A Guest Post by Henry O. Arnold
The Bible as an Entertaining and Instructive Book
John Milton of Paradise Lost fame wrote in a letter to a friend, “Why is the Bible more entertaining and instructive than any other book?” I say it is because the stories are addressed to “the imagination, which is spiritual sensation.”
More than forty writers are attributed to its authorship, and the divinely inspired literary styles and stories range from historical, poetic, wisdom, prophetic, narrative, and epistolatory to apocalyptic. Some of my favorite passages are in Psalms. Every human emotion is expressed in those one hundred and fifty psalms. Honesty at its most raw.
The Timeless Relevance of Biblical Stories for Modern Readers
Scripture also does not shy away from revealing every distinguishing trait of human nature—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Some stories are so outrageous that people can’t believe they are included in such a holy book. I say, how could they not?
This great quote from Bono describes one of many reasons I have such affection for the Bible: “That the scriptures are brim full of hustlers, murderers, cowards, adulterers, and mercenaries used to shock me. Now it is a source of great comfort.” Ancient times or modern times, nothing is new under the sun.
Conflict and Tension in Crown of the Warrior King
When I began to write my biblical historical fiction series, The Song of Prophets and Kings, I dreamed of gleaning truths from these three-thousand-year-old stories without altering any of the historical events and put them into an artistic context so a modern reader could relate to the situations and the emotional life of the characters.
With the publication of Crown of the Warrior King, the second installment of this series, the tension between the characters sharpened, and the conflict between the monarchy and the theocracy has intensified. The choices made by the main characters threaten to destroy the nation of Israel and bring down the reign of King Saul before it barely had time to be established.
The human struggle in this novel is as relevant for the modern reader as it was for those who lived through it so long ago. We can learn from our past. It is not inevitable that we repeat it.