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Book Jacket

240 pages
Apr 2008
Thomas Nelson

A Tale of Two Sons: The Inside Story of a Father, His Sons, and a Shocking Murder

by John MacArthur

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


It has been my privilege to hear Dr. John MacArthur teach from Luke 15 on several occasions, so I was eager to read his latest book, based on the parable commonly known as “The Prodigal Son.” I was not disappointed. As the author makes clear at the outset, the story has less to do with the Prodigal, and more to do with the father and the older son. “The parable of the prodigal son is not a warm and fuzzy feel-good message, but it is a powerful wake-up call with a very earnest warning.”

For those readers who usually skip the preface to a book, I encourage taking the few minutes it requires to read the introductory material. MacArthur gives valuable insight into the interpretation of Jesus’ parables, a kind of “Parables 101.” The historical notes and background on the flow of Luke’s gospel are presented in such a way as to draw the reader’s interest and give an accurate context to the meaning of the story. Ever the teacher, MacArthur unfolds history, culture and the precise meaning from the original words. Ever the pastor, he exhorts the reader to hear and heed the truth those words convey. I particularly benefited from the details drawn from the father’s response to the prodigal, summed up in beautiful simplicity: “Christ is not a reluctant Savior.” The book is a seamless weaving together of the details of the parable and its application, with heartfelt appeals to respond.

As with the introductory material, the appendix at the end of the book must not be overlooked; it is a gem. It is an urgent, passionate call for diligent study and careful thinking in this age of subjective Bible “interpretation.” Pamela Glass,

Book Jacket:

In The Tale of Two Sons, one of America's most loved Bible teachers takes you deeper into Luke 15 than ever before, revealing insights into the culture of Jesus' day and an unforgettable ending.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) has been preached from nearly every pulpit in the world and is known by many who read and cherish the Bible. The story is so powerful because it presents, in clear and inspiring terms, our struggle with sin, the need for humble repentance, and the Father's inexhaustible mercy and love. Unfortunately, many Christians would say that they have nothing new to learn from this gem of Scripture. It has lost its luster. But in The Tale of Two Sons, John MacArthur restores the brilliance of this passage, giving engrossing historical background and unveiling a surprise ending readers have never heard before.