1. Provoke thought - many of Jesus? parables start with a question e.g. Luke 10:26; 11:5; 12:14.
2. They invite the listeners to pass judgement on the story.
3. Often, but not always, the vital piece of the parable comes at the end of the story.
4. Parables do not always explain the motives of the people mentioned in the story.
5. They are stories taken from everyday day. One of the ways to appreciate the parables of Jesus is to put the story into a modern event. Re-tell the parable as a contemporary event.
6. Parables often contain hyperboles (intended exaggeration) in order to drive the point home. For example in Matthew 18: 23-35 the slave owed the king ten thousand talents. According to ancient historical records still available today, the whole taxes collected from all of Judea, Idumea, and Samaria in 4 b.c were 600 talents. This shows the enormous amount of debt owed. One talent was worth about fifteen years wages. Imagine how much this person owed? This is a hyperbole used to drive home the point of the story. Jesus? audience would have not missed the point.