A Hobbit Devotional: Bilbo Baggins and the Bible  -     By: Ed Strauss
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A Hobbit Devotional: Bilbo Baggins and the Bible

Barbour Publishing / 2012 / Paperback

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Product Description

"The road goes ever on and on. . . . " Here's some encouragement for when you sit down to rest! Drawing 60 life lessons from Tolkien's beloved book and the companion movie, this engaging devotional offers Scripture and narrative insights to help you identify with humble-yet-courageous Bilbo and his triumphant journey "there and back again."

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Barbour Publishing
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 7.00 X 5.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1616267437
ISBN-13: 9781616267438
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

If you enjoy J. R. R. Tolkien--even if you're new to his classic stories--you'll love A Hobbit Devotional featuring 60 humorous, challenging, and encouraging devotionals. Soon to be a major motion picture, The Hobbit has fascinated readers for more than 70 years. Now, this tale of humble folk who overcome fear, discouragement, and despair through steadfastness, courage, and hope forms the basis of a brand-new devotional book. Each reading sketches a scene from The Hobbit, relates it to a contemporary life situation you might experience yourself, and brings in the teaching of a relevant Bible story or verse.

Author Bio

Ed Strauss is a freelance writer living in British Columbia, Canada. He has authored 18 books for children, tweens, and adults and coauthored an additional 16. Ed has a passion for Biblical apologetics and besides writing for Barbour, has been published by Zondervan, Tyndale, Moody, and Focus on the Family.

Editorial Reviews

A Hobbit Devotional is perfect for daily reading. It's not planned out in a calendar/agenda format, but it has 60 short chapters. At about five pages each, one chapter each day will fit great into even your busy schedule. Another pro: Even if you haven't read The Hobbit in a while, you don't have to worry about losing your way in the devotional. The author refreshes you on the story as he goes along, so you don't need to flip through The Hobbit.  My overall impression: It's a wonderful little book for any age. And perfect for getting ready for the new Hobbit movie!!

A Hobbit Devotional centres around the book The Hobbit, although since all books take place in Middle-Earth, you could still enjoy it if you've only read Lord of The Rings. The book is broken down into 60 chapters (so I guess you could use it as a two month devotional) and is a book best enjoyed slowly. There are also quite a few references to the Lord of The Rings trilogy, so if you haven't read it, you may find them spoilers.  Each chapter uses on point of the plot in The Hobbit, draws out the moral lesson from it and shows the reader what the Bible has to say about it. There are as many references to the Bible as there are to The Hobbit, which means that the author isn't just blindly drawing out moral lessons. And as a conclusion, the author shows how this particular lesson can be applied in our lives. The chapters are all fairly short (a few pages long), which makes them good devotional material.  Since The Hobbit is about quests and adventures, there is a lot devoted to stepping out in faith, and stepping beyond your comfort zone. I think that this book distills the moral lessons found in The Hobbit very well and shows how it can be applied to our everyday life.  There's not much else I have to say except that I highly recommend this book. Especially for fans of Middle Earth (and Bilbo!). Personally, I'd like to see this book being used in a Sunday School class (with a book discussion of The Hobbit going on at the same time). 

One of the best selling points is to create a book surrounding something that million of people love and Ed Strauss has done a wonderful job by creating a Devotions guide called A Hobbit Devotional : Bilbo Baggins and the Bible. Contained in A Hobbit Devotional is 60 devotions relating The Hobbit storylines , chapters to verses and books of the bible. Written in a way fans of The Hobbit and those who have read The Hobbit will understand and enjoy. As I am not a fan of The Hobbit, this wouldn't be the book I would normally read but to readers if it is anything and by glancing through it , it is like The Jane Austen devotional guide. I would have to say , readers of The Hobbit , come forth and learn the word of God with A Hobbit Devotional and at the same time discovering and reading The Hobbit in a new clear light.

I think Strauss has taken the devotional application much further than what Tolkien probably had in mind, but the real strength of Strauss's project is his spotlighting Tolkien's deep moral vision. Even though The Hobbit can be read as a fun adventure story, Christian, moral themes abound. I especially like Strauss's point that unlike many fantasy stories, The Hobbit portrays magic not as a pagan power or spells and incantations, but as natural powers given by God.

Fans of The Hobbit will enjoy thinking about the lessons Strauss brings out from the adventures of Bilbo, Gandalf, and others in Middle Earth.

This book is filled with great lessons for the die hard Hobbit or J.R.R. Tolkien fan and is bound to be a great discussion point for youth group and church leaders as well as we near the release date of the Hobbit on the big screen. This book is bound to make learning from the Bible fun in a completely new way and makes the life lessons more relevant when you can relate them back to not only the story of the Hobbit but back to the Bible as well.

I first met Bilbo Baggins as a Junior in college.  Though a children's book, The Hobbit held my attention.  I was a young believer at the time - but even then I could see spiritual connections throughout the book.  With the soon to be released movie, it was a pleasure to see Ed Strauss' look at those connections in a devotional setting.



 



As Strauss moves through J. R. R. Tolkien's original book, we find ourselves introduced to the places and people which are familiar to those who have read The Hobbit.  Each of the 60 devotions reviews a portion of Tolkien's book, concludes with a clear application and an appropriate scripture. 

 

I have look forward to reading each day's snippit (of course, I never cheated and looked ahead.) Reading the devotional has made me even more eager for the movie's release this holiday season.

Being a Tolkien fan, and currently reading The Hobbit to my youngest daughter each bedtime, I have to say that this book is a joy. From the gorgeous cover picture, title font and thoughtful introduction, right through the 60 chapters of the text to the useful glossary of Hobbit related words and a timeline of how long the events in the story took to unfold, each page was a pleasure to read.

I do hope that in due course, Ed Strauss will produce one for The Lord of The Rings too.
 
This book is less of a companion to The Hobbit and more of a treasure trove of insights for readers well familiar with the content and context of the classic tale. Strauss does a nice job of pulling out spiritual principles to digest and ponder at the reader’s pace, independently of reading the source material.

I recommend this book to all readers. If you've never read The Hobbit, the devotional feeds you enough tidbits of fascinating facts and quotes from the book to whet your interest. If you're already a Middle Earth fan, you probably can't get enough of Hobbits and the Shire and this is a delightful way to appease your appetite for more. Either way, you'll find this book to be a smart investment.
 

Product Reviews

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  1. theTRu
    Northern, VA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    on a Great [Spiritual] Journey with a Hobbit
    February 27, 2013
    theTRu
    Northern, VA
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3
    With a similar, lighthearted tone [as Sarah Arthur's WALKING WITH BILBO], but less focused approach, Strauss offers readers sixty more devotional readings based on The Hobbit. His readings are only 4-5 pages each and pull out themes from the various corners of Bilbo's tale. It's a less formal style, in that the devotions aren't broken up by specific sections, but rather shared as a collection of narratives. Rather than honing in specifically on how Bilbo's journey and our journeys coincide, A HOBBIT DEVOTIONAL bounces through multiple topics and themes including a studies in courage, patience, persistence, and developing the character necessary to fulfill our destinies and answer God's calling on our lives.

    This book is less of a companion to The Hobbit and more of a treasure trove of insights for readers well familiar with the content and context of the classic tale. Strauss does a nice job of pulling out spiritual principles to digest and ponder at the reader's pace, independently of reading the source material.

    - from TRudATmusic[dot]com[slash]raw 1/8/13
  2. Iola
    New Zealand
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    For Tolkien Fans – and Others
    October 9, 2012
    Iola
    New Zealand
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I have no idea if Tolkien intended for The Hobbit to have quite so many biblical parallels, but he was a Christian and a very educated man, so it is entirely likely. Regardless, each of the sixty daily devotionals are well thought out, providing a brief quote from The Hobbit, followed by some information around the background to the quote, then the biblical principle that is being illustrated. As the devotional progresses, we move with Bilbo and the dwarves through their journey, facing the trials along with them.

    Yes, it's a bit of a gimmick, a cash-in on the upcoming movie release. No, it's not the most theological of devotionals. It's a light devotional, not a heavy Bible study. But, for what it is, it's good - readable, entertaining and thought-provoking, and suitable to be used with children of all ages. Recommended for Tolkien fans, or anyone who wants to consider the Christian background to the movies.

    Thanks to Barbour and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
  3. Floyd Johnson
    Upstate NY
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    The Hobbit Speaks To The Heart
    September 12, 2012
    Floyd Johnson
    Upstate NY
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I first met Bilbo Baggins as a Junior in college. Though a children's book, The Hobbit held my attention. I was a young believer at the time - but even then I could see spiritual connections throughout the book. With the soon to be released movie, it was a pleasure to see Ed Strauss' look at those connections in a devotional setting.

    As Strauss moves through J. R. R. Tolkien's original book, we find ourselves introduced to the places and people which are familiar to those who have read The Hobbit. Each of the 60 devotions reviews a portion of Tolkien's book, concludes with a clear application and an appropriate scripture.

    I have look forward to reading each day's snippit (of course, I never cheated and looked ahead [:)].) Reading the devotional has made me even more eager for the movie's release this holiday season.

    ______________

    This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.
  4. Heart2Heart
    Victorville, CA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Enjoyed this fun devotional with the whole family!
    September 3, 2012
    Heart2Heart
    Victorville, CA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    For all you J.R.R. Tolkien fans and Christians looking for a great new devotional just in time with the release of the movie, The Hobbit, comes Ed Strauss' The Hobbit Devotional: Bilbo Baggins and the Bible. I was so thrilled to see what this book would contain, I knew I had to review it. Being a Christian, I was more than excited to see how chapters of the book The Hobbit would be blended together in 60 different devotional lessons that could be completed once a week.

    Each devotion begins with a reading from a chapter in the Hobbit and ties in such great teaching with the Bible such as one such lesson on wisdom. In the book, the Hobbit, the elves are the race of beings that the Hobbits or even Gandalf will consult because they are basically immortal, so their wisdom comes from being around so long and their life experience. The devotion picks up and tells the reader how wise it is to use the sage wisdom that comes from parents and grandparents not because things are so different between their time and ours, but because they have been seasoned by life's experiences. It teaches us that not everything is so easily learned in our age of technology.

    Sound scripture from the Bible accompanies each chapter, story and shows how in our current lives these lessons are still vital to the Christian walk. One such chapter "Checking Things Out" deals with the secrets hiding within the caves from the Hobbits and how vital it was for the party to thoroughly search the cave before deciding to stay the night. One never knew if there was danger lurking nearby or perhaps a trap set, and one time the dwarves Kili and Filir reported back they had found the perfect dry cave. Even Gandalf himself searched the cave and was assured they were good for the night. Suddenly in the middle of the night, goblins rushed out and seized the travelers and their ponies and vanished back inside the mountain.

    The lesson goes on to teach how easy it is to be fooled by our present day circumstances, while some are easy to see others are difficult to expose. Con artists lurk not only in the financial world but also in religious settings. Jesus likened these deceivers to wolves in sheep's clothing (Matthew 7:15) and Paul cautioned Christians not to be "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." The lesson goes on to warn the readers that some traps are capable of fooling even the veterans and we have an obligation to warn others to watch out for it.

    This book is filled with great lessons for the die hard Hobbit or J.R.R. Tolkien fan and is bound to be a great discussion point for youth group and church leaders as well as we near the release date of the Hobbit on the big screen. This book is bound to make learning from the Bible fun in a completely new way and makes the life lessons more relevant when you can relate them back to not only the story of the Hobbit but back to the Bible as well.

    I received The Hobbit Devotional: Bilbo Baggins and The Bible by Ed Strauss compliments of Barbour Publishing and Net Galley for my honest review. My entire family have had so much fun sharing biblical insights along with our love for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy as well as the Hobbit and I can easily rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars. This book is available in paperback and eBook formats from your favorite book retailer.
  5. kiwikathleen
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Good links between The Hobbit's journey and ours.
    July 1, 2012
    kiwikathleen
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    I've used a number of quite different books as Devotionals over the years, and occasionally am studiously regular with them. The ones that I like are the ones that don't preach at me, or that aren't too, too sweeet and encouraging. The Hobbit Devotional is neither of those - and that's good!

    Ed Strauss has a good number of titles to his name - many aimed at the younger market and using a sense of humour. Books like Bible Freaks & Geeks and Seriously Sick Bible Stuff show the intended market immediately. I guess that's why the publisher's blurb for this mentions humour, but it seems to me that Strauss has been stereotyped. Either that, or there's an incorrect assumption being made about the type of people who love The Hobbit.

    I have been a Hobbit fan for over 40 years. This is not an "Oh, I loved that book when I was a child" sort of fandom, but an everlasting "What? You haven't read / don't love the Hobbit?!!" The Hobbit isn't simply the precursor to The Lord of the Rings, and it matters not one whit that Tolkien originally wrote it for children - it's a classic that appeals to all ages.

    All this is to say that if I had read the blurb before reading this book, I may have not bothered. So I hope that the marketing people get it right and manage to reach a wider range of readers, because this is a book worth reading and using for devotions.

    Strauss begins each segment with a short text from The Hobbit, followed with an overview of the situation. He does this really well, and then he brings some texts from the Bible into it - sometimes just one link, but often more than one. Next, he relates it all to everyday life, which he tackles in a down-to-earth manner.

    The review copy that I'm reading is on my Kobo e-reader and comes without any illustrations (that's probably the age of my Kobo that has caused that), but I imagine that this Devotional is illustrated throughout. Any illustrations will enhance the whole experience, but even without them I have found this to be a fine example of a Devotional. It's very readable, it doesn't fall into any of the traps that some of them do, and it follows a book that I love. On top of this, it's relevant to each and every one of us who see our lives as a journey.
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