The Parable of the Householder

Matthew 13:51-52


  1. Following His explanation of “The Parable Of The Dragnet” (Matt. 13:47-50), we find Jesus asking His disciples: “Have you understood all these things?” (Matt. 13:51)

  2. This question likely relates not just to the preceding parable, but to all of those recorded in this chapter:

    1. The Parable Of The Sower (Matt. 13:3-9, 18-23).

    2. The Parable Of The Wheat And The Tares (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43).

    3. The Parable Of The Mustard Seed (Matt. 13:31-32).

    4. The Parable Of The Leaven (Matt. 13:33).

    5. The Parable Of The Hidden Treasure (Matt. 13:44).

    6. The Parable Of The Pearl Of Great Price (Matt. 13:45-46).

    7. The Parable Of The Dragnet (Matt. 13:47-50).

    8. All of which reveal truths related to “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 13:11).

  3. When His disciples answer in the affirmative, Jesus tells yet another parable…

    1. This one is called “The Parable Of The Householder” (Matt. 13:52).

    2. This parable, however, is describing not so much the kingdom of heaven itself, but those (especially “scribes”) who have been instructed concerning the kingdom.

  4. As we take the time to consider what Jesus said, seeking to glean what truths and principles we can from Him, let’s first look closely at the parable, then some implications.


  1. The Parable.

    1. Jesus is making a point about a “scribe” …

      1. Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven…”

      2. From the “Holman Bible Dictionary,” a scribe was a “Person trained in writing skills and used to record events and decisions (Jer. 36:26; 1 Chr. 24:6; Est. 3:12). During the Exile in Babylon educated scribes apparently became the experts in God’s written word, copying, preserving, and teaching it. Ezra was a scribe in this sense of expert in teaching God’s word (Ezra 7:6). A professional group of such scribes developed by New Testament times, most being Pharisees (Mark 2:16). They interpreted the law, taught it to disciples, and were experts in cases where people were accused of breaking the law of Moses. They led in plans to kill Jesus (Luke 19:47) and heard His stern rebuke (Matt. 23).”

      3. They were more than simply copyists, but students and instructors as well.

      4. It would be assumed, therefore, that a scribe would be expected to understand the finer points of the Law of Moses.

    2. A scribe “instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven …”

      1. Jesus’ point is not about a normal scribe, who would understand only the Law.

      2. But a scribe who would be instructed about the kingdom of heaven (via the parables).

    3. Such a scribe “is like a householder …”

      1. The word for “householder” is Greek for “house” (οικος) and the Greek for δεσπότης, or despot. So it is the head or owner of the house.

      2. This householder had a “treasure,” something of great value.

      3. Do you have a lock box or a special place where you keep your prized belongings? This is like that.

      4. Here, this householder had treasure that is both “new” and “old.”

        1. The “old” treasure would be his understanding of the Law.

        2. The “new” treasure would be his understanding of the kingdom of heaven.

        3. Both are utilized to help understand truth.

    4. The parable and its explanation appear simple enough to understand, but there are also implications from the parable that are worthy of careful consideration.

  2. Implications from the Parable.

    1. Every disciple is like a scribe.

      1. This implication is a fair one to make.

        1. Because the parable was told in response to a question asked of His disciples (“Have you understood all these things?”)

        2. Because His disciples…

          1. …had been told that only by understanding the Word can one bear good fruit (Matt. 13:23) – good soil.

          2. …had been asked whether they “understood all these things?” (Matt. 13:51).

        3. Understanding God’s Word was a fundamental aspect of being a scribe!

      2. Elsewhere Jesus makes it clear that His disciples must be like scribes.

        1. The very word “disciple” means a “learner,” which requires one to be like a scribe.

        2. In the Great Commission…

          1. Jesus told His apostles to “make disciples” – i.e. learners (Matt. 28:19).

          2. His disciples would then be “taught” all that Christ commanded (Matt. 28:20).

    2. Every disciple is like a householder with treasure …

      1. That treasure is the Word of God, which even with the partial revelation of the Old Testament was…

        1. More to be desired than gold, yea, than much fine gold” (cf. Psa. 19:7-11).

        2. Better than silver, fine gold, and rubies; and “all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.” (cf. Prov. 3:13-18).

      2. The value of that treasure is enhanced with the full and final revelation of God’s Will through His Son Jesus Christ (cf. Col. 2:2-3).

    3. Every disciple has both old and new treasure …

      1. Not just the new treasure, but the old as well.

      2. Some Christians may downplay the importance of the Old Testament, but we shouldn’t!

        1. It was written for our learning, to provide patience, comfort and hope (Rom. 15:4).

        2. It was written for our admonition (1 Cor. 10:11).

      3. Dare we throw away old treasure, just because we have been blessed to receive new?

        1. That which is “old” can help us appreciate more fully that which is “new”!

        2. It can help make us “wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ” (2 Tim. 3:14-15).

        3. As “scripture” inspired of God, it is still profitable (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

      4. Of course, we must “rightly divide” the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).

        1. By observing the distinction between the Old and New Covenants (cf. Heb. 8:6-13).

        2. By remembering that it is the fuller revelation provided by the New that helps to explain the “mystery” of the Old (e.g. Luke 24:25-27, 44-47).

          1. It was not until Jesus fulfilled and then explained Old Testament prophecies that His disciples were able to understand.

          2. So we should not seek to understand the New in light of the Old, but the Old in light of the New!

          3. OT is the NT concealed; NT is the OT revealed.” – Augustine of Hippo.


  1. The main point I wish to stress is that as disciples of Jesus we have been richly blessed.

    1. Jesus said it was because we have been blessed to see and hear things others did not (Matt. 13:16-17).

      But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

    2. When we understand the parables and His other teachings concerning the kingdom of heaven, as well as the Old Testament, then we have treasure added upon treasure!

  2. But we must be like the scribes of old to enjoy these treasures…

    1. Emulating especially the example of Ezra (Ezra 7:10).

      For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances to Israel.

    2. Preparing our hearts to seek the Word, to do it, and then to teach it.

  3. Do we appreciate the great treasure we have available to us?

    1. Do we appreciate its greatness? It is easy to take it for granted.

    2. You see, it alone points us…

      1. To Him who is the center and theme of its revelation, Jesus Christ.

      2. And to His kingdom that is everlasting.

    3. Or are we like so many, who forsake this great treasure for that which is temporary, and does not really satisfy?

  4. Don’t allow the distractions of this world to cause the “treasures” to slip through your fingers!