The Book of God

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Overview

Here is the story of the Bible from beginning to end as you've never read it before - told with exciting detail and passionate energy. The Book of God reads like a fine novel, bringing a wise and beautiful rendering of the Bible, retold by master storyteller Walter Wangerin, Jr. Wangerin recreates the high drama, low comedy, gentle humor, and awesome holiness of the Bible story. Imaginative yet meticulously researched, The Book of God offers a sweeping history that stretches across thousands of years and hundreds...
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The Book of God: The Bible as a Novel

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Overview

Here is the story of the Bible from beginning to end as you've never read it before - told with exciting detail and passionate energy. The Book of God reads like a fine novel, bringing a wise and beautiful rendering of the Bible, retold by master storyteller Walter Wangerin, Jr. Wangerin recreates the high drama, low comedy, gentle humor, and awesome holiness of the Bible story. Imaginative yet meticulously researched, The Book of God offers a sweeping history that stretches across thousands of years and hundreds of lives, in cultures foreign and yet familiar in their common humanity. History and fact take on personality and warmth. Wangerin shows you human hands - Abraham raising the knife over his son Isaac on Mount Moriah, a priest offering incense in the temple at Jerusalem, Joseph the carpenter at work with his tools. He shows you human faces - Moses and Aaron face-to-face with the king of Egypt, Mary smiling like a white rose, and Jesus laughing with a Samaritan woman. Gardens, humble homes, olive groves, palaces, temples, and the hills of Judea shining in the afternoon sun - Wangerin makes the places where the events of the Bible took place come to life in the imagination.
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Editorial Reviews

Christianity Today
'Whether the stories are familiar from childhood or encountered here for the first time, you will be struck by their palpable power. And the sweep of the narrative, like a vast fresco, allows us to see the big picture of God's providence in a way that we rarely do in our fragmented reading of Scripture...exhilarating, but also disturbing.'
Financial Times
'[Wangerin's] aim was to produce a clean, continuous story free of repetitions and genealogies, and to add in bits of cultural and historical background based on his own travels and scholarship. Sometimes he switches the narrational perspective so as to veiw biblical events through the eyes of minor characters. In all this he succeeds....'
Time Out
'Powers along with great stamina for hundreds of pages....The pain of the crucifixion itself is memorably conveyed in terms of lungs, ribs, separating bones. Terse and punchy...it will be read and enjoyed.'
Glasgow Herald
'Reads like 'Gone With the Wind' (of the Holy Spirit) or 'Pride and Prejudice' (plus prophets). Wangerin has done for the biblical kings what Shakespeare did for Macbeth and Richard III....Imaginative, stimulating and fresh....Bubbles with creativity but above all is the work of a craftsman.'
Belfast Telegraph
'An immensely readable and well-organized text and may be an acceptable and more enticing alternative for some people, especially those who -- like me -- always meant to get around to reading all of the original.'
Manchester Evening News
'Considering what he has attempted, Walt does a remarkably good job, and he writes a lot of conventional scholarship in the form of narrative.'
Church Times
'I was hooked...passages such as the account of Solomon's reign, seem to me to work exceptionally well....'
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310204220
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 3/28/1996
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Pages: 24
  • Product dimensions: 4.22 (w) x 7.12 (h) x 3.72 (d)

Meet the Author

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 millions. The author of over forty books, Wangerin has won the National Book Award, New York Times Best Children's Book of the Year Award, and several Gold Medallions, including best-fiction awards for both The Book of God and Paul: A Novel. He lives in Valparaiso, Indiana, where he is Senior Research Professor at Valparaiso University. Walter Wangerin Jr. es reconocido como uno del mejor escritor sobre las aplicaciones la fe y la espiritualidad. Su libros incluyen The Book of God [El libro de Dios], Reliving the Pasion [Recuerdo de la Pasion], Peter's First Easter [El Primer Domigo de Resureccionde Pedro], Mourning into Dancing [Como Cambiar el Lamento en Baile], The Manger is Empty [El Pesebre Vacio] y Little Lamb, Who Made Thee? [ Quien te hizo, Corderito?]. Wangerin vive en Valparaiso, Indiana, ocupa la catedra Jochum en la Universidad de Valparaiso, donde es escritor residente.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Abraham

An old man entered his tent, dropping the door flap behind him. In the darkness he knelt slowly before a clay firepot, very tired. He blew on a coal until it glowed, then he bore the spark to the wick of a saucer lamp. It made a soft nodding flame. The man's face was lean and wounded and streaked with the dust of recent travel. He began to unroll a straw mat for sleeping but paused halfway, lost in thought.

Altogether the tent was rectangular, sewn of goatskins and everywhere patched with fresher skins of the goat. Across the middle a reed screen hung from three poles, dividing the space into two compartments, one for the man, one for his wife. These two were all that dwelt in the tent. There were neither children nor grandchildren. There never had been.

A vagrant wind slapped the side of the tent so that it billowed inward, but the man didn't move. He was gazing into the finger-flame of the lamp.

Old man. Perhaps eighty years old. Nevertheless, this present weariness did not come from age. In fact, the man had a small wiry body as light and as tough as leather. Nor was his eye diminished. It watched with a steadfast grey light, awaiting interpretation. It was not an old eye, but a patient one.

Not age, then. Rather, the man was made weary by this day's travel and yesterday's war.

His only relative in the entire land of Canaan even from the Euphrates River in the east to the Nile in Egypt was a nephew who had chosen the easier life. Though the old man himself lived in tents, Lot, his nephew, dwelt in the cities of the Jordan valley, the watered places, fertile places, desirable, sweet and green. But lately four kings of the north had attacked and defeated five cities of the valley. One of these was Sodom, the city Lot had chosen. Among the prisoners whom the northern kings carried away, then, was Lot.

As soon as the old man heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he armed three hundred and eighteen of his own men, mounted donkeys, and pursued the enemy with a light and secret speed. In the night he divided his forces. He surprised the northern kings by striking from two sides at once. He routed them. He drove them home. And all their plunder, all their prisoners he brought back to the cities that had been defeated: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, Zoar. Lot was free again, and again he chose Sodom for his dwelling though the men of the place had a reputation for extreme wickedness.

That was yesterday.

Today the king of Sodom had offered the old man all the plunder he'd returned, but the old man refused.

Today the Priest-King Melchizedek had come forth with bread and wine to honor the old man, and he honored him saying:

Blessed are you!

Blessed, too, be the God most high who delivers your foe into your hand!

And today the old man had come back to his tents, again, near the oaks of Mamre, tired.

Today, in the evening, his wife had baked him a barley cake, though he ate scarcely anything and she herself ate nothing at all.

"Is the young man safe, then?" she had asked.

"Yes," he told her.

"And his children?" she said, looking dead level at her husband. "How are the children of the man who lives within the walls of houses?"

"Safe," said the man.

"They are home, then?" she said. "Lot sits contented among his children, then? Lot looks upon the consolation of his old age, then, because he has an uncle who saves him when his own choices get him into trouble?"

The old man said nothing.

"Because he has a good uncle?" she continued. "A generous uncle? An uncle whose wife never did put the first bite of barley cake into the mouth of her own child?"

It was then that the old man arose and left his food unfinished. He trudged through the dusk to his own side of the tent and entered and pulled the flap down behind himself and lit the lamp and fell to staring at the single flame, the straw mat only half unrolled in front of him. He was very tired. He was kneeling, sitting back on his heels. He maintained that same posture, unwinking, unsleeping, through the entire first watch of the night. All sound had long since ceased outside. The encampment slept. His wife, finally, had fallen asleep on the other side of the reed screen. She was sleeping alone.

Then, in the middle of that night, God spoke.

Fear not, Abram, God said, calling the old man by name. I am your shield. Your reward shall be very great.

Abram did not move. He did not so much as shift his eye from the orange lamp-flame. But his jaw tightened.

God said, Abram, northward of this place, southward and eastward and westward all the land as far as you can see I will give to you and to your descendants forever.

Still motionless and so softly that the wind outside concealed the sound of it even from his own ears, Abram breathed these words: "So you have said. So you have said. But what, O Lord God, can you give us as long as we continue childless?"

A wind took hold of the tent-flap and lifted it like a linen. The lamp-flame guttered and went out.

God said, Come. Abram, come outside.

On his hands and knees the old man obeyed.

God said, Raise your eyes to heaven. Look to the stars, Abram. Count them. Can you count them?

The old man said, "No. I cannot count them. They are too many."

Even so many, said the Lord God, shall be your descendants upon the earth.

With the same gaze as he had earlier turned upon the lamp-flame Abram gazed toward heaven. Now there was no wind at all. The air was absolutely still. Nothing moved in the land, except that the man could hear the sighing of his old wife inside her compartment.

He said, "Is it required then that a slave born within my household must be my heir?"

God said, Your own son shall be your heir.

Abram said, "How shall I know that? How can I know, when you have given us no offspring?"

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Part One
The Ancestors
1. Abraham
2. Rebekah
3. Jacob
4. Joseph
Part Two
The Covenant
5. Moses
6. Sinai
7. The Children of Israel
Part Three
The Wars of the Lord
8. Joshua
9. Ehud
10. Deborah
11. Gideon
12. Jephthah
13. Samson
14. The Levite’s Concubine
Part Four
Kings
15. Saul
16. David
17. Solomon
Part Five
Prophets
18. The Man of God from Judah
19. Elijah
20. Amos, Hosea
21. Isaiah
22. Jeremiah
Part Six
Letters from Exile
23. Ahikam Utters a Curse
24. Ahikam Must Make a Decision
25. Ahikam in Jerusalem
Part Seven
The Yearning
26. My Messenger
27. Nehemiah
28. Ezra
29. The Yearning
Part Eight
The Messiah
30. Zechariah
31. Mary 428
32. John the Son of Zechariah 457
33. Andrew 471
34. Mary Magdalene 491
35. Simon Peter 516
36. Son of Father 535
37. To Jerusalem 548
38. Jesus 577
39. The New Covenant 605
Epilogue 631
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First Chapter

Chapter One
Abraham
An old man entered his tent, dropping the door flap behind him. In the darkness he knelt slowly before a clay firepot, very tired. He blew on a coal until it glowed, then he bore the spark to the wick of a saucer lamp. It made a soft nodding flame. The man's face was lean and wounded and streaked with the dust of recent travel. He began to unroll a straw mat for sleeping but paused halfway, lost in thought.
Altogether the tent was rectangular, sewn of goatskins and everywhere patched with fresher skins of the goat. Across the middle a reed screen hung from three poles, dividing the space into two compartments, one for the man, one for his wife. These two were all that dwelt in the tent. There were neither children nor grandchildren. There never had been.
A vagrant wind slapped the side of the tent so that it billowed inward, but the man didn't move. He was gazing into the finger-flame of the lamp.
Old man. Perhaps eighty years old. Nevertheless, this present weariness did not come from age. In fact, the man had a small wiry body as light and as tough as leather. Nor was his eye diminished. It watched with a steadfast grey light, awaiting interpretation. It was not an old eye, but a patient one.
Not age, then. Rather, the man was made weary by this day's travel and yesterday's war.
His only relative in the entire land of Canaan even from the Euphrates River in the east to the Nile in Egypt was a nephew who had chosen the easier life. Though the old man himself lived in tents, Lot, his nephew, dwelt in the cities of the Jordan valley, the watered places, fertile places, desirable, sweet and green. But lately four kings of the north had attacked and defeated five cities of the valley. One of these was Sodom, the city Lot had chosen. Among the prisoners whom the northern kings carried away, then, was Lot.
As soon as the old man heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he armed three hundred and eighteen of his own men, mounted donkeys, and pursued the enemy with a light and secret speed. In the night he divided his forces. He surprised the northern kings by striking from two sides at once. He routed them. He drove them home. And all their plunder, all their prisoners he brought back to the cities that had been defeated: Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, Zoar. Lot was free again, and again he chose Sodom for his dwelling though the men of the place had a reputation for extreme wickedness.
That was yesterday.
Today the king of Sodom had offered the old man all the plunder he'd returned, but the old man refused.
Today the Priest-King Melchizedek had come forth with bread and wine to honor the old man, and he honored him saying:
Blessed are you!
Blessed, too, be the God most high who delivers your foe into your hand!
And today the old man had come back to his tents, again, near the oaks of Mamre, tired.
Today, in the evening, his wife had baked him a barley cake, though he ate scarcely anything and she herself ate nothing at all.
'Is the young man safe, then?' she had asked.
'Yes,' he told her.
'And his children?' she said, looking dead level at her husband. 'How are the children of the man who lives within the walls of houses?'
'Safe,' said the man.
'They are home, then?' she said. 'Lot sits contented among his children, then? Lot looks upon the consolation of his old age, then, because he has an uncle who saves him when his own choices get him into trouble?'
The old man said nothing.
'Because he has a good uncle?' she continued. 'A generous uncle? An uncle whose wife never did put the first bite of barley cake into the mouth of her own child?'
It was then that the old man arose and left his food unfinished. He trudged through the dusk to his own side of the tent and entered and pulled the flap down behind himself and lit the lamp and fell to staring at the single flame, the straw mat only half unrolled in front of him. He was very tired. He was kneeling, sitting back on his heels. He maintained that same posture, unwinking, unsleeping, through the entire first watch of the night. All sound had long since ceased outside. The encampment slept. His wife, finally, had fallen asleep on the other side of the reed screen. She was sleeping alone.
Then, in the middle of that night, God spoke.
Fear not, Abram, God said, calling the old man by name. I am your shield. Your reward shall be very great.
Abram did not move. He did not so much as shift his eye from the orange lamp-flame. But his jaw tightened.
God said, Abram, northward of this place, southward and eastward and westward all the land as far as you can see I will give to you and to your descendants forever.
Still motionless and so softly that the wind outside concealed the sound of it even from his own ears, Abram breathed these words: 'So you have said. So you have said. But what, O Lord God, can you give us as long as we continue childless?'
A wind took hold of the tent-flap and lifted it like a linen. The lamp-flame guttered and went out.
God said, Come. Abram, come outside.
On his hands and knees the old man obeyed.
God said, Raise your eyes to heaven. Look to the stars, Abram. Count them. Can you count them?
The old man said, 'No. I cannot count them. They are too many.'
Even so many, said the Lord God, shall be your descendants upon the earth.
With the same gaze as he had earlier turned upon the lamp-flame Abram gazed toward heaven. Now there was no wind at all. The air was absolutely still. Nothing moved in the land, except that the man could hear the sighing of his old wife inside her compartment.
He said, 'Is it required then that a slave born within my household must be my heir?'
God said, Your own son shall be your heir.
Abram said, 'How shall I know that? How can I know, when you have given us no offspring?'
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 41 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(30)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2008

    Best Intro to the Bible Ever

    For someone who is new to the Bible as well as those who are at home in it, this is the book to read. I recommend to anyone who has not read the Bible to read this book first, and the Bible will make much more sense. Faithful to the Holy Scriptures, a skilled and deeply spiritual writer, Walt Wangerin makes reading books about faith fun. This author is for real and so is his book.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2006

    Exciting Read

    I bought this book a long time ago because of the recommendation of a friend. It sat on my bookshelf and I just couldn't bring myself to get started on it because I expected it to be dull reading. Finally I decided to tackle it and I loved it. I read it in a very short time. I have studied the Bible by bits and pieces my whole life, but this book puts the whole Bible into chronological perspective. I have a much better understanding of the Bible and learned so much from this book. I have already given copies to several friends and told everybody they should read it. I highly recommend this book.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2009

    good story telling

    i love the way the story is being told. it give more insight to what the saints might have been thinking. it makes them more real and what I believe what might have happened in those times.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2009

    Excellent book

    Excellent book to help you learn the bible. High recommend this book.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2004

    Excellent Book!!!

    Once you start reading this book, you can't put it down. I agree that it looks intimidating by its size; but it seems to go by so fast. I work about 50 hours a week and completed this book within 2 weeks. I had always wanted to read the entire Bible; but found that the Bible was kind of challenging in the interpretation (before NIV). So I decided to start with this book. I'm glad that I did! Once I completed The Book of God, I was compelled to read the Bible just to see if the information correlated. I was happy to see that it did. I recommend this book highly!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2003

    One to live by

    Although this book looks inimidating by its size, and possibly content, it is one of the most magnificent books I have ever read. This novel prepares the bible into stories arranged in chronological order. The stories are prepared passionately and with vivid detail. I couldn't put this book down and the stories and lessons I learned are ones to carry with you - this is one to live by. (I will be reading this one again in the future.)

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2000

    WOW!

    If I could give this book more stars, I would! What a beautiful picture this paints; the warmth, the feelings, the expressions. I was always told that if I wanted a book with stories of war, love, hate, passion, death, obstacles to overcome, etc., I should read the bible. This tells the stories with a human feel.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2004

    Incredibly easy to read, amazing how he brings the Bible to life.

    I started reading from the front, then decided to switch to the NT, so I started again at the Messiah. Amazingly, I did not know that Mary was only 15 and Joseph was 40. I did not know that Joseph was widowed, or that he had no money for dowry, so he repaired her parent's home for dowry. IF all of this is fact, not fiction, it only makes sense that God would choose an older,conservative, respected man for Mary to marry and for them to raise Jesus, because no one would have believed the virgin birth if Mary's mate was her age! I didn't know about Herod marrying Marianna and killing her and their 2 sons, and then how he died with horrible pain all over his body on the way to hot springs to ease his pain. Reminds me of Proverbs where it says wickedness, bitterness and hatred, are like rottenness to the bones!!! Walter, I loved your book. How alive you bring the scriptures to humanity at its worst and best! JoAnne B from Trinity, NC

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2001

    You can see, hear and smell the times it was written about

    This book takes you back in time and the descriptions of the culture and scenery makes reading the book like watching a very good movie! I would read a section and find myself saying, 'Wow' I never read it that way and I would go back to the scripture and read it with a renewed love. My particular favorite was the story of Nehemiah and Ezra. I love how he combined their stories to show interaction between these two great men of God. It made the story come alive. I am buying this book for all of my family.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2000

    A review from CA

    This is a physically large book, but don't let the size scare you! Wangerin does a wonderful, sensitive job of making the Bible a very readable story. This is a great way to get the idea of the whole of the Bible without the long, tedious geneologies and pages and pages of laws. A very enjoyable read, and it doesn't even take that long!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 21, 2010

    So Worth Reading!

    This book is great for people just starting to read the Bible, or people that have read the Bible many times. I thought it might be hard to read but was so surprised how very much like a novel. It was hard to put down. I would recommend this book to all.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2001

    A GREAT READ

    The 'Book of God' paints a cohesive picture of the story of Christianity. The Bible stories I read or heard seemed to lack relevance and cohesiveness. Walter Wangerin, Jr. has woven these stories into a relationship of people, places, and events that adds personality to the people, feeling to their relationships, and understanding to the events. The result is a better comprehension of individual Bible stories and a greater appreciation for the story of Christianity.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2013

    Awesome read

    Awesome book. Makes understanding the bible a little easier.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2013

    Tangld movie

    Fybfdthxzdgfjqxindydhshsjdbfa

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2013

    Wow!!!!!!!!!!!

    ll add to more stars ******************************* 7stars

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2005

    Life on the Hillside

    This book was very interesting due to the fact that I lived in the area that the book was based on, but also that I knew the author and his family. The content really hits home for many of the people in that area. Although, crime and poverty are so prevelent, there are 'real' people that live in the area that are just trying to get ahead and get out. The main topic, God, will definatly touch young prople and adults alike. There were so many things that I can picture, the houses, the streets, the violence. The story told of very disfunctional families, families where there is drug and alcohol abuse, as well as physical abuse. Knowing the area so well, and the families that grew up there, I see how this upbringing affects children. This story makes you feel that there is hope in any situation, joy in feeling the sunshine on your face and That there is no place where God is not!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted February 13, 2011

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    Posted October 12, 2010

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