In The Parables of Jesus, James Montgomery Boice brings clarity to readers on how to understand the different parables Jesus spoke during His earthly ministry. The book categorizes the parables based on their subject matter including the kingdom, salvation, wisdom and folly, the Christian life, and judgement. Most of the contents are based on Boice’s sermon notes thus the tone of the author is more homiletical rather than scholarly. At the beginning of each chapter, Boice first begins by using an intriguing illustration to draw the reader’s attention or an analysis of how different commentators or preachers have approached the parable. Next, the author will attempt to dialogue between his own findings and what others have observed from the Scriptural text. At the end of the chapter, Boice ends with an exhortation that centers upon Jesus as the only One in whom we can place our faith and hope in. The author is careful to base his arguments with sound exegesis and hermeneutical principles that guard against veering towards fanciful conjectures or illogical conclusions. Furthermore, Boice employs the use of many relevant examples and illustrations that help clarify the parable’s main theme and implications for the reader.
I would recommend this book to all Christians who want to gain a better grasp on how the parables were used by Jesus to awaken His audience to the spiritual realities around them. This compilation of sermons would be especially helpful to young Christians who have been puzzled or confused by the parables during their reading of the gospels. Indeed, as a genre, parables can be quite challenging as it is often difficult to interpret the original meaning Jesus intended while trying to avoid treating the text as an allegory. Throughout the book, Boice offers convincing arguments by properly interpreting the parable and taking into account the cultural and historical context of the original audience. The author reminds us that although we may look down on the original audience for their weaknesses, we are just as prone to be unbelieving, hard-hearted, and disobedient to God in our own lives. However, when we put our faith in Jesus and rely on His righteousness to carry us each day, we can increasingly grow in godliness and holiness to image Christ in all that we do.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from Moody Press in exchange for a book review.