In the morning when I have my devotions, I always make my way through a pile of books. I read in the Bible a little, maybe read a paragraph from Ellen White, a page from a daily devotional and finish off with another book.
Sometimes I journal about what I’ve read; sometimes I don’t. It’s slightly disorganized, but when I stick with it and concentrate on Jesus, it works for me. Since I am reading a lot, I’m constantly looking for books that will enhance my devotional time and bring me closer to Jesus.
One genre that has proven to be a blessing over and over again through unique perspective and narrative devices is biblical fiction or biblical supposition. The authors pick a time, circumstance or character that the Bible mentions and weave in their own story, careful to stay true to biblical and historical context.
I’ve always loved stories, and stories that are well-written and biblically-based are some of the best to read. I gauge the quality of the book by how much it makes me want to study the Bible for myself. Some of the books that I share have been instrumental in my walk with Jesus. If you choose to read them, I pray they have the same effect on you.
I think the first biblical supposition I read was called “Esther: A Star is Born,” by Bradley Booth. I also loved Booth’s two books about Meshach, a Hebrew boy who escaped Egypt with his family when the Israelites were led out by Moses. While the quality of writing is perhaps not the strongest, the books are very descriptive and have a definite narrative arc. They were perfect for me as an earliteen.
Margit S. Heppenstall wrote “Deborah” and “Secret Mission,” the former about Naaman’s servant girl who helped heal him by referring him to Elisha, and the latter about Jonathan and Ahimaaz, who acted as messengers for David when he was fleeing from his son Absalom. Heppenstall’s stories are exciting and full of action. Though it’s been a long time since I read either of them, there are still scenes from the books that I remember vividly.
The next author I’d like to mention is Trudy J. Morgan-Cole. She wrote two versions of the book of Esther. “Esther: Courage to Stand” was written around the 2009 Pathfinder Camporee of the same name. It’s a more PG version, if you will, of its counterpart, “Esther: A Story of Courage.” The research that went into both books was extensive, and it made me realize how much of the book of Esther I had misinterpreted before. It’s a sad, triumphant story.
I’ve saved the best (in my opinion) for last. I think Terri Fivash is my second-favorite author in the world, the first being C. S. Lewis. Fivash’s works include “Joseph: A Story,” “Ruth and Boaz: Strangers in the Land” and the “Dahveed” (Hebrew pronunciation of David) series, the last installment of which she is completing right now. No other books that I’ve read have been written with such care, such empathy, such humor and such love for God. The detail is staggering, the research thorough, the narrative riveting. I have read and reread the books multiple times, and they never get old. They have been such a spiritual blessing as well. I fall in love with Jesus each time I read them.
I could go on and on. The authors I mentioned above are all Seventh-day Adventists, but there are more mainstream Christian authors I could mention, such as Francine Rivers, who wrote the “Mark of the Lion” and “Lineage of Grace” series. “The Robe,” by Lloyd C. Douglas, is another example of a compelling story inspired by Scripture.
I hope you decide to take a break from your textbook reading and dive into one of these amazing stories. And I hope you will become better acquainted with the stories of the Bible and the God who inspired them.