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Finding God in the Lord of the Rings
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Finding God in the Lord of the Rings

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  891 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Recently named the number-one piece of twentieth century literature, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is more than a great story. It's a much-needed reminder that, like J. R. R. Tolkien's hobbits, we Christians are all on an epic quest. In examining the Christian themes in the trilogy, authors Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware find that truth and fiction are not as far apart as they ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Tyndale Momentum (first published 2001)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  891 ratings  ·  60 reviews

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David Sarkies
Aug 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody really
Recommended to David by: Some girl at my old church
Shelves: christian
A Christian's endorsement of The Lord of the Rings
20 August 2014

Isn't it funny the type of books that Christian writers will write. I have read one book called 'Harry Potter and the Bible' that spent 275 pages completely trashing the series and explaining why nobody should actually read it. However, when it comes to Tolkien, some of the Christians take a complete about face and make the statement 'oh, but Tolkien was a Christian, so his writings are actually okay', and then produce a 144 page
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
This is a collection of short devotionals written by a guy from Focus, where every chapter can be, and is, neatly summarized in one sentence. If I had realized that before I picked up the book, I would have adjusted my expectations accordingly. As it was, I expected something more theologically nuanced and was disappointed. So far as the take-home points go, they're not bad, but they're so simplistic. The writing is clumsy, too; I spotted word-choice problems, perhaps malapropisms, in a couple ...more
Nicole Pramik
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
I got this book when it was first released, which (I think) corresponded to the initial release of Peter Jackson's epic The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. It was the first book I got that discussed the Christian themes in Tolkien's work and, for that, I'm grateful as it led me to further study Tolkien's expansive bibliography, its connections to Christian theology, and the inspirations for his own stories.

I confess, I'm a bit surprised by all of the low-star ratings for this book as,
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Over-simplified. Filled with rhetorical questions and repetitive statements. More devotional than analytical.

With vague summaries at the end of each short chapter -- things like "We were made to be heroic" -- there's not much point to this book. It's wishy-washy modern evangelicalism. And even though Bruner's premise seems to have been marketed as intellectual and academic, the tone feels geared for a very young audience. Only the last chapter has any redeeming qualities, bringing up some good
Ariel Paiement
Jun 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This devotional book made many good arguments and applications to everyday life using the Lord of the Rings. It was easy to understand and intriguing as well as well-grounded doctrinally and scripturally. I enjoyed the book and I found the lessons taught through Tolkien's Lord of the Rings helpful and meaningful. I would say, however, that the one sentence applications were a little bit simplified and watered down. The authors could have taken it deeper. But apart from that, since I had no real ...more
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
I considered giving this book one star, but that ultimately seemed too harsh, since I can't really say I DISliked it. But it's just so ... banal. Basic formula: each short chapter begins with a several-paragraph summary of an important point in the novel, then follows it with associations to Christian belief, notably through scripture citation, and ends with a reflection ("An evil heart is mystified by the ways of good," "Our hearts yearn for the good that God is," that sort of thing). The ...more
Dave Jones
I originally experienced this book via audio-book. However, this was destroyed and I received this in book form as a Christmas gift.

Good summary of the plot and major themes. The authors do a good job comparing these to Biblical principles and doctrines. In its book form it serves as a decent devotional.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
"'My tongue is the pen of a skillful writer,' writes the psalmist in Psalm 45:1, beautifully expressing a reality Bilbo learned and we should do well to recover. Bilbo knew he was not the author but the instrument. The pen does not become arrogant or proud over what is written on the page. It is honored to have played any part at all in the creative act. It is when we struggle to take control and resist the author's intentions that we mar the story being told. [skip a few lines] So, for hobbit ...more
Neil McCrea
Mar 20, 2009 rated it did not like it
It's about what one would expect from the title. It was given to me by well meaning family members attempting to keep me on the straight and narrow.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2017
This book was OK. It's so short, it's worth a read if you can spare the time, but keep your expectations low, and maybe you'll be more satisfied that I was. I was expecting to read something on par with Looking for God in Harry Potter by John Granger, and I was disappointed. In short, it was over-simplified and vague. And I'm left with the impression that many of the LOTR summaries were longer than the "analysis." I'll end with one more complaint: why tell readers in the introduction that you ...more
Nathan Albright
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge
Like its companion volume on Finding God In The Hobbit, this volume is short and seeks to demonstrate the moral intent and worldview behind Tolkien's classic fantasy novel. Although The Lord Of The Rings is a much larger work of literature than The Hobbit, this book is somewhat shorter than its companion volume, coming in at around 120 or 130 pages worth of material including the introduction, but the text is somewhat smaller as well so it gets more writing on each page. Be that as it may, this ...more
Rebekah Schrepfer
This book was reviewed at

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of my favorite works of fiction! J.R.R. Tolkien left us a masterful story that has captured the imagination of yet another generation since its first publication. However, I must disagree with these authors’ premise that one can “find God” therein. Even though the authors carefully avoid calling the trilogy a “covert allegory of the Gospel,” I do not think it “can open the heart’s back door when the front door is
Jan 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The nicest part of this quick-to-read slim volume was revisiting moments in "The Lord of the Rings". The primary use for this work would be for a daily devotional message. There are 21 chapter messages, each ending with a capsule "reflection". Stories from the Bible are infused into each topic explored and fleshed out with passages of scripture from a modern layman's translation. (I so much prefer the language in the King James' translation of the Bible that I could hardly bear to read these ...more
Brent King
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Finding God in the Lord of the Rings is a book my children and I have enjoyed over the years. It is written by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware, who apply their considerable wisdom to the world of Hobbits, Wizards, Elves, and Men. They have coauthored other similar books, a book on Narnia and His Dark Materials among them.

In the early years, while we were still reading The Lord of the Rings, this book especially interested my kids. It gave all of us a clearer understanding of the Christian world view
Tommy Grooms
Aug 26, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is basically a series of devotionals tied to events, characters, and themes in The Lord of the Rings.

The problem I had with it is that I've been thinking about Tolkien's world in a Christian context for so long (Tolkien was a big step on my path to becoming a follower of Christ) that I anticipated most all of the connections before they were explained, or at the very least had heard them elsewhere. This isn't exactly higher-level thinking.

I also didn't much like the paraphrasing of
Elizabeth Zimmerman
To be honest, I encountered this same subject in another book I was using for a paper for my FYS last fall. I read this because I love the subject, but the rhetoric was too simplistic for me. I felt like I was being lectured. I didn't like how they divided the plot up into neat little sections with the correct sprinklings of Bible verses and apropos real-life examples. It felt too tidy. The Lord of the Rings is much more complicated than this book makes it out to be. However, I enjoyed the ...more
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this. A series of Christian reflections on LOTR. It's not about what Tolkein was thinking as he wrote (though this comes up, because he was writing from a Christian perspective), but more a drawing of parallels between aspects of the story, the Bible and our own faith walk. The chapters are short enough to read one each day, and each chapter ends with a short reflective sentence.
Apr 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Interesting book about different elements of The Lord of the Rings, analyzed from a Christian perspective. Clearly, there is no way to know wether Tolkien had any of that in mind when he wrote the book, but I enjoyed reading about the authors' perspective of why Tolkien's work is so relevant for people today.
Sheryl Tribble
Dec 15, 2012 rated it liked it
I did not realize when I picked it up that it was primarily a devotional. Set it down for some time while I got used to that idea! It's not brilliant writing but, once I read it for what it was, I enjoyed it.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
These reflections find parallels between the biblical narrative and the world of Tolkien's imagination. They do so in a way that respects both sources and does not turn Lord of the Rings into an allegory.
Sep 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
An excellent series of essays exploring the deeeper truths of Tolkien's famous books.
Andy Hickman
Nov 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Bruner, Kurt, and Jim Ware. Finding God in The Lord of the Rings. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2001.

"Just as a word is an invention about an object or an idea, so a story can be an invention about Truth..." (J.R.R. Tolkien)

This book is probably more about delving into Tolkien's intent than it is about 'God'.
Worth reading.
Below is an article that precipitated Jim Ware's involvement in this project

- - -
“Finding God in The Lord of the Rings” by Jim Ware

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, windy,
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian, theology
After reading Finding God in the Land of Narnia, I wanted to read this book, but unfortunately, no library had it, so I figured I'd only be able to read it if I bought it. Then my brother came down from the upstairs at the library and said, "I found this book called Finding God in the Lord of the Rings." I about jumped out of my chair and enthusiastically asked (as loudly, yet quietly as I could. I was in a library), "What?! Where? Show me!" My poor brother had no idea why I was so excited, but ...more
Mel Foster
If you are looking for a literary or critical interpretation of Lord of the Rings, this is not the book for you. There are lots of other books out there.
If you don't want spoilers regarding LotRs, this is not the book for you. A good chunk of every chapter(too much in fact for so little a book) is composed of the authors summarizing the action of Tolkien's novel.
If you would like a Daily Bread-style devotional in casual prose centered around the contents of LotRs, then this is the book for you.
Paul Gaschen
6/10 - There were parts of this book that I enjoyed reading. The authors took a novel approach to understanding Tolkein's work, and I appreciate the simplicity they used in their analysis. That being said, each chapter lacked the "deeper" level of analysis I was hoping to gain from approaching The Lord of the Rings from a Christian perspective. (I also wish they would have tied in the greater body of Tolkein's Middle Earth mythology, but I understand that might have been complicated). Overall, I ...more
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
An excellent explanation of the spiritual connection in Tolkien’s work. It’s advisable for the reader to complete the trilogy and The Hobbit beforehand. The films don’t broach all of the subjects referenced. Nevertheless, if that’s your starting point its worth reading.
Laura Chartier
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This was more of a devotional instead of an analyzation, which is what I was expecting.
Chad Warner
Jun 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
This is so shallow and reveals so little about the Christianity Tolkien wrote into The Lord of the Rings that it’s not worth reading. It reads like a short devotional to which the authors later added brief summaries from LotR. It barely references Tolkien’s own thoughts. It’s much less than I expected for the title and description.

Each chapter is 2-3 pages of summary of part of LotR (in chronological order), then 2-3 pages of shallow application/devotion.

I was hoping for something deeper, like
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gifts
The authors aptly refer to this work as a collection of "Christian reflections" (p. 109) - they include key events throughout The Lord of the Rings trilogy and connect these events to essential tenets of Christianity. This is not a difficult read and may not be too profound, but it is perfect for any Christian who loves Tolkien's work. I love the idea of seeing Christ anywhere and everywhere. Regardless of whether Tolkien ever actually espoused these connections or not (although his Christian ...more
Adam Townsend
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I found this book to be much more enjoyable and thought provoking than my initial thoughts when I first picked it up. I saw it not so much as trying to find God in Lord of the Rings, but instead a great book of sermon illustrations found in Lord of the Rings. There are many great truths that are drawn out, and while Tolkien may not have written the classic with these Christian truths in mind, they are nevertheless there. I would also consider this book to be a great devotional for an individual ...more
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Kurt Bruner serves as Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Lake Pointe Church and on the adjunct faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary. A graduate of Talbot Seminary and former Vice President with Focus on the Family, Kurt led the teams creating films, magazines, books, and radio drama. As President of HomePointe Inc., he helps local church leaders create an ongoing culture of intentional families. ...more
“Middle-earth, in other words, is a hauntingly luminous mirror image of our world. For we know that the world in which we live is a perilous place, a place where good and bad, light and dark, innocence and horror, glory and depravity march side by side and sleep back-to-back.” 1 likes
“And so Ilúvatar, after the pattern of the biblical Jehovah, produces a drama performed in the theater of time.” 1 likes
More quotes…