Best Books on the Parables of Jesus

Jesus frequently educated by telling tales, known as parables. Several of His parables could be complex to understand, leaving certain individuals in the audience perplexed. There might have been instances when His parables landed like a blow to the stomach for some listeners.

He spoke with incredible wisdom.

But what are we to make of His parables? How do we interpret them? Do we take them literally? Are they metaphorical? Who are we in them? And most importantly, what do they mean for us today? Does it take a spiritual gifting to interpret them?

Here are a handful of books to help you learn how to read, interpret, and apply Jesus’ parables today:

Quick Read

What Do Jesus' Parables Mean? (Crucial Questions)


Written By: R.C. Sproul

In this quick read, the brilliant Dr. R.C. Sproul walks through eleven of Jesus’ parables and the rich lessons they carry for us today. But Dr. Sproul also explains how parables worked to clarify Jesus’ message for some—and to conceal it from others.

He breaks down the mystery of parables, helps us understand why some were kind of hard to grasp, and gives us tools to better interpret the parables ourselves.

02/14/2024 06:20 am GMT
Medium Dive

Parables: The Mysteries of God's Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told


Written By: John Macarthur

John Macarthur takes us deep into the heart of the Kingdom and helps us learn how to interpret Jesus' stories.

MacArthur argues that these short, memorable stories represented more than just symbolism or a clever teaching style--they were carefully crafted tales that made the mysteries of the Gospel more accessible to everyday believers.

02/14/2024 01:59 am GMT
Deep Dive

Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus


Written By: Klyne R. Snodgrass

This is a deep dive guide to Jesus' parables intended for pastors and students. It includes a comprehensive survey of the primary issues when it come to interpreting the parables. He also digs into parables seen outside of the New Testament to help us interpret the parables of Jesus.

It's a little academic, but well worth the read for those familiar with these types of books.

02/14/2024 03:09 pm GMT

The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith


Written By: Tim Keller

I'm not being dramatic when I say that Prodigal God changed my life. Tim Keller does an incredible job helping readers understand the heart of this parable – and the heart of God. He helps us see that the central character isn't the prodigal son, but God. And that BOTH sons play prominent roles in this parable.

This book won't only help you see this parable more clearly, but it will help you see the other parables with more clarity as well.

02/14/2024 01:41 am GMT
A Classic

The Parables of Jesus


Written By: James Montgomery Boice

This is an all-time classic from the brilliant Boice. He takes us through the parables of Jesus, grouping them into five categories: parables of the kingdom, salvation, wisdom and folly, the Christian life, and judgment.

This book is incredibly memorable – much like the parables of Jesus.

02/14/2024 03:19 pm GMT

Jesus Is: Find a New Way to Be Human


Written By: Judah Smith

Although Judah covers a lot more than the parables in this book, he does offer some very helpful and encouraging commentary on the parable of the hidden treasure, the parable of the lost coin, and the parable of the prodigal son.

Judah's books are super easy to read, written in a very conversational tone. He offers accessible wisdom and life in Jesus Is.

02/14/2024 04:14 am GMT

Other Helpful Books and Resources

We’re passionate about helpful resources. We live in an age where we have more access to sound Biblical resources than any generation ever before. That said, we also have access to a lot of not-so-sound Biblical resources. So we’re always trying to share books and commentaries that we believe are accurate and edifying.

Here are some other roundups of books and resources we’d recommend:

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