365 Devotions pairing Scripture from the King James Bible and lines from Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets.
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About the Author
Bob Hostetler is a writer and speaker. His thirty-six books to date include two best-selling devotionals co-authored with Josh McDowell and Take Time To Be Holy, a one-year devotional drawn from the writings of Samuel Logan Brengle. He has won two Gold Medallion Awards, four Ohio Associated Press awards, and an Amy Foundation Award. He is the founding pastor of Cobblestone Community Church in Oxford, Ohio. He and his wife Robin have two children and five grandchildren.
Read an Excerpt
The Bard and the Bible
A Shakespeare Devotional
By Bob Hostetler
Worthy Publishing GroupCopyright © 2016 Bob Hostetler
All rights reserved.
A MOMENT TO REMEMBER
* * *
For since the birth of Cain, the first male child, To him that did but yesterday suspire, There was not such a gracious creature born.
King John, III, iv, 79
And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain.
No historical records exist of William Shakespeare's birth. His entrance into the world would be a complete mystery if not for a page in the records of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford, England. The faded ink on a yellowed page indicates that the son of John Shakespeare, a leather merchant and glovemaker, was baptized on April 26, 1564. From that single line, scholars infer that the greatest dramatist and poet the English-speaking world has arguably ever known was born on or near April 23, 1564.
William was the third child of the glovemaker and his wife, Mary Arden, a woman from a prominent family (in fact, she married the son of a tenant who farmed land owned by her father). Two sisters — Joan and Margaret — were born before him but died in infancy. His birth was followed by the arrival of five siblings — Gilbert, Joan (apparently named after her deceased sister), Anne, Richard, and Edmund. William's birth would have been an occasion for celebration, but even more so his continued survival in an age when three in ten children died before the age of ten (William's younger sister Anne would later die at eight years old).
We know little else of Shakespeare's birth. We know about as much of the birth of Adam's firstborn, to which Shakespeare would later refer in his play, The Life and Death of King John, as we do of John Shakespeare's first son. Such "ordinary" moments — especially in the sixteenth century — often came and went without record or remark. At the time, none could have guessed that it was a moment to be remembered.
How can you make this coming year one to remember?
A PIECE OF SCRIPTURE
Shakespeare quoted from or alluded to the Bible more than a thousand times in his plays — more than any other Elizabethan playwright.
Shakespeare was probably most familiar with the Geneva Bible (also called the Puritan Bible), first published in England in 1576 (when Shakespeare was twelve).
Shakespeare alluded to Cain twenty-five times in thirty-eight plays.
A NEW DAY
* * *
Or that I could forget what I have been, Or not remember what I must be now.
Richard II, III, iii, 138
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Timing is everything.
It is true in music and cooking, acting and comedy, in hitting a fastball or starting a business. And, judging from William Shakespeare's play The Tragedy of King Richard the Second, it is true for kings and warriors.
Shakespeare pursued both dramatic and political goals in portraying Richard II (1367–1400) as indecisive and ineffective. He also painted him as painfully self -absorbed. Moody. Vacillating. But most importantly, Richard's timing is shown to have been horrible. If he had returned to England from Ireland just one day earlier, all would have been well. If he had made peace with his rival, Henry Bolingbroke, at the first opportunity, things would have been hunky-dory. If he had truly listened to his advisors before it was too late, everything would have been tickety-boo (that's a Britishism — appropriate, don't you think?). But he was repeatedly too quick to judge, to give up, and to feel sorry for himself, saying, "Oh ... that I could forget what I have been, or not remember what I must be now." The irony is that he could have done so at many points.
There may be no better time to forget what has been and envision a different future for yourself than at the beginning of a new year. It is an ideal moment to commit your life and future to following Jesus, claiming the promise that "old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is an opportunity to forget what has been and plan for what may yet be.
You began a new year yesterday; how can you make it a great one?
BY TALE OR HISTORY
No one knows for sure what plays Shakespeare wrote first, but they may have been Richard III and the three-part Henry VI, which were written in the early 1590s.
Richard II, chronicles the earliest events in the eight historical plays Shakespeare wrote relating events that occurred in fifteenth-century England.
REDEEM THE TIME
* * *
I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.
Richard II, V, v, 49
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Richard II became the king of England when he was ten years old. His uncle was really in charge since Richard was so young, but it still had to be great to be king. As if that wasn't enough, as he grew to adulthood, he became a tall, handsome, intelligent man. But — at least as portrayed in Shakespeare's history play The Tragedy of King Richard the Second — he didn't quite have it all. He could be capricious and vindictive, traits that eventually led to his downfall and sorrowful abdication to his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke. In Act 5 of the play, Richard — imprisoned in Pomfret Castle — bemoans his lost crown and squandered reign, saying, "I wasted time, and now doth time waste me."
Paul, the great church planter and letter writer of the first century, told friends in Ephesus to "redeem" time. The word in Greek is exagorazo (also used in Galatians 3:13, 4:5, and Colossians 4:5), which means to buy or purchase a commodity. We often speak of spending or saving time, but Paul said we should buy it. What did he mean by that? Probably this: recognize its value, make what sacrifices we must to gain it, and use it wisely and well.
What will be the wisest ways to "buy time" in the days, weeks, and months of this new year to come?
A PIECE OF SCRIPTURE
King James I of England, who authorized the translation and publication of a new version of the Bible, was also King James VI of Scotland.
The King James Version is also referred to as the "Authorized Version" (AV), because it was produced with the king's approval.
The King James Version is the best-selling Bible version of all time.
DON'T BE A PEST
* * *
Unbidden guests Are often welcomest when they are gone.
Henry VI, Part I, II, ii, 55
Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.
Henry VI, Part I, one of Shakespeare's earliest plays, begins with the funeral of Henry V, who was succeeded by his young son, Henry VI. The history play depicts the loss of England's territories in France and the growing factions that led to the Wars of the Roses (so named later because the supporters of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, came to be identified by a white rose, while a red rose emblazoned the supporters of John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset).
In the play's second act, when Lord Talbot receives an invitation to pay a call on the Countess of Auvergne, he encourages the Duke of Bedford to accompany him. Bedford declines, however, saying, "I have heard it said, unbidden guests / Are often welcomest when they are gone." In other words, he didn't want to crash the countess's party.
A similar sentiment is found among the proverbs of King Solomon, who was renowned for wisdom and wealth: "Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee" (Proverbs 25:17). Modern parlance puts the same idea as, "Don't make a nuisance of yourself" or "Don't wear out your welcome."
Could any of your "neighbors" or friends use a little more breathing room?
BY TALE OR HISTORY
Some scholars consider Henry VI, Part I to be one of Shakespeare's weaker plays; it is the play most often cut when the Henry VI plays are staged as a whole.
Henry VI, Part I was originally titled The First Part of the Contention Betwixt the Two Famous Houses of York.
WRITTEN IN THE BOOK
* * *
I'll note you in my book of memory.
Henry VI, Part I, II, iv, 101
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened ... and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
It sounds a little like a phrase from a Valentine's Day card: "I'll note you in my book of memory."
But the original sentiment is far from tender and affectionate. Those words are part of a bitter argument between Richard Plantagenet (Duke of York) and John Beaufort (Duke of Somerset), whose rivalry gave rise to the Wars of the Roses in fifteenth-century England. As the argument intensifies, Somerset mentions the sensitive subject of Richard's father having been executed for treason. Richard replies that his father was executed but was no traitor; he vows, "I'll note you in my book of memory / To scourge you for this apprehension." That is, "I won't forget this — and you'll get yours, bub!"
Scripture depicts a "book of memory" too — actually, "books." In the last book of the Bible, John (who was a close friend and follower of Jesus) recorded a vision of the End of Days. He saw God seated on a throne and the souls of men and women standing before Him. There, books were opened — including "the book of life" — and only those whose names were written in "the book of life" were eligible for the wonders and beauties of the life-to-come depicted in Revelation 21 and 22. The scene can prompt hope or dread, depending on where you stand in relation to Jesus Christ, "the Lamb of God" (John 1:29).
Is your name written in the Lamb's book of life?
A PIECE OF SCRIPTURE
The term "book of life" appears eight times in the New Testament: once in Philippians 4:3, and seven times in the Book of Revelation (3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 20:12, 20:15, 21:27, 22:19).
Jesus apparently referred to the "book of life" when he told his first followers to "rejoice, because your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20).
* * *
Defer no time! Delays have dangerous ends.
Henry VI, Part I, III, ii, 33
Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.
1 Samuel 14:7
Procrastination is an orphan. Few embrace it, though many practice it.
Philip Stanhope, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, famously said, "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today."
Poet Edward Young intoned, "Procrastination is the thief of time."
Reignier, the Duke of Anjou in Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part I, would surely agree. He urged the French attack on Rouen with the words, "Defer no time! Delays have dangerous ends." Or, as Marian the librarian told her piano student in The Music Man, "Don't dawdle, Amaryllis."
The Bible describes an incident long before the battle for Rouen. Referring to the first king of Israel, it says, "Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree" (1 Samuel 14:2). Those words reveal more than may appear at first glance. King Saul commanded six hundred soldiers, but they were poorly armed and they faced a Philistine garrison of thousands. So he "deferred time." He "dawdled." But his son, Jonathan, took the initiative, reasoning, "It may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few." His armor bearer replied, "Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart" (1 Samuel 14:6–7). With just one sword between them they confronted the enemy, and their audacity incited a panic among the Philistines, turning their apparent suicide mission into a rout.
Delays have dangerous ends. Decisive action often wins the day.
What necessary or important action have you been delaying?
A MODERN QUILL
Reignier (or René), Duke of Anjou and "King of Naples," was portrayed in Sir Walter Scott's novel Anne of Geierstein and in the 1845 play, King René's Daughter, by the Danish poet Henrik Hertz (which the Russian composer Tchaikovsky later adapted into the opera Iolanta).
LIGHT IN DARKNESS
* * *
Now, God be praised, that to believing souls Gives light in darkness, comfort in despair.
Henry VI, Part II, II, i, 64
Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
Henry VI, Part II, is (can you guess?) the second of Shakespeare's three plays depicting the reign of Henry VI. It portrays Henry's inability to prevent division in his kingdom, the murder of his trusted ally Duke of Gloucester, the rise of the Duke of York (later Edward IV), and the beginning of the Wars of the Roses.
In Act II, a man calling himself Saunder Simpcox is brought to King Henry. He claims to have been born blind and healed that day of his blindness. Upon hearing it, the king exclaims, "Now, God be praised, that to believing souls gives light in darkness, comfort in despair." But the astute Duke of Gloucester soon proves the man to be a fraud, who is chased from the room in disgrace.
The deceit of the man and his companions doesn't negate the truth of Henry's words. And the incident evokes a scene in chapter nine of the Gospel of John. A man "blind from birth" was shown to Jesus (verse 1) and He, reminding His followers that He is "the light of the world" (verse 5), healed the man. Later, the man appeared in the Temple courts, where he was confronted and interrogated by the religious authorities. They repeatedly questioned him — and his parents — until he answered, "One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see" (verse 25). God does give light in darkness and hope in despair.
What "one thing" do you know from personal experience?
BY TALE OR HISTORY
Some scholars think Henry VI, Part II was the first play Shakespeare wrote.
The Henry VI trilogy may not have been written in chronological order, though they are often performed together and in order today.
With sixty-nine characters, Henry VI, Part II is one of Shakespeare's most crowded plays. Only Henry VIII had more (seventy-one).
AS SEASONS FLEET
* * *
Sometimes hath the brightest day a cloud; And after summer evermore succeeds Barren winter, with his wrathful nipping cold; So cares and joys abound, as seasons fleet.
Henry VI, Part II, II, iv, 1
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Shakespeare was no fan of winter. The Duke of Gloucester's portrayal of summer succeeding "barren winter, with his wrathful nipping cold" is one of many times the Bard referred negatively to winter. The first lines of Richard III contrast "the winter of our discontent" with "glorious summer." In As You Like It, the servant Adam compares his advanced age to "lusty winter, / Frosty, but kindly." His poem Venus and Adonis compares "Love's gentle spring" to "Lust's winter."
Still, Gloucester makes a good point. Sometimes the brightest days have a cloud. Cares and joys intermingle as seasons come and go. We may prefer sunshine to clouds and summer to winter. But we should not deceive ourselves into believing that God is present and active only on sunny days and summer nights — nor that He blesses only with sunshine and warmth. When Jesus said, "He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45), He was not contrasting "good" sunshine with "bad" rain; He was showing that God's blessings of sun and rain are given to everyone, and so we should "do good towards all" (Galatians 6:10 NLT), like our Father in heaven.
What blessings can you shower on others today?
A MODERN QUILL
The first known major American performance of Henry VI, Part II occurred at the Pasadena (California) Playhouse in 1935.
Henry VI, Part II was staged at the Swan Theater in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2000 with Richard II, Henry V, Richard III, and the two other parts of Henry VI as This England: The Histories, an eight-part history cycle.
* * *
Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep.
Henry VI, Part II, III, 1, 53
Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.
Some people can be read like an open book, like comedian Flip Wilson's character "Geraldine," who boasted, "What you see is what you get." Others, however, are harder to size up — maybe because they are quiet or reserved. Or maybe because their gestures and expressions don't match their words or actions. Or maybe because they are hiding something.
Excerpted from The Bard and the Bible by Bob Hostetler. Copyright © 2016 Bob Hostetler. Excerpted by permission of Worthy Publishing Group.
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.
Table of Contents
ABOUT THE AUTHOR,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Shakespeare is quoted all over, from the guy in the street to the crew of the USS Enterprise. But you don’t need to be acquainted with Shakespeare to enjoy The Bard and the Bible. Hostetler did the footwork, picking out pertinent lines from the bard’s plays, explaining the context, then pointing out thought-provoking parallels in the Bible—which Shakespeare often quoted! This book is a cool gift for anyone who loves and reads God’s Word. (Note: like most devotionals, the readings are divided into a page a day. But I found myself reading several pages at a time. You’ll be tempted, too!) The publisher provided a free copy in exchange for my objective review.
THE BARD AND THE BIBLE is a quirky mix of quotes from the Bible and Shakespeare's writings, little-known facts and history of Shakespeare's time, and Hostetler's personal reflections and comments. Hostetler has arranged his informative and engaging book in 365 devotional-style entries - perfect to read in small bursts. Although the book is more an enjoyable ramble with Bob Hostetler than a true devotional, I forgive him because it's so delightful. (Note: I received a free copy in exchange for this honest review.)
Bob Hostetler makes many of Shakespeare's nuggets of truth accessible for the unacquainted while still intriguing for the scholarly. As an English teacher and lover of all things literary, this combination of beautiful King James Bible verses and witty Shakespearean quotations was an instant sell for me. However, Hostetler ensures that anyone opening to any page of the book can understand and apply the day's reading. He provides just enough background on the day's quotes to give context and allow the reader to make connections between the two texts and his or her own daily life. The entries begin with the two quotes, one from Shakespeare, and one from the King James Version of the Bible. Hostetler explains them in several paragraphs as he interweaves connections from everyday life. He concludes each day's reading with a thought-provoking question, often referring back to the verbiage of the texts. (E.g., "Are you considering a 'sweet' course of action that could turn sour?") The question is easily understood and relevant in the context of the day's passages Hostetler has illuminated. It's refreshing to see so many of Shakespeare's universal themes understood and applied from a Biblical perspective, as doubtless they would have been in the playwright's highly biblically-literate time. Perhaps my favorite part of the book has little to do with its devotional nature. Each page ends with a short trivia tidbit section about the Bible, history, Shakespeare's life, words Shakespeare coined, etc. Every tidbit leaves me wanting to skip ahead and learn more of the little-known trifles. I'm really not the type to read daily devotional books, but this one has me sold. It appeals simultaneously to my intellect and my spirituality. After all, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, AND with all thy MIND." Learning about life and God through the lens of one of the greatest authors in human history engages me as a whole person. Disclosure: I have received a free reviewer copy in exchange for an honest review of this book.
I'm not one that enjoys the King James Bible or Shakespeare. This is for all the reasons Bob points out in the Introduction. They are written in a language that is not a way people speak anymore and is easily misunderstood. This is one of the many reasons I enjoy this devotional; it ties them together and dives into the meaning. I usually only read books when I travel for work or for fun. This devotional is a quick, once a day read that gives you something to think about on the drive to work, over a morning coffee (or tea if you prefer), or where ever you could take 2 minutes to read a short, but thought provoking passage for the day. While I've attempted many devotionals in the past, this is the first one that I've kept up with for more than a few days. The tie to Shakespeare along with the fun facts at the end of each day make it something to look forward to each day.
Bob Hostetler’s new devotional, The Bard and the Bible, reads like the author is sitting across from you in a coffee shop each morning offering you a friendly jumpstart that is something like a pithy sermonette that includes a little history lesson, a self-check for mental health, surprising references to pop culture and art, as well as a thoughty question or two to uproot your complacency. And all in the context of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry. Not just for literary types (though they will enjoy the Shakespeare and references to other works) since Hostetler provides an easy-to-follow quick context for each work he references. And not just for Bible junkies since Hostetler provides simple quick context for those references too. Hostetler manages to keep his ultimately serious messages easy to take by offering witty parenthetical asides in second person, making sure you smile a little on your way to being confronted by probing subject matter. Though Hostetler’s style is basically colloquial, his purpose is to teach the reader to take seriously the challenge of his January 9 entry, Deep Waters: “It takes a wise person to discern such things (our motives, thoughts, and intentions) and bring them to light”. His intent is to encourage us to “cultivate the inner life” each time we pick up the book. (It also takes a wise person to keep his vast knowledge of Shakespeare and Biblical theology slightly under wrap so those of us who haven’t read every play can grasp something important in a few paragraphs a day.)
The Bard and the Bible, written by Bob Hostetler, reflects a creative, devotional interplay between Shakespeare's works and the King James Version of the Bible. One does not need any knowledge of either book to understand and appreciate The Bard and the Bible; but for those people who do, a greater thirst will be instilled to dig deeper into Shakespeare and The Word. This book is not simply giving information and drawing a connection between the two; Hostetler pulls the reader into the texts by asking reflective questions to be pondered. Hostetler is a student of both Shakespeare and the Bible; how else would this author be able to read one and seemingly effortlessly make the connection with the other. Job well done!
“beggared all description.” -Antony and Cleopatra Shakespeare lovers rejoice! Bob Hostetler’s The Bard and the Bible combines verses from the King James Version of the Bible with quotations from the master playwright himself. Like peanut butter and chocolate, they make a great Reese’s Cup of awesomeness. It only took 400 years, but it is great to be able to read both at the same time. The daily devotionals in The Bard and the Bible will give you something to think about—the book is overflowing with fascinating information about the greatest English language masterpieces of all time. But more than that, you will find daily inspiration and spiritual connection as Hostetler brings new light to familiar and lesser-known passages of Shakespeare and scripture. By drawing on timeless material, The Bard and the Bible speaks to today’s readers, keeping a light tone that still provokes thought and reflection.
The Bard and the Bible: A Shakespeare Devotional by Bob Hostetler Did you know that Shakespeare’s plays are full of Bible references? Some are obvious, but many require very careful reading and a thorough familiarity with the Bible. The Bard and the Bible pairs 365 short passages from the King James Version of the Bible with lines from Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets. The poetry of Shakespeare and the power of God’s Word will enrich the reader’s understanding and appreciation of both. Shakespeare’s writing contains more references to the Bible than the plays of any other Elizabethan playwright. Numerically the book with the most references is the book of Psalms, and usually Shakespeare refers to this book as it appears in the Anglican Prayer Book. The Bible story that appears most often—more than 25 times—is the story of Cain and Abel. There are so many references to the opening chapters of Genesis in Shakespeare’s plays that scholars make comments to the effect that Shakespeare must have had these chapters nearly memorized. Shakespeare’s allusions are sometimes generalized, as for example to characters in the Bible, but often the parallels are linguistic and specific, requiring a specialist’s knowledge. In each reading, Hostetler takes a line from Shakespeare and a similar verse from the KJV, ties them together and weaves a knowledgeable snippet that gives insight into one of Shakespeare's works and the Bible. Hostetler uses appropriately places humor throughout giving the books a light feel for some deep subjects. I have always been intrigued with Shakespeare’s works and what I like most about Hostetler's work is his devotional question at the end of each day; appropriate to the referenced subject and provoked deep thought. Whether or not you know much about Shakespeare you will find interesting tidbits in this clever and unique devotional connecting Shakespeare and the bible. I received a digital copy of this book from Worthy Publishing Group in their First Look Blog Tour for my review.
Bob Hostetler combines a spot of Shakespeare with a bit of Bible in a surprising "Oh-I-see-how-you-did-that" kind of way. And just as you, the reader, are cementing those connections, Hostetler sends a question your way--a question that forces you to examine your life and your day. During my reading of an advanced reader's copy of The Bard and the Bible, I was challenged by questions like, "Are you living for earth and dust, or something better?" "Is there an area in your life where you're not being honest with yourself?" "How can you sincerely seek God's kingdom and submit to His will today?" I would recommend this devotional to readers who want to be entertained by Shakespeare's clever words and challenged by the Bible's strong truths.
A devotional that pairs the beautiful, majestic Elizabethan English of the King James Bible with corresponding passages of Shakespeare’s equally sublime poetry, and then draws thought-provoking spiritual insights from the themes they address—brilliant! The Bard and the Bible by Bob Hostetler is an excellent guide not only for meditation on the timeless truths found in the Scriptures and in Shakespeare’s works, but also for their practical application in our lives. Those of us who grew up reading the KJV had no difficulty deciphering Shakespeare, and we grew up to be lovers of the language. But you don’t have to be familiar with either the Bard or the KJV to get a lot out this devotional. Each day’s reading is short and pithy, just the right length for busy readers. And Hostetler’s lucid, engaging style makes the commentary easy to grasp for minds overloaded with the day to day. He reveals depths in the paired passages that aren’t always apparent at first but that point to godly principles we can apply to issues we face in our everyday lives. A question at the end of the commentary then challenges the reader to take action on the insights gained. I also found the short section of information about Shakespeare and his works included at the end of each devotional to be interesting and fun. I highly recommend The Bard and the Bible as a fresh new resource for daily Bible study!
I must admit, I went into this book a bit skeptical that there could be much of a connection between Shakespeare and the King James Bible, aside from the thees and thous. I was going to need some convincing. But once I got started, I found both the organization and the insights/connections fascinating. I found I was not only reading a devotional; I was also learning about Shakespeare's works through Bob's factoids at the end of each devotional. You don't have to have read all of Shakespeare -- or even very much of Shakespeare -- to benefit from this devotional. I have only two devotional books where I've found myself reading ahead because each entry was so fascinating or inspiring that I wanted to keep reading. One is Voices From the Past: Puritan Devotional Readings. This is the other one.
I was never a fan of Shakespeare. In fact, I dreaded going to class to study Shakespeare and was relieved when it was over. As a teenager, I just didn't get it. But I am a fan of Bob Hostetler's writing and have read many of his books. So I decided to give his book, The Bard and the Bible a try. Well let me tell you how surprised and delighted I was to read this book of devotionals! In this creative and fascinating book, I was wowed by inspiring insights from the Word of God and Shakespeare. Yes, even Shakespeare! The Bard and the Bible consists of 365 devotionals, one for each day. Bob's book is like a bag of Lay's Potato Chips. You don't want to stop at one! I have to admit that I'm guilty of reading several in each setting and savoring each one. This book is beautifully written and once again, Bob Hostetler does not disappoint. This is a marvelous book for Shakespeare lovers (and for those - like myself - who weren't). You'll enjoy his wit. This is a five-star book. It makes a great gift. I also encourage you to read Bob's other books. They're simply amazing! Judy Gyde, Author Harvest Fields: Sowing Your Faith, Reaping God's Joy
"A wonderful devotional book The Bard and the Bible, written by Bob Hostetler is both delightful and inspirational! Bob's knowledge of Shakespeare and the Word of God make this such an enjoyable devotional read, you want to continue past the daily requirement. I must admit I did just that! I read it many pages at a time, sorry Bob! You will enjoy the history, the poetry and vignettes of the Elizabethan era brought into perspective." Ronald W. Livingston, CFRE Crescendo Consulting Services
After reading just a few pages of The Bard and the Bible, I was amazed at the way Bob seamlessly pairs together lines from Shakespeare with scripture. Each devotional not only gives you background information linked Shakespeare’s writing, but brings the topic at hand into our everyday spiritual lives. Even if you haven’t picked up Shakespeare since high school, spending a couple minutes a day with this book is a must! I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
"When you hang around Bob Hostetler, or his books, you learn by osmosis. Especially with his new devotional, The Bard and the Bible, Bob's deeper understanding of both Shakespeare and his Lord, lead me closer to God, less afraid of embracing the Truth.” Virelle Kidder, author of Meet Me at the Well
The Bard and The Bible – A Shakespeare Devotional Bob Hostetler, 2016, Worthy Inspired, Franklin TN Periodically an idea surfaces that seems naturally infused with genius. So obvious, yet hitherto unaddressed. Bob Hostetler’s recently released The Bard and The Bible reflects such a dynamic. The early years of the 17th century are described as the ‘golden age’ of English literature epitomized by the publication of Shakespeare’s unequalled works and the production of the elegant King James Bible. By fusing the life-giving words scripture with the evocative language of Shakespeare in a daily devotional Bob Hostetler is giving us a rich resource for inspiration and illumination. The overall structure follows the rhythms, seasons and national themes present in the calendar year in a familiar 365 one-page devotional style. The text is eminently, readable, yet so inherently rich and graceful. The combination is, in the deepest sense of the word, inspiring. At the conclusion of each page are additional historic and linguistic factoids that serve to supplement the age, life and language of Shakespeare. So, thank you Bob Hostetler, this is surely destined to become a best-seller, used throughout the years, for many years, by many people. Count me in that number. Richard Munn, Colonel The Salvation Army USA Eastern Territory Secretary for Theology and Christian Ethics
Bob Hostetler has crafted another amazing and incredibly creative book. The beauty of this book being a devotional is the reader gets to enjoy a little gem of Shakespeare and the bible every day. The bible verses and corresponding excerpts from Shakespeare's works complement each other so well, one might think they were written by the same person. The book is also a history lesson on all things Shakespeare that will delight even the reader that might not love the bard as much as true fans. I will be recommending this book to a lot of people, not to mention it makes a unique church confirmation or graduation gift!
As soon as I read the introduction, I was intrigued by Bob Hostetler’s original and creative alignment of the Bible and Shakespeare’s works. The Bard and the Bible is a wonderful combination of a Bible verse, a quote from Shakespeare, and then various interesting facts about history or perhaps The Bard himself. Bob writes his devotionals for each day in a way that explains both texts in new and fresh ways. Having studied both Shakespeare (somewhat) and the Bible, I can honestly say that I was cut to the heart many times in this devotional through the paring of these two very different texts and Bob’s witty, thoughtful and sincere words. John Meaux, MDiv
I really enjoyed The Bard and the Bible. It was a really neat way to look at both the Bible and Shakespeare. I had never been a huge Shakespeare fan, but it really made me get over the language barrier by making me realize that I had been reading the KJV for many years…..DUH! I had been looking for a devotional when I had the opportunity to read this one. I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review.
As someone who has always enjoyed the idea of reading Shakespeare more than the actual reading of Shakespeare, I was delighted to find this devotional both spiritually encouraging and a perfect introduction to the works I've long meant to tackle. I shouldn't have expected anything less, as the author's light-hearted, witty, and somewhat self-effacing style is perfectly disposed to making highbrow literature a bit more accessible. Shakespeare deals with timeless themes; Hostetler reminds us of this and then plumbs the wisdom Scripture to speak to them. This devotional is highly readable, interesting, and relevant. It's only drawback is that the reader may be tempted to read it straight through rather than once daily!
The Bard and the Bible cleverly intertwines Scripture with Shakespearean text. With eloquently drafted devotions, incredible parallels, and intriguing facts about Shakespeare and his plays, Hostetler has composed a must-read devotional. From the esteemed-Shakespearean scholars to those who have never read a play will benefit from comprehensible applications and Hostetler's clear comprehension of Shakespeare's plays and the Bible. The Bard and the Bible is by far the best devotional I have ever read.
The Bard and the Bible pairs passages of the Bible, the most important book ever written, with snippets written by William Shakespeare, arguably one of the best British writers ever. The daily devotions that result are unique and engaging, and each ends with a practical application to take into your day. If you enjoy reading a brief passage to stir your thinking at the start or end of your day, do yourself a favor and get a copy of The Bard and the Bible.
Bob Hostetler has married two treasures—the Word of God and the works of Shakespeare—into a unique and fascinating union. In The Bard and the Bible, he demonstrates his exhaustive knowledge of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry, then trumps it by revealing his greater understanding and insight into Scripture. The resulting book is one that will help you gain a greater appreciation of both the Bard and the Bible. I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
The Bard and the Bible by Bob Hostetler does not follow one of the normal patterns for devotional material. Instead, Bob mixes an educational aspect through unveiling a parallel between Shakespeare’s writing and a verse taken from the Bible. He adds a dash of entertainment with a note of trivia about Shakespeare, events of his day, or the play itself. Then with a subtle pinch of application he gives the reader something to think about for the day. While I think a Bard aficionado will get more meaning and enjoyment from the book, one with no exposure to Shakespeare will still discover meaning and purpose in it.
Shakespeare is not usually my cup of tea. Nor is the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. Still, I've always been intrigued with Shakespeare. I've always wanted to be in the know- just never wanted to take the time to decipher what "Ye olde Englisheth" was saying. Maybe I should take a peek and see if Hostetler can help, I thought. Indeedeth, I say, he dideth. I've still got a long way to go, but The Bard and the Bible helped get me started. In each reading, Bob takes a line from Shakespeare and a similar verse from the KJV, ties them together and weaves a knowledgeable snippet that gives insight into one of Shakespeare's works and the Bible. As always, reading Bob's writing is easy. His quick wit is obvious and appropriately placed throughout, giving the book a light feel for some deep subjects. What I like most about Hostetler's work is his devotional question at the end of each day. They are appropriate to the referenced subject and provoked deep thought for me- the ultimate purpose of a devotional. Maybe he should write a book of daily devotional questions! I would buy it in a heartbeat. I learned a lot about Shakespeare. I feel I've almost come to know some of his characters. I discovered his works can be fun, and even, dare I say, understandable? I even developed a better view of the KJV as a translation of the Bible. All in all, not bad results from a good read.