I don't know about you, but I love the stories and parables in Scripture. Today I'm happy to tell you about a new book Parables and Word Pictures from the New Testament by my friend and fellow AWSA sister (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) Cheri Cowell. She is a self-described author, speaker, and sidewalk theologian, and is passionate about discipleship and challenging the body of Christ to holiness of heart and life. Cheri’s love of story and the Holy Word shines through in her writing and teaching. In the following questions and answers Cheri tells us about her newest book Parables and Word Pictures from the New Testament, a 13-week workbook-style study of 118 parables from Jesus, Paul, and the apostles.
(Please leave a comment at the end of the blog for a chance to win a gift basket from Cheri. Your contact email must be included.)
I LOVE the Word and I love storytelling and I want others to fall in love not only with the Word but also with the concept that they can become a living parable, a living story pointing others toward the Ultimate Living Parable––Jesus Christ.
What do you hope readers will gain from your book(s)?
That the parables are not isolated stories only used for sermon illustrations, but when read together they give us a picture of how we are to live as kingdom people. Through the parables we learn how to become living parables in a world desperate to "see" God.
The title of your study is Parables & Word Pictures; just what is a “word picture?”
There are some teachings of Jesus, such as when He says, "I am the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep" that aren't technically parables but are what I call parable word pictures because the image tells the whole story.
It has been said that Jesus spoke in parables to “confuse and confound” and you say you have a “key” to making these less confusing and confounding to modern-day readers. What is this key?
It wasn't until I studied the parables as a whole that the whole message they convey became clear, so the key is a comprehensive look at the New Testament parables.
Storytelling is a big part of our culture. Everywhere you turn there is a new story; how can we use these parables to reach our neighbors and friends with their story-telling power?
For me, this is what studying the parables is all about. It is about shaping our lives after Jesus that when others "read our lives" they see Him. How we treat others, how we respond to sorrow and obstacles tells a story. When asked how and why we are able to be at peace, or turn the other cheek, we don't need a canned presentation. We simply share our story of how God's story has changed us.
The study concludes with a look at the Parable of all parables. Tell us about this because this is the heart of your study.
I remember the moment when in preparation for writing this study I understood that Jesus not only taught parables, but He was a parable––a living parable. In fact, He was the Ultimate Living Parable who lived His life as an example of what a life shaped by the truths taught in the parables should look like. Likewise, you and I have been invited to live parable-shaped lives so we, too, might become a living parable in a world begging to see God.
Thank you, Cheri!
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