Jenkins is a master story teller and it shows in this novel.
This is a fictionalized story of Paul. I was amazed at how Jenkins has taken the few verses about Paul's life and expanded it to a readable and believable story. Paul mentions in passing (Gal. 1:16,17) that he spent time in Arabia and Damascus – a total of three years. How did he get to Arabia? What did he do there? Who fed and housed him? How did he receive revelation? Jenkins has imagined the whole event and it is really good reading.
He adds drama to the story in ways that are entirely possible. For example, when Paul goes to the desert, he enters a sort of Christian commune and comes face to face with the family of Stephen, the very man stoned while Paul held the cloaks of the killers. Can you imagine believers taking in the man who cheered on the stoning of one of them?
They were not the only hesitant people to accept Paul. Jenkins really helps us understand the reception Paul was given when he went back to Jerusalem to see the apostles. Paul was hemmed in on both sides. The apostles were initially unsure of him and the Sanhedrin was after him. It was a dangerous time for Paul.
Granted, this is fiction. This is Jenkins' imagination weaving in and out of the biblical account. In general, I thought the imagined events were possible. As we travel with Paul, we see how slaves were treated. We witness the arrogance of the Roman soldiers. And Jenkins has come up with some thought provoking possibilities. What about romance in Paul's life? Is it possible? How was Paul able to travel while being hunted? How would his family respond to his change in faith? Did God supernaturally provide for Paul's safety?
This is a good novel to give some insight into the humanity of Paul and the events of his life. But it ends too soon. I hope this is just the first of several on the life of Paul
Jerry B. Jenkins is a New York Times best-selling novelist (Left Behind Series) and biographer (Billy Graham, Hank Aaron, Walter Payton, Orel Hershiser, Nolan Ryan, Joe Gibbs and many more), with over 70 million books sold. His writing has appeared in Time, Reader's Digest, Parade, Guideposts, and he has been featured on the cover of Newsweek. He and his wife live in Colorado. You can find out more at http://www.jerryjenkins.com/.
Worthy Publishing, 324 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Icon Media for the purpose of an independent and honest review.