With the release of the new Hobbit movie, many Hobbit tie-ins are appearing. Finding God in the Hobbit by Jim Ware is a book that appeared shortly after The Lord of the Rings trilogy of films was released, but it now pertinent again. In this short book, Ware examines the many places God can be discovered in the story of Bilbo Baggins and his quest.
First, this book is not a devotional. It uses as its premise the fact that stories are a reflection of The Story, God’s ultimate plan of salvation for mankind. While Tolkein himself was a Christian, he has said that The Hobbit was not intended as an allegory, and Ware respects that. He simply points out how many elements of the story are echoes of God’s story. Ware has used each chapter to explain one theme or idea, beginning with a passage from The Hobbit, then explaining the context and supplying scripture or life examples to support his point. He wraps up with a reflection on the truth that is revealed (ex: Trust God, be yourself and watch the sparks fly; God’s grace is the narrow strand on which all our hopes depend). Some of my favorite chapters include On Eagles’ Wings; Reluctant Leader; and Grim but True (this is particularly cool for anyone who has a pessimistic life view and gets tired of being told to look on the Brightside).
This was an interesting book, and I would recommend it to fans of Tolkein, or other fantasy authors. It is not heavy-handed in its approach to Christianity, which lends it to being a good book for both Christians and non-believers. For more of the idea of all stories reflecting God, I would recommend Epic by John Eldredge.
I received a copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.