Expositions of the Parables of Christ

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The Life & Times of Jesus Christ
New Testament Commentaries




Lk. 15 & Prodigal Son



Order of Contents  12+

Best  3
Expositions  11
Mt. 13  1
Gospel’s Metaphors  1
Liberal  3



The Best Expositions of the Parables


Arnot, William

The Parables of our Lord  (1893)  530 pp.

Arnot was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland.

***  “We do not consider this to be up to our lamented friend’s usual high mark of excellence, but it is of great value.” – Spurgeon

“These devotional studies are rewarding.” – Cyril J. Barber

The Lesser Parables of our Lord, & Lessons of Grace in the Language of Nature  (1884)  115 pp.

“Contains only ten chapters on the lesser parables of our Lord…  valuable in spite of its vintage.”  – Cyril J. Barber

Edersheim, Alfred – The Life & Times of Jesus the Messiah, vol. 1 (Prolegomena up to the end of John the Baptist), 2 (From the death of John the Baptist to the Ascension)  ToC 1, 2

Edersheim (1825-1889) was raised an orthodox Jew, became converted to Christ partially through the influence of John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan and entered into the ministry of the Free Church of Scotland.  Later he would join the Church of England, becoming one of the premier scholars of his time on 1st century studies.

Edershiem spent 7 years in seclusion writing this work; it is by far and away the best orthodox ‘Life and Times of Christ’ that there is.  Read it cover to cover!

Use the table of contents to see what he has to say on a passage of interest to you.

Trench, R.C. – Notes on the Parables  (†1886)

***  “We do not like Trench’s theology in many places, but he is a capital writer.  The student will find a very complete list of expositions on the Parables in the appendix at the close of Trench’s work.” – Spurgeon

“A standard work.  The preacher should consult Jeremias, Morgan, and other more recent writers to update Trench’s treatment.”  – Cyril J. Barber



Expositions of the Parables


Keach, Benjamin – An Exposition of the Parables  (†1704)

Keach (1640-1704) was a reformed Baptist who ministered in the church that Spurgeon would later pastor.

**  “Although our honored predecessor makes metaphors run on as many legs as a centipede, he has been useful to thousands.  His work is old-fashioned, but it is not to be sneered at.” – Spurgeon



Cumming, John – Foreshadows; or Lectures on our Lord’s Parables as Earnests of the World to Come  (1852)

**  “The Doctor evidently prints his sermons without much revision.  They are pleasing, popular, and (of course) rather prophetic.” – Spurgeon

Dabney, Robert – Of Expounding the Parables  in Discussions, vol. 5, p. 159 ff.

Davidson, William – Sermons on the Parables  (1876)  450 pp.

Davidson was a minister in the United Presbyterian Church in Ohio.  The volume was edited by David MacDill, who was a conservative.

Greswell, E.B.D. – Exposition of the Parables, etc. vols. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 pt 1, 2  (1834)

**  “A vast heap of learning and language.  The work, though padded out, stilted in style, and often fanciful, is a mine for other writers.” – Spurgeon

Guthrie, Thomas – The Parables Read in the Light of the Present Day  (1874)

Guthrie was of the Free Church of Scotland.

**  “Twelve Parables treated in Dr. Guthrie’s lively, sparkling manner.  Flowers in abundance.” – Spurgeon

Lisco, Frederick Gustav – The Parables of Jesus Explained & Illustrated  (1840)

**  “Largely composed of citations from Luther and Calvin.  The remarks will assist in elucidating the design of the parables.”

Upjohn, W. – Discourses on the Parables, vols. 1, 2, 3

**  “Earnestly Calvinistic sermons, full of old-fashioned Gospel.  Not very original.” – Spurgeon



Habershon, Ada – The Study of the Parables  (1905; 1983)  385 pp.  ToC

Habershon was premillennial, which is not recommended (and is contrary to the Westminster Confession of Faith), especially on the parables seeing as they deal directly with the nature of the Kingdom of God.

“A perceptive treatment by a capable Hebrew Christian writer.”  – Cyril J. Barber

Lang, Cosmo Gordon – The Parables of Jesus  (1918)  280 pp.

Lang was an Archbishop in the Anglican Church.

“Expository messages by the Bishop of Stephney.” – Cyril J. Barber

Whyte, Alexander – Our Lord’s Characters  in Bible Characters  (d. 1921)

Morgan, G.C. – The Parables & Metaphors of our Lord  Buy  (1943)

“A provocative, stimulating work.”  – Cyril J. Barber



Matthew ch. 13

Morgan, G.C. – The Parables of the Kingdom  (1907)  210 pp.

Morgan was the predecessor to Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel in London and was reformed.

“Good preaching values may be gleaned from a study of these expository messages on the parables of Matthew 13.”  – Cyril J. Barber



Metaphors in the Gospels

Fraser, Donald – The Metaphors in the Gospels, a Series of Short Studies  (1885)  394 pp.  Reprinted by Klock & Klock

Fraser (1826-92) was a Free Church of Scotland minister, first in Montreal Canada, then in Inverness, Scotland, then he moved to London where he played a leading role in the Presbyterian Church of England.  His work, Synoptical Lectures on the Books of Holy Scripture, received Charles Spurgeon’s highest recommendation.

“Thirty-six chapters which illuminate the metaphors and figures of speech found in the Gospels.  Ideal for preachers.”  – Cyril J. Barber




Bruce, A.B. – The Parabolic Teaching of Christ: a Systematic & Critical Study of the Parables  (1904)  550 pp.  Reprinted by Klock & Klock

Though A.B. Bruce was a liberal, this was an important work and reprinted by Cyril J. Barber.

“A systematic, critical study of the parables of Christ which includes in its treatment similies and other forms of speech.  Will richly reward the careful reader.” – Cyril J. Barber

Dods, Marcus – The Parables of our Lord  (1904)  440 pp.

“Limited to the parables found in Matthew’s Gospel.  Experiences difficulty in the parable of the ten virgins, but provides helpful material on the “laborers in the vineyard,” and “the unforgiving debtor”.” – Cyril J. Barber

Swete, Henry Barclay – The Parables of the Kingdom: a Course of Lectures  (1921)  220 pp.

“A scholarly study including the Greek text with exegesis and notes.  Amillennial.”  – Cyril J. Barber




Commentaries on the Gospels will also have much exposition of the parables in their respective locations.


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Related Pages

The Miracles of Christ

The Life & Times of Jesus Christ

New Testament Commentaries

Whole Bible Commentaries