I finally finished the book! In June I started reading Albert Mohler’s book “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus,” and I was excited to do so. As a self-confessed slow reader, I finally finished the book this week.
Mohler did not disappoint. He enhanced my interest in the parables Jesus told in the Gospels. He also helped me understand some of the stories that were a little confusing to me.
I definitely recommend the book. It would especially be good for a Bible study or a book club.
Here’s six of my favorite passages from the book.
- A former description of a parable
“As a young Christian, I often heard a parable described as ‘an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.’ That’s not a bad description, but the parables are not just about heaven; they are about the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God.”
I too learned that description given for a parable, but as Mohler points out, that description falls just short. The Kingdom of God does include heaven, but it can be applied to what God is doing now here on earth. Most importantly, all parables help the listener further understand the Gospel.
- The value of every word of a parable
“There is not one unnecessary word in any of the parables—and we need every single word Jesus gave us. A parable can be one sentence, or it may be several paragraphs.”
Another great analogy. Mohler emphasized the great privilege we have of reading these amazing stories of spiritual value. And yes, they may be a brief statement or a short story, but they are given as lessons for us to learn about God and how to grow in our spiritual walk with Him.
- Still relevant for today
“Admittedly, we live in a different world from the world of Jesus’ first-century listeners. But equipped with the lens of historical context, a little bit of attentiveness and a heart open to the things of God, the parables are just as powerful today as they were two thousand year ago.”
This is one of the aspects I enjoy about the book. Mohler explains the context of culture during Jesus’ earthly ministry. Things like the terms of money and the practice of slavery in biblical times are important to understand contextually since they are very different from recent centuries and in modern day.
This is why biblical scholars like Mohler are important teachers for us to have a full understanding not only of the parables but all of Scripture.
- Popular yet misinterpreted parables
“The parable of the good Samaritan (along with the parable of the prodigal son) has become a part of the cultural furniture of the Western world. In one sense, this demonstrates how true it is that Jesus perfected the art of telling parables. But the cultural memory of these parables is a far cry from the parables themselves.”
My favorite phrase in the quote above is “the cultural furniture of the Western world.” I’ve never heard it described like that, yet it makes perfect sense. If Mohler is the first to use the phrase “cultural furniture,” then bravo for him!
Yes, both the good Samaritan and prodigal son are considered the most well-known parables of Jesus. Mohler offers great insight into both stories.
- Chapter about the persistent widow is one of my favorites
“The point Jesus was making is both powerful and precious. We are to understand that this widow’s persistence wore down even a crooked and unrighteous judge.”
I love the description “powerful and precious.” I’m a sucker for alliterations.
If there is a parable Mohler describes that took me by surprise it would be the one on the persistent widow. There’s a lot of great insight he tells. Here’s another great passage from the chapter:
“The judge appeared to be the one with power—but he eventually yielded to the greater power of this widow’s persistence.”
The parable emphasizes the importance of steadfast prayer, and Mohler’s chapter on the parable is great. There’s at least three or four more passages I could quote from this chapter.
- My favorite statement in the book
“Sometimes the shortest prayer is the sincerest prayer.”
I could do a full dozen of takeaways from this book. There’s definitely more to discuss.
This last quote is from Mohler’s chapter on the Pharisee and the tax collector, about the two men praying. His analogy on both men is great, but that statement, “Sometimes the shortest prayer is the sincerest prayer” just was powerful read to me. Here’s the next sentence:
“Sometimes we simply have no words adequate to express our grief and remorse, our brokenheartedness and our repentence.” Long flowy prayers can be great and meaningful, yet a short prayer may reveal a person’s heart more genuinely in certain times.
Please check out “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus,” and let me know what you think of it.