The term is from the Greek for "something placed by the side of something else." NT parables are sayings of Jesus in which he uses metaphors or similes, brief or extended, to challenge people to a decision about his message. The parables of Jesus are "word events" in which the Kingdom of God breaks through in power. Parables may be understood as elaborated comparisons. For example, the Gospel of Matthew (20:1-16) records Jesus' parable that likens the kingdom of heaven to a householder who hired workers for his vineyard at different hours in the day, and then paid all the workers the full day's wage that he promised to the workers who were hired in the early morning.
Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.