Luke’s Story: Book Three of the Jesus Chronicles
This biblical novel, the third in the Jesus Chronicles series, seeks to flesh out the people we know only from Acts and the New Testament letters. It follows Saint Luke through his days as a slave, his education as a doctor, his conversion, and his work among the growing Christian population that leads to the writing of his Gospel.
While many of the premises are interesting (for example, that Theophilus, to whom Luke’s Gospel is addressed, is Luke’s ex-master, and Saul is his fellow student at Tarsus), and the authors ground the story of the emerging church within the social and religious/philosophical context of its day, both plot and characters lack a satisfactory depth. I also found the insertion of Scripture verbatim, such as turning Paul’s letters into dialogue, to be jarring; likewise for glaring modernisms such as having “orientation meetings” on campus.
I do not wish to be unfair to Drs. Lahaye and Jenkins. Their work is intended as a modern retelling of the Gospels, aimed at the evangelical mass market, and their sales figures (the Left Behind novels are the best-selling adult fiction series ever) attest to their success. However, I doubt that many HNS members, Christians included, will find much in this novel to recommend it to them. For better reading, skip to the appendices and Luke’s own accounts.