We live in a world where the hearts of men are gripped by fear. Early last year, the world
was turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Men feared the virus because they
knew little of its effects and how to contain it. In a stunning turn of events, vaccines were
invented within a year to combat the virus. However, people are now more afraid of the
vaccines and its effects than the virus. The irony of the situation!

Such a climate of fear is predicted in the Bible. Luke 21:25-26 warns us that the signs of
Christ’s coming will cause severe anguish and stress to men resulting in their hearts failing
for fear. Men will be in a state of panic because they realise that there is no escape for the
unrepentant from the wrath of God and His perfect judgement.

However, as believers in Christ, we ought not to succumb to this climate of fear that is
plaguing the world. As children of God, we know that we rest ever in His care. The end of a
Christian is secure – he has reserved a place for us in heaven. Thus, there is no need for a
disciple’s heart to be troubled (John 14:1).

When we feel that our hearts are being gripped by fear, what we should do is to turn even
more to God and His Word. Thus, the Psalmist says, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in
thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh
can do unto me… In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto
me.” (Ps. 56:3-4, 11). Instead of succumbing to the faithless thoughts and sinful lusts that
twirls in our hearts, walk in the Holy Spirit and let Him be your guide to assure you of
God’s care and promises. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and
of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7)

As men of flesh and blood, we can easily be swept in by the cares of the world. Such
worries can plague our mind and make us discouraged. Herein is the promise of God –
“Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matt. 10:31) The
birds of the air are so well taken care of by the Lord. Are we not worth more than them? He
is our heavenly Father, and we are the apple of His eye. He will not forsake those who are
His own.

The COVID-19 pandemic is just but one of a multitude of global plagues that will come on
the earth. There will be many more challenges for the Christian in the days to come. Do not
succumb to the culture of fear, for God is with the child of God. “Be not afraid of sudden
fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy
confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” (Prov. 3:25-26) Trust in the Lord
and take heart.

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew

Abridged and Edited from Herbert Lockyer
(A Supplement to the Study of Parables in the Adult Bible Study)

At the outset attention must be drawn to this fundamental principle, namely, that a parable
must be read as a whole, as illustrating and emphasizing some important central truth or
obligation or principle in the divine government, and which the different parts of the
Parable only serve in some respect to open out and develop. It is imperative to ascertain the
real scope and object of the Parable.

Furthermore, it is necessary to carefully investigate and note the connection of a Parable with its context and attendant circumstance to arrive at as precise an approach as possible to the truth that the parable unfolds. The main scope or design of a parable can be gathered, either from the more general or more particular exposition of it, or else from the
speaker’s main and principal design, which can usually be gathered from the preface of it,
or else from its conclusion. For example, note what precedes and succeeds the parables of
the Vineyard. On this matter, a perusal of Ada R. Habershon’s chapter on “The Setting of
the Parables” will repay the reader.

Much has been written on the interpretation of parables. As far as their misinterpretation
is concerned, the parables have suffered much. Let us take misinterpretation first. What
abuse there has been in the use of parables! How guilty many have been if an artificial
application of certain parables, and of forcing more from them than their writers ever
dreamed of!

Many of the Early Fathers, endeavouring to allegorise both Old and New Testament
passages, went to great extremes. Whether they were wrong in thinking there was a
meaning in all things has been a matter of dispute for centuries.
Augustine is an outstanding example of those who pressed parables to teach something
plainly outside their limits. C.H. Dodd in The Parables of the Kingdom cites Augustine’s
interpretation of the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

By the certain man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho – Adam himself is meant:
Jerusalem is the heavenly city of peace, from whose blessedness Adam fell:
Jericho means the moon, and signifies our mortality, because it is born, waxes,
wanes, and dies.
Thieves are the devil and his angels who stripped him, namely of his immortality.
And beat him, by persuading him to sin;
And left him dead, because in so far as man can understand and know God, he lives, but in so far as he is wasted and oppressed by sin, he is dead, he is therefore called

The Priest and Levite who saw him and passed by, signify the priesthood and
ministry of the Old Testament, which could profit nothing for salvation.
Samaritan means guardian, and therefore the Lord Himself is signified by this name.
The Binding of the Wounds is the restraint of sin.
Oil is the comfort of good hope;
Wine is the exhortation to work with fervent spirit.
The Beast is the flesh in which He deigned to come to us.
Set upon the beast is belief in the incarnation of Christ.
The Inn is the Church, where travellers are refreshed on their return from pilgrimage to
their heavenly country.
The Morrow is after the Resurrection of the Lord.
The Two Pence are either the two precepts of love, or the promise of this life and of
that which is to come.
The Innkeeper is the Apostle Paul.

As we look for actuality in the features of the parable, it is as well to bear in mind that in
most cases the true parable has only one major point. “The safest way to handle a parable
is to search out the leading thought or principal idea round which as centre the
subordinate parts must group themselves. The main idea must not be too frittered away on
a too wire-drawn extension of accessories even though they may have spiritual
significance. The parables are not to be handled as if they were a storehouse of texts. Each
parable must be seen with its own distinctive peculiarity, and any analogies made must be
real, not imaginary, and subordinate to the main lesson of the parable.” (Habershon)