Biblical Historical Fiction

 In Book Recommendations

y new favorite genre is biblical historical fiction. Years ago my introduction was a children’s book by Elizabeth George Speare, The Bronze Bow, which I believe was her only work in this genre. More recently, I have enjoyed books by Lynn Austin and Francine Rivers as well as The Chosen TV series.

For me, perspective is everything. I have read the stories in the Bible many times, and they are in my head; however, sometimes, I struggle with the characters. I feel like I know some very well — like Jesus, John the Baptist, Saul, and David. But there are a lot of people that don’t have as much depth in my mind. I don’t mean depth as far as character – I mean depth as far as what I know about them. Often, in biblical historical fiction, the back story of these characters is provided for the reader.

To hear the same stories from a different perspective has deepened my love for the Bible. It sends me back to scripture to find out which parts were documented in scripture, which parts were founded in research from other sources, and which were fiction. Before being exposed to this genre:  I had never considered what Aaron might have felt like when his younger brother, Moses, was the “chosen one;” I had never considered what it was like to live during the time of the Assyrian or Babylonian exile; and I had never wept over someone being healed by Jesus. Perspective matters.

Jesus told parables that drew His listeners in. Once they had identified themselves in the story, the teaching of the parable and its life application was made apparent. Biblical historical fiction works in much the same way.

The important thing is to follow-up by digging deeper into God’s Word, not to critique the author or argue over what is fact and what is fiction, but to be drawn deeper into the story, to better identify with the characters, and to be changed for the better.

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