If you read my book reviews you will know that I do like a book that that I can learn something from, especially stories, and this is why I am so often drawn to Biblical fiction.
So this collection of short stories based on five Bible characters, each based on a single theme, was bound to grab my attention. Each character is seemingly insignificant, downtrodden or powerless, but each is selected and serves God in empowered ways.
The retelling of the Bible stories is well written and contextual, with a mix of characters from the Old and New Testaments. It is well researched and there are helpful contextual references throughout.
Following each short story is teaching section, focusing on what can be learned from the story, the characters, the situations they were in and how God intervened. We can learn how the hand of God touched their lives and extrapolate that to our own.
The key message across all five sections (under the headings of “Trapped”, “Failure”, “Spoiled”, “Guilt” and “Aging”) is that Jesus restores and renews, that no one is rejected or abandoned. We all have a purpose and role to play in God’s kingdom, regardless of how we feel or what our experiences may have played out so far. No one is abandoned.
It is encouraging and edifying teaching, pointing the reader in the direction of transformation and salvation.
It is a novel approach and it works as a concept. Readers will find it accessible and applicable, with an interesting presentation of some minor Bible characters, offering a view of them maybe not considered before. I especially enjoyed the story of Simeon and Anna, and the presentation of how in old age, God still has a purpose and a plan, and we can be fruitful to the very last moments of our life here.
Thank you to Inter-Varsity Press for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.