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Walking With Bilbo: A Devotional Adventure Through J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit [Paperback]

Sarah Arthur

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Book Description

Jan. 19 2005
The author of 'Walking with Frodo' takes readers on an adventure of faith with a new devotional that relates themes from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit to living the Christian life. Unlike the fateful quest Frodo was asked to carry out, Bilbo's journey came as an unexpected adventure. Readers will be reminded that God chooses us to be unlikely heroes in the adventure of life.

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Walking With Bilbo: A Devotional Adventure Through J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit + Walking With Frodo
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Product Description

About the Author

is the best-selling author of 'Walking with Frodo', among other books. A former youth director, she now writes and speaks to the postmodern generation about the adventure of faith--when she isn't tucked away with a good book. She's a member of the Mythopoeic Society and serves on the board of the C.S. Lewis Festival held annually in northern Michigan. Sarah lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her husband, Tom--who lovingly built her website [www.saraharthur.com].

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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  54 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Walking with Bilbo - Get it! Dec 6 2012
By Edward Lynn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Walking with Bilbo, by Sarah Arthur, is a wonderful little devotional book. Arthur does a very nice job of tying themes from J.R.R. Tolkien's, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) to the Bible. She has a levelheaded approach and doesn't try to force analogous ideas between Bilbo's journey and that of the Christian faith, but instead, she uses common sense and her own knowledge of Biblical stories and concepts to create this inspiring devotional.
I was concerned (before reading the book) that Arthur might make dubious conclusions about Christian concepts within Tolkien's work--but she doesn't. Tolkien didn't intend for his work to be completely allegorical, and she understands that. Essentially, Arthur acknowledges that in all great stories, one can find Biblical themes. Arthur (who is an "unabashed Tolkien junkie" - to quote the back cover) simply focused on The Hobbit (and LOTR) to write a solid devotional. A good devotional should inspire the reader to read the Bible more, and Walking with Bilbo will likely do just that.

What if I haven't read The Hobbit? Can I still enjoy Walking with Bilbo?

It is probably not essential that one has read The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings to enjoy this devotional, but familiarity with the characters and events in those books will enhance one's understanding of the references to them in Walking with Bilbo.
Although the devotional predominantly revolves around Bilbo's experiences in The Hobbit, Arthur references characters from LOTR as well. For example, in Chapter 3, page 24, of Walking with Bilbo, Arthur paraphrases a quote from LOTR. Arthur writes, "As Sam says toward the end of The Two Towers, no one remembers the tales in which the characters give up and turn back." Arthur analogizes Sam's (Samwise Gamgee, for those of you who haven't read LOTR or seen the movies) statement to the concept that Christian faith sometimes requires a person to not "play it safe": i.e., once you follow Jesus, "there's no going back to life as it was before" (24). Certainly, the reader could understand that concept without having read LOTR (or having seen the movies), but familiarity with LOTR adds depth to one's understanding of Arthur's discussion.

So, to sum it up, one could enjoy this devotional without knowledge of The Hobbit and LOTR, but I think it best that one has read those books before reading Walking with Bilbo.

Layout of the book:

There are 22 chapters, each with a different theme. It is very easy to read one chapter per day (or more), as the chapters are about 7-9 pages long. The book is less than 200 pages long, and it includes a "Quick Reference Guide" in the back for terms that are used in The Hobbit and LOTR.
Each chapter begins with a short quote from The Hobbit, and then Arthur's discussion of the chapter's topic. She incorporates scripture into her discussion very well, and I found many of the devotions applicable to my life.

At the end of each chapter, Arthur includes a "Going Further" section, followed by recommended scripture passages to further one's devotional time. Although I read it alone, I think Walking with Bilbo would make a great group devotional (especially for Hobbit or LOTR fans!).
Conclusion: If you are a fan of The Hobbit and LOTR, and you are one who believes that reading the Bible is an essential part of your Christian walk, then you will likely enjoy the devotional, Walking with Bilbo. It will challenge you to think more deeply about matters which concern all of us. I recommend it.

***NOTE***In exchange for my honest review, Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of the book. In no way was my receipt of the book contingent on a favorable review. My review is my own opinion.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Christian Companion to Book and Movie! Dec 18 2012
By Charity U - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I think I liked Ed Strauss' A Hobbit Devotional: Bilbo Baggins and the Bible better, but this one was also an excellent read and very enjoyable. Each chapter will take you 5-15 minutes to read (depending on how fast of a reader you are), and includes a bit of "Hobbit" story in (naturally) chronological order. After the story part, it goes on to an application, some questions to consider, and five or more Bible passages related to the topic. There are a total of 22 chapters. The questions are amazing (they WILL leave you thinking!). Chapter titles include (among others) "Plans Go Astray," "Help Un-Looked For," "Stick to the Path," "True Identity," and "Where Your Treasure Is." The book is full of excellent writing, and I would certainly recommend it for "Hobbit" fans of both the movie and the book!

**Tyndale sent me this book for free as part of the blog tour that I signed up for. I was not required to review it positively. All opinions are my own.**
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Journey Is Not Always Safe Dec 6 2012
By Bill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Walking With Bilbo is a guided journey through Christianity using the Tolkien classic The Hobbit as a map. This book is not a review of The Hobbit, instead it looks at the aspects of Christianity that are found in the story. By looking at Bilbo and other characters, the author examines the issue of our own hearts, our relationship to our Father God, the depth of sacrifice of Jesus and the glorious reunion to come. Through 21 devotions the author spans the story of Bilbo and his own journey.

This is a great book. The author is a Tolkien fan and it shows. However, this is not a fan book that has Christianity slapped on top. Instead, it is a thoughtful look at the building of our faith and the part we play in this world. Each chapter looks to ourselves, the hobbit story and the Bible to see what God is speaking. From there, the author provides scripture reading to expound the point and serve as focus for meditation. I really enjoy this book and see it being used often in my study and recommending to others.

I'd give the book 5 out of 5.

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."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read for those who enjoy the journey of Bilbo Baggins. Dec 6 2012
By pwnmom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In Walking with Bilbo, Sara Arthur explores the parallels between our daily Christian lives and the adventure that Gandalf invited Bilbo to take. Each chapter begins with a quote from The Hobbit, a relate-able story that is relevant to today and the parallel between that and Bilbo's journey, a Bible verse that relates, questions to help the reader in "going further" and a list of Scriptures that correlate to the topic of the chapter (i.e. "The Word on Accepting the Job, The Word on Being Chosen, The Word on Being Wise in God's Eyes).

I read through the first two or three chapters, just to see how they were and I really enjoyed the ability to correlate The Hobbit and Bilbo's Journey to The Bible and our Christian journey. The chapters are laid out well and I love that there are questions at the end and Scriptures to dig deeper. I think this is an excellent addition to the library of anyone (especially YOUTH) who enjoy Tolkien and The Hobbit.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good companion to the book Dec 3 2012
By G. Blankenship - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This devotional is intended to span 22 days, which doesn't sound like much, but it packs a wollop in those days. Arthur draws from The Hobbit as a starting point and manages to include Scripture, real life examples and thought provoking questions that will cause you to really reflect on your relationship with Jesus.

While having read The Hobbit will make this a much more enjoyable devotional, it isn't really absolutely necessary. The devotions simply take a scene or event in the story and use it as a starting point to reveal a Biblical truth, from the fact that we are chosen and selected by God, to the importance of honesty, to the fact that God never leaves us stranded, and what it takes to find our true identity.

This would be great to include with The Hobbit when gift giving, and it is also a great book to add to your own library. Thanks to Tyndale for the opportunity to review it!

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