Book Review: “Epic: The Story God is Telling” by John Eldredge (2007)

“The restoration of life as it was meant to be…is…the adventure we were created to enjoy and have longed for every day of our lives” (93).

The stories that infatuate us, from novels to films to our own daydreams, hold such power over our spirits due to the way they reflect “the greatest story ever told.” Yes, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are that story, but those 33 years are also a part of much longer story: the story of God’s pre-existence and His creating the world, of Satan’s influence on humanity, of Christ’s sacrifice which provided salvation to the enslaved, and of the ultimate “restoration of life as it was meant to be.” These four stages of eternity are the “four acts” which John Eldredge delineates in this short book, Epic: The Story God is Telling.

With the plethora of literary allusions which have, in my mind, become his trademark, Eldredge takes his readers through a fantastic journey of discovery: that life is a story, we can discover where we are in that story, and there is a way to know that our story has a happy ending. “For most of us,” he writes in his Prologue, “life feels like a movie we’ve arrived at forty-five minutes late.” We do not know what’s happening, we do not know what role we play, and we certainly don’t expect to know how the thing will end. But as Eldredge works his way through Epic, act by act and scene by scene, the reader can actually get a sense of how life is oriented, where he is in this Epic, and what he can expect to come next.

I used this book in a Bible study with a high school senior, and I would recommend it for people in a situation like his who want to know what their purpose in life is, but who don’t really believe that they have a key role to play. It would help if the reader is well-read (or at least if he has seen some epic films), but it is not essential. Eldredge writes this book for believers, though he does share the full Gospel plan of salvation in his Epilogue for the curious unbeliever who happens to pick up his book. Epic is short (just 104 pages in my copy), but it packs a punch and summarizes much of the larger concepts Eldredge covers in his larger book, Waking the Dead.

©2012 E.T.

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