Parables #9 – Study Questions

Kyle Bartholic   -  

Two Sons in the Vineyard

Matt. 21:28-32


INTRODUCTION:  Obedience. We have such a twisted relationship with it. We know that it is valuable, important, and ultimately good for us. We also quickly drift into thinking that obedience earns us God’s love, favor, and presence. It doesn’t. Never has. Never will. That’s grace. But, obedience is still really important to our Father in Heaven, and Jesus illustrates that in this parable about two sons in the vineyard. One son is agreeable. He hears the command of his father and verbally agrees to it. However, he doesn’t follow through. He’s all talk and no go. The second son is disagreeable. He hears his father’s command and says that he will not do what his father commanded. But then he changes his mind and obeys. The parable encourages us to remember that initial responses are not ultimate responses. An initial refusal does not have to stay a refusal, and an initial agreement is not enough. It must be lived.[1] The son who changed his mind enters into the practice of repentance. That is, he changed directions from disobedience and then walked in the way of obedience. If we are willing to put ourselves in the shoes of both brothers, we will find important truths about ourselves. If we are going to honor our Father, we must continue to increase in obedience. If we want to increase in obedience, we must take the call to repentance seriously. After all, a God-honoring life requires the obedience of repentance.




GETTING STARTED – As you begin your group time, talk about a time in your life when you were like the agreeable son and when you were like the disagreeable son (put yourself in their shoes). What did you learn from those experiences?


IN THE WORD –   Let’s dig back into the passage. It is important to strengthen our muscles in reading God’s Word. On Sunday, we walked through the passage in the sermon. Hopefully, that helped you to see the landmarks of the passage with fresh eyes. Now, with your group, go back through it and see what God is saying to you specifically.

First, before you read the passage, take a moment to ask God’s Spirit to quiet your mind and heart and to illuminate the text to you. Second, read the passage aloud to the group. Then, follow the simple method below. (O.P.A)

Observe: Make 8-10 observations from the passage. Pay close attention to observe and note repeated words and phrases, names, places, and themes.



Principles: From your list of observations, what patterns or big ideas do you see emerging? Can you distill it down into 2-4 big idea truths?



Apply: Moving from your list of principles, it is time to apply God’s Word. Remember, we believe that God’s Word is living and active and that it can change the way we live Monday- Friday. What is one tangible way to apply a truth from your list above?


[1] Klyne Snodgrass, Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus, Second Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2018), 275.