Pastor-teacher John MacArthur helps readers understand Jesus’ parables and how they relate to the whole of His message.
Jesus was a master storyteller, and the parables He told were ingeniously simple word pictures with profound spiritual lessons. Understanding the parables is a crucial matter for followers of Jesus. Jesus told parables so His people might comprehend His message about the kingdom of God clearly.
Master expositor and Bible commentator John MacArthur has spent a lifetime explaining the Word of God in clear and comprehensible terms. In Parables he helps Christians understand the essential lessons contained in the most famous and influential short stories the world has ever known.
“In short, Jesus’ parables had a clear twofold purpose: They hid the truth from self-righteous or self-satisfied people who fancied themselves too sophisticated to learn from Him, while the same parables revealed truth to eager souls with childlike faith—those who were hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Jesus thanked His Father for both results: ‘I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight’ (Matt. 11:25–26).” (Page xxi)
“What is a parable, and how does it differ from other illustrative forms—metaphors, similes, fables, allegories, and the like? A parable is not merely a simple analogy. It’s an elongated simile or metaphor with a distinctly spiritual lesson contained in the analogy. Short figures of speech like ‘as strong as a horse’ or ‘as quick as a rabbit’ are plain similes—simple and straightforward enough not to require an explanation. A parable extends the comparison into a longer story or more complex metaphor, and the meaning (always a point of spiritual truth) is not necessarily obvious. Most of Jesus’ parables demanded some kind of explanation.” (Page xxiv)
“What, then, does that statement in Mark 4:33–34 mean: ‘without a parable He did not speak to them’? That’s a description of Jesus’ public teaching style only during the final year or so of His public ministry. It refers to that intentional change in teaching style that took place about the same time Jesus’ Galilean ministry entered its final phase.” (Pages xxii–xxiii)
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