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Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite
Hold the Faith: Early Christianity Comes to Life, The Apostle John series by Susan MB Preston tells the story of John. John is the author of what many people consider the definitive gospel on the life of Christ. I read and studied this gospel and most of the Bible as a boy growing up in Alabama. I often found myself wishing I knew more about the lives of the people mentioned. I realized that these people lived with rules very different from ours and I wished I knew more about that life. Bible verses are terse and usually give the bare minimum of description, mostly just concentrating on telling the reader what occurred. Susan MB Preston has invested a lot of time in historical research to tell the story of John and his family so that we can relate to them as people like us with a family similar to ours.
In my opinion, the author has succeeded admirably. The writing in Hold the Faith is top notch. The details of life in 92 AD are descriptive and bring the past to life. Susan MB Preston shows us the stress between the followers of Jesus and the Orthodox Jews. We see the pain and politics of the Roman occupation of Ephesus in Asia Minor, but just as importantly we see the daily life of ordinary people. John is old by 92 AD and we see most of this story through the eyes of his great-grandson Benjamin, and other young people. The characters are portrayed very well, bringing a new perspective to an old story. Susan MB Preston has done a great service for Christians everywhere by bringing this story to life.