Have you ever picked up a book just because you were so intrigued by its premise or plot? Something that you read on its cover called to you, piquing your curiosity. This is exactly why I offered to review The 40 Days, a Novel. That, and I also wanted a break from all the non-fiction reading I do! I thought a novel would be such a nice diversion!
Are you curious? What 40 days does the novel cover? Whose 40 days are they? Why these 40 days?
F. B. Timmerman writes about the 40 days after Jesus rose from the dead and before He ascended to heaven. Intriguing, isn’t it? The gospel authors tell us Jesus visited and taught hundreds of people during that time, but not much more than that.
The 40 Days starts at an archaeological dig in Israel. When an archaeologist and her father discover some well-preserved jars that contain scrolls, a record of Jesus’ last 40 days comes to the light of day. A humble shepherd wrote about the time Jesus spent with him and his special needs son, explaining things like His purpose for coming and matters of faith.
Now, if this were someone saying that they had found new Scripture explaining where Jesus had been, I would not have spent time on it. God tells us nothing need be added to His Word. However, the author is very clear this is a novel.
The incredible thing is that he crafts a story that refers to 492 Bible verses! Each time his writing is tied to a verse, there is a footnote number so that you can go to the back of the book and look up the Scripture reference and read in the Bible for yourself. I am amazed at the amount of work Timmerman went through to coordinate almost 500 Bible verses into a story! He doesn’t just string a bunch of verses together and throw in a few “ands”. He actually writes a story that is saturated with Scripture and Its principles. Here’s an example:
“I can see you now,” I said, “but what about when you aren’t here, when I can’t see you? Then it’s not easy.”
“When I go back to the Father I will send God’s spirit to be with you,” (250) Jesus said, adding “and the Spirit will help you to pray. (251)
As I mentioned, the shepherd’s son has special needs. Since it takes place in biblical times, the actual “diagnosis” is not defined. However, I could really relate to a few of the paragraphs discussing the son’s issues. Take, for example:
I was busy explaining to Daniel that I wanted him to inspect the fields . . . I was trying to be patient but at the same time getting a little exasperated with the process.
I have been through this many times before. I reminded myself that Daniel is different, he is not like me. He needs repeated instructions to carry out the tasks that I require, which are not meaningless; they have a purpose. . . .
Yes, I have told him all this before–many times before, and I also realize that everything I tell him today will have to be repeated on another day. Will this cycle never end?
I’m thinking a lot of parents can relate to that!
If you’re looking for a new way to look at Christ’s life and the effect it should have on our lives, this is a good option. You can get a good Scripture workout looking up all the verses! This book would actually make an interesting Bible study or group read. It’s quite thought provoking, and Timmerman does a good job highlighting Jesus’ life and the need for his coming and death, our salvation. There are a couple of things I don’t necessarily see the same, but they do not affect the doctrine of salvation, and they all have Scripture references so the reader can read what the Bible says.
What also intrigues me is that there is no biographical information about F. B. Timmerman on the book. The only thing you know about this person is that he wrote the book. There is not a picture on the back or any blip about where the author lives, what the author does, if this is the first book by the author, etc. My guess is that this is by design. Perhaps Timmerman wants no focus on himself, but all focus on Jesus and the story.
The folks over at Cardamom Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of The 40 Days, a Novel for review. All opinions are my own. To get more information or order your own copy (both hard copy and ebook available), you can go here.