If you are curious to know how Bard is like the Apostle Paul, or how Pippin is like the Apostle Peter, or Galadriel like Solomon – then I have the book for you.
Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World of Middle-Earth is a devotional for teens written by Jill Richardson. Each chapter begins with a brief profile of one of Tolkien’s characters, including quotations from The Lord of the Rings, and then turns to a biblical personage (or, a handful of times, a biblical principle). Richardson draws parallels and lessons, and then leaves her young audience with discussion questions and words of practical application.
This devotional is written in down-to-earth language and often leavened with humor; I always enjoyed the ‘Vital Stats’ section of each chapter. The parallels between the Bible and The Lord of the Rings were interesting, and I found Beorn’s and Smaug’s particularly illuminating.
To her credit, Richardson goes beyond the standard biblical stories to the story of King Manasseh and to Ecclesiastes, one book of the Bible not often quoted to adolescents. I appreciated that there were several paragraphs of Scripture in each chapter, and not merely a handful of verses. Occasionally there were “author’s paraphrases” of Scripture, and I would have preferred if those had been actual quotations. It’s always better to let the Bible stand without abridgment, even when it is complex or difficult.
Hobbits, You, and the Spiritual World of Middle-Earth is a devotional, and naturally it doesn’t have the ‘meat’ of a theology book. But it is an insightful and easy read, successfully combining a fun look at Lord of the Rings with a profitable look at Scripture. Recommended for anyone, but especially any teen, who enjoys fantasy and is interested in the Bible.
I received a review copy of this book from the author.