Hello and a very happy Monday to you. It's starting to feel like Fall around here (all the praise hands), so we have been outside the entire morning. Ergo, this post is coming to you in the afternoon.
I mentioned last week that during my roadtrip of epic proportions and subsequent down time in North Carolina, I managed to read three whole books. Yes indeedy. The first one was The Scribe by Francine Rivers.
First of all, you should know that Francine Rivers is one of my very favorite authors. I actually own every single book she has written and The Scribe was the only one I had not read. She is phenomenal, and I would highly recommend her books. She is a Christian, and redemption is a major theme in all her novels. However, the nature of her writing is very mature, so if you're younger than 16 (maybe even 18), I personally don't think her books are for you yet.
The Scribe is the last novella in a series entitled Sons of Encouragement. In this series, Rivers takes lesser known men of the Bible and crafts fictional tales about their lives. The five men in this series are Aaron (brother of Moses), Caleb (one of only two spies from a group of twelve that believed God about the Promised Land), Jonathan (the son of Saul and best friend of David), Amos (one of the minor prophets), and Silas (the companion of Paul). Rivers has a similar series entitled A Lineage of Grace about the five women named in the ancestry of Jesus Christ.
If you can remember waaaay back to this post, you know that I like to daydream about the missing pieces of Biblical people's lives. Well, that's exactly what Francine Rivers does with these books. And they're fun to read. It's very interesting to me to think about all of the possibilities she presents with these stories. Some of the ways she portrays these people are exactly in line with the way I've always pictured them when reading about them in the Bible. And sometimes, she depicts them entirely differently than I would. When reading these books, it's important to remember that although these were real people that actually lived, her characterization of them is fictional. Which is why I so appreciate her letter at the beginning of each of these novellas based on Biblical people. She emphasizes the fact that she is writing about a real, historical person, gives all Scriptural references pertaining to the person, is transparent about the fictionality of the novella, and encourages the reader to go back to the true source of information on the person. She writes, "At the end of each novella, we have included a brief study section. The ultimate authority on people of the Bible is the Bible itself. I encourage you to read it for greater understanding."
Having said all that, The Scribe is about the life of Silas. It's been quite some time since I read any of the other novellas about Biblical people, but my impression after finishing this one is that it was probably one of the most imaginative of her works. I would presume that the reason for this is because of how little information we actually have about Silas to begin with. She had more room for interpretation with him. This made it extremely interesting to read. The way she presents Silas is totally different than how I've always thought of him, but the way she presents, Paul, Barnabas, and Peter are exactly in line with the way I've always thought of them.
I don't want to go into too much detail about The Scribe because if you're thinking of reading it, I don't want to spoil it for you. I was surprised by many of the scenarios set forth in this book, and I wouldn't want to ruin those surprises for any potential readers out there. If you do decide to read any of these novellas, I would love to discuss them further with you. As a woman, I will say that I found the Lineage of Grace series more compelling than the Sons of Encouragement series. I think to an extent, this has to do with the fact that a woman can get inside a female character's mind more easily than she can get into a guy's head. I couldn't stop reading the Lineage of Grace series, whereas it took me nearly three years to read every book in the Sons of Encouragement series. Not because the books in the Sons of Encouragement series weren't good or easy to read (except Amos. Amos was hard to read. but that had more to do with the actual content---I'm getting off-topic...let's get back on track), but because when I finished one, I wasn't immediately compelled to start the next. I took breaks. I read other books in between.
To sum it up, I would recommend The Scribe and the rest of the Sons of Encouragement or Lineage of Grace series as long as the reader keeps a proper perspective about the fictionality of these little novellas and understands the Scripture's ultimate authority on the lives of these people. If you do decide to read any of them, hit me up and let me know what you think.
Have you read any fictional accounts of Biblical people? What did you think of them? If you could take an in-depth look at any person of the Bible, who would it be and why?