Book Review – Paul Apostle of Christ

Title – Paul Apostle of Christ

Author – Angela Hunt, Based on the screenplay by Andrew Hyatt

Genre – Biblical Fiction

Publisher – Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

About the book

HIS STORY WILL CHANGE THE WORLD. BUT ONLY IF SHARED IN TIME

Paul, Apostle of Christ, is the story of two men. Luke, as a friend and physician, risks his life every time he ventures into the city of Rome to visit Paul, who is held captive in Nero’s bleakest prison cell. Before Paul’s execution, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of “the Way” and the birth of what will come to be known as the church. But Nero is determined to rid Rome of Christians.

Paul has survived so much – floggings, shipwreck, starvation, stoning, hunger and thirst, cold and exposure – yet as he waits for is appointment with death, he is haunted by the shadows of his past. He wonders if he has been forgotten… and if he as the strength to finish well.

Two men struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to be bequeath the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.

My review

I’m sure we have all heard horrifying accounts of how Nero burned hundreds (thousands?) of Christians alive, and how they were called Roman candles. But what I never stopped to think about was the details of what could have transpired. I never thought about how some Christians will have walked the streets of Rome with their heads down, minding their own business, only to look up at a clamouring crowd to realize that their friends, their brothers and sisters, were being led captive through the city in order to serve as human lights in Nero’s circus that night. How their hearts must have hurt to think that their friends and family were going to be burned that night, and how gruesome it must have been to look over at the orange glow in the night sky, knowing that the glow was Christians going to meet their Creator.

That’s what this book will do to you. You’ll stop and consider details in well-known Biblical stories that you’ve never thought about. You’ll learn about execution methods you’ve probably never heard about. (Unless you’ve read all the martyr stories, in which case I won’t say for sure.) You’ll read about how hard it really was to be a Christian in those days.

This book was a slower read for me than most books are, even though it is beautifully written. Some of the scenes described were a little hard to wrap my mind around. Maybe it would’ve been easier if I had watched the movie. The scenes were descriptive – it wasn’t that – just that maybe I don’t read a lot of biblical fiction and am unfamiliar with the setting (and the genre in general).

In the beginning of the story it is revealed that Paul is in prison, having been sentenced to death but the date of his execution hasn’t been set yet. Soon, however, Paul is called outside and they tell him that his execution has been planned for three weeks from then.

So with three weeks of time, Luke starts visiting Paul in his cell every night, as his physician, and he writes the last account of Paul’s life as Paul dictates. This becomes basically the story that we find in the book of Acts. It includes stories of likely events that could’ve happened in those days, even though they’re not recorded in the Bible.

It inspired to me read the book of Acts again, with new images to picture in my mind.

Like mentioned above, this book is based on the screenplay of the same title, and it features several pages of photos from the movie in the middle of book, which I liked. The pictures made me wish I had accepted the offer of reviewing the movie after all.

This was a harder book to review than my usual ones. I always read critically, but for some reason it felt wrong to read this book critically. It felt like I was looking for mistakes in the Bible, haha. Anyway, I enjoyed this book. I’d recommend it for every Christian.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

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