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I, Saul

I, Saul

4.3 16
by Jerry B. Jenkins, James S. MacDonald

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Told from the point of view of the disciple Luke, the apostle Paul and “Auggie,” a modern-day scholar, I, Saul, is a fast-paced story of intrigue and mystery. Readers will be reminded of Indiana Jones and the DiVinci code as they become absorbed in this page-turner by a master storyteller. Along the way they will learn of the fictionalized but plausible


Told from the point of view of the disciple Luke, the apostle Paul and “Auggie,” a modern-day scholar, I, Saul, is a fast-paced story of intrigue and mystery. Readers will be reminded of Indiana Jones and the DiVinci code as they become absorbed in this page-turner by a master storyteller. Along the way they will learn of the fictionalized but plausible story of the life of Saul who relentlessly persecuted Christ’s followers prior to his conversion when he became known as Paul.

Editorial Reviews

This novel has three narrators: Luke, the disciple; Paul, the apostle; and "Auggie," a modern-day New Testament scholar. Together, they weave the story of Saul, the relentless persecutor of Jesus' followers until he became the tireless Christian apostle we know as Paul of Tarsus. A fictional retrieval of a redemptive story.

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Read an Excerpt

I, Saul

A Novel

By Jerry B. Jenkins, James S. MacDonald


Copyright © 2013 Jerry B. Jenkins and James S. MacDonald
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-61795-056-8




"call now. desper8."

The text appeared on Dr. Augie Knox's phone at 8:55 a.m., seconds before he was to turn it off—protocol for profs entering a classroom at Arlington Theological Seminary.

Augie could have fired off a "give me a minute," but the message was not signed and the sending number matched nothing in his contacts. The prefix 01139-06 meant Rome. He'd traveled extensively in his thirty-eight years and enjoyed many visits to the Eternal City, but such a text could easily portend one of those I've-been-mugged-and-need-money scams. Whatever this was could wait until he got the Systematic Theology final exam started and could step into the hall with his phone.

Augie had long been fascinated by his students' nervous chatter before final exams. One announced, "I looked you up in Who's Who, Doc, and I know your full name."

"Congratulations for discovering something you could have found in your student handbook four years ago."

"No! That just says Dr. Augustine A. Knox! I found out what the A stands for."

"Good for you. Now, a few instructions...."

"Aquinas! Augustine Aquinas Knox! Man, what other career choice did you have?"

"Thank you for revealing the thorn in my flesh. If you must know, that moniker was my father's idea." Augie mimicked his dad's monotone basso. "'Names are important. They can determine a life's course.'"

Many students chuckled, having sat under the elder Dr. Knox before he fell ill the year before.

"It also says you were adopted. Sorry, but it's published."

"No secret," Augie said.

Another hand shot up. "Was that a hint about the exam? Will we be speculating on Paul's thorn in the flesh?"

"He's only mentioned that mystery every class," another said.

Augie held up a hand. "I trust you're all prepared for any eventuality."

"So, what's your dad's name?"

"Ed!" someone called out. "Everybody knows that."

"Look it up," Augie said. "You may find it revealing."

With blue books distributed, Augie slipped out and turned on his phone. The plea from Rome had already dropped to third on his message list. At the top was a voice mail from Dr. Moore, who had been filling in as acting department chair since Augie's father had been hospitalized with a stroke.

Augie would have checked that one first, but next was a voice mail from Sofia Trikoupis, his heart. It was eight hours later in Athens, after five in the afternoon. "Call me at the end of your day," her message said. "I'll wait up." It would be midnight her time by then, but she apparently needed his undivided attention. That would bug him all day. How he longed for them to be together.

His phone vibrated. Rome again. "urgent. call now, pls!"

Augie pressed his lips together, thumbing in, "who's this?"

"trust me. begging."

"not w/out knowing who u r."

Augie waited more than a minute for a response, then snorted. As I figured. But as he headed back into the classroom, his phone buzzed again.


Augie stopped, heat rising in his neck. He quickly tapped in, "90 minutes OK?"

"now! critical."

Few people had been more important in Augie's life than Roger Michaels, the diminutive fifty-year-old South African with a James Earl Jones voice and a gray beard that seemed to double the size of his pale, gnomish face. Augie would never lead a tour of an ancient city without Roger as the guide.

"2 mins," Augie texted.

He rushed to his father's old office, which still bore the senior Dr. Knox's nameplate on the door. Augie knocked and pushed it open. "Les, I need a favor."

Dr. Moore took his time looking up from his work. "Number one, Dr. Knox, I did not invite you in."

"Sorry, but—."

"Number two, I have asked that you refer to me as Dr. Moore."

"My bad again, but listen—."

"And number three," the acting chair said, making a show of studying his watch, "we both know that at this very moment you are to be conducting—."

"Dr. Moore, I have an emergency call to make and I need you to stand in for me for a few minutes."

Moore sighed and rose, reaching for his suit coat. "I know what that's about. Take all the time you need."

Augie followed him down the hall. "You do?"

"You didn't get my message?"

"Oh, no, sorry. I saw one was there, but I—."

"But you assumed other messages were more important. I said we needed to chat after your first exam."

"Well, sure, I'll be here."

"Part of what we need to discuss is your father. Is that what your call is about?"

"What about my father?"

"We'll talk at ten."

"But is he—."

"There have been developments, Dr. Knox. But he is still with us."

As Dr. Moore headed for the classroom, Augie ducked into a stairwell, away from the windows and the relentless sun forecasters were saying would push the temperature at least twenty degrees above normal by 2:00 p.m., threatening the 107° record for the month.

Augie wasn't getting enough signal strength to complete his call, so he hurried back out to the corridor. Cell coverage was still weak, so he stepped outside. It had to be near 90° already. Scalp burning, he listened as the number rang and rang.

Augie moved back inside for a minute, braced by the air conditioning, then ventured out to try again. He waited two minutes, tried once more, and felt he had to get back to class.

On a third attempt, as he neared the entrance, it was clear someone had picked up a receiver and hung up. Augie dialed twice more as he walked back to take over for Dr. Moore. Just before he reached the classroom, his phone came alive again with a text.

"sorry. later. trash ur phone. serious."

Augie couldn't make it compute. Had his phone been traced? Tapped? If he got a new one, how would Roger know how to reach him?

Dr. Moore stood just inside the classroom door and emerged immediately when he saw Augie. "Talk to your mother?" he said.

"No, should I?"

Moore sighed and opened his palms. "You interrupt my work and don't check on your father?"

Augie reached for his cell again, but hesitated. If he used it, would he be exposing his mother's phone too?

"Call her after we've talked, Dr. Knox. Now I really must get back to my own responsibilities."

It was all Augie could do to sit still till the end of class. Before getting back to Dr. Moore, he dropped off the stack of blue books in his own office and used the landline to call his contact at Dallas Theological Seminary, just up the road. Arlington Sem sat equidistant between DTS to the east and the massive Southwestern Baptist Seminary to the west. Arlington was like the stepchild no one ever talked about, a single building for a couple of hundred students, struggling to stay alive in the shadows of those two renowned institutions. When Augie needed something fast, he was more likely to get it from the competition. Such as a new phone.

Like his father before him, Augie was the travel department at Arlington. No auxiliary staff handled logistics as they did at DTS and Southwestern. The head techie at Dallas was Biff Dyer, a string bean of a man a few years older than Augie with an Adam's apple that could apply for statehood. He could always be counted on to program Augie's phone, depending on what country he was traveling to.

"Calling from your office phone, I see," Biff said. "What happened to the cell I got you?"

"It's been compromised."

Biff chuckled. "Like you'd know. What makes you think so?"

"I need a new one. Trust me."

"I'll just switch out the chip. You're not gonna find a better phone. How soon you need it?"

"Fast as possible."

"Why doesn't that surprise me? I'm not deliverin' it. Can you come by during normal hours?"

There was a knock at Augie's door and he wrenched around to see Les Moore's scowl. "Gotta go, Biff."

"Sorry, Les. On my way right now. Or do you want to just meet here?"

"Here would not be any more appropriate than your insisting on our being on a first-name basis," Dr. Moore said, scanning the tiny chamber in which the guest chair was folded in a corner and brought out only when necessary.

"C'mon, Les. You were only a couple years ahead of me. We hung out, didn't we?"

"Hardly. You spent most of your free time in the gym with the—what?—six other jocks who happened to enroll here."

It was true. And everyone knew the library had been where to find Les Moore.

Augie looked at his watch. Another final at 11. He followed his interim boss back to his father's old office. It wasn't that much bigger than his, but at least the guest chair didn't block the door.

"Would you start with my dad?" Augie said as he sat.

"I would have thought you'd have already checked in with your mother, but all right. She called this morning, knowing you were in class. Your father has slipped into a coma."

Augie nodded slowly. "She okay?"

"Your mother? Sure. It's not like he's passed. She just thought you might want to visit this afternoon."

"Appreciate it."

"Now then, Dr. Knox, I have some paperwork here that I'm going to need you to sign. Frankly, it's not pleasant, but we're all expected to be team players and I'm going to assume you'll accede to the administration's wishes."

"What's up?"

"You're scheduled to teach summer-school Homiletics beginning four days after commencement."

"A week from today, right."

"And we have contracted with you for this stipend, correct?"

Why Les felt it necessary to pencil the figure on the back of a business card and dramatically slide it across the desk, Augie could not fathom.

"Yep, that's the fortune that's going to let me retire by forty."

"Um-hm. Humorous. It is my sad duty to ask you to agree to undertake the class for two-thirds that amount."

"You're serious."


That was for sure.

"Les—Dr. Moore, you know we do these classes pretty much as gifts to the sem. Now they seriously want us to do them for less?"

"This is entirely up to you."

"I can refuse?"

"We're not going to force you to teach a class when we have to renege on our agreement."

"Good, because I just don't think I can do it for that."

"I'll report your decision. We'll be forced to prevail upon a local adjunct instruct—."

"Like that youth pastor at Arlington Bible—."

"He's a graduate, Dr. Knox."

"I know! I taught him. And he's a great kid, but he didn't do all that well in Homiletics, and there's a reason they let him preach only a couple of times a year over there."

"He'll be happy to do it for this figure—probably even for less."

"And the students be hanged."

Les cocked his head. "Naturally, we would prefer you...."

Augie reached for his pen and signaled with his fingers for the document.

"I'm glad I can count on you, Dr. Knox. Now, while we're on the subject, I'm afraid there's more. You were due for a four percent increase beginning with the fall trimester."

"Let me guess, that's not going to happen either."

"It's worse."

"What, now it's a four percent decrease?"

"I wish."

"Oh, no."

"Dr. Knox, we have seen an alarming downturn in admissions, and the administration is predicting a fall enrollment that puts us at less than breakeven, even with massive budget cuts. We're all being asked to accept twenty percent reductions in pay."

Augie slumped. "I was hoping to get married this fall, Les. I can barely afford the payments on my little house as it is."

"This is across the board, Dr. Knox. The president, the deans, the chairs, all of us. Some departments are actually losing personnel. Maintenance will be cut in half, and we'll all be expected to help out."

Arlington had been staggering along on a shoestring for decades, but this was dire. "Tell me the truth, Dr. Moore. Is this the beginning of the end? Should I entertain the offers I've gotten from Dallas over the years?"

"Oh, no! The trustees wish us to weather this storm, redouble our efforts to market our distinctives, and then more than make up for the pay cuts as soon as we're able. Besides, the way your father bad-mouthed Dallas and Southwestern his whole career, you wouldn't dream of insulting him by going to either, would you?"

"He bad-mouthed everything and everybody, Les. You know that."

"Not a pleasant man. No offense."

Augie shrugged. "You worked for him. I lived with him."

"Do you know, I have heard not one word from your father since the day I was asked to temporarily assume his role? No counsel, no guidelines, no encouragement, nothing. I assumed he was angry that you had not been appointed—."

That made Augie laugh. "He still sees me as a high school kid! Forget all my degrees. Anyway, I wouldn't want his job, or yours. It's not me."

"How well I know. I mean, I'm just saying, you're not the typical prof, let alone department chair."

"I'm not arguing."

Augie couldn't win. Despite having been at the top of his classes in college and seminary, his having been a high school jock and continuing to shoot hoops, play touch football, and follow pro sports made him an outsider among real academics. Too many times he had been asked if he was merely a seminary prof because that was what his father wanted for him.

Dr. Moore slid the new employment agreement across the desk.

"Sorry, Les, but this one I'm going to have to think and pray about."

The interim chair seemed to freeze. "Don't take too long. If they aren't sure they can count on you for the fall, they'll want to consider the many out-of-work professors who would be thrilled, in the current economy, to accept."

"Yeah, that would help. Stock the faculty with young assistant pastors."

"May I hear from you by the end of the day?"

"Probably not, but you'll be the first to know what I decide."

Back in his own office, Augie popped the chip out of his cell phone and put it in a separate pocket. He called his mother from his desk phone to assure her he would see her at the hospital late in the afternoon, then called Biff to tell him he would try to stop by DTS on his way.

"What's the big emergency?" Biff said.

"Roger Michaels has himself in some kind of trouble."

"Tell me when you get here."

During his 11:00 a.m. final Augie was summoned to the administrative offices for an emergency call. On the way he stopped by to see if Les would stand in for him again, but his office was dark. The final would just have to be unsupervised for a few minutes.

"Do you know who's calling?" he said to the girl who had fetched him. If it was his mother ...

"Someone from Greece."

He finally reached the phone and discovered it was Sofia. "Thought you wanted me to call later, babe. You all right?"

"Roger is frantic to reach you."

"I know. He—."

"He gave me a new number and needs you to call right now, but not from your cell." She read it to him.

"Any idea what's going on, Sof?" Augie said as he scribbled. "This is not like him."

"No idea, but, Augie, he sounded petrified."

"That doesn't sound like him either."

"You can tell me what it's about later, but you'd better call him right away."

Augie rushed to his office and dialed the number in Rome. It rang six times before Roger picked up. "Augie?"

"Yes! What's—."

"Listen carefully. I've got just seconds. I need you in Rome as soon as you can get here."

"Rog, what's happening? This is the absolute worst time for me to—."

"Give Sofia your new cell number and text me your ETA. I'll give you a new number where you can call me from Fiumicino as soon as you get in."

"I don't know when I could get there, Rog. I've got—."

"Augie! You know I wouldn't ask if it weren't life or death."


Excerpted from I, Saul by Jerry B. Jenkins, James S. MacDonald. Copyright © 2013 Jerry B. Jenkins and James S. MacDonald. Excerpted by permission of WORTHY PUBLISHING.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.


Meet the Author

Jerry B. Jenkins’ novels have sold more than 70 million copies, including the phenomenal mega-bestselling Left Behind series. Twenty of his books have reached the New York Times Best Sellers List, including seven that debuted at number one, and also the USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. Jenkins has been featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine. Jerry and his wife, Dianna, live in Colorado.

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I, Saul 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Theophilusfamily More than 1 year ago
 I, Saul is...  An adrenaline rush, as we watch quiet professor Augustine Aquinas Knox answer a strange text message/phone call from a dear friend in dire trouble. Then we watch Augie prepare a Smith and Wesson .9 millimeter handgun, purchase a flight ticket and head off on an adventure that like all great adventures, he never expected, which is full of turns and plot twists that we readers don't see coming! I, Saul is...  A look into the Apostle Paul's life, often told in his own words and always vividly described from Paul's youth to his adult years before and then after he was transformed by our Lord, all the way to his final days, when Paul overflowed with boldness in the Spirit as he was held in a terrible prison.  In our day and age, we have lots of debate about whether Biblical writings are "authentic,"  about whether old-looking bits of parchments with unbiblical writings on them (about Jesus' wife, for example) are true, and the world is rocked with each new discovery. Now imagine that the parchments that Paul referred to in his letter to Timothy still existed today, preserved in almost their exact original condition. Imagine that they were found...  Imagine that the humble Professor Augie Knox, his best friend and mentor Roger- a man who knows the Bible and the places of the Bible better than the back of his own hand but has yet to know personal redemption through Jesus, and Augie's beautiful fiancee Sofia are what stands between Paul's preserved memoir being a gift to the world or it becoming a payday for corrupt and greedy people.  Imagine that even stronger  than the adventure, of which there is a bucketful, is the theme  of spiritual renewal, especially amid complex family relationships.  I am delighted with this book.   I am very grateful to have received a copy from the publisher to review here at my blog.  {Hi Worthy!!! Waves hand at Worthy Publishing.}  I am also in a state of terrible suspense, because the ending of I, Saul, while it wraps up this first part of the adventure quite nicely, also lays wonderful groundwork for a sequel. So now I need to wait for I, Paul. Well, I guess I can tell y'all to read this one in the meanwhile.
ActuaryLady More than 1 year ago
If, like me, you've wondered what the Apostle Paul's final days in that Roman dungeon might have been like, then read I, Saul by Jerry Jenkins . A somewhat obscure reference Paul makes to parchments in verse 4:13 of his final letter, 2 Timothy, is the basis for a story involving discovery of those parchments in current-day Rome along with a back-story from biblical times. In the book's odd-numbered chapters, a modern-day theology professor from Texas travels to Rome to try to save the first-century parchment from robbers; in even-numbered chapters, the Apostle Luke, after befriending Paul's prison guards, is allowed to read the parchment that turns out to be a riveting autobiography by his friend Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus). It's fortuitous that when the story gets particularly intense, the next chapter is back to the story that is separated by 20 centuries. In both time periods, there's romance, intrigue, history, and the bad guys vs good guys scenario that is a part of the human condition; but most of all there is a story of faith and of family legacy. And in typical Jenkins fashion, Scripture references become engaging dialogue. I definitely look forward to the sequel, I, Paul, for resolution in both eras of the story, for a further look at the early days of The Church, and for inspiration from Paul's life..   Note: I was provided with an Advance Reader's Copy of this book.
SandrasBookNook More than 1 year ago
I originally thought this was a biography of Saul/Paul when I first requested the book. I was somewhat disappointed to find out it was a mix of modern day and a fictionalized time that we know little about, but decided to keep an open mind. It started out fairly well, and I was enjoying it. I was taken aback that Scriptures set in Paul's time weren't from the King James Version. The modern language did NOT fit with the time and their way of speaking. Unfortunately, it got a lot worse after that. The modern day times were okay, but I definitely enjoyed the sections from Paul's time less and less. Originally, even though it was a fictionalized account, I felt that the character shown could very well fit with what we know of Saul/Paul. I had a definite issue with the whole issue of Naomi and Paul years and years later ending a day of preaching and service for God with tears over a lost love given what the Scriptures teach us, especially having Paul call them his "adulterous yearning". That frankly made me sick and--honestly--somewhat angry with the author. When they started changing the Bible I was ready to pitch the whole book and only finished it as I was so near the end. This book has Paul being with (though not an actual member)of the Sanhedrin during Christ's time and the sole person to bring about the death of Stephen. The Bible says "Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord..." but the book has only Saul crying out and giving all the instructions on how to kill him instead of just laying their clothes at his feet However, the Bible clearly calls Saul a "young man" at the time of Stephen's death. According to the book he would be well over 30, and at 30 he would be considered a "man" and lose the distinction of "young man". There is no way the Sanhedrin would follow a young man in such weighty matters. I can deal with a poorly written book, a book that just isn't my cup of tea, or even a character or characters I don't care for. Call me a fanatic, purist, Bible-believer (I'll thank you for the compliment!), but DON'T mess with God's Word!! I try to be generous in my reviews even with books I don't care for or actively dislike, but I will not be gentle with someone twisting or changing the Bible. That alone dropped this from a probably 3 star to a 1 star (I can't give it no stars) review. I received a copy of this book from Worthy Publishing for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
MinnieEM More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. The cross between history and today is wonderful. I would highly recommend it.
Fitzysmom More than 1 year ago
I love a good redemption story and this new book by Jerry Jenkins has two storylines that qualify! The first chapter starts in modern day Texas and thrusts us into the life of seminary professor, Dr. Augie Knox. While giving end of term finals Dr. Knox gets a mysterious text from a friend in trouble. Augie feels compelled to help and puts everything on hold to fly across the world to see what he can do. Chapter two brings us to first century Rome where we find the Apostle Paul imprisoned during his final days on earth. Luke, the disciple of Christ comes to minister to him and help him prepare for his impending execution. Nero wants Paul kept alive so they can put him to death. Paul isn't so concerned about dying but he is adamant about finishing his memoir for his friends and family. From that point on the two stories are woven together with a sense of mystery and intrigue that has the pages flying by. Even if you are very familiar with the story of Saul of Tarsus and his Damascus road experience that allows him to become the Apostle Paul, I think you will be drawn into the details that Mr. Jenkins has written. I appreciated how the story stayed true to scripture yet it fleshed out the characters with feelings and emotions that brought them to life. Even though I knew Paul was headed to execution I wept at his familiar words. While my favorite part of the book was that of Paul, the story of Augie is also an intriguing read. Throughout the tale we are slowly introduced to the difficult relationship that Augie has with his adopted father. I won't give anything away, but the redemption that is brought about with the father and son is very heartwarming. If you enjoy a fast paced mystery that is filled with historical facts I think you will really enjoy this new book by Jerry Jenkins. I particularly think this is his best work yet.  I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Will anxiously wait for next book.
d1of1 More than 1 year ago
This book, written by one of my favorite authors, Jerry Jenkins (Left behind series, which I've read twice) is just as good if not better than his other books. I loved it. It brings the bible to life in a way that is in common words we can understand. Thank you Mr. Jenkins and Mr. MacDonald! I want MORE! :o) (Also loved Matthew, Mark, Luke &John).
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy Christian based fiction you will devower every page of this book! I purchased this book because of who wrote it and the synopsis sounded interesting. The story begins with a mysterious urgent phone call, intrigue and potential danger abroad. Along side this storyline is a dramatization of the life of Saul/Paul. The ending will surprise you! If you use a nook i will be more than happy to share it with you
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
likesmusic More than 1 year ago
I, Saul by Jerry B. Jenkins is definitely a five star novel. This book is a stirring fiction with facts of scripture and brings to life one of history's greatest men, the Apostle Paul.   The story starts with Augie getting a text from his friend to drop everything and rush to his aid as there has been a murder. Augie's friend is next in line to be killed. The story goes back and forth between modern day Texas and first century Rome. Augie is a seminary professor who is struggling with trying to make his father love him and trying to get on with his life and marry his finance Sofia. The mystery is an artifact ( the memoir of Paul's is found in a prison wall) is stolen and the thieves are not who you think they are. If you like mystery and Biblical fact and fiction, then this is the story for you.  It is fact paced and I loved reading the story of Paul's life as a child up to his death. This novel has Paul's account of Stephen's stoning and Paul's conversion on the Road to Damascus. These facts are written on parchment that Luke, ( the doctor) tries to help Paul finish and protect before Paul is killed.  Paul and Roger (the one that sent the text)  are friends and have been for years. Roger knows the Bible and is able to quote it but he is not a believer and that is the one thing that Augie wants to make sure gets resolved though out the story. I won't tell you whether or not Roger becomes a believer or not! But I know you want to know, so read this book! Even through the book is fiction I believe it will give the reader a new insight into way Paul acted the way he did before he met the Lord and why he was so great a witness after. The only thing I was disappointed in was the very last sentence of this book, ( because I, Paul is coming in 2014). I want to read it now but am eagerly waiting for this second book about Paul. I was given a copy of this book for my honest review by Worthy Publishing Group.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago