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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"The Parables of Jesus" (James Montgomery Boice)

TITLE: The Parables of Jesus
AUTHOR: James Montgomery Boice
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2016, (272 pages).

Parables are unique, especially those told by Jesus. Used to cast alongside important truths, parables are meant to be clear for those with ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts to understand. It is simple enough to understand at first read, but contains fresh insights on the spiritual life when read again. Studying it is even more rewarding. This book gives us a deeper insight to the things we thought we already knew. Since it was first published in 1983, this book has become a classic. It categorizes all of Jesus' parables into five categories.
  1. Parables of the Kingdom
  2. Parables of Salvation
  3. Parables of Wisdom and Folly
  4. Parables of the Christian Life
  5. Parables of Judgment
The author is James Montgomery Boice, who died in 2000, and who had previously served as pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia for 32 years. Originally created as sermons to be preached, he had never thought it would be published in a book of this nature. Thankfully, it has been published for the benefit of people beyond the confines of the pulpit. Bible study groups can use it. Church groups can learn from it. Even pastors and preachers can learn a lesson or two from it and share it with their congregations.

Each parable stands on its own. Beginning with the Parable of the Sower, the oft-called "parable of parables," Boice helps to point us to the very essence of the parables themselves. Whether it is about the kingdom or judgment, about salvation or how to live the Christian life, it ultimately makes us ponder and reflect about the condition of our hearts. The Parable of the Sower causes us to ponder about the "hard heart," the "shallow heart," the "strangled heart," and the "open heart." While it may cause us to think about what type of heart we have, the truth is, we all have a combination of all of them at various points of our life. The parables of salvation deal with the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son as well as others like the doors to salvation. The parables of wisdom and folly show us the importance of being prepared; be wise stewards of our possessions; to build our works on firm foundations. On the Christian Life, there are the parables of the two sons about obedience to the Father. The two stories of the lamp point us to the reason why we are lights and how we are to live as lights in a world of darkness. The parables of Judgment tells of the wretched man, the wicked man, and the unprofitable goats.

With over 32 parables recorded just in the gospels alone, there are many more other stories in the Bible that could have been included. The 22 parables selected here may be categorized under one category but the truth is, they can easily fall under more than one. It is hoped that the pattern established in this book can be replicated or improved by readers on their own study sessions. In doing so, we can see this book as a way to kickstart our study of the parables themselves. As a sermon, there is only so much any preacher can say over a limited half an hour message. The best way then to use this book is as a reference for our own personal study or group discussion. It would have been even more helpful if this book contains some discussion questions.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Moody Publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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