Back in May, I started reading books again after less than a decade. It is really worth my time now. Haha. I mean, I used to just read fantasy or fictional novels and self-help books. The last time I read the entire Bible was back in high school.
Fast forward to last month when I just finished this illustrated book meant for young ones. Found it in a thrift bookstore as I was looking for similar ones, so I bought it.
The book cover.
I have never heard of the author, Arthur S. Maxwell, but his way of telling the stories is a-ok. 👌 The way he shares each one makes it very relatable and inspiring to read.
We all know reading the Bible is not always that fun especially when the words are too deep to understand. Sometimes when it is told more plainly like someone is telling you what happened, it becomes more enjoyable.
That's why this book is really good for inspiring the young people of today. To think this was published back in 1994, 1995? (Well that's what the copyright section says anyway. 😅) Definitely still worth reading today.
Part of the copyright & info page.
When I compared it to the Bible I have at home (New International Version or NIV), it does match the quoted parts. And since I've forgotten the exact details of what I read back then, this book refreshed my memory. Also made me want to read the entire Bible again to make sure the stories are correct. Haha. Of course I also wanna know what happened next. 😅
Actually the content is no different to when you listen to a storyteller or read any fantasy novel. Y'all know how fantastic the Old Testament tales are. 😉 Many have been made into live action and animated movies or even theater plays because people still enjoy them.
Basically it is a selection of stories from the Old Testament. It's all about certain admirable Bible characters told in 19 chapters.
Let me share my thoughts on some of them.
One of the stories in the book is shown on the cover illustration. It is about the young and future King David and the giant Philistine soldier. And yes this story is pretty inspiring! Based on how the story flowed, we can see how confident the young man is because he is close to the Lord. ❤️
Ah to have such faith and confidence in God. The way the author told it made me wanna be like the young lad. Unlike the rest of his people, only he had the guts to defeat the giant.
Somehow it reminded me of how our societies are now. These days many people are afraid of others, especially those in corrupt workplaces or communities.
Most have a fear of telling the police or authorities about ongoing drug trafficking or corruption they know of. Others don't have the courage to stand up against bullies, abusive bosses or colleagues, etc. But in David's story, we learn how one can easily defeat the enemy because he knows the Lord is with him. Wow.
If I can have even half of that courage I'd probably be happy. Haha. Go David! 💪
Other chapters are about Noah and the people of his time. Reading these reminded me of how it is hard to be a devout Catholic these days.
For example, nowadays if one follows the teachings of the Bible and share it with others, one can get shunned. There will also be people who will hurl insults at you. They get really angry when their sinful lifestyle/behavior is mentioned. Justifications of their sins will be slapped to everyone who says otherwise. Oh boy.
Have you experienced people who laugh, ridicule and/or mock you for doing the right things? They consider you overbearing or a know-it-all simply because you are reminding them of what's right and wrong! (For example, if you report employee wrongdoings to the boss). Or how about getting mobbed or bullied online and offline for being steadfast in the teachings of God?
I have already read and heard of several stories like that. It is no longer rare to read about it online. As for the said example, if you are not stealing or doing bad things like them, they will treat you like trash. They will even block you on social media and not be nice to you in person. All of them will gossip and trash talk you behind your back like you are the most evil person for exposing or opposing their wrongdoings. (Sounds familiar?) Tsk tsk, how ironic right?
Can you imagine if everyone in the town, city or country you live in now is like that? For sure you and your family would feel so alone and always ridiculed/persecuted for being good people. Think about that and go back in time. That's how the author transports us back to how it probably was in Noah's era.
No wonder then if it was only Noah's entire family who got saved. Only they obeyed the Lord's commandments. Only he and his family followed His will. Everyone else did not want to change for the better.
The ark was made for over 100 years and yet everyone was still wicked afterwards. Despite the continuous warnings from Noah, all was still not convinced! (Even when it was time to board the ship and people were seeing animals flocking to the ark.) What the...
If you don't know what happened next then I guess you also don't know what a rainbow represents. Hehe. No it's not about the LGBTQIA, silly. 😆 The wonderful rainbow is a reminder of something great which a lot of people have already forgotten. Sad but hey such is life these days.
Of course we all know in the days of yore, women were considered lesser people. Ladies didn't have enough rights and were always subject to the men in their family or society. Despite that we see there are still females who were considered great!
Stories of two women are included in it too. One of them is about Ruth and another is of Queen Esther. I like how the author told both tales in the same interesting way.
For some reason the story of these two people didn't really stick in my mind at all in high school. Well yeah I've partly heard or read their stories from other sources through the years but didn't bother knowing everything.
Finally after reading this book I now know who they are. For sure young girls will also find them inspiring.
Basically I learned about how both are kinda like Mary. Ruth converted to become a believer of God, while Esther is wise. We also learn other lessons in each chapter. Things like how pride can ruin one's life or be the cause of death, etc.
Reading about these ladies made me want to read the actual Bible verses. Knowing what's fully written about them is also important for us to learn many things.
Actually the illustrations inside are kinda classical and colorful. Very apt to make you visualize some of the scenes of the stories. I appreciate seeing each of them. Makes it more fun to read. For sure young boys and girls would also enjoy seeing the visuals.
I don't want to share any photos of the interior of the book because hey, there might be copyright issues. I dunno. Much better to get your hands on it instead. 😁
Jerusalem landmark. source
It's fun to read how everything was made to really show God's plan. How He made things happen so Jesus will be born from a certain line of people. Basically the Old Testament is the story of Jews/the Hebrew people before Christ was born.
After reading this publication, it made me curious about the difference of Catholicism and Judaism. I've never really thought much about that before. I will surely look more into it later.
In other news, I checked online and saw this illustrated book is available for sale in various sites. That's definitely good to know, right?
Anyway, how about you? Do you prefer to read stories from the Bible directly or have you read books like this too? If you have any similar suggestions, feel free to share!
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Images used are from Unsplash and Pixabay.