The Parables: Truth Illuminated Donald Norbie

Precious Seed

Paperback, 190 pages,
Published by Gospel Folio Press, 304 Killaly St. West, Port Colborne, ON L3K 6A6, Canada.
ISBN 978-1-926765-22- 8.

This is a straightforward consideration of the Lord’s parables. There is a helpful introduction which seeks to identify and define terms such as parable, metaphor, allegory, etc., and which also addresses the issue of how far details are to be pressed. About three pages are given to each parable – approximately one thousand words – whilst the actual text is quoted [NKJV]. The author focuses on the main points of each parable rather than on the specific details. The story of the parable is told, perhaps some of it unnecessarily. In addition to the parables, there is a consideration of some word pictures and metaphors; for example, the rejected cornerstone, the good shepherd, wineskins, salt, and light. He lists helpful books for further study at the end of each chapter, as well as a verse or two from a hymn. There is an extensive bibliography. It is written in fluent prose, sentence length generally being relatively short. The publication is well presented.

The author begins appropriately with Matthew 13 and the comments are very helpful and balanced; the different ways of interpreting some of the parables here, such as the one on leaven, are discussed briefly. Noting some of the author’s interpretations may be of interest to potential readers: the servant who buried the pound in a napkin and the five virgins without oil are professing believers only; the events in the parable of the ten virgins occur in this present church age, as do the events and preaching of the gospel of the kingdom of Matthew chapter 24 verses 1-14; the judgement of the sheep and goats will occur on earth prior to the setting up of the millennial kingdom; the invitation to the wedding feast is to all universally and this shows that the invitation to salvation is universal, as is God’s love also. The ‘stories’ of the sheep and goats, and of Dives and Lazarus, are included as parables; the reviewer prefers to see them as actual incidents, involving in the one, actual, named individuals. The comments on them, especially the latter, are nevertheless informative and thoughtful. 

For those who have not as yet looked much into the parables or who do not want an in-depth study, this book is a useful introduction, with just the right amount of comment. 

[Our thanks to Bryan Charles, Appledore, Devon, England, for this review]