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Authors: Francine Rivers

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The Scribe

BOOK: The Scribe
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To men of faith who serve

in the shadow of others.

Visit Tyndale’s exciting Web site at
www.tyndale.com
.

Check out the latest about Francine Rivers at
www.francinerivers.com
.

TYNDALE
and Tyndale’s quill logo are registered trademarks of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

The Scribe

Copyright © 2007 by Francine Rivers. All rights reserved.

“Seek and Find” section written by Peggy Lynch.

Cover illustration copyright © 2007 by Philip Howe. All rights reserved.

Designed by Jennifer Ghionzoli

Edited by Kathryn S. Olson

Scripture quotations are taken from the
Holy Bible
, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Rivers, Francine, date.

The scribe / Francine Rivers.

p. cm. —  (Sons of encouragement ; #5)

ISBN 978-0-8423-8269-4

1.  Silas (Biblical figure)—Fiction. 2.  Bible. O.T.—History of Biblical events—Fiction. 3. Religious fiction. I. Title.

PS3568.I83165S37 2007

813′.54—dc22 2007005467

ISBN 978-1-4143-2268-1 (ePub); ISBN 978-1-4143-2076-2 (Kindle); ISBN 978-1-4143-8646-1 (Apple)

Build: 2013-02-27 16:00:02

Acknowledgments

I
want to thank my husband, Rick Rivers, for listening to my ideas and challenging and encouraging me through the course of this series. I also want to thank Peggy Lynch, who knew the questions to ask to make me dig deeper into the Scriptures for new insights. I offer special thanks to Kathy Olson for her pruning skills and advice in improving the manuscript. And last, but by no means least, is my gratitude to the entire Tyndale staff for all the work they do in presenting these stories to readers. It’s a team effort all the way.

To all of you who have prayed for me over the years and through the course of this particular project, thank you. May the Lord use this story to draw people close to Jesus, our beloved Lord and Savior.

Introduction

Dear Reader,

This is the last of five novellas on biblical men of faith who served in the shadows of others. These were Eastern men who lived in ancient times, and yet their stories apply to our lives and the difficult issues we face in our world today. They were on the edge. They had courage. They took risks. They did the unexpected. They lived daring lives, and sometimes they made mistakes—big mistakes. These men were not perfect, and yet God in His infinite mercy used them in His perfect plan to reveal Himself to the world.

We live in desperate, troubled times when millions seek answers. These men point the way. The lessons we can learn from them are as applicable today as when they lived thousands of years ago.

These are historical men who actually lived. Their stories, as I have told them, are based on biblical accounts. For the facts we know about the life of Silas, see Acts 15:22–19:10; 2 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; and 1 Peter 5:12.

This book is also a work of historical fiction. The outline of the story is provided by the Bible, and I have started with the information provided for us there. Building on that foundation, I have created action, dialogue, internal motivations, and in some cases, additional characters that I feel are consistent with the biblical record. I have attempted to remain true to the scriptural message in all points, adding only what is necessary to aid in our understanding of that message.

At the end of each novella, we have included a brief study section. The ultimate authority on people of the Bible is the Bible itself. I encourage you to read it for greater understanding. And I pray that as you read the Bible, you will become aware of the continuity, the consistency, and the confirmation of God’s plan for the ages—a plan that includes you.

Francine Rivers

Prologue

Silas walked to the house where Peter and his wife were hidden, aggrieved by the weight of the news he bore.

Tapping three times, lightly, he entered the room where they had often met with brothers and sisters in Christ or prayed long hours when alone. He found Peter and his wife in prayer now. Peter’s wife raised her head, and her smile vanished.

Silas helped her up. “We must go,” he said softly, and turned to assist Peter. “Paul has been captured. Soliders are searching the city for you. You must leave tonight.”

As they headed out, Silas explained further. “Apelles is with me. He will show you the way.”

“What about you?” Peter spoke with grave concern. “You must come with us, Silas. You’ve served as Paul’s secretary as well as mine. They will be looking for you too.”

“I’ll follow shortly. I was working on a scroll when Apelles brought me the news. I must return and make certain the ink is dry before I pack it with the others.”

Peter nodded gravely, and Silas ducked into the house where he had been staying. All the papyrus scrolls, except the one on which he had been working, were already rolled and stored carefully in leather cases. Silas had known the day would come when he would have to grab the pack and run. Lifting the weights that held open the newest scroll, he rolled the papyrus, and tucked it carefully into its case. As he slung the pack over his shoulder, he felt the full weight of responsibility to safeguard the letters.

As he stepped out into the street again, he saw Peter and his wife and Apelles waiting. Silas ran to them. “Why are you still here?”

Apelles looked frantic. “They wouldn’t go farther without you!”

Torn between gratitude for his friends’ loyalty and fear for their safety, Silas urged them on. “We must hurry!”

Apelles was clearly relieved to be moving again. He gave further instructions in an urgent whisper. “We have a carriage waiting outside the city gates. We thought it best to wait until nightfall, when the ban on wagons lifted. It will be easier to slip out now.”

Peter was well-known in Rome, and would be easily recognized. They would have a better chance of escape in the confusing influx of goods into the city and the cover of darkness beyond the walls.

Peter walked with difficulty, his arm protectively around his wife. “When did the guard come for Paul?”

“They took him to the dungeon this morning.” Apelles raised his hand as they came to the end of the street. He peered around the corner and then beckoned them on. The young man made an effort to appear calm, but Silas felt his fear. His own heart beat with foreboding. If captured, Peter would be imprisoned and executed, most likely in some foul spectacle designed by Nero to entertain the Roman mob.

“Silas!” Peter’s wife whispered urgently.

Silas glanced back and saw Peter struggling for breath. He caught up to Apelles and grasped his shoulder. “More slowly, my friend, or we’ll lose the one we’re trying to save.”

Peter drew his wife closer and whispered something to her. She held tightly to him and wept into his shoulder. Peter smiled at Silas. “Right now would be a good time for God to give me wings like an eagle.”

Apelles led them more slowly through the dark alleys and narrow streets. Rats fed on refuse as they passed by. The sounds of wagon wheels grew louder. While the city slept, a tide of humanity poured through the gates, bringing with it goods for the insatiable Roman markets. Some drove overladen wagons; others pushed carts. Still others carried heavy packs on their bent backs.

So close to freedom,
Silas thought, seeing the open gates just ahead. Could they get through without being recognized?

Apelles drew them close. “Wait here while I make certain it’s safe.” He disappeared among the wagons and carts.

Silas’s heart pounded harder. Sweat trickled down his back. Every minute they stood on the public street added to Peter’s danger. He spotted Apelles, his face pale and strained with fear as he struggled through the crowd.

The young man pointed. “That side. Go now! Quickly!”

Silas led the way. His heart lurched when one of the Roman guards turned and looked at him. A Christian brother. Thank God! The Roman nodded once and turned away.

“Now!” Silas made a path for Peter and his wife to pass through the flow. People bumped into them. Someone cursed. A wagon wheel almost crushed Silas’s foot.

Once outside the gates and away from the walls, he let Peter set the pace.

An hour down the road, two more friends ran to meet them. “We’ve been waiting for hours! We thought you’d been arrested!”

Silas took one of them aside. “Peter and his wife are exhausted. Have the coach meet us on the road.”

One remained to escort them while the other ran ahead.

When the coach arrived, Silas helped Peter and his wife up and then climbed in with them. Shoulders aching, he shrugged off the heavy pack and leaned back, bracing himself as they set off. The sound of galloping horses soothed his frayed nerves. Peter and his wife were safe—for the moment. The Romans would search the city first, leaving them time to reach Ostia, where the three of them would board the first ship leaving port. Only God knew where they would go next.

Peter looked troubled. His wife took his hand. “What is it, Peter?”

“I don’t feel right.”

Silas leaned forward, concerned. “Are you ill?” Had the rush through the night been too much for the venerable apostle?

“No, but I must stop.”

His wife voiced an objection before Silas could do so. “But, my husband . . .”

Peter looked at Silas.

“As you say.” Silas leaned out to signal the coachman.

Peter’s wife grabbed him. “Don’t, Silas! Please! If they capture Peter, you know what they’ll do.”

Peter drew her back and put his arm around her. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, my dear, and that’s what has sent us racing into darkness.”

Silas struck the side of the coach. Leaning out, he called up to the driver to stop. The coach jerked and bounced as it drew to the side of the road. While his wife wept, Peter climbed down. Silas followed. The horses snorted and moved restlessly. Silas shrugged at the driver’s questioning look and watched Peter walk off the road.

Peter’s wife stepped down. “Go with him, Silas. Reason with him! Please. The church needs him.”

Silas walked to the edge of the field and watched over his friend. Why did Peter tarry here?

The old apostle stood in the middle of a moonlit field, praying. Or so Silas thought until Peter paused and tipped his head slightly. How many times over the years had Silas seen Peter do that when someone spoke to him? Silas went closer, and for the barest second something shimmered faintly in the moonlight. Every nerve in his body tingled, aware. Peter was not alone. The Lord was with him.

Peter bowed his head and spoke. Silas heard the words as clearly as if he stood beside the old fisherman. “Yes, Lord.”

When Peter turned, Silas went out to him, trembling. “What are we to do?”

“I must go back to Rome.”

Silas saw all the plans that had been made to protect Peter crumble. “If you do, you’ll die there.”
Lord, surely not this man.

“Yes. I will die in Rome. As will Paul.”

Tears welled in Silas’s eyes.
Both of them, Lord?
“We need your voice, Peter.”

“My voice?” He shook his head.

Silas knew better than to attempt to dissuade Peter from doing whatever the Lord willed. “As God wills, Peter. We will return to Rome together.”

“No.
I
will return. You will remain behind.”

Silas felt the blood leave his face. “I will not run for my life when my closest friends face death!” His voice broke.

Peter put a hand on his arm. “Is your life your own, Silas? We belong to the Lord. God has called
me
back to Rome. He will tell
you
what to do when the time comes.”

“I can’t let you go back alone!”

“I am not alone. The Lord is with me. Whatever happens, my friend, we are one in Christ Jesus. God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”

“And if they crucify you?”

Peter shook his head. “I am not worthy to die in the same way the Lord did.”

“They will do everything they can to break you, Peter. You know they will!”

“I know, Silas. Jesus told me years ago how I would die. You must pray for me, my friend. Pray I stand firm to the end.” When Silas opened his mouth to argue further, Peter raised his hand. “No more, Silas. It is not for us to question the Lord’s plan, my friend, but to follow it. I
must
go where God leads.”

“I will not abandon you, Peter.” Silas fought to keep his voice firm. “Before God, I swear it.”

“I swore the same thing once.” Peter’s eyes shone with tears. “I didn’t keep my vow.”

Peter ordered the driver to turn the coach around. His wife insisted upon going back with him. “Wherever you go, I will go.” Peter helped her into the coach and stepped up to sit beside her.

Determined not to be left behind, Silas climbed up. Peter shoved the pack of scrolls into his arms. The unbalanced weight made Silas step down. Scroll cases tumbled. As Silas scrambled for them, Peter closed and locked the coach door. He hit the side of the coach. The driver tapped the horses’ flanks.

“Wait!”

Peter looked out at him. “May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.”

Silas frantically retrieved scrolls, shoving them into the pack.
“Wait!”

Slinging the pack over his shoulder, Silas ran to catch up. As he reached for the back of the coach, the driver gave a harsh cry and cracked his whip. The horses broke into a full gallop, leaving Silas choking in the dust.

BOOK: The Scribe
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