I will be soon teaching a course on the Parables of Jesus at Emmanuel Bible College. One of the most important decisions is choosing a textbook. Although I had not read it before (always a risk), I chose David Wenham’s The Parables of Jesus.
As I began to read the book, I quickly knew that I had chosen the right book. David Wenham is a well respected New Testament scholar who is able to interact well with other scholars and at the same time fit the parables nicely within the context of classical Christianity. Evangelicals can read this book knowing that it is both academically sound and compatible with evangelical theology.
As one might suspect, Wenham interprets the parables through the lens of the kingdom of God. However, knowing that ‘kingdom’ means something different to us than it did to first century Jews, he uses the word ‘revolution’ in order to express the impact on the original audience.
Wenham does a great job of summarizing each parable, demonstrating relationships between each of them and interpreting them in their cultural context. If you are tempted to skip his appendices, don’t. They are filled with very useful information that Wenham gathered into one place so that the main body of the book would flow more smoothly.
The Parables of Jesus is very appropriate for students in Bible college and seminary, pastors preparing for sermons and for any person interested in learning more about Jesus’ favourite way to communicate.