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The Storytelling God: Seeing the Glory of Jesus in His Parables [Kindle Edition]

Jared C. Wilson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Throw away your Flannelgraphs...

The prodigal son. The good Samaritan. The treasure hidden in a field. Most of us have heard Jesus’s parables before. Yet if these stories strike us as merely sweet, heartwarming, or sentimental, we can be sure we’ve misread them. In The Storytelling God, pastor Jared Wilson helps us to see how Jesus’s parables reveal profound spiritual truths about God, humanity, the world, and the future.

Discarding the notion that Christ’s parables are nothing more than moralistic fables, this book highlights how each one is designed to drive us to Jesus in awe, need, faith, and worship.

Editorial Reviews


“Growing up in church and Christian schools, I was taught that Jesus’s parables were basically about how we should live. To be sure, many of the parables do show us God’s standard for our lives, but they also reveal how we have failed to live up to that standard, and how God in his infinite mercy has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. My friend Jared Wilson shows how Jesus used parables to illustrate the upside-down and counterintuitive ways of God compared to our ways. We see how the parables are not a witness to the best people making it up to God, but rather a witness to God making it down to the worst people—meeting our rebellion with his rescue, our sin with his salvation, our guilt with his grace, our badness with his goodness. Thanks for the reminder, Jared. I keep forgetting that this whole thing is about Jesus, not me.”
Tullian Tchividjian, Founder, LIBERATE; author, One-Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World 

“Jared Wilson’s new book is a punch in the gut. Gone are the tame, bedtime-story versions of the parables we’ve been told in the past. Instead, Wilson invites us to see them afresh with all of their explosive, imaginative power.”
Mike Cosper, Pastor of Worship and Arts, Sojourn Community Church, Louisville, Kentucky

“In showing us the parables of Jesus for what they are (and are not), Jared Wilson invites us into a deeper understanding of their author and the kingdom he came to establish. The Storytelling God teaches us to read and reflect upon the parables with great care, and rightly so. The parables, and this book, point the way to life abundant.”
Scott McClellan, Communications Pastor, Irving Bible Church, Irving, Texas; author, Tell Me a Story: Finding God (and Ourselves) through Narrative

“My own bookshelf has precious few commentaries on the parables and this will definitely fit nicely into that gap. In fact, this book is actually two books for the price of one. Part devotional commentary and also doubling as a solid gospel tract. This book serves the gospel straight up on a plate. His chapter commenting on the gospel and the poor is worth the price of the book alone. Clear, straightforward, biblical, gospel-centered writing. Definitely recommended reading.”
Mez McConnell, Senior Pastor, Niddrie Community Church, Edinburgh, Scotland; Founder, 20schemes

“With a characteristic combination of wit and wisdom—humor and sobriety—Wilson grabs your attention, fixes it upon Christ, and keeps it there for the duration of the book. Readers in search of a pastoral introduction to biblical parables that is rich with real-life applicability can gladly make room for this volume on their bookshelf.”
Stephen T. Um, Senior Minister, Citylife Presbyterian Church, Boston, Massachusetts; author, Why Cities Matter

About the Author

Jared C. Wilson is the director of content strategy at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, and managing editor of the seminary's website for gospel-centered resources, For the Church. He is a popular author and conference speaker, and also blogs regularly at Gospel Driven Church hosted by the Gospel Coalition. His books include Your Jesus Is Too Safe, Gospel Wakefulness, Gospel Deeps, The Pastor’s Justification, The Storytelling God, and The Wonder-Working God.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1613 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway Books (February 28, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,696 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Book of the Year July 13, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was taught that the Bible was mostly about me as I was growing up. It wasn't as direct as I make it sound and I am sure that you were taught the same way. Every story that we read, went through in Sunday school, or heard from the pulpit was about our moral application of said story. We needed to have the faith of Joseph or the patience of Job. Here are five steps to being an awesome believer like so and so. Emulate the guys in the hall of faith. Get to work being a better believer.

Then, I started wondering if God had written the hall of faith in Hebrews to simply say, "Hey, look what I did with these jokers." I wondered if Job wasn't about Job at all. Perhaps it was about the God who sustained him. Perhaps, it preached the gospel to us.

As I began reading Jared's book The Storytelling God, he emulated my thoughts. The first lines really captured my attention. He tells the reader to throw out our flannelboards because the Bible isn't a book about our morals or how we should be acting. The entire Bible is about the redeeming power of Jesus Christ. Isn't that refreshing. Isn't that powerful. He, the Lord Jesus, isn't wanting us to be tripped up by our own effort. He is calling us to think on rest in Him.

I loved this book. I loved it more than I can convey to you. It is one of the most brilliant and well written books that I have ever read. I loved it because it reminded my heart of Jesus and his finished work. I loved it because it truly preached the gospel to me on every single page. This is a must read. It's about the Lord Jesus Christ.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Josh
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
“Throw away your Flannelgraphs. They are flat and soft, and the story of Jesus is neither.”

In his newest work, Wilson looks at The Storytelling God, seeing how Jesus used parables to reveal Himself to His beloved. Wilson immediately confronts the misunderstanding of the parables as “sermon illustrations”, Confucius-says cousins, and shows them to be something much greater.

<blockquote>When Jesus teaches a parable, he is not opening up “Chicken Soup for the Soul” or a fortune cookie but a window to the hidden heavenlies. He is revealing a glimpse of eternity crashing into time, a flash photo of his own wisdom brought to bear. The parables give us a direct portal to the kingdom of God being done on earth as it is in heaven.</blockquote>

He continues,

<blockquote>There are two errors readers of the Bible make most often about the parables of Jesus, each a pendulum swing away from the other. The first error is to believe that the parables are simplistic religious illustrations, almost spiritual folktales. In this erroneous reading, the parables are read superficially, as moral lessons. The parables are of course fairly simple up there at the surface—some of them simpler than others—and there are clear moral lessons in the stories. But the parables are more complex than that. On the other hand, there is another school of thought, equally erroneous, that would have readers poring over the parables as if they were some kind of Magic Eye hidden-picture painting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Work on Jesus' Parables March 19, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
When we have read passages of Scripture many times, it’s possible for us to become numb to their message and lose our wonder at the glories they contain. Jared Wilson aims to break this numbness in our reading of Jesus’ parables in his new book The Storytelling God. Parables “function in Jesus’s ministry as representative stories about the kingdom of God.” (29) The announcement of the Kingdom’s arrival was central in Jesus’ ministry and Wilson defines “the gospel of the kingdom” as “the announcement that Jesus the Messiah has arrived and has begun restoring God’s will on earth in and through himself. The fulcrum upon which this restoration turns is Christ’s substitutionary work in his sinless temptation, suffering, death on the cross, and resurrection from the grave.” (19) He emphasizes this understanding of the parables against the view that they are morality tales like Aesop’s fables or the ancient forerunner to modern-day sermon illustrations.

Most of the book works through common parables of Jesus. Some parables get whole chapters while others are combined with other sharing a similar theme. Two of the later chapters approach some parables we don’t commonly think of. Wilson turns our attention to some of the parables in the Old Testament, showing how they point to Jesus and His coming Kingdom. He also unpacks the “I Am” statements in the Gospel of John, showing how they point to Jesus’ person and work.

In every one of Jared Wilson’s books there are sharp and thoughtful barbs about contemporary church thought and practice. Some have appealed to the parables as a reason to add various creative elements to the worship gathering. Others adopt a storytelling model of preaching versus an expositional approach to preaching. Most of this is done with a reference to Jesus’ stories.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely wonderful. Still have quotes from this book posted on ...
Absolutely wonderful. Still have quotes from this book posted on my wall.........Loved it!
Published 4 days ago by dissed customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Published 3 months ago by J. Frandsen
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a novel.
This book has good information to supplement personal bible study. Maybe good for groups. I enjoyed the read but it seemed best to stretch it out and not try to absorb all in a... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Stanley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I think I would have loved it but I never received it JM
Published 6 months ago by J.M. NC
5.0 out of 5 stars Great clarifications on the power of the parables of the BIble.
Very well written in an easy to understand way. I learned that the parables of Jesus in both the old and new testaments had so much more depth of meaning than I had previously... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Robert Trostle
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Treatment of the Parables of Jesus
The parables of Jesus have long been beloved portions of Scripture. From the Parable of the Good Samaritan to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, these stories have provided... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Michael C. Boling
4.0 out of 5 stars This is an essential Parables Reference Book; keep it ...
This is an essential Parables Reference Book; keep it handy. I found it on AMAZON, read it on my KINDLE for a while, then had to stop, set it down and contemplate. Read more
Published 8 months ago by TexasNative
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is very enlightening. I struggle with much ...
This book is very enlightening. I struggle with much that has to do with the Bible and hopefully I will be able to use the information that I read in this ook to my advantage in my... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Deniece Woods
5.0 out of 5 stars Parables Unpacked
The Story Telling God (TSTG) by Jared Wilson was a welcome look into the parables of Scripture. Parables by their very nature are often viewed in a similar vain as Aesop's Fables... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Micah Hasty
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review: The Storytelling God
About the Book

In our culture today we are consumed with stories. If you pick up the latest Seth Godin book, no doubt it will explain that a product or business needs to... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Jon Kenney
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More About the Author

Jared C. Wilson is a pastor and an award-winning writer whose articles, essays, and short stories have appeared in numerous publications.

A minister for over a decade, he has become known for his passionate gospel-centered teaching and strong calls for missional Christianity.

Encounter his passion for the ongoing reformation of the evangelical church almost daily at

"Jared Wilson writes with power."
-- Ray Ortlund, Jr.

"Those who have read his writing have vividly encountered his passionate gospel-centrism, and those who have benefited from his ministry have witnessed it firsthand. His voice is thoughtful and strong, pastoral and prophetic. And you ought to listen to it."
-- Ed Stetzer


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