I have reviewed some of Dr. John MacArthur's books in the past. The Pastor of Grace Community Church has a rich legacy of Biblical exposition and uncompromising integrity. So, when I was given his newest book "Parables" for free through the book review program for bloggers, available at http://www.booklookbloggers.com/ I was looking forward to reading this work. The book is, as it's title describes, straight forward teaching on the parables of the Bible, those which the Lord Jesus Christ expounded in His teachings while on earth.
First, true to form, Dr. MacArthur covers all of the material very thoroughly and with detailed explanations. His knowledge of history, culture, theology and languages gives a great depth to the stories and helps explain the context for many concepts which could be easily misunderstood. He is great at stressing the practical implications and applications of the parables, and challenges his readers to not just hear the word, but to do it.
However, the draw backs I have with this book are not as much over the author as over the way the material is arranged in the volume. First, none of the chapter titles tell the name of the specific parable, not even as a sub-title to the chapter title. Second, none of the chapter titles lists the scripture reference for the particular parable, which would have helped a reader find a specific parable he was desiring to study. And last, on at least one occasion, (ie - where the author expounds on the rich man in hell in Luke 16), I did not agree with him referring to this story as a parable (as the author, himself, even admits that many others do not agree either) and therefore I believe it affects his explanation of the the story.
Still, the book has value for the student of scripture and those wanting to understand the truths contained within the parables of the Lord Jesus Christ. I do actually recommend it for study, if the reader is aware of the areas I mentioned in this review that make it less easy to use as a study tool. Dr MacArthur still is a gifted writer and teacher and I look forward to delving into his works again in the future. And I trust that you will benefit from his rich knowledge of the scripture in the future.