“These Bible stories will give you a deeper understanding of the friends of Jesus, and along the way, beautiful truths about your own friendships,” the back jacket states on Karen Kingsbury’s book, The Friends of Jesus.
Second of four in the “Life Changing Bible Study Series,” this two hundred and forty page hardback targets those who enjoy fictionally enhanced stories of the Bible, along with devotional studies for personal or group application. The New International Version of the Holy Bible is used.
Different from most of the author’s storytelling works, this one has six novellas of friends close to Jesus: Simon, Martha, Jarius, Mary, Peter, and John. At the conclusion of the short stories and acknowledgments, there are three to four numbered questions by chapter for individual reflection or group discussion of how the stories can be applied to friendships today.
While the stories are not totally based on Biblical facts, Kingsbury takes ample liberty establishing the emotional and personal connection the friends have with Jesus. Each blends different perspectives of Christ’s time on earth from a human viewpoint.
Here is a synopsis of the selected friends of Jesus:
Simon the Leper begins with the Pharisee contracting leprosy and how his family and friends shunned him up to a year later, yet Jesus felt compassion and completely healed him.
Broken-hearted Martha’s story starts when her brother, Lazarus, is ill. While she learns of Jesus’s consistent comfort, she anoints her Savior an alabaster jar of expensive perfume.
Jarius, the synagogue leader, seeks out Christ when his twelve-year-old daughter becomes ill; loyal Jesus takes the time to heal the women with the issue of blood first.
Mary Magdalene remembers her past when she was possessed by demons at age twenty-one as she watches Jesus, her Restorer, headed toward his crucifixion.
Peter recalls becoming Jesus’s disciple and walking on the water to Him, only to betray his Lord three times and be forgiven.
An arrogant John walks to Samaria while discussing Christ’s resurrection, transformation, and miracles that shows God’s love.
Not similar to the first book in the series that focuses more on studying the Bible, this one does not contain Bible verses to look up or references.
If readers know the Biblical differences between fact and fiction in the stories, they will recall the angst, frustration, and love these people had being friends of Jesus. With engaging stories and studies in the Word, Kingsbury offers a tender reminder God became a man to save us from our sins.
A bestselling novelist with over twenty-five million books sold, Kingsbury is a visiting professor of storytelling and host of her radio show as well as soon to have theatrical and cinematic movies made based on her stories. Living in Tennessee with her husband, they have six grown children.
Thanks to Howard Books for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s opinions.
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GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.