Most churches, and probably most Christians, assume that those who serve in the ministry, at least at the pastor level, should have seminary training. There are some who dare to question this system. Their question is often, Are seminaries biblical? The answer they’re often given by seminary advocates is, Does something have to be biblical to be good? After all, cars, indoor plumbing, electricity, and other conveniences that we take for granted are not in the Bible. Even words such as “Trinity” are not in the Bible. But this response of citing general cases is an evasion of the question.
This parable and the Parable of the Mustard Seed are a pair. They tell much the same story, but with somewhat different emphases. Understanding the Parable of the Leaven is very straightforward. In fact, it is so straightforward that it is amazing that most commentators give a wrong interpretation for it. In the Parable of the Mustard Seed, Jesus taught that the small, powerful, and simple faith that He planted would grow into a large and corrupt institution. The Parable of the Leaven focuses on the corruption.
The previous parables we have examined in this series centered on the planting of grain. The next two parables we will look at are different. The first one is about a mustard seed that grows into a large tree. The second (which will be discussed in our next installment) is about leaven that leavens the entire three measures of meal. As we study into these parables, we will find that the Bible reveals that their meanings are far different from what most commentators and preachers assume. This means that what you have heard about these parables is probably not what the Bible teaches.