Review: Elijah

Elijah: Fiery Prophet
by James A. Aderman

Elijah served when a wicked king and queen suppressed worship of the one true God. Because of their evil, God shut the sky for three and a half years. Elijah struggled with depression as well, even asking God to kill him. And yet this prophet was used by God to share his Word in dramatic ways. This book takes the reader through the life of Elijah, seeing how he both received grace from God, and shared that grace with others around him.

Elijah is one of my favorite prophets to read about. I find his struggles with God and his own depression so incredibly relatable. I was looking forward to reading this little book that gives him a story-based biography. Unfortunately, some unique choices in the writing made it a hard read for me.

The prologue and epilogue take place at Jesus’s transfiguration. I actually fully approve this choice and think it’s a real neat one. Unfortunately, I only understood what was going on because I already know about the Transfiguration. If you’re not already familiar with that event, you’ll probably be wondering what the heck is going on.

And most of the book feels that way to me. Maybe it’s the curse of knowledge on Aderman’s part, but most of it felt like a packaging of stuff the reader is already mostly familiar with. But, as I said, if you’re not already familiar with Elijah, it’ll just leave you confused.

And it’s a shame, because Aderman’s writing, particularly in the chapter about Elijah’s journey to heaven, is strong. He clearly knows his source material well, loves Elijah, desire to share God’s grace, and has a great way with words.

There’s also an odd choice of how each chapter is framed; most chapters begin at the end of the action, and then back up to tell how we got there. By itself, that method of writing can work, but here it just left me frustrated. It meant most chapters were written in a past tense explaining how we got to this situation we saw in the opening paragraphs. I’d much rather be in the action, rather than being that one more step removed from it.

All in all, this is not a terrible book, but I wanted to like it far more than I did. If you’re looking to wander into the God’s People series, I can’t recommend that you start here. I’m glad most of the others are more conscious of the curse of knowledge!

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