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A Time to Hear – Book 1


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First book in the A Time to series. An exciting work, looking at the events surrounding the times of John the Baptist when some in Israel were on the tiptoe of expectation, awaiting the long-promised Messiah.
This fictional account gives the flavour of life in those days, viewed through the eyes and experiences of a young Galilean boy, and provides many unexpected insights into the scriptural record.

Discount applied to £33.00 for first three books in series (new, hard copies only)

  • A Time to Hear
  • A Time to See
  • A Time to Speak

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Author: S. J. Knight

Binding: Paperback / Digital (ePub or Kindle download / Edition No.: 6 / July 2022)
Print edition: ISBN 978 0 85189 164 4 | Electronic edition: ISBN 978 0 85189 227 6
Pages: 568
Publisher: The Christadelphian

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4 reviews for A Time to Hear – Book 1

  1. James Wilkins

    The Christadelphian review (from June 2006)

    A novel idea
    GOD has revealed His purpose with mankind through the pages of His word and in the person of His Son. He could have produced a document full of technical information about the human condition, and His offer of salvation, but instead He revealed His purpose by describing the lives of men and women and the history of His nation Israel. Similarly, when Jesus began to preach about the coming kingdom of God, he could have given long and scholarly discourses, but in fulfilment of what had been prophesied about him he spoke to the people in parables: accounts of men and women in different situations, containing an underlying message for those with ears to hear.

    We are therefore familiar with the style where important principles and lessons for life are woven into daily events; in the process we are taught that God’s offer of salvation affects every aspect of life and is to be acknowledged in every part of life.

    Imaginative accounts
    But when it comes to using the same method to convey divine principles and the message of the Gospel, only rarely as a community do we produce material in the style of a parable, story or drama. There have been some notable exceptions. Brother Roberts, for example, produced The Trial, a book reviewing in a dramatic form the evidence for the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and The Final Consolation, where his scripturally attuned imagination was directed towards producing a word picture of life during the millennium. There have also been some children’s stories published, either in a biblical or a contemporary setting, aimed at presenting Bible principles.

    The recent publication A Time to Hear, however, is a full-length work of fiction aimed at adults and older teenagers. The author has imaginatively set the story in the early years of the first century AD, describing events in the life of a fictional character: a shepherd’s son called Daniel. Through careful research, details of daily life in a Galilean home are faithfully presented, and they provide colour and background to the events that gradually unfold.

    In the book, Daniel and his family muse about the scriptures, and what the promises made two thousand years earlier to Abraham really mean. In particular, what was meant when Abraham was promised descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sand by the seashore? Daniel and his family were descended from Abraham. Were they stars? Were they grains of sand? There was talk of a coming Messiah, with many hoping that he would rid the country of the hated Roman occupiers.

    As the story unfolds, the reader is introduced to an aged shepherd who remembers a night on the hills outside Bethlehem, and to news of a wild and stirring preacher calling on men and women to repent and be baptized. Each chapter in the book contributes towards a compelling account of one person’s journey to learn about the Messiah. In the process various passages of scripture are brought to life; sometimes shown in a different light, revealing how the hope of Israel focused at that particular time, when men and women in Israel were in eager expectation.

    For young Daniel, it was a time to hear. He learns that “Each star, each grain of sand — matters! Not just as one of millions needed to group together to form the whole heaven, or the whole beach — but as special — yes, precious — on its own as well”.

    It is no less true for modern readers, for the Gospel call goes out to individual men and women in each generation: “Today, if ye will hear his voice …”


  2. James Wilkins

    The Testimony review (from August 2006)

    A Jewish boy in the first century
    A VISIT TO any Christian bookshop will confirm that Christian fiction is a fast-growing literary genre. American publishers in particular have printed hundreds of such books, and it is clear that they are very popular. Some, like the Left Behind series, have been best-sellers, with sales running into the millions. These books cater to a demand from Christians for wholesome values-based fictional works in a world where much modern fiction is debased and unedifying.

    Many Christadelphians read Christian fiction for relaxation. Some of these works, such as the Left Behind series, promote teachings at odds with Scripture, whilst others promote Biblical values but place relatively little emphasis on doctrine. It is a pity, therefore, that there are not more fictional works written by Christadelphians, promoting Biblical values while at the same time reinforcing true Scriptural understanding. In recent years a few such works have become available, including Anna Tikvah’s In Search of Life and the anonymous Cornelia’s Story (both published by the Christadelphian Scripture Study Service), and Sister Debbie Wood’s books The Early Years, The New Century, A Precious Hope and Year by Year (published by The Christadelphian Advocate). To that list can now be added a new publication from The Christadelphian, A Time to Hear.

    This book is a substantial work of 570 pages. Set in the Holy Land in the days of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, its central character is a Galilean boy named Dan, the son of a widowed shepherd. Growing up in a humble, devout family, Dan has an enquiring and spiritually alert mind. We join him and his family circle on a spiritual journey as they become increasingly aware that they live in momentous times. The book provides an insight into Jewish life in Galilee at the time of our Lord’s first advent, and as such is valuable for any Bible reader. More importantly, however, it also has profound moral lessons for this generation, which lives on the eve of his second advent.

    The author’s incisive comments on the covenants of promise provide valuable insights about their centrality to the gospel message. The book also refers incidentally to many aspects of the Law, the Psalms and the prophets, and in the process offers much interesting instruction. As with the cultural aspects of the book, these expositional comments are evidence of the high standard of scholarship that underpins the work. In relation to the cultural matters, it would have been interesting to know about the source material from which the picture of life in first-century Galilee was drawn (this was done in Cornelia’s Story, also set in the first century, where information is included as end notes), but it is acknowledged that this would have added substantially to the size of the work and might have been a distraction to many readers.

    The author has a colourful and expressive writing style which at times borders on the poetic. The plot is well paced and has several unexpected twists and turns that sustain the reader’s interest. It runs the gamut of emotions from mirth to pathos, but never becomes cloyingly sentimental or stilted. The characters are real people, their strengths and weaknesses sketched eloquently. This book will appeal to readers of all ages and backgrounds. In particular, however, the book is ideal for both interested friends and senior Sunday School scholars because it reinforces many fundamental first principles, including the importance of repentance and preparation for the Messiah. A Time to Hear is heartily recommended, and it must be hoped that the book enjoys a wide circulation and readership.


  3. Rebecca Brewer

    This is an excellent and well thought out book. It’s a really good read and it touches the heart. It’s written at an easily understood level. It makes the reader truly think. It encourages introspection. I would have no hesitation in handing it to a teenager and even a slightly younger child providing they have adult guidance. A big thank you to S J Knight – I am keen to read the rest of the series.


  4. Susan Knight

    Review by Alex Szollo June 1, 2016
    A TIME TO HEAR: the first volume in what may be my favorite series of Biblical novels of all time.
    How fitting it is that I should write this review on Children’s Day, seeing as how it speaks of a novel which starts a series that retells The Greatest Story Ever Told through the eyes of a child. The novel in question is titled A TIME TO HEAR, written by S. J. Knight, and it tells the story of Dan ben Ammiel. a shepherd boy from the Holy Land of 2000 years ago, who is hungry for learning, looking for a purpose, and expecting the Messiah.
    The story of Christ has been told in fiction countless times, from various points of view and on various moments in history. However, there are surprisingly few books about Christ written from the point of view of children, which is paradoxical, as He loved them dearly.
    Another tendency of Biblical fiction authors is that of telling the story focusing on one well-known New Testament figure or another. This is why Ms. Knight’s novel is such a pleasure to read: one gets to acquaint themselves with entirely new characters who interact with those who are known from the Bible. I loved spending time with Dan’s family of shepherds, taking in their joys, their sorrows, and remarking how strikingly similar the lives of shepherds back than and those who live nowadays in my own native country of Romania were. These were simple people, but the depth of their souls matched the immensity of Heaven.
    I loved everything about this book. The attention to detail is amazing, the language is vivid and very period-conscious without sounding too flowery to be readable (I always appreciate the fact that there are no anachronistic forms of expression within a historical novel), and the characters are absolutely amazing. From Dan with his innocence and hunger for knowledge, to Ammiel, with his deep simplicity, to Aunt Etta, a fiercely courageous and faithful woman, to Marah All Alone, who offers a vivid, heartrending picture of the effects of Herod’s bloodlust, and even the rash, hard-drinking Uncle Bukki, all of these people are far from saintly characters. They live, laugh, cry, love and err like all of us, and you will love them. All the stars in the sky for this amazingly soulful piece of Truth-speaking fiction! Oh, and Loukanos, the Greek…I have a feeling I know him from somewhere.
    If you want to see how an ending can be the beginning for everything, here’s one book that demonstrates this to a tee, and I’ve had the pleasure and blessing to talk about it in this review. I cannot wait to see how the journey will carry on.

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