A thoughtful article—as usual—from Leland Ryken, looking at five fictional stories.

The first two are from the Bible; the last three are from Shakespeare, Hawthorne, and Milton.

An excerpt:

The Bible is the definitive word on justification, but it is not the only word. If we benefit from sermons and theological articles on justification, we can benefit from literary portrayals of it. Theological exposition enables us to know the truth about justification intellectually. We experience that same truth when the doctrine of justification is embodied and incarnated in fictional images of justification. After all, the biblical images of the reclothed high priest and the tax collector who goes home justified are literary and fictional images of justification, belonging to the same genre as the stories of Shakespeare, Milton, and Hawthorne that I have surveyed.

Within the Bible itself justification is presented in the complementary modes of theological exposition and literary images. I tell my students that it is possible to set up a profitable two-way street between the Bible and literature, with the Bible enabling me to see a lot in literature that I would otherwise miss, and literature enabling me to see and feel biblical truth better.

You can read the whole thing here.