ISBN 978 1 4335 8836 5
Price £14.99
130 pages

Everyone loves a story. I wonder why we love stories so much? Perhaps it is because we have been hardwired to connect to the Great Storyteller.

In this book, Peter J Williams – head of the Tyndale House Research Centre in Cambridge – writes an accessible account of the storytelling genius of Jesus. The focus of the book is a deep dive into the longest of Jesus’ parables, which has been variously described as The Parable of the Prodigal Son, The Waiting Father, or Two Sons.

Peter Williams explores the storytelling skills of Jesus in this parable, particularly noting that Jesus uses concepts and phrases from the Old Testament that would ring a bell in the minds of the Scribes, who were part of the crowd he was addressing.

The author is almost detective-like in his sifting of the verbal clues that point back to the two son stories in the Old Testament and the references to running, inheritance and feasting in the story of Abraham. The author also surveys other parables and metaphors used by Jesus in all Four Gospels to demonstrate that it is the genius of Jesus, rather than the genius of the Gospels, that is the main feature in the telling of these stories.

The conclusion of the book points us to the source of this genius in the Word become flesh, the one who created all things and invented language, who has loved us enough to die for us. Here is a storyteller, who is himself at the heart of the story, and bids us to come to him. Great book on a great theme.

John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex. He is Director of Training at the School of Preachers in Riga, Latvia.