Empire's End by Jerry B. Jenkins ~ Historical Fiction Review

Empire's End by Jerry B. Jenkins

Book review disclosure.

Historical Fiction

THE APOSTLE PAUL IS A BIBLICAL GIANT who wrote almost one-third of the New testament, yet most details of his life remain a mystery. How could a devout Pharisee become the most influential Christian theologian of all time? Into that void steps master storyteller Jerry B. Jenkins, weaving a gripping narrative that illumines Paul's stunning transformation form obsessed persecutor of Christians to devoted bondservant of Christ.

Paul's backstory is all here: His Damascus Road blinding and miraculous healing, his struggle to overcome the suspicion of Christian brethren he once hunted with abandon, his escape from Jewish leaders who felt betrayed, his passion for spreading the message of Jesus in defiance of violent Roman opposition, Jenkins's account moves quickly to trace Paul's escape into Arabia and his three-years of divine revelation in the desert. Here the author imagines an astonishing relationship with some of the very people Paul had persecuted only a year before.

What was the Apostle Paul really like? What went on in the trenches of his life, beyond the pages of the biblical letters he left behind? How did Paul navigate the perilous path from killing Jesus's followers to becoming one of their most trusted leaders? What was his thorn-in-the-flesh? Did he ever fall in love, and if so, how did that romance shape him? What thoughts and feelings most profoundly haunted, inspired, and fueled his intensity?

Thanks to Empire's End, you need no longer peer into Paul's life only as through a glass darkly. In Jenkins's deft hands, the apostle's period of preparation in the Arabian wilderness for a world-changing work sharpens into focus, Empire's End welcomes you into the mind and heart of the greatest missionary the church has ever seen.

My Thoughts

I have long found the life of the Apostle Paul fascinating. So much of the New Testament is from the ink of his pen. When you read all of his accounts you can piece together aspects of his life but I have always wondered about some of the unwritten times.

In 2013, Jerry Jenkins wrote I, Saul that mostly focused on the end of Paul's life and the writing of his memoir. With the follow-up publication of Empire's End we get to read that memoir and imagine along with Jenkins what was happening personally to Paul during the years that followed the Damascus Road experience. 

The story is written in first-person and I love the voice that Jenkins gave to our beloved Apostle. His time in Arabia where he was taught by God Himself felt like peeking in on a very intimate moment with the Creator. I don't want to talk much about the situation that Paul found himself in because it would give away too much and I want you to discover it for yourself.

If you have ever found yourself in an impossible situation where there was no way to save face by keeping quiet you'll appreciate this book. I love the way God brings about redemption in our lives. It is often painful and humbling but every time we come out better for it. That is the situation with Paul. 

If you have read the New Testament the timeline of events will be familiar to you. I recommend that you sit back and enjoy the talented storytelling of Jenkins. So many of the mysteries of Paul's life have been imagined in this book and it was delightful to suppose with the author about what happened behind the scenes. This isn't the Bible and the author doesn't claim it to be, but I found his depictions to be accurate and the imagined parts plausible. There is a reason that Jenkins is a new York Times Best-Selling author and Empire's End is good evidence of that.

Connect With The Author

Jerry B Jenkins

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