: to realign our priorities, life goals and passions for the glory of God and his purposes in the world.
Our vision remains just as strong today as when we started but to keep pursuing it we need to make a change. We have always drawn a distinction between a barn-sized vision (which looks at the size of our auditorium) and a harvest-sized vision (which looks at the lost people in our city). Our barn is almost full but the fields are still ripe for harvest. We believe that transitioning to a church with two morning gatherings is the best ‘next step’ to ensure that we can keep pursuing the vision.
Over the last three years we have worked hard to build a Sunday experience that is outward looking, biblically rich, emotionally engaging, relationally warm and family friendly. In God’s kindness, he has used what we are doing to call people to himself and grow us in our faith. Therefore, our intention is to keep doing what we are doing (with a slight change to our post-service café time) but start doing it twice. This means that both the 9am and 11am service will have the same preacher, same MC, and same band each week. Furthermore, both services will continue to have kids’ ministries and community time before and after the service. The same staff team will also oversee both services.