Books On The Parables


I'm preaching on the parables of Jesus over the summer. Here are some key books I'm using... 

  • Stories With Intent by Klyne Snodgrass | [Amazon | Kindle | WTS] I got a lot of recommendations to pick up this book after a tweet asking for the best resources on the parables. After wading into the first bit, I've already collected a number of insights and quotes. And it's a massive resource. Excited to read more.
  • Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth Bailey | [Amazon | Kindle | WTS] Kindle version is 1/2 the price of the paperback. I've read the introduction to the section on the parables. Excellent.
  • Turning Your World Upside Down by Richard Phillips | [Amazon | WTS] I've used this before and it's been helpful.
  • The Challenge of Jesus' Parables edited by Richard Longenecker | [Amazon] Some good stuff from various essays by leading scholars.
  • Preaching the Parables by Craig Blomberg | [Amazon | Kindle | WTS] Haven't read much yet, but heard many good things.
  • Glory Veiled & Unveiled by Gerald Bilkes | [Amazon | Kindle | WTS] I love that this practical, devotional, personal book is there to temper more scholarly books above.

Why Jesus Taught In Parables, Part 2


Robert Stein in Jesus the Messiah gives some explanation of Jesus' use of parables (pgs 124-125)... 

Parables are "extended metaphors, which tend to teach a basic point. At times, however, the details of a parable may bear allegorical significance (Mt 13:24-30, 36-43; 22:2-10; Mk 12:1-12)."

"The parables were particularly useful for Jesus as a teaching device. Parables tend to disarm the listeners, for the meaning of a parable is often driven home before they can resist the point being made." (2 Sam 12:1-4, 7; Luke 15:1-32)

"Parables were also an effective way for Jesus to introduce potentially dangerous teachings. To talk about the arrival of the Kingdom of God naturally raised concerns on the part of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. Yet the statements that the Kingdom of God is 'like a mustard seed' (Lk 13:18-19) or 'like yeast' (vv 20-21) wer sufficiently enigmatic that the political authorities judged them harmless. Through his use of parables Jesus could speak about politically sensitive issues. As a result, thouse outside his circle of followers could 'listen, but never understand...look, but never perceive' (Mt 13:14). but to those within the believing commjunity such teaching were explained."

Why Jesus Taught In Parables


Robert Stein, in An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus give three reasons (read, p 33ff)...

1. To conceal his teachings from those outside (Mark 4:10-12)

"Time and time again Jeuss found in his audience those who were hostile toward him. The Sadducees saw in him a threat to their sacerdotal system. His attitudes toward their doctrine (Mk 12:18-27) and above all to the abuse in their role of administering the Temple of God (Mk 11:15-19, cf 14:58) were a direct threat to their civil and religious authority (Mk 11:27-33). ...Many of the Pharisees likewise saw in Jesus a threat to their own self-righteousness (Lk 18:9-14) and their religious leadership..."

"By his use of parables Jesus made it more difficult for those who sought to find fault with him and accuse him of sedition....The parables therefore concealed his message to those outside, but privately, after they were explained by Jesus to his followers, they became revealers of his message."

"Yet we must be honest and admit Mark 4:10-12...seems to say that Jesus withheld his message from those outside not only in order that they would fail to understand but in order that they would be unable to repent and be forgiven."

2. To reveal and illustrate his message to both followers and "those outside" (Mark 12:12

"For the original lawyer as well as every reader since, the parable of the good Samaritan illustrates in an unforgettable way what it means to be a loving neighbor, and if one sought an example to illustrate the gracious love of God for sinners, where could one find a better one than in the parable of the prodigal son?"

"At times even those 'outside' did not and could not miss the point Jesus was seeking to illustrate in the parable.

And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away. Mark 12:12

3. To disarm his listeners (Luke 7:36-50)

"At times Jesus sought to penetrate the hostility and hardness of heart of his listeners by means of a parable."

OT example - 2 Samuel 12:14, "a perfect Old Testament example of this"

NT examples - Luke 7:36-50, "Here, in order to pierce through Simons hardness of heart and prejudice, Jesus spoke in a parable and hoped to reach Simon."

Luke 15 parables in response to Luke 15:1-2...

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." 3 So he told them this parable...