Allegory and Symbolism in the Bible and in Fiction

Allegory and Symbolism in the Bible

Jesus used the power of story to reach people and teach them. Well-crafted Christian fiction can also help draw us closer to Christ.

I have to confess, I reflect sometimes on how crazy it seems that I’ve devoted so much time and effort over the past years writing a work of… fiction! While I’m in the U.K. for a week of mission work in Cornwall, followed by our son’s wedding in Wales (!!), multi-published author Rose Allen McCauley was gracious enough to agree to step up to the mic here at Five Stones and a Sling. Rose shares her perspective on what it means to author Christian fiction. (Thank you, Robin and Rose! We’ll be back to our regular old programming next week, Lord willing. 🙂 )

A Guest Post by Rose Allen McCauley

Rose McCauley

Rose Allen McCauley

The Bible is still the best-selling book throughout the world, but I wonder how many people read it every day as truly God’s Word and a roadmap for the way to live our lives. Or, how many people receive a Bible as a gift and just stick it on a shelf or table and rarely open it up for spiritual food, or let the preacher do all the studying for them.

Although I have read the Bible all the way through many times, it would still be my first choice if I had to pick only one book. The Bible is made up of history, prophecy, law, proverbs, poetry and stories.

God’s Word is rich in metaphor, word plays, imagery, and symbolism and allegory. We don’t have time to do more than touch the tip, so I will only include the latter two terms in this article.

Webster’s says symbolism is “the representation of things, especially in fine art or literature.” Jesus used symbolism in describing Himself as a Bridegroom, a Shepherd, the Vine, Bread, and Living Water among many others. He also used worldly things to symbolize spiritual truth as in the Sower and the Seed which has its own interpretation given. (Matt. 13:1-23) So, our Savior used allegories to reach people and teach them.

The Prodigal Son by Harold Copping

The Prodigal Son by Harold Copping. One of many allegorical stories Jesus used.

An allegory is a story in which the characters and/or events can be symbols representing other events or people. My favorite allegory as a child was the story of Pilgrim’s Progress, a book our seventh-grade teacher read to us after lunch each day. And my favorite modern-day allegory (besides those in the Bible) is a book I highly recommend by Allen Arnold called The Story of With. Hope you will order a copy and read it. I bought my copy last August and have already read it twice! It is that good, and full of great lessons for us modern-day pilgrims. It has fiction chapters then explanation chapters. So it is part fiction, then non-fiction.

Although I have contributed in non-fiction to several Christian books and other devotionals, I usually write women’s fiction or romance. Some people will read only non-fiction, and I once had a neighbor who said we should only read the Bible. I taught elementary children for over 25 years, so thought about writing children’s books when I retired since I had read literally thousands of them to my own children and school children, but the stories God has placed on my heart and mind to write have all been Christian adult fiction so far. My prayer and my desire is for God is to use my writing to bring readers closer to Him. While I have had a few people write or tell me of coming to a saving relationship through Christ from a book they read, more have told me how something I have written has drawn them closer to Christ or helped them in their walk with Christ, so that is why I continue to write.

Rose McCauley Surrender to Peace

Rose Allen McCauley, Surrender to Peace

A romance novel I wrote, Surrender to Peace, is about a woman who wanted to be married so much that she fell for the first guy who asked. When he broke the engagement a week before the wedding, she went on her un-honeymoon trip alone to do some praying. In the stillness, she finally realized she hadn’t heard God speak to her heart since she’d accepted the proposal, so began to pray for God to speak to her heart again. Readers have told me that they saw the book as a powerful allegory of God’s love for us in wooing us back to Him. I think God continues to woo us to bring us into closer relationship with Him.

I always start my stories with a Bible verse, and the one I chose for that book was one of my favorites—Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” That’s what happens by the end of the book, although a lot more occurs, too!

Allen Arnold, The Story of With

Allen Arnold, The Story of With

So, if you are not a fiction reader, I hope you will pray about which, if any, Christian fiction God would lead you to read. The Story of With might be a good place to start since it is a combination of fiction and non-fiction about how to live our lives “with” Christ instead of just asking Him to bless us in our own pursuits.

I am so glad God drew me to Linda’s site with all of her (and her husband’s) well-studied and thought-provoking posts on prophecy. May God bless you all and draw you each closer to Him on your journey. As David Reagan of says, “Look up, be watchful, for your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:28

Rose has been writing for over a decade and has several non-fiction and six fiction books published. A retired schoolteacher who has been happily married to her college sweetheart for over forty years, they enjoy their growing family of three children and their spouses and five lovely, lively grandkids! She loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her through her website or twitter @RoseAMcCauley and Facebook

Small towns~Huge hearts

Available on Amazon and other locations:

  • Christmas Belles of Georgia, Barbour
  • Christmas Grace
  • Surrender to Peace, Olivia Kimbrell Press
  • Courageous Brides, Barbour
  • Christmastide at Bald Head Island, Forget Me Not Romances
  • Destination: Romance, Wings of Hope Publishing










1 Comment

  1. Thanks so most for hosting me today, Linda Thompson. I hope everyone will come back to your lovely, thought-provoking site and peruse other articles, too.

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