Two days ago, I started reading this book called “The Book of God” by Walter Wangerin Jr. I bought this book two good years ago (yeah, I know, stop judging me), and I finally found the time to read it. And guess what? I couldn’t stop reading.
It’s actually the Bible written as a novel. Imagine that. Something like the whole series of Harry Potter (or something better) in one book only more exciting, enlightening and life changing. I’ve read the Bible through and through multiple times, with various versions, various languages (English and Malay because I can’t read Chinese) and accompanied by various commentaries. To be honest, after reading it so many times, I’ve lost the ability to imagine and put myself in the author’s shoes and circumstances. I just read and… read.
But this take on reading the Bible as a novel is a totally fresh change. Walter Wangerin did it pretty well by retelling Biblical stories with imagination, passion, depth, personality and warmth. I shed a few tears here and there reading the stories of Abraham, Jacob, Isaac and Joseph. Yes, I’ve only just finished the book of Genesis (in two days) and you’re probably asking what’s there to cry about these stories. I’ll give you an example. Remember the story of Rachel and Leah? Of how Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah? And how Leah gave birth to lots of children to earn Jacob’s love and Rachel was barren? That whole portion of the story was written in a monologue. Leah’s. It was a monologue of how she hoped that Jacob would look at her, but instead of seeing Leah, he only saw not-Rachel; of how she felt when Jacob told her to leave her new house back to her mother’s house when Rachel came into the picture; of how she felt when she did not speak for her sister for more than ten years because of jealousy; of how they reconciled and realized they both still loved each other dearly. For the first time, after reading this story for so many times, I felt the pain, the rejection and the confusion Leah went through. And there’re many other instances where “insignificant” stories like these were amplified and put in context.
I highly recommend this book, if:
1. You think your Bible reading times has gone mundane and it has become a drag more than an excitement.
2. You’ve read the Bible but you don’t understand why certain parts turn and twist in such a drastic manner (as though certain portions have been fast-forwarded)
3. You want to read a shorter and concise version of the Bible (yes, it does cut short a lot of repeated sections in certain chapters)
4. You lack imagination when reading like me =)