On occasion I come across a book that not only entertains me but provides knowledge as well. To me, these books are most treasured. I believe you can learn from just about anything. Some knowledge can be obtained from practically every book. It can be practical knowledge like how to garden or it can be social knowledge on how to navigate difficult social situations. This is one of those books.
I, Saul by Jerry Jenkins
This book is written from multiple perspectives: Luke, Paul/Saul, Auggie. It takes you expertly from modern-day Texas to days before Paul/Saul’s execution. The historical information is fleshed out by the author to make a rich story of Saul’s end of life. The author obviously did a significant amount of research prior to writing this novel. The author changes between the two stories every other chapter. Now, I often shy away from this type of writing because it often times is done poorly. I will admit the first few chapters it seemed a bit disjointed. However, once get into the two stories, it isn’t noticeable and I found myself waiting for the next chapter.
This story is a book of redemption, strength, and love. Redemption is found in both storylines. It demonstrates how God can use all circumstances for good. Strength seen with both Augie and with Paul/Saul’s stories. Love is an ongoing theme. Paul/Saul’s love is very evident in not only the book but in Bible, so that’s a given. Jenkins furthers this theme through Luke, Auggie, Roger, Auggie’s mother and father, and so many other characters.
This book has several good points. It was well written. It helps provide a connection between myself and Paul/Saul. It provided insights to life during Nero’s terrifying rule. Jenkins managed to flesh out and give life to historical characters. If you have interest in church history, Paul/Saul’s life, or historical fiction. This book would be for you.
As I’ve said before, no book is perfect. This book was difficult to get into at first. It took several chapters for me to feel completely pulled-in. The first chapter has Auggie receiving an urgent text from Roger but it took several chapters for the novel to pick-up. Once it did, it got interesting fast and I enjoyed it.
I absolutely recommend this book. I would recommend it to anyone interested in Paul/Saul’s life (but remember it is a story) and any Christian who enjoys a good novel. I can also see the non-Christian could enjoy this book if they like a historical mystery.
I give this book a 5 of 5 bookends.
What are you reading?