Most people know that J.R.R. Tolkien was Christian. When reading his books, however, it might be very easy to miss that fact. Unlike the works of his friend C.S. Lewis, Tolkien’s most popular works do not seem to connect so easily to the Bible. When carefully examined, though, Tolkien’s faith shines through in his work. That is why Jim Ware has written his book Finding God in the Hobbit. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are not an allegory for the Christian life and there isn’t Christ-like figure that can be clearly identified. So where is God to be found in Middle-Earth?
In Finding God in the Hobbit, Ware looks a the story of Bilbo and the Dwarves to find helpful insights into the Christian life. He explores what we can learn about our faith by examining Bilbo’s journey, the eagles, Gandalf, and even rope. In each chapter, Ware reflects on the text of The Hobbit and how that part of the story can help us better understand our walk with God.
To be honest, this book wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be. With a title like Finding God in the Hobbit, I would imagine it to be an analysis of the story and how that exemplifies the various points of a Christian worldview. For example, Ware does do this a little bit in his discussion of how we can accept a story featuring a wizard since, seemingly, this is banned in the Bible. However, this book is more reflective and devotional. The chapters are short and designed around using elements of the story to reflect on scripture and the nature of Christian life.
Even though this was different that what I expected, it was still enjoyable. Ware does a good job of using Tolkien’s work as a springboard for a Christian lesson. Because I enjoy Tolkien’s books and the extent to which he has developed them, I would have liked a more in depth discussion. There is a lot to be said about the characters of Tolkien’s world and the Christian elements that he has built into it. Ware’s book is great, but just scratches the surface of these great works. If you are new to Tolkien, this book is a great place to start. If you have been a lifelong fan of Tolkien and his works, then Finding God in the Hobbit might not satisfy your desire to dive into the Christian themes to be found in Middle Earth.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”