Put yourself in the shoes of those who lived and died during the historical events of the Bible! These 21 novels offer some perspective of what it must have been like to live in those days. Check out these titles from Francine Rivers, Ted Dekker, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Mesu Andrews, Bodie and Brock Thoene, and more.
By Rel Mollet and Chris Well
Land of Silence
Following the beloved stories of Rahab and Ruth, Tessa Afshar turns her talent to a lesser-known biblical woman, whose journey is both painful and triumphant. Elianna has lived a life stripped of all she held dear by illness, but her life is forever changed when she reaches for the hem of Jesus’ garment. Land of Silence (Tyndale House) provides a glimpse into the life that may have been for this unnamed woman.
Treasures of the Nile
Mesu Andrews intrigues readers once more, this time with the story of Miriam as her beloved brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile with a dangerous petition for the mighty Pharaoh, seeking the release of their people. With her trademark research and attention to detail, Mesu brings this turbulent time of plagues and destruction alive in Miriam (WaterBrook Multnomah).
Return to Me
The Restoration Chronicles
Lynn Austin’s Restoration Chronicles tells stories from the Old Testament and the trials of the Jewish people. In Return to Me (Bethany House), King Cyrus has just declared that the Jews may return to their Promised Land. However, there is division in their community as some waiver in their faith. Readers are introduced to a priest named Iddo and his grandson Zechariah as they embark on their difficult journey to the Promised Land.
Noah: Man of Destiny
The Remnant Trilogy
Tim Chaffey and K Marie Adams
A captivating, coming-of-age journey through the pre-Flood world, Noah: Man of Destiny (Master Books) challenges readers to see the Genesis account in new way. Authors Tim Chaffey and K. Marie Adams are staffers at Answers in Genesis, an apologetics ministry that provides biblical answers about creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth. The book also includes nonfiction supplemental materials to explain historical concepts and provide teaching based on the Genesis account.
Counted with the Stars
Out from Egypt
Novelist Connilyn Cossette treats readers with a unique take on the plagues that beset Egypt as God called his people from slavery. Counted With the Stars (Bethany House) introduces readers to a young Egyptian slave girl, Kiya, who is caught up with the Hebrews as they flee Pharaoh and her eyes are opened to the one they call Yahweh.
In a departure from his usual fare of thrillers and supernatural tales, New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker has embarked on an epic historical series set in the time of Christ. In the first book, A.D. 30 (Center Street), the outcast daughter of a powerful Arabian sheikh is called to protect the very people who rejected her. Her path leads unexpectedly to an enigmatic teacher, who speaks of a way of life that offers greater power than any kingdom…
Set during the days of the early church, The Centurion is a story of love, duty, and sacrifice. Following what should have been a routine crucifixion, a Roman soldier named Lucius searches for the followers of this “King of the Jews”—and falls for one named Mary Magdalene. But all is interrupted when Lucius is called to lead military campaigns. When Lucius finally returns to Rome, a chance encounter tests his allegiances—and he must decide who he is, what is real, and what is worth dying for. The novel includes an extensive annotated list of sources.
Slender Reeds: Jochebed’s Hope
Texie Susan Gregory
Shiloh Run Press
Jochebed, a Hebrew slave who will give birth to Moses, and Shiphrah, an Egyptian midwife, struggle against insurmountable obstacles to trust the unseen God. Set against the darkness of Egypt at its blazing height – the reign of Ramses the Great – these ordinary women are woven into God’s redemptive plan for the people of Israel.
Shadow of the Mountain: Exodus
With grit and realism, Cliff Graham plunges readers into the turmoil of the Israelites as fear prevents them taking the Promised Land for themselves, despite Joshua and Caleb’s belief that God will give them victory over the fearsome Anakites and the land called Canaan. Shadow of the Mountain: Exodus (Bethany House) holds particular appeal for male readers.
The Novelization of the Major Motion Picture
Based on the motion picture, Risen (Bethany House) gives readers a perspective of the resurrection from another angle. The story follows the character of Clavius, the Roman Tribune charged with protecting Jesus’ tomb after his death. He must keep the radical followers from stealing the body. When the body goes missing, Calvius sets out on a journey that will change him more than he realizes as he searches for the truth.
John’s Story: The Last Eyewitness
The Jesus Chronicles
Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
Following their series of end-times thrillers in the Left Behind series, co-authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins embarked on a historical series. The Jesus Chronicles recounts the life of Christ in the voices of those who knew and loved Jesus best—the Gospel writers John, Mark, Matthew, and Luke. The first volume in the series, John’s Story: The Last Eyewitness (Berkley), shares the thrilling account of the life of the man who came to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament and to save all of humankind—and the disciple who was the last eyewitness to Jesus’
The Dog Who Was There
This unusual take on biblical fiction revolves around a stray dog named Barley who witnesses the ministry of Jesus. In The Dog Who Was There (Thomas Nelson), author Ron Marasco weaves a thoroughly researched historical setting and startlingly human characters into a universal story. No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah. He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. But through Barley’s eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we’ve never experienced before. This a must-read for animal lovers, and anyone who wants to revisit the Gospel accounts through a fresh perspective.
Cain: The Story of the First Murder and the Birth of an Unstoppable Evil
The Fall of Man
Broadstreet Publishing Group
The first installment of a dark and intense biblical fiction series based on Genesis, Cain: The Story of the First Murder and the Birth of an Unstoppable Evil (Broadstreet Publishing) is a scripturally faithful retelling of the story of Cain and Abel. Soon, all of life balances upon one perilous question: is the monster inside Cain the gateway to godhood or the end of mankind?
Heart of a Lion
Lions of Judah
The amazingly prolific Gilbert Morris has written everything from science fiction to historical romance. His first foray into biblical fiction was the Lions of Judah series, which revolved around the ancestry of Christ. The first book in the series, Heart of a Lion, featured a young Noah struggling with a frightening Word from God. Subsequent volumes featured Sarai, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab.
A Lineage of Grace
In her Lineage of Grace series, best-selling author Francine Rivers turned the spotlight on five courageous women named in Christ’s lineage. The 5-in-1 edition A Lineage of Grace (Tyndale House) includes the whole series in one set: Unveiled: Tamar, about a women betrayed by the men who controlled her future, and who fought for her right to believe in a loving God; Unashamed: Rahab, about a woman with a past to whom God gave a future; Unshaken: Ruth, about a woman who gave up everything, expecting nothing, and how God honored her; Unspoken: Bathsheba, about a woman whose beauty stirred the passion of a king, and whose pain moved the heart of God; and Unafraid: Mary, about the woman who responded in simple obedience to God’s call. Each of these women was faced with extraordinary—even scandalous—challenges, each took great personal risk to fulfill her calling, and each was destined to play a key role in the
lineage of Jesus Christ.
Redeeming Grace: Ruth’s Story
Daughters of the Promised Land
Jill Eileen Smith
For Redeeming Grace: Ruth’s Story (Revell), the third installment of the Daughters of the Promised Land series, author Jill Eileen Smith combines meticulous research with imagination to render one of the most beautiful stories in Scripture. When news reaches Naomi that the famine in Bethlehem has lifted, only Ruth will hazard the journey to her mother-in-law’s homeland. Destitute and downhearted, Naomi resigns herself to a life of bitter poverty, but Ruth holds out hope for a better future. And Boaz may be the one God has chosen to provide it…
Mary, Chosen of God
Diana Wallis Taylor
In Diana Wallis Taylor’s Mary, Chosen of God (Whitaker House), readers meet an ordinary girl from Nazareth. She helps her mother with household chores, she daydreams about a handsome carpenter’s son named Joseph, and at night she lies on the roof and contemplates at the stars. But one evening, a heavenly visitor comes with unexpected news–and her life is changed forever. Experience the life of the Messiah from the perspective of his mother…
Behold the Man
The Jerusalem Chronicles
Brock & Bodie Thoene
The epic conclusion of Brock and Bodie Thoene’s Jerusalem Chronicles, Behold the Man (Zondervan) and shares the last earthly days of Jesus through the eyes of Pilate, Claudia, Pilate’s wife, and a Roman Centurion, Marcus Longinus. These three people are forever changed when they encounter the man who claims to be God.
Following a series of misfortunes, Job and wife Dinah are living in a one-room home unprotected by city walls. Dinah stood by Job and in his deepest hour of pain, she was willing for him to die rather than endure more suffering. Job’s Wife (Heritage Builders) deals with the universal fight of good and evil, and struggles with the divine enigma of suffering. How do you end a beautiful life that has overcome tragedy and suffering? There’s only one way—by a miracle of God…
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
The book that started it all—the 1880 novel Ben-Hur is one of one of the best-selling books of all time. Lew Wallace—an American lawyer, soldier, politician and author—set out to write a novel set during the life and ministry of Jesus, but knew that readers would be skeptical if Jesus were the main character. As such, he created a tale of betrayal and redemption that runs parallel to the biblical account of Christ. When a Jewish charioteer’s family is wrongly accused and convicted of treason, Judah Ben-Hur fights to clear his family’s name and is ultimately inspired by the rise of Jesus Christ and his message.
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (2016)
As one of the bestselling stories of all time, Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ has captivated and enthralled millions around the world―both in print and on the big screen. Now Lew’s great-great-granddaughter has taken the old-fashioned prose of this classic novel and breathed new life into it for today’s audience. The story follows Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman whose childhood friend Messala betrays him. Accused of trying to murder the new Roman governor in Jerusalem, Judah is sentenced to the galley ships and vows to seek revenge against the Romans and Messala. But a chance encounter with a carpenter from Nazareth sets Judah on a different path. Also included: the inspiring story-behind-the-story of Lew Wallace―Indiana lawyer, author, and Civil War general.
Portions of this article first appeared in the May 2016 Family Fiction and August 2016 FamilyFiction EDGE.