"Parables", by Dr. John MacArthur (book review)
"Parables: The Mysteries of God's Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told" is the new release by the always straight-forward, clear teaching of Dr. John MacArthur. Of all his books, this one is BY FAR the his very best! Hands-down, no doubt about it.
PREMISE: The premise of the book is that Jesus taught in parables for two reasons: (1) "to illustrate the truth [objective] truth for those who were willing to receive it", and (2) "to obscure the truth from those who hated it anyway"(Appendix, p.191). Those who would truly listen, would seek to know the objective truth Jesus taught, while the obscuring of truth was (a) "an act of mercy, because the more truth [unbelievers] heard and spurned, the worse it would be for them in the final judgment", and (b) "a sign of judgment against [unbelievers], sealing their own stubborn unbelief by removing the light of truth from them" (Appendix, p.197).
THE ASSAULT AGAINST TRUTH: We live in a time when truth is subject to subjectivity; our society seems to eschew painting truth into a corner, so to speak. As Dr. MacArthur writes about our post-modern society, "Do we really even need to analyze Scripture, categorize truth, and attempt to understand biblical doctrine in any kind of logical fashion -- or is it okay just to appreciate the stories and embellish them with our own plot twists and real-life endings?" (Appendix, p.195).
READING/STUDY METHOD: When I read "Parables", I always read it with an open Bible next to me. I trust Dr. MacArthur's teaching, and his is trustworthy to not twist the Scriptures' meaning. However, we still must be diligent to check any author's propositions against Scripture. But I also had the Bible open so I could make contextual or detail notes in the margins. I experienced a large number of "a-ha!" moments as a result of studying the parables along with Dr. MacArthur's book, rather than simply reading it for a joy-read or book review.
FAVORITE CHAPTER: It is very difficult to pinpoint a specific chapter that I liked above all the others, for they all contained deep insight. But when leafing through the pages after finishing the book, I must say that chapter 5 "A Lesson About Neighborly Love", regarding the parable of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:30-37, seemed to have the most profound impact on me. I have often seen this as merely a lesson about doing good to others in need; and while it is that at a minimum, there is so much more to it. I don't have time or space to write about all that Dr. MacArthur wrote in the chapter, but I boiled it down to this: The parable of the Good Samaritan paints a microcosmic picture of God's mercy toward us sinners. WE are the despised, unworthy soul in need of rescue, but Christ showed compassion while we were STILL unworthy, unrighteous sinners. To those who would trust in him, Jesus in effect says, "Charge it to my account", just as the Samaritan did.
RECOMMENDATION: By now, it probably should come as no surprise that I give "Parables" 5 stars out of 5...and I'd give it more if BookLook Bloggers allowed it. This book will remain on my shelf for future Bible study and teaching opportunities, and I highly recommend it to you!
DISCLAIMER: I received this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my unbiased review of it. All opinions are mine, and I was not forced to provide a positive review...nor was I forced to SAY I was not forced to provide a positive review.
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