The Use of Pictures

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Mark 4:1-9

[Jesus] . . . began to teach them many things in parables. (v. 2)

We learn abstract truths best if we can relate them to verbal pictures or stories. That is why Jesus told many things by parables—so that those who wanted to learn about the kingdom would be able to understand his teachings. Preachers do the same today. We have probably all been puzzled about a point the preacher was trying to make until it was summed it up with a story or an example.

But it is not only Jesus’ teachings about the kingdom that involve word-pictures. Though we may not realize it, many of the doctrinal terms we use to describe Jesus’ person and work involve an image. Words like salvation, redemption, reconciliation, atoning sacrifice, second birth, cleansing, ransom, and propitiation all have pictures or stories behind them. Each one is a sort of mini-parable that describes who Jesus is and what he has accomplished by his death and resurrection.

For the next couple of weeks, we are going to look at a number of these biblical words and the picture or story that each one represents. My goal for you is to understand in greater detail the awesomeness of what Jesus Christ did for his people, so that you can praise his name with greater thanks.


Lord, help me to understand who you are and what you have done so that I may praise your name. Amen.