When is the last time you read the New Testament stories and longed for a little bit more? More information, more emotion, more backstory? A thread of connection?
Reading the Actual Bible in company with some solid Biblical fiction can be a great way to dive deeper, and ponder. To connect on a more personal level with the people of the Bible.
Please note that this post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you make a purchase through one of the links, I may make a small commission. I only recommend books and resources that I’ve enjoyed personally, or believe that you would like. You can read my full disclosure here. You will also find information on Scripture translations there.
New Testament Stories
I love the New Testament, and all the richness it holds. But so often I want to imagine what happened before or after that moment in the scripture. Which laws and customs triggered that event? To really know Bible characters and their stories.
With these fictional accounts along the New Testament timeline, your reading of the Bible will be even more fun and 3D than ever! (I added a few nonfiction as well, the ones that have really stuck with me most)
Walk with Jesus and his friends and family. Imagine what it would have been like to have been there, right in the middle of it all with these New Testament stories!
- Holding Heaven by Jerry B Jenkins is a pair of soliloquies, Joseph talking to the baby Jesus on the night of his birth, and Jesus, telling Joseph what’s to come, while Joseph lies on his deathbed. Honestly, it makes me cry whenever I read it.
- The First Christmas Carol: A Manger, a Miser and a Miracle by Marianne Jordan is a beautiful blending of “A Christmas Carol” and the nativity stories, and you’ll never be able to forget it. It’s powerful, and one I like to re-read every year. The way the two stories seamlessly overlap is amazing.
- The Incense Road Trilogy by Tracy Higley looks like a lot of fun. I just blew all my kindle credits to grab a copy at a friend’s recommendation. From the Magi’s perspective, but with somewhat of an Indiana Jones feel, according to an amazon review.
- The End of the Magi by Patrick W. Carr is phenomenal! I read it every year somewhere between Christmas and lent, because it arches across both the beginning and ending of Jesus’ time on earth. From the perspective of a young man who’s ‘nearly’ a Wise man, on the fringes, and yet God favors him with a dream, and a drive to follow it.
- The Christmas Star: A Love Story by Robert Tate Miller looks very interesting. It follows a contemporary man with a blessed life through a tragedy and a tailspin, where he ends up traveling with the shepherds to Bethlehem… And you know how I feel about Time travel!
- The Nativity Story by Angela Hunt is based on the movie by the same name. I haven’t read it yet, but I also have always enjoyed her books, so I’m confident in this one also!
- The Weary World Rejoices by Naomi Craig (Part of Keeping Christmas, Vol 1) follows the path of the Wise Men coming a year or two after Jesus’ birth, which I love. We follow a scribe who works for Herod, who, when Herod demanded answers, ends up on his own journey of discovery.
If you want something specifically for sharing the nativity story with kids, look no further than this collection of Advent devotions for kids. We’ve read Jotham’s Journey and Ishtar’s Oddessy so far, and wow! More kids’ Christmas stories can be found here.
Other, more contemporary Christmas stories for adults and teens can be found here.
Stories of Jesus Life
- Jesus, The One and Only by Beth Moore is one of my favorite nonfiction deep dives into the many stories of Jesus life. Beginning with Zachariah and the priestly duties, all the way through. Yes, she shares a few of her imanginings, and gives Luke a bit of a hard time for leaving out details that we’d love to know, like whether Mary stayed long enough to be there when John was born or not, but that’s okay, I wonder too.
- The Jesus Chronicles by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins are powerful stories of Jesus life, and include the full text of each corresponding Gospel, which I really appreciate. Luke even has both Luke and Acts. There’s some imagined backstory, and overall, is extremely well done.
- The Jerusalem Road series by Angela Hunt is a wonderful collection of New Testament stories that have you walking alongside secondary characters. Very little time is spent with primary characters. The first one has us walking with Thomas’s twin and one of Jesus’ brothers. The next follows 2 of Jesus’ sisters. Then we have Mary and Matthew, trying to write a record of everything Jesus did, and then Paul’s sister. The immersion into Jewish culture and expectations, and raw honesty of so many people close to Jesus who didn’t have a clue for a long time, or resisted believing, is well done!
- Divining Sword by Katrina Hamel follows Mark’s Gospel, from the perspective of one of the women who followed Jesus. This one has been on my TBR on my Kindle shelf for too long. Gotta read it soon!
- Her newest series, Court of the Tetrarch, follows Joanna and Chuza, and looks absolutely incredible! Also sitting on my TBR shelf!
- Mark: Eyewitness by Ellen Gunderson Traylor is a great, front row seat to the events of Holy Week and beyond.
- Alabastron by Judith Weaver: The stories of Mary Magdalene and Simon the Zealot, a kinder take on Mary Magdalene than is often seen.
- Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar is a beautiful backstory for the woman who dared to touch the hem of His garment. The emotions and depth of this story are unforgettable!
Looking for Old Testament Fiction?
More Stories About Jesus
- As the Stars by Katrina Hamel is a collection of short stories with devotionals, from throughout the Bible. Great for a discussion group, or individual reading. I think The Widow’s Last Coins was my favorite. It made me cry! Read what she has to say about learning from Bible Characters today.
- The Friends of Jesus, and The Family of Jesus by Karen Kingsbury are collections of short stories about Jesus from the POV of people around him. They’re thought-provoking and fun. I’ve only read The Friends of Jesus, but I really enjoyed it.
- Legion by Shadia Hrichi is an in-depth 6-week Bible study focused on the lengths Jesus would go for one lost soul (the man possessed by the legion, or us). This is one of the most fascinating New Testament stories, and I can’t recommend this study highly enough!
- Redemption at the Eleventh Hour by Andrew Crown is a tragic story of one of the criminals on the cross beside Jesus. One who found himself in a situation he couldn’t change, But he recognized Jesus for who he was, and was welcomed into eternity.
- Beneath the Tamarisk Tree by Rob Seabrook is another take on the repentant thief. Only this one gives a distinct contrast. All the yuck of sin and crucifixion, followed by the wonders of heaven. It’s on my TBR.
- The Dog Who was There by Ron Marasco sounds absolutely fascinating. From the eyes of a stray dog, walking through those days of Jesus life and teachings? I want to read this one!
- The Winnowing Fork by Betty Ruth Weatherby looks cool. The story of Zacchaeus, but for 10-18-year-olds.
- The Jerusalem Chronicles by Bodie and Brock Thoene is a trilogy of stories about Jesus, from one of my mom’s favorite authors.
- The A.D. Chronicles, also by Bodie and Brock Thoene is a twelve-book series of New Testament stories that look quite remarkable!
- Iscariot by Tosca Lee, if it’s half as good as her Sheba story, will be amazing. It’s in my Hoopla queue and I can hardly wait to read it. Judas in “his own words” well researched and with over 400 positive reviews on Amazon, I know it’ll be good.
- A Visibullis Story (A Stray Drop of Blood, and A Soft Breath of Wind) by Rosanna M White is a highly recommended duology of New Testament stories that tell stories of loss, forgiveness, faith and spiritual warfare.
Stories of Early Church History (Acts/Letters and Beyond)
Join the Disciples in their work, get to know the towns and people of the early church! There are any number of incredible stories of this time in BIble history. With these Biblical fiction selections, you can imagine how God was at work preparing hearts even before Paul and the others arrived in various places.
- Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. Follow a Jewish slave girl as Jerusalem falls and beyond, and the impact of her faith on the world! This has been held up as a hallmark of Biblical fiction, of New Testament Stories as a whole. It shows a raw/real experience and would probably be rated PG13 if it were on tv, but I don’t find it crossing any lines for most readers who are in a place to safely read Christian Romance. It doesn’t whitewash the underside of Roman culture, so you’re going to encounter tough situations, but many we’re facing here and now, so I still highly recommend it.
- Barrabas Trilogy by M.D. House follows a transformed Barabbas as he becomes (very reluctantly) a key leader of the early church. This is one of the most amazing stories I’ve read!
- Books about Lydia and Philippi can be found here. There are several really good ones!
- Amora by Grant Hallstrom. This story of early church history. has one of the best explanations of forgiveness and salvation that I’ve ever read, and it’s going to stick with me for a long time. It’s very well-researched, and the endnotes explain and unravel a lot.
- Jude, by Jenifer Jennings, is a powerful story. The first book of hers I’ve read, but far from the last! This fictional take on one of Jesus’ brothers is so relatable, and enlightening. I read the best explanation of Jesus’ comment about the camel and the eye of a needle I’ve ever heard anywhere. I can grasp this concept now, among many others. She said ‘It’s not my best work’ but if that’s true, the rest must be amazing. They’re all on my TBR, and I’ll update this post as I get a chance to read them!
- Acts of Faith Trilogy by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke is probably my first encounter with New Testament fiction, especially of the early church history variety. An unforgettable retelling of the early church period, written by some of my favorite authors!
- Woman of Sin Trilogy by Debra Diaz: I haven’t read this one yet, but it looks very good. Starting with a rich girl sold as a slave, then on the run, who meets Jesus.
- Bronze Ladder by Malcolm Lyon is FANTASTIC. The last third is almost word for word a prison diary of an early martyr. The first two-thirds are a great ‘what might have led her to the prison/death sentence. I couldn’t put it down. It’s been a decade since I first read Perpetua’s story, and I haven’t been able to shake it. A great video of her story can be found here.
- There’s a really fun allegory/fantasy retelling of the story of Tabitha here. I was so fascinated and got lost in the story to the point that I forgot to expect certain plot points. That’s great storytelling, in my opinion!
- Tessa Afshar has a loosely connected series set on the backdrop of early Church history. Thief of Corinth, Daughter of Rome, Jewel of the Nile. As Stand-alone New testament stories they’re great, but collectively, WOW. I would suggest Thief of Corinth as a good gift for open unbelievers (though each has a conversion story). Daughter of Rome is an imagining of Priscilla and Aquilla’s story, and Jewel of the Nile is connected to the Ethiopian Eunuch.
- And then, there’s I, Saul, by Jerry B. Jenkins. Oh, Boy! This one is a split-time adventure, between now and Paul’s earlier days as viewed from prison. I couldn’t put it down, and really wish there was a sequel!
Which New Testament Stories are YOUR Favorites?
I know this is not an exhaustive list of New Testament stories, but it does have my favorite stories of Jesus’ life, both read and TBR. I’d love to hear about your favorites. Books that are well written and help you feel like you’re right there in the middle of it all. The kind that gives you a fresh perspective on things (both then and now!).