The Parable of the Spider


The Bible makes use of the spider to illustrate important truths. In this study we will look at a few lessons we can learn from the humble spider.

Spiders are everywhere

“The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces” (Proverbs 30:28).

It is said that we have spiders within a few feet of us at all times. Some people find them scary, but without them the world would be overrun with flies and other insects. I wonder how many spiders are killed each day by those who are frightened of them? Some people think that they are dirty creatures that live in dirty houses, but even Buckingham Palace has thousands of spiders living in it. They do not mind living in rich or poor houses, because in every situation the spider will spin a web. Solomon spoke of her because of the wonderful web she weaves. Who taught her to do this? God gave her the wisdom when He created her. The Hebrew word for spider, ‘akkabish’ means ‘a swift weaver’.

Believers are found almost everywhere too, but how few are industrious in the Lord’s work. God has given each of us the ability to call the lost to Christ, but most of us hold back because we do not want to offend anyone. Jesus told us to go and tell the world the good news, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway” (Matthew 28:19-20), and the apostle Paul encourages us to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). The world might not like what we have to say. They might criticise us for speaking about the consequences of not accepting Christ as Saviour, but we must still tell them.

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider,
Who sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away!

  “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15).

The spider’s web

The Bible also speaks of the negative aspects of the spider. The spider’s web is amazing. It is extremly frail and can be broken by the slightest touch, yet it is strong enough to catch even large insects. The prophet Isaiah used the spider’s web to illustrate the evil plans of wicked men. “They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper” (Isaiah 59:5). The wicked in this world lay all kinds of snares and traps to capture the vunerable. They use television, films, video games and the internet (intrestingly enough called the worldwide web.) False teachers spin a web of lies and deceit to bring the Bible illiterate into bondage. Nevertheless the true word of God can break every thread of the webs they weave. “Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web” (Job 8:14).

The wicked are cunning enough to use every means available to destroy the spirit, soul and body of every man, woman and child. They spend time and effort getting the job done, yet those who know the Saviour are lazy and miserly with regards to spreading the gospel.

A spider’s persistence

We all know that nursery rhyme which tells of the spider’s persistence:

  Incy wincy spider climbing up the spout.
Down came the rain, and washed poor Incy out.
Out came the sunshine, and dried up all the rain
So Incy wincy spider climbs up the spout again.

  This illustrates the fact that man never learns from his mistakes. This is especially true of believers who refuse to live according to the Scriptures. Their whole life is one long bout of backsliding. They appear to be set free, but soon they are back to their old ways. Only a foolish spider persists in spinning a web in the drainpipe.

A spider’s unbelief

There is a story about a spider that would not listen to sound advice:

There was once a spider that lived in a cornfield. She was a big spider and had spun a beautiful web between the corn stalks. She got fat eating all the flies that would get caught in the web. She liked her home and planned to stay there for the rest of her life. One day the spider caught a little fly in her web, and just as the spider was about to eat him, the fly said, "If you let me go I will tell you something important that will save your life." The spider paused for a moment and listened because she was amused. "You better get out of this cornfield," the little fly said, "The harvest is coming!" The spider smiled and said, "What is this harvest you are talking about? I think you are just telling me a story." But the little fly said, "Oh no, it is true. The owner of this field is coming to harvest it soon. All the stalks will be knocked down and the corn will be gathered up. You will be killed by the giant machines if you stay here." The spider said, "I don't believe in harvests and giant machines that knock down corn stalks. How can you prove this?" The little fly continued, "Just look at the corn. See how it is planted in rows? It proves this field was created by an intelligent designer." The spider laughed and mockingly said, "This field has evolved and has nothing to do with a creator. Corn always grows that way." The fly went on to explain, "Oh no! This field belongs to the owner who planted it, and the harvest is coming soon." The spider grinned and said to the little fly, "I don't believe you," and then the spider ate the fly for lunch.

A few days later, the spider was laughing about the story the little bug had told him. He thought to himself, "A harvest! What a silly idea. I have lived here all of my life and nothing has ever disturbed me. I have been here since these stalks were just a foot off the ground, and I'll be here for the rest of my life, because nothing is ever going to change in this field. Life is good, and I have it made."

The next day was a beautiful sunny day in the cornfield. The sky above was clear and there was no wind at all. That afternoon as the spider was about to take a nap, she noticed some thick dusty clouds moving toward her. She could hear the roar of a great engine and she said to herself, "I wonder what that could be?”

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation ... The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:3-4, 9).


Are we living like the wise or foolish spider? What kind of web are we spinning? The spider speaks to us of industry and persistence. God has blessed us with the skill to do His work in this world. We do not have to go to Bible School to learn to win the lost to Christ, for the Lord has given us His Spirit and truth, all we need to do is go and tell others about Him. Just as the spider puts her whole heart into achieving her goal, so we ought to be determined and single-minded for the cause of Christ. The spider will spin a web every day of her life. She never retires. Are we willing to live for Christ no matter the cost?

© 22 June 2007