Monday, December 21, 2015

The Parables of Jesus by James Montgomery Boice

book cover
The Parables of Jesus
by James Montgomery Boice

ISBN-13: 9780802414496
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Released: 1983; Jan. 1, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
In this beloved classic, James Boice takes us systematically throught the parables of Jesus, grouping them into five categories: parables of the kingdom, salvation, wisdom and folly, the Christian life, and judgment.

In each section Boice brings Jesus' words to bear on life today. Through his careful study and clear explanation of each parable—which are born from a sermon series he preached at the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, where he pastored for 32 years—he helps us understand just what Jesus meant, and how our hearts and lives ought to respond.

My Review:
The Parables of Jesus is based on a sermon series. There was an emphasis on finding application points, but Boice generally stayed focused on the parables. For example, he pointed out that hard ground symbolized a hard heart, then he looked at what Scripture says about how someone becomes hard-hearted.

At times, though, I felt like the author tried to pull more out of the parable than was originally intended or even missed the original intent. Perhaps due to when the book was originally published (1983), he rarely brought in the cultural aspects relating to the parables or examined the hard-to-translate words. For example, he apparently didn't know that a "good eye" is a Jewish idiom for a generous person, so he talked about someone who can see well versus someone who can't. He made good points, but I still think he missed the original intent.

He also brought up Calvinist teachings as the basis for how he interpreted various parables. If you don't share his starting point, you might not agree with some of the lessons he drew from these parables. Overall, I thought he made good points and he got me thinking. I'd recommend this book to those interested in a sermon-style take on the parables.

He covered: Parables of the Kingdom (Matthew 13:1-52), Parables of Salvation (Luke 15:1-32, Matthew 20:1-16, Matthew 22:1-14, Luke 13:22-30, Luke 18:9-14), Parables of Wisdom and Folly (Matthew 25:1-13, Luke 12:13-21, Luke 16:1-9, Luke 6:46-49), Parables of the Christian Life (Matthew 21:28-32, Luke 8:16-18 & 11:33-36, Luke 10:25-37, Luke 11:5-13 & 18:1-8, Luke 7:36-50), Parables of Judgment (Matthew 18:21-35, Matthew 21:33-46, Matthew 25:14-46, Luke 16:19-31).

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

No comments: