Allegories are very special to me. I’ve been drawn to them from a very early age. They can be fun, or serious, but they always make a point, in a parallel way, without just saying “You messed up. Look what you did/should have done/are capable of!” In that way, they are kind, and make you think.
Some of my favorite Biblical Allegories are
- Nathan’s story about the lamb, to get David to realize and confess just exactly what he’d done, and repent. (2 Samuel 12:1-4)
- The King’s dreams, interpreted by Daniel, which told the future (Daniel 2 & 4)
- The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13, Mark 4)
- Paul’s explanation of Slave/Free (Galatians 4:21-31)
With that kind of example, reading allegories is one of my favorite types of fiction. I’m always learning something, scripture comes alive in new ways. Understanding Christ’s sacrifice better, or His love, or some other treasure. By seeing them lived out, and applied, I learn more about applying them myself. I’d love to share a few of my favorites with you. I hope you’ll like them as much as I do! (If you missed it, Part 1 in the series focuses on Faithful Dragons, also full of allegories!)
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Picture Book Allegories
These Allegories can be started early (3-4 years old), as the adventure will captivate the kids, and they may even ask questions, internalizing Truth. Then, as they get bigger (5-8 years), they’ll understand more, and get to apply what they’re learning.
The Progress of the Pilgrim Mouse (an adaptation of the Pilgrim’s Progress) is one I can remember reading as a kid. Journeying with Christopher along (and sometimes wandering from) the narrow path to the Evergreen Wood, there are so many allegories of the Christian Walk. John Bunyan did an awesome job (and Alan and Linda Parry’s adaptation for kids, is Spectacular). Kids like animal stories. And sometimes, it’s easier to grasp truth that way 😊 I know, I’ve said that before!
Max Lucado’s The Song of the King is SO COOL!!! Three Knights are sent on a Quest-A dangerous journey, the prize being marriage to the princess. The King will play a song on a special flute so listening for that will guide them. But watch out for the Hopenots! Will any of the Three Knights be able to make it through? Will You learn more about how to listen for the Song of Your KING? I Hope so!
Picture Book Allegories with Devotionals
The Squire and the Scroll by Jennie Bishop is a great story. By itself, the adventure is fascinating, and the lessons learned and implied should sink in pretty well. You’ve got the Knight on a quest to rescue the Lantern of Purest Light, somewhat proud of himself. Then, you have his Squire. Who clings to the scroll his parents gave him with the instructions on how to Guard his Pure Heart. So of course, on the Quest, there are challenges, and the instructions from the Scroll provide all the answers. Who will follow them?
But Wait, There’s More 🙂 ! There is a companion book: Life Lessons from the Squire and the Scroll (Battle Plan for a Pure Heart). This is a series of instructions (A Devotional/Bible Study) on biblical Purity, Integrity, and God’s plan for Relationships. There are 21 devotionals that each have 6 parts or categories:
- A Squire Prepares His Heart (the Devotional section)
- A Squire’s Prayer
- Scroll of Truth (Scripture Verse)
- Creative Squire Adventures (a couple of Activities to choose from-pretty cool stuff here!)
- Hero of Faith (the Going Deeper section-more of a Bible study assignment), and
- Battle Plans (The Application Questions)
There’s a whole Parents’ Compass section with ‘teacher’s aides and how-to info. And, there’s instructions/a script for a Squires of the Lantern Ceremony, when the study has been completed.
I am really looking forward to doing this with my son in a few years, and probably a refresher course as he gets closer to 10-12 years old.
Allegories and Devotionals for girls
Since I have a boy, I’m obviously more familiar with the Boy Adventures, and I would encourage those with girls to read them too, because they need to be familiar with qualities to look for in a man of God. Not the Knight in shining armor, but the compassion, integrity and wisdom, purity and love of truth that is possible. However, Jennie Bishop didn’t leave the girls out! There’s a set of books just for them: The Princess and the Kiss, and Life Lessons from the Princess and the Kiss. This looks like another great adventure, and place to start some conversations. If they’re half as good as the boys’ books, they’re Excellent (and I’m sure they’re at least equal!). Their innocence is taken so early now, between tv and our environment. If we’re not willing to talk about things ourselves, someone else will! Using this as a launching pad for discussions about boundaries and the like, would be a good idea. Even for the boys.
Great New Allegories
In the Milana Legends series, we start out in a remote Missionary hut, but are quickly whisked away to another Planet, Milana, with fantastic animals, a whole different set of rules and abilities and Gifts from The Breather, the one who gave all things Breath. Nani, our heroine, has no memory of her past here on Milana, but she is known, and has been watched for, for about 1,000 years. She is the only one who can repair the damaged ‘Pillars’ and is led on a grand quest, to find herself, and repair the damage done. Alexi, one of the kids brought along from earth (accidentally? I think not!), is my hero. She has courage, determination, faith, and a love of books and knowledge that draws me right in. Her Loyalty to Nani, and understanding of what needs to be done encourage me, and the others in the story.
This series is very well written. The Grand saga, complete with the normal (clean!) teen interactions, the new world’s culture and consistent attention to details, and enough humor to keep things light. The allegories of our quest to get to know God are hard to miss. The weaving of scripture so carefully reworded to reflect Milana, and still be easily identified and accurate is fun!
If you like Narnia, or Lord of the Rings, or generally enjoy clean fantasy-type stories, you’ve got to give this a try! I know I can hardly wait for Book 3!
An Allegory Twist on a Classic
Adventures in Peter Pan’s Foreverland: Pirates of the Apocalypse by Jack Sky has layers of allegories. You’ll have your obvious references to Neverland, but even they are so well done that you can see through Neverland into, well, Foreverland. The adventures and allegories of these three kids who are taught to fly and whisked out their bedroom window are eye-opening. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but if you like Peter Pan, reading it with Biblical perspective is going to be fun!!!
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Did you really think I could do a post on Allegories, and leave out Narnia? Not possible. If you haven’t read it, you have no idea what you’re missing. These kids from ‘our world’ get into a fantastic world called Narnia and have many adventures, get to know Aslan, the LION, for the purpose of Knowing Him Better back here. And no matter how many days or years they are in Narnia, when they come back, no time at all has passed here. However long they are in “our world” it could be days or centuries that pass back in Narnia (I like Time paradoxes!). Each adventure in the 7-book series has Good vs Evil, and Trust and Tests and Talking Animals! All kinds of fun things! Mr. Lewis did an amazing job with the allegories here. Helping us to Know HIM better in our daily lives!
Making Time for Allegories?
This post is pretty long already, I don’t have time to go into the other classic allegories I love. I’ll have to write another post covering a few more:
- Lord of the Rings
- C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy
- Pilgrim’s Progress (the original, Grown-up version)
- and more
For now, I’ll let you go ahead and pick your favorite, and jump into allegories and adventures! Learn ways to draw near to HIM, and grow in your faith! Learn from others’ mistakes and triumphs. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and the only source of HOPE!