Interpretation of the Pearl of Great Price; Matthew 13:45-46

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CS1

Well-known member
May 23, 2012
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#41
Even though it seemed so obvious to me what Jesus meant, that I was initially surprised that anyone could interpret differently than how I saw it, I have learned that there are many who interpret this verse opposite of how I do. For this reason, I have learned to give much grace when hearing a preacher preach something using a verse that I think he has misinterpreted but preaching things that can be found in other verses. It seems that this is one that is not such a huge deal because the misinterpretation has other scriptures that support it.
it is not an interpretation it is an application.
 
S

Scribe

Guest
#42
it is not an interpretation it is an application.
I was referring to hearing a preacher preach that the merchant man was God or Christ and that the pearl was us. That is an interpretation and even though I do not agree that it was a correct interpretation and even though I think it robs the hearers of the message Jesus really wanted them to get (that the heart that enters into the kingdom of Heaven must be like this, willing to trade everything for Christ) I am learning to let it go. I must not judge the brother too harshly. There is a minuscule chance that I could be wrong. LOL
 

CS1

Well-known member
May 23, 2012
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#43
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46) Who, when he had found one pearl of great price , went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

What do you think is the interpretation of this parable? Is it that God is the merchant man and we are the pearl and God gave his Son to purchase our redemption, or is it we are the merchant man and when we recognize the value of the Kingdom of God (Jesus and all that he did for us and offers us) that we will depart from everything that we use to hold dear to gain Christ which is far better than anything this world has to offer?

Most commentaries give the last interpretation but I have heard both presented. What do you think Jesus intended his disciples (and us) to understand?
the lesson of the pearl in Matthew 13:532 is about the Kingdom of God and the word of God, and context of the chapter tare and wheat and the sower.
 
S

Scribe

Guest
#44
the lesson of the pearl in Matthew 13:532 is about the Kingdom of God and the word of God, and context of the chapter tare and wheat and the sower.
Agreed. Each parable is about some aspect of the Kingdom of Heaven and who makes up that kingdom.
 

posthuman

Senior Member
Jul 31, 2013
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#45
If you are trying to misrepresent what I said you are a special kind of person. The application I used was very clear. Which you find funny? I provided the illustration of a pearl hunter.

"Yet once the pearl was found and retrieved the cost for it was great. Because the risk was great."

is there anything more costly than the precious blood of our Lord?
yes His blood!! which -- He shed, so He is the One who 'purchases'

calm down mate lol; i was agreeing with you - i think? we are the pearl / the pearl is within us; He bought the whole field - and thinking about what you said made me realize the connection to John 3:13 -- the One who ascended is He who first descended. pearls are found/obtained by descending, and possessed by ascending again. it's beautiful, i think! Wonderful! :)
 

preacher4truth

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2016
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#46
yes His blood!! which -- He shed, so He is the One who 'purchases'

calm down mate lol; i was agreeing with you - i think? we are the pearl / the pearl is within us; He bought the whole field - and thinking about what you said made me realize the connection to John 3:13 -- the One who ascended is He who first descended. pearls are found/obtained by descending, and possessed by ascending again. it's beautiful, i think! Wonderful! :)
I don't see this parable as Christ purchasing his church, but of a sinner selling all he had, selling out to Christ. I see the preceding parable in the same manner.

I'm reminded also of the rich young ruler who was told to sell all he had to obtain eternal life, which is of course figurative.
 

preacher4truth

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2016
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#47
the " Pearl of great Price" I have to ask, what made it so great of price? Well, if you know anything about pearl hunters back in the day, they had to hold there breath. On single breath they swam to depth of great danger. They could lose their very life just to get this pearl. Not many were willing to do this. Yet once the pearl was found and retrieved the cost for it was great. Because the risk was great.
Hmmm. If it were a pearl at the bottom of the ocean, why did he have to sell his other pearls to dive in the water to get what he could have gotten merely by effort? The person is a merchant buying and selling in a market place, not an oyster diver. But then again there is no need to make parables walk on all fours as they say, but to derive the main point Christ is making.
 
S

Scribe

Guest
#48
Hmmm. If it were a pearl at the bottom of the ocean, why did he have to sell his other pearls to dive in the water to get what he could have gotten merely by effort? The person is a merchant buying and selling in a market place, not an oyster diver. But then again there is no need to make parables walk on all fours as they say, but to derive the main point Christ is making.
"Make a parable walk on all fours" LOL sounds like something they say in Texas. I like it. I agree, the main point is obvious when it is spoken along with the parable of the treasure in the field. We don't labor over what kind of treasure it was, because it does not say. We are not supposed to spend time developing lessons from the way a pearl is formed or the natural properties of pearls, if we do we miss the lesson and are off on an illustration about comparing our lives to pearls or the kingdom of heaven to the properties of pearls. The same lesson is meant by both parables, the kind of treasure, gold, pearls, diamonds, all will do. The lesson is in willing to sell all to obtain it. There is a suggestion that it was necessary to do so. Something had to be given up in order to obtain. There is no lesson that it was a field other than it was useful to the point. It could have been a treasure hidden in the basement of a house and the house had to be bought in order to get the treasure, but the man needed to sell everything he had to come up with the funds to buy the house. In the culture of his audience there was a law that said if they owned the field they became owners of anything found hidden in it. In our culture there would be laws that would take it from us for Archaeology or national treasures.
 

preacher4truth

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2016
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#49
"Make a parable walk on all fours" LOL sounds like something they say in Texas. I like it. I agree, the main point is obvious when it is spoken along with the parable of the treasure in the field. We don't labor over what kind of treasure it was, because it does not say. We are not supposed to spend time developing lessons from the way a pearl is formed or the natural properties of pearls, if we do we miss the lesson and are off on an illustration about comparing our lives to pearls or the kingdom of heaven to the properties of pearls. The same lesson is meant by both parables, the kind of treasure, gold, pearls, diamonds, all will do. The lesson is in willing to sell all to obtain it. There is a suggestion that it was necessary to do so. Something had to be given up in order to obtain. There is no lesson that it was a field other than it was useful to the point. It could have been a treasure hidden in the basement of a house and the house had to be bought in order to get the treasure, but the man needed to sell everything he had to come up with the funds to buy the house. In the culture of his audience there was a law that said if they owned the field they became owners of anything found hidden in it. In our culture there would be laws that would take it from us for Archaeology or national treasures.
It's good to see some thoughtful rational discussion brother, and informed at that! Much appreciated! I had never once thought of this as a picture of Christ, yet John Gill leans that way. I tend to disagree with him though on this one at least. Many others take it in the way I take it, but it is a good discussion nonetheless.
 

PennEd

Senior Member
Apr 22, 2013
10,192
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#50
OP question: Interpretation of the Pearl of Great Price; Matthew 13:45-46

Interpretation's of these verses will vary. Adding mine:

The man in the story is Christ. He gave everything he had. And in doing so, he bought the field = all believers.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(NOTE: Christ purchased the field with the treasure, ALL believers)

Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
(NOTE: Every living soul is worth more to Christ then ALL the riches this world has to offer).
I think this is the closest I've seen so far to the proper interpretation.

I would add that Jesus is addressing a Jewish audience and they would have been taken aback at the imagery He uses in several of these parables.

In one He talks about the Kingdom of Heaven is like 3 measures of meal (a fellowship meal) being mixed with leaven. Leaven was a big no-no.

Pearls come from oysters which are not Kosher and another no no.

The last parable talks about the dragnet. 47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of EVERY kind,

I believe all of this speaks of Gentiles being eligible for the Kingdom. A concept the Jews couldn't fathom.
 
S

Scribe

Guest
#51
It's good to see some thoughtful rational discussion brother, and informed at that! Much appreciated! I had never once thought of this as a picture of Christ, yet John Gill leans that way. I tend to disagree with him though on this one at least. Many others take it in the way I take it, but it is a good discussion nonetheless.
Something else I noticed about this chapter. My signature verse which is the reason for my nickname happens to be in this same chapter. I might be reading too much into it or I might be understanding it correctly, I was thinking about how each truth of these parables was taught or already prophesied in scripture in the Old Testament. So when Jesus asked this question..

51Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. 52Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

...If you look back at the parables in Matt 13 that he had spoken to them and some he had explained, you can find old testament scriptures that can be used (especially in the prophets) that back up these truths, such as the end time judgments and separation of good and evil.

So considering this parable of the merchant who sold all to obtain the pearl of great price is a description of the attitude of the attitude of the people who will be part of this kingdom of heaven; and then thinking about where this has already been taught in the ancient revelation of God, I find some of these examples....

Proverbs 2:3Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
4If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
5Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

And also..Proverbs 3:13-15
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
14For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
15She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.

And again in Proverbs 8:10,11,19
10Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
11For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
19My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver

So Jesus was telling His disciples that they should be able, as his New Testament Scribes, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to take out of the treasury of their household (store room of truths that the Holy Spirit will make known to them) and reveal it to those they were called to share it with and that these treasures are the revelation of Jesus and the truths of the Kingdom of heaven that were already written in the scriptures (Old Testament) but which meaning was not understood until Jesus came to open their understanding with such parables as these that he had just shared with them. These parables are important to understanding what their message should be, which they should draw out from their treasury and share. Boy.. this is good stuff. I think I am on to something. :)
 

CS1

Well-known member
May 23, 2012
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#52
yes His blood!! which -- He shed, so He is the One who 'purchases'

calm down mate lol; i was agreeing with you - i think? we are the pearl / the pearl is within us; He bought the whole field - and thinking about what you said made me realize the connection to John 3:13 -- the One who ascended is He who first descended. pearls are found/obtained by descending, and possessed by ascending again. it's beautiful, i think! Wonderful! :)
LOL Ok I'm calm LOL and amen :)
 

CS1

Well-known member
May 23, 2012
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#53
Hmmm. If it were a pearl at the bottom of the ocean, why did he have to sell his other pearls to dive in the water to get what he could have gotten merely by effort? The person is a merchant buying and selling in a market place, not an oyster diver. But then again there is no need to make parables walk on all fours as they say, but to derive the main point Christ is making.
LOL I will say I don't know LOL hahahha
 
Mar 28, 2016
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#54
ehmmmm.... no.

However, you seem like you desire to know deep truths in the scriptures. Google "hermeneutics on how to interpret parables in the bible" I think you will be very blessed by the amount of revelation your receive after you learn the rules.
Just ehmmmmm no. No verse to support your hermeneutics ?

Google "hermeneutics"? . No thanks there are many schools of thought as there are denominations or kingdoms of this world . God has not left us as orphans with out any tool need to rightly diving the parables like one I offer below a major key in interpreting parables .

2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Don't study without it as those who literalize away the gospel in exchange for a oral tradition of men .

Without parables using the temporal thing seen to give us the understanding of faith Christ spoke not. Many from my experience under minded the use of parables.. The hidden manna. The gospel of great price .Greater that gold and pearls .(Job 28)

Job 28: 16-18It (the gospel ) cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.

The pearl represents the word of god the gospel of our salvation. All of the parables in Mathew 13 speak of the power or treasure we have in us .Hidden from mankind.

The seed or pearl some step on trample under. . making the gospel out of sight out of mind

Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Job 28: 16-18It (the gospel cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.

Pearls like yeast the gospel causes the increase in one of the parables in that series . Christ hidden in us .Like yeast he cause growth as we decrease .

We can plant the seed of the gospel and hope Christ will draw it out as the pearl of great price, one than cannot be valued by the temporal things seen . One that would draw a person to sell everything he had. . . if it could be purchased by a work we can do without being yoked with Him . He owns the gold on a thousand times a thousand hills. and all the pearls in the ocean .

The Bible supplies the tools to rightly divide parables.2 Corinthians 4:18 Study using the tools then we can complete the commandment needed to seek His approval. Not Google .
 
S

Scribe

Guest
#55
Just ehmmmmm no. No verse to support your hermeneutics ?

Google "hermeneutics"? . No thanks there are many schools of thought as there are denominations or kingdoms of this world . God has not left us as orphans with out any tool need to rightly diving the parables like one I offer below a major key in interpreting parables .

2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Don't study without it as those who literalize away the gospel in exchange for a oral tradition of men .

Without parables using the temporal thing seen to give us the understanding of faith Christ spoke not. Many from my experience under minded the use of parables.. The hidden manna. The gospel of great price .Greater that gold and pearls .(Job 28)

Job 28: 16-18It (the gospel ) cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.

The pearl represents the word of god the gospel of our salvation. All of the parables in Mathew 13 speak of the power or treasure we have in us .Hidden from mankind.

The seed or pearl some step on trample under. . making the gospel out of sight out of mind

Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Job 28: 16-18It (the gospel cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.

Pearls like yeast the gospel causes the increase in one of the parables in that series . Christ hidden in us .Like yeast he cause growth as we decrease .

We can plant the seed of the gospel and hope Christ will draw it out as the pearl of great price, one than cannot be valued by the temporal things seen . One that would draw a person to sell everything he had. . . if it could be purchased by a work we can do without being yoked with Him . He owns the gold on a thousand times a thousand hills. and all the pearls in the ocean .

The Bible supplies the tools to rightly divide parables.2 Corinthians 4:18 Study using the tools then we can complete the commandment needed to seek His approval. Not Google .
Parables were not only used by Jesus. It was a common method to teach a lesson and it usually helped people "catch" a point.

Parables were not ALLEGORIES, and those who understood that did not try to interpret them as allegories. Instead they listened for the main lesson based on the points of reference which are not the lesson themselves.

The merchant is not the lesson, the pearl is not the lesson, they are points of reference. For example, treasure or pearls, either can be used and the point does not change.

The elder brother in the prodigal son parable, was out working in the field, he could have been out feeding the cows it would not have changed the point of the parable. If one focuses on one of these details like properties of pearls they will have messed up the lesson of the parable because they were treating it like an allegory rather than a parable. It is like not getting the meaning of a joke and wondering why people are laughing. You did not "catch the point" that was based on the points of references.

Now we know that the parable of the merchant man seeking pearls is about the kingdom of heaven. We know that because Jesus starts it with the kingdom of heaven is like unto ... This lets us know that the lesson will be teaching something about what the kingdom of heaven is like. That sounds obvious, but it requires stating because if the interpretation someone gives to the parable is not about the kingdom of heaven then they screwed it up. LOL

There is nothing unspiritual about taking the time to learn what the common people at the time of Christ knew about the point of a parable. We had to learn how a fable worked to teach a moral lesson in elementary school. Learning how a parable works just keeps one from mistakenly treating it like an allegory. Learning the difference between parable and allegories is part of how to interpret the bible that all bible students should want to learn. I don't know why you would think it was unspiritual to learn about the difference in bible literature between parable and allegory.

In this case these two parables (especially when heard spoken) would cause the hearers to "catch" the idea of giving up all you had to gain something worth more than all you gave up This is what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.

And that's it. He did not intend for us to come up with lots of esoterically hidden layers of meanings. It is not an allegory it is a parable.
 

CS1

Well-known member
May 23, 2012
8,921
2,749
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#56
Just ehmmmmm no. No verse to support your hermeneutics ?

Google "hermeneutics"? . No thanks there are many schools of thought as there are denominations or kingdoms of this world . God has not left us as orphans with out any tool need to rightly diving the parables like one I offer below a major key in interpreting parables .

2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Don't study without it as those who literalize away the gospel in exchange for a oral tradition of men .

Without parables using the temporal thing seen to give us the understanding of faith Christ spoke not. Many from my experience under minded the use of parables.. The hidden manna. The gospel of great price .Greater that gold and pearls .(Job 28)

Job 28: 16-18It (the gospel ) cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.

The pearl represents the word of god the gospel of our salvation. All of the parables in Mathew 13 speak of the power or treasure we have in us .Hidden from mankind.

The seed or pearl some step on trample under. . making the gospel out of sight out of mind

Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Job 28: 16-18It (the gospel cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire. The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.

Pearls like yeast the gospel causes the increase in one of the parables in that series . Christ hidden in us .Like yeast he cause growth as we decrease .

We can plant the seed of the gospel and hope Christ will draw it out as the pearl of great price, one than cannot be valued by the temporal things seen . One that would draw a person to sell everything he had. . . if it could be purchased by a work we can do without being yoked with Him . He owns the gold on a thousand times a thousand hills. and all the pearls in the ocean .

The Bible supplies the tools to rightly divide parables.2 Corinthians 4:18 Study using the tools then we can complete the commandment needed to seek His approval. Not Google .

You are legend in your own mind LOL You google the words context and Application. Then you can google the meaning of Hermeneutics and authorial intent. Most of us knew this before the word google was even coined in 1998. WE studied the old fashion way through the Holy Spirit, many bible translations, Strongs and vines Concordances, and Prayer & fasting, and having a teachable spirit.
 

UnoiAmarah

Junior Member
Jul 28, 2017
715
125
43
#57
These parables are important to understanding what their message should be, which they should draw out from their treasury and share. Boy.. this is good stuff. I think I am on to something
Buy the truth and sell it not, also wisdom, instruction and understanding.

The Sower sows the seed and the seed is the word of God.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God

Unto him that hath, more shall be given and him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away from him,

For where you treasure is there shall be your heart be also.
 
Mar 28, 2016
15,958
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#58
You are legend in your own mind LOL You google the words context and Application. Then you can google the meaning of Hermeneutics and authorial intent. Most of us knew this before the word google was even coined in 1998. WE studied the old fashion way through the Holy Spirit, many bible translations, Strongs and vines Concordances, and Prayer & fasting, and having a teachable spirit.
Strong's and vines can be helpful .

I have a teachable spirit and a father who does the teaching. He warns us of those who say we need a man named Google to teach us. Google has its value but is not the pearl of greater wisdom "the gospel" .It is beyond value as to what the eyes see. (hid in parables)

Job 28:17-19 King James Version (KJV) The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: (the gospel ) and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.

The Bible supplies all the tool needed to rightly divide the pearl of great price the gospel .Mathew warns of those who trample it under foot .Job informs us it is immeasurable beyond gold and pearls . Jesus speaks of it like yeast hidden causes growth from the inside .

The peal of great price in that series of parables all having the same conclusion first uses the word seed (verse 4) to picture that which is beyond placing a value or price. A hope beyond human hope. Verse 9 speaks of the pearl as that which opens our ears blessed by the word of God hid in the believers heart in order to hear the unseen understanding.
( Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.) In another parable in that series (context) Yeast (verse 33) is used as that which causes a increase of the hearing of faith . Continuing in context he uses the pearl spoken of in Job to represent the immeasurable (too large, extensive, or extreme to measure: golden measure

The two that were offered in the beginning do not ring out when compared to the whole Bible

(1) God is the merchant man and we are the pearl

(2) we are the merchant man and when we recognize the value of the Kingdom of God

He is the merchant man who hides the pearl of great price. It is represented as manna pearl in color like the gates in Revelation 21 for entering into fellowship. the hidden understanding .Called the hidden mana (meaning "what is it?" ) in Revelation 2:17.
 
S

Scribe

Guest
#59
Strong's and vines can be helpful .

I have a teachable spirit and a father who does the teaching. He warns us of those who say we need a man named Google to teach us. Google has its value but is not the pearl of greater wisdom "the gospel" .It is beyond value as to what the eyes see. (hid in parables)

Job 28:17-19 King James Version (KJV) The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: (the gospel ) and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.

The Bible supplies all the tool needed to rightly divide the pearl of great price the gospel .Mathew warns of those who trample it under foot .Job informs us it is immeasurable beyond gold and pearls . Jesus speaks of it like yeast hidden causes growth from the inside .

The peal of great price in that series of parables all having the same conclusion first uses the word seed (verse 4) to picture that which is beyond placing a value or price. A hope beyond human hope. Verse 9 speaks of the pearl as that which opens our ears blessed by the word of God hid in the believers heart in order to hear the unseen understanding.
( Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.) In another parable in that series (context) Yeast (verse 33) is used as that which causes a increase of the hearing of faith . Continuing in context he uses the pearl spoken of in Job to represent the immeasurable (too large, extensive, or extreme to measure: golden measure

The two that were offered in the beginning do not ring out when compared to the whole Bible

(1) God is the merchant man and we are the pearl

(2) we are the merchant man and when we recognizehttps://www.nbcnews.com/ the value of the Kingdom of God

He is the merchant man who hides the pearl of great price. It is represented as manna pearl in color like the gates in Revelation 21 for entering into fellowship. the hidden understanding .Called the hidden mana (meaning "what is it?" ) in Revelation 2:17.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
S

Scribe

Guest
#60
Here is a section from Gordon D. Fee's book on interpretation of scripture, "How to Read the Bible for all its Worth"
on how to interpret parables:

The Parables of the Kingdom So far our illustrations have all been taken from parables of conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees. But there is a much larger group of parables — the parables of the kingdom — that need special mention. It is true that all of the parables we have already looked at are also parables of the kingdom. They express the dawning of the time of salvation with the coming of Jesus. But the parables we have in mind here are those that expressly say, “The kingdom of God is like. . . .” First, it must be noted that the introduction, “The kingdom of God is like . . .,” is not to be taken with the first element mentioned in the parable. That is, the kingdom of God is not like a mustard seed, or treasure hidden in a field, or a merchant. The expression literally means, “It is like this with the kingdom of God. . . .” Thus the whole parable tells us something about the nature of the kingdom, not just one of the points of reference or one of the details. Second, it is tempting to treat these parables differently from those we have just looked at, as though they actually were teaching vehicles rather than stories calling for response. But that would be to abuse them. Granted, the divinely inspired collections in Mark 4 and Matthew 13 in their present arrangement are intended to teach us about the kingdom. But originally these parables were a part of Jesus’ actual proclamation of the kingdom as dawning with his own coming. They are themselves vehicles of the message, calling for response to Jesus’ invitation and call to discipleship. Take, for example, the interpreted parable of the sower (Mark 4:3 – 20; Matt 13:3 – 23; Luke 8:5 – 15), which is rightfully seen by Mark as the key to the rest. You will notice that what Jesus has interpreted are the points of reference: The four kinds of soil are like four kinds of responses to the proclamation of the kingdom. But the point of the parable is the urgency of the hour: “Take heed how you hear. The word is being sown — the message of the good news of the kingdom, the joy of forgiveness, the demand and gift of discipleship. It is before all, so listen, take heed; be fruitful soil.” It will be noted, therefore, that most of these parables are addressed to the multitudes as potential disciples. Since these parables are indeed parables of the kingdom, we find them proclaiming the kingdom as “already/not yet.” But their main thrust is the “already.” The kingdom has already come; God’s hour is at hand. Therefore, the present moment is one of great urgency. Such urgency in Jesus’ proclamation has a twofold thrust: (1) Judgment is impending; disaster and catastrophe are at the door. (2) But there is good news: salvation is freely offered to all. Let us look at a couple of parables that illustrate these two aspects of the message. 1. We begin with the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:16 – 20), which Luke has set in a context of attitudes toward possessions in light of the presence of the kingdom. The parable is easy enough. A rich man, because of his hard work, thinks he has secured his life and is resting complacently. But as Jesus says elsewhere, “Whoever wants to save their life will lose it” (Matt 16:25 // Mark 8:35 // Luke 9:24). Thus the man is a fool in the biblical sense — he tries to live without taking God into account. But sudden disaster is about to overtake him. The point of the parable, you will note, is not the unexpectedness of death. It is the urgency of the hour. The kingdom is at hand. One is a fool to live for possessions, for self-security, when the end is right at the door. Note how this is supported by the context. A man wants his brother to divide the inheritance. But Jesus refuses to become involved in their arbitration. His point is that desire for possession of property is irrelevant in light of the present moment. This is also how we should understand that most difficult of parables — the Shrewd Manager (Luke 16:1 – 8). Again, the story is simple enough. A property manager was embezzling, or otherwise squandering, his master’s money. He was called to produce accounts and knew his number was up, so he pulled off one more enormous rip-off. He let all those owing money adjust their accounts themselves, probably hoping to secure friends on the outside. The punch of this parable, and the part most of us have difficulty handling as well, is that the original hearers expect disapproval. Instead this monkey business is praised! What could possibly be Jesus’ point in telling a story like that? Most likely he is challenging his hearers with the urgency of the hour. If they are properly indignant over such a story, how much more should they apply the lessons to themselves. They are in the same position as the manager who saw imminent disaster, but the crisis that threatens them is incomparably more terrible. That man acted (note that Jesus does not excuse his action); he did something about his situation. For you, too, Jesus seems to be saying, the urgency of the hour demands action; everything is at stake. 2. The urgent hour that calls for action, repentance, is also the time of salvation. Thus the kingdom as present is also Good News. In the twin parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great value (Matt 13:44 – 46), the emphasis is on the joy of discovery. The kingdom overtakes the one; it is sought by the other. In joy they liquidate their holdings for the treasure and the pearl. The kingdom is not the treasure; and it is not the pearl. The kingdom is God’s gift. The “discovery” of the kingdom brings unutterable joy. You will notice how this same motif is thoroughgoing also in the three parables of the lost things in Luke 15. This, then, is how one needs to learn to read and study the parables. They are not to be allegorized. They are to be heard — heard as calls to respond to Jesus and his mission.

Fee, Gordon D.. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (p. 165). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.