Last year I enjoyed reading the novel Asenath by Anna Patricio, a story constructed around Joseph’s wife. The Bible doesn’t tell us much about this woman, so Anna researched the relevant time period and invented her life while faithfully incorporating the biblical account of Joseph. It’s a fabulous book, painting an authentic picture of Egyptian culture and religion while focusing on human relations, emotions, blossoming romance and – most importantly – God’s guidance of Joseph’s life. Reading about the worship practices of ancient Egypt left me with the distinct impression that our contemporary worship of the one and only true God seems rather insipid by comparison. The creator of the universe deserves so much more!
More recently, our Bible study group discussed Abigail, the wife of Nabal and David. The Bible paints only one scene of her life in 1 Sam 25, and two later references indicate the existence of two sons. That's all. Yet despite knowing so little about her, we can learn much from Abigail's actions. She certainly was an impressive woman: beautiful and intelligent, wise and humble, perceptive, decisive and courageous.
Studying this chapter of the bible left me wondering about the rest of Abigail’s life. What kind of family did she come from? What was her childhood like? How did she come to marry such a surly, mean man? Why did she take the risk of opposing her husband? And what was it like being married to Nabal, then being his widow, and finally being married to David? I was intrigued, thinking that Abigail would make a fabulous heroine in a romance novel.
And so it occurred to me to encourage the historical fiction writers among you to focus more on the minor characters mentioned in the Bible (both Old and the New Testaments). They could easily become the heroes and heroines of romance, action, or even thriller stories. Novels along this line have great potential of reaching non-Christian audiences while introducing the God of the Bible in unexpected ways. Are you up to the challenge?
Thirty years ago, Margaret Lepke was converted by one of her clients. She became an avid Bible student, and her practice became her mission field. Now she is a well-known counsellor, naturopath, educator and speaker who is contacted by people from all over the world. She writes about educational and theological topics, and her website http://drlepke.com.au offers many resources.