In his discussion on preaching parables, Steven W. Smith states, “We could so fall in love with the cultural background, the fascination of it all, that we miss the theological point Christ is attempting to communicate, a point that is imbedded in the text of Scripture, not so much the details of the story. A sermon that focuses on the cultural background rather than the biblical context becomes a lesson in first-century culture that falls squarely in the category of interesting but unhelpful. Preach the text, not the event” (Recapturing the Voice of God: Shaping Sermons Like Scripture [Nashville: B&H Academic, 2015], 111).
This is a good caution though there can be a fine line between a text and the event it records. The recent tendency to focus inordinately on the background in parables might be understandable since parables are one of the more culturally sensitive genres.
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