5 Stars Out Of 5
The Apostle, by Randy Alcorn
August 28, 2015
I just finished reading "The Apostle" by Randy Alcorn. Wow. It is 151 pages of beautiful, graphic representations of the life of the former Christ and Christian hater (previously known as Saul) who, according to his own testimony, met the risen Jesus on a dusty road to Damascus, Syria in the first century. Alcorn has captured the essence of Luke-Acts n a "graphic novel" (a high quality, first class comic-strip presentation). And, in this case, the style and choice of art magnificently enhances the reader's experience in the first century biblical milieu.
The story is told from the vantage point of Luke, a physician (and documented companion of Paul), who many consider one of the best historians of his time. The content of the novel tracks very closely with the historical books of "Luke" and "Acts" but often surprises the reader with profound, yet plausible, Alcorn-imagined dialogue between Paul and Luke, and others. For instance, Alcorn imagines the first encounter between Paul and Luke which is not mentioned in the primary source documents. One learns the background to Paul's athletic metaphors, and the conversion of Crispus, the synagogue ruler at Corinth, and gets a fascinating and powerful glimpse into the hiring of Tertius and the writing of the letter to the Romans (p. 98-102). He also vividly portrays the ensuing conversation after Paul's rebuke of Peter at Antioch. Nearly every page is eye-opening. I greatly appreciated the biblical citations at the bottom of each which came in handy in checking the details of the story.
While reading The Apostle, one can feel the consuming hostility of Paul toward Christ (prior to meeting Him), sense the anguish of Jesus in Gethsemane, smile at the good-natured joking of Luke and Paul with each other, and be emboldened by the courage of Paul before his persecutors and as he faces the sword at the command of the crazed Roman emperor, Nero.
I highly recommend The Apostle for readers of all ages. It is firmly anchored in the biblical text, and is a great way to be sure your children want to read ALL of Luke-Acts. Alcorn has skillfully employed what might be called "sacred imagination" to lift the reader beyond a mere reading of the text. But most important of all, The Apostle shows how Paul demonstrated that no matter how great the sinner, the grace of God is greater. Indeed, the chief of sinners was saved; and the story of the work that Paul dedicated his life to, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God, continues today. Well done, Randy Alcorn.