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The Book of God: The Bible as a Novel

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,128 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
Here is the story of the Bible from beginning to end as you've never read it before, retold with exciting detail and passionate energy by master storyteller Walter Wangerin Jr. The Book of God reads like a fine novel, dramatizing the sweep of biblical events, making the men and women of this ancient book come alive in vivid detail and dialogue. From Abraham wandering in th ...more
Paperback, 633 pages
Published February 8th 1998 by Zondervan (first published January 1st 1996)
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Dave Rench Very much a narrative of the Bible. For instance, he spends very little time in the books of Deuteronomy & Leviticus, discussing the various laws.…moreVery much a narrative of the Bible. For instance, he spends very little time in the books of Deuteronomy & Leviticus, discussing the various laws. He only talks about them in vague terms to define the purpose of the laws. I'm in "Samuel" right now. So far, it's been very good. Stays true to the stories, while giving additional details to add personalities to the people and give context to the story. Most are historically accurate information, but some are certainly his opinions (i.e. expounded story of Sarah giving her maidservant to Abraham and then adding imaginary details to give justification for why Sarah turned against her concubine the way she did).(less)
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Alyssia Cooke
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, religious
And we are not quite at the end of the epic Bible saga, but we are very nearly there...why do I think that there was probably a collective sigh of relief when you read that! And this version is in its own way very different from any of the other bibles I have been reviewing. And the reason for that is very clear just from the title - 'The Book of God, the Bible as a Novel'. Out of all of the Bibles I was given this was the one that I was most interested in looking at fully, which is why I left i ...more
Eric Haddox
Jul 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting to understand the "story" of the Bible
Shelves: biblicalfiction
One of the greatest attempts to accurately put the story of the Bible in a medium that is both understandable and enjoyable for the contemporary western reader.

There were several stories of which he wrote that I had not remembered in my own reading of the Bible. He gives the characters life and personality that are easy to relate to and tells the stories in lively and memorable ways.

I came to the book critically to see what kind of errors would linger inside yet I found only one and it was only
Jul 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Alright, so I was really freaked out when I read the title of this book. Thoroughly freaked out. "The Bible as a ...novel?!?! Isn't that wrong?" O.k. Maybe some over-reaction on my part. Especially when I began to actually read it... It completely redeemed itself. They really are just Bible stories for grown-ups, putting a far more personal side to Biblical characters that I had read the same things about, thought the same things about, and heard the same things about since my Sunday School days ...more
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I had this on my to-read shelf for a couple of years at least, and I finally got around to reading it, chapter by chapter before going to sleep.

And I must say, I was pleasantly surprised! Obviously the book only covers some of the "highlights" of the Bible, but this allows the author (and us) to explore some of the people (the "big" ones, but also some nice perspectives of "little folk" and often women) in depth. The New Testament takes up a disproportionately big part of the overall book, but
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ok, so I'll admit it. I've tried to read the Bible a few times from cover to cover, but I have never been successful. So a big thumbs up for this novel that at least, sort of, makes me feel as if I have. Also a thumbs up for making me want to read the Bible cover to cover to see how much "flare" the author added to the characters to get the "novel" feel. As I read, there were still parts of the Old Testament that really bother me and challenge my faith. Surprisingly, the part of this novel that ...more
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A really good pre-read to reading the Bible directly. It gives you the concept of the story that is contained in the Bible. Have had several say after reading this book they were then able to put the story in the Bible together. Some might be concerned about putting the Bible in novel form, if that is the case then make your own judgment. Although, you might look it over as a help of getting adults familiar with the Bible. This kind of takes the temptation away of reading the Bible only in verse ...more
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still reading, but I have to say this is the best book about the Bible I have EVER read. I've always wanted to read the Bible in it's entirety...but it can be challenging to sit down and read in passage form each day. This novel is an addictive version of the's so easy to read and so far, the content closely follows that of my Bible in context and in order. I'm loving it!
Jul 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: you-can-borrow
I'm so glad I picked this up at the church book swap. You could find fault with it, I suppose, and I'm sure some people do, but I liked taking on God's Big Story as a Big Story. It stirred the imagination, similar to the Anne Rice books on the life of Jesus. Reading the (selected) OT stories made you want to go look them in the "real" book. :-) The NT section was moving as well.
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was fine, but like any account put into a fictional novel, it's not really very accurate. Therefore, I can't say I would recommend it. It would have been one thing if conversations had been added, or some activity speculated where the Bible is silent. However, truth was flat out changed. I say, stick with the original.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book because I think it was such a courageous endeavor. But the author just didn't do a good job. Granted it's hard to improve on the Bible, but he managed to really bollux it up. I kept persisting because of my Christian guilt...wanting to be loyal to another believer....but it was so hard to finish. The old testament wasn't too bad but he really managed to make a mess of the New Testament. He kept telling the story from Andrew's perspective which was so odd to me. ...more
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: research, religion
As someone raised as a heathen, the stories of the bible are unfamiliar, so I found this book to bring the stories to life and not a dry read as the bible itself was. It also did a good job of placing the events in where they happened in history, reminding me that they were historical. The author read the book and even though all of the characters had the same tones of voice, I found him entertaining. This will most definitely not be my sole source of education for Christianity, but I felt it ha ...more
☼♄Jülie 
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to ☼♄Jülie  by: Bookshop find
A good way to read stories from the Bible without all the hype and especially for younger people, it tells the stories in a way that gets you interested and also puts a more personal feel into them, so that you can relate to the characters as individual and important players...especially some of the (otherwise) lesser known characters.

A good introduction to the Bible, which can be read as a collection of short stories.
I have always been of the opinion that the Bible should be written as a histor
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book probably has had a more lasting effect upon my spiritual journey than any other book besides the Bible. I happened upon this after a couple of years of struggling to read the Bible. Wangerin takes some liberties in turning the Scripture into historical fiction, although the only real fiction I noticed was the fleshing out of personalities beyond what is shared with us in Biblical accounts. It reads like a fascinating novel, but kept driving me to compare fact and fiction. This is anoth ...more
Ray Edwards
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Fresh Look at the Story of Stories

This book gives us a fresh view of stories with which we may have become too familiar. Looking at the Bible as the work it actually is, the story of the dealings of God with his people, and the coming of the new and better covenant. While it is important to remember this book itself is not Scripture, it is a fine version of the story of scripture. It brings new life to people, places, and events to which we may have inadvertently grown desensitized.
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith
There is a lot of things I can say about this book, but all I think I can truly say is that I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. My favorite chapter was definitely Mary Magdalene's. Much of the Tanakh's retelling was great, too, especially of the kings and prophets.

The biblical figures presented in the work are seen as so very relatable, even after 21 years after this was written. I related a lot to Andrew, Simon Peter, and even Judas Iscariot to an extent.

Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful way to spend the Lenten season-reading this novelisation of the Bible. This made it so easy to understand and remember all of the great stories we all know. I still had to make lists to keep the primary characters straight, but it was an easier read than my previous attempts at my stand-by Bible. I remarked to my friends more than once while reading it-Man, this is one juicy book!
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
I almost have a hard time rating something Biblical so low- it makes me feel bad. At any rate, Wangerin is not a favorite author of mine, I find his writing dry and too lengthy. It took me a long time to get going in this book, and the New Testament portion was better than the Old Testament. I tried to look at it more as a scripture reading than a pleasure read and I think that helped.
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved this - like the bible coming to life for adults! I hope to read it again sometime soon.
Shala K.
Mar 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Reads more like a history of the Jewish people as told in the Bible than a comprehensive retelling of the Bible itself. No creation story or Noah's ark, but plenty of judges, prophets, and kings.
Glen Engel-Cox
Nov 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The Bible is one of the most influential and quoted documents in the world, yet it is also one of the least read. This is due in part to the size of the book itself, but the strongest reason for avoidance is the density of its prose. For most people, the text of the Bible is that of its most common translation, that done during the time of King James, and they are surprised to learn that it was originally written in Hebrew (like Dave Barry, I’m not making this up). The King James prose to the mo ...more
Michael Loveless
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it
The book attempts to tell the biblical story in novel form. It begins with Abraham and ends with Pentecost. The novel does not attempt to cover everything in the Bible. Some things before Abraham are referred to or described in “flashbacks.” Things that don’t fit in the narrative are largely left out. There is very little of the Old Testament laws and the Epistles for example. There are some excerpts from the Psalms and Prophets.

I thought the book did not accomplish what it intended very well. A
Dave Rench
Jan 17, 2018 rated it liked it
The Good:
I appreciated his take on the minor prophets, incorporating some of them into the story of Chronicles, so the story of both was weaved together.
I appreciated his take on Judas, who thought he was giving Jesus a nudge to be the political revolutionary (like Barabbas) that Judas knew he could be by turning him in to the Priests. He thought Jesus would have to stand up for himself and it would bring about his kingdom faster. That to me has made the most sense out of any analysis of Judas t
Tamara Evans
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Involved book presenting the Bible as a novel. I like that the book is divided into eight separate parts including ancestors, the covenant, the wars of the lord, kings, prophets,letter from exile, the yearning and the messiah. The book was well written, detailed and very engrossing. It’s perfect if you want to experience the Bible without all of the formal language like in the Kings James Bible.
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i read this book to fulfill the goal read a book about the bible. i love biblical fiction. even though it's not true, it still helps me understand the bible so much better. my only disappointment is that their isn't more about paul.
Samuel Byron
Nov 18, 2017 rated it liked it
more of an adult bible story...however it does little to impact on a christians most noble task..the journey to heaven through salvation
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
I pretty much liked it; I had to remind myself it is a novel, not a bible of sorts, and certainly not
The Bible!
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really good book, brings to life the books of the bible in a novel format.
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I first picked this up because my pastor had mentioned it a few times over the past couple of years, and I found that, unlike many such books, this really does put the central text of the Bible into novel form, lifting the Biblical text and surrounding it with descriptions and characterizations to ignite your imagination.

Mostly written with the traditional third-person omniscient narrator, there are some sections that change to the first person, enabling us to really understand their point of v
Georgia Herod
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Having read through the Bible in several different translations, I was looking for a fresh approach. The subtitle almost kept me away: The Bible as a Novel. I wasn't sure how I'd respond to a fictionalized version of what I consider God-breathed, inspired Scripture. However, I did remember that Jesus was a fantastic storyteller. So with Bibles readily at hand to compare and contrast, I began my reading. And I was caught up immediately.

Often I've read Scripture, failing to remember that the peop
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Bible is not an easy book to read but this book is the story of the Bible written as a novel. I learned so much about the Bible from this book. I would recommend.
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The Book of God: The Bible as a Novel 3 22 Jan 16, 2015 07:09PM  
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  • Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Exegesis and Interpretation
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  • God Is Love: A Biblical And Systematic Theology
  • From Eden to the New Jerusalem: An Introduction to Biblical Theology
  • A Tree Full of Angels: Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary
  • Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants
  • The Meeting of the Waters: 7 Global Currents That Will Propel the Future Church
  • Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis
  • Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Evangelical Biblical Interpretation
  • The Making of an Ordinary Saint: My Journey from Frustration to Joy with the Spiritual Disciplines
  • Spiritual Friendship
  • Who Is This Man?: The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus
  • Expect the Sunrise (Team Hope, #3)
  • A Glorious Dark: Finding Hope in the Tension Between Belief and Experience
  • Ordinary People as Monks and Mystics: Lifestyles for Self-discovery
  • Thomas Merton:  Spiritual Direction And Meditation
Walter Wangerin Jr. is widely recognized as one of the most gifted writers writing today on the issues of faith and spirituality. Starting with the renowned Book of the Dun Cow, Wangerin's writing career has encompassed most every genre: fiction, essay, short story, children's story, meditation, and biblical exposition. His writing voice is immediately recognizable, and his fans number in the mill ...more
More about Walter Wangerin Jr....

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