And now it’s the turn of the women to enter the story, most significantly Sarai.  

I love the characters of Genesis and particularly the women. Despite the cultural context into which they were born, they were obviously strong personalities. My personal favourite is Rebecca, but Sarai is right up there too. Rarely are the women overwhelmed by their partners, but rather they complement and often seem to complete the men in their lives, as well as being very able to stand on their own two feet, when they needed to. Their relationships are complicated but true love is normally very evident. None more so than in the case of Abram and Sarai. If you’re not familiar with the story, you might need to take my word for it at this stage in the telling, but you’ll soon see what I mean.  

The problem with characters in a story set millennia ago in a land, for most of us, far far away, is that we struggle to appreciate their humanity- their fears, hopes, dreams, and above all their loves. So stop reading the story through the stained glass window you saw in church, but rather through the bathroom mirror. Then even if your appreciation of the characters will still be flawed, it will still be significantly more real, down to earth and human.  

Sarai was obviously a very beautiful older lady, but at the time that mattered little, while she was still childless. As with Abram, her value, purpose and identity was limited. She was a failure. Of course it might not have been her fault, but she was still to blame. The fertility test of the day was simple- get a second wife and see if it goes differently. And yet Abram didn’t do this. You can only believe his desire for his wife trumped his desire for a son. And that is extraordinary. It suggests a very very special bond between Abram and Sarai, albeit one that was to be sorely tested and probably broken. But that’s down the line, Right here right now, that bond was strong enough to compensate for what was glaringly missing. 

Patriarch isn’t just a story of God’s revelation of His love for a man, but also a man’s love for his wife and her’s for him. It bumbles and stumbles along, as Abram and Sarai’s flaws are exposed but the soundtrack which constantly recurs in the background has a melodious depth and romantic rich refrain. 

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Having set the scene, it’s now time to introduce the other main male characters, and what fascinating lead players they are.  

Terah and Abram we’ve met. Nahor is Abram’s older brother, and like Abram, he’s seeking to come to terms with being childless in a culture where identity and legacy are intrinsically linked. He’s just going about it in a very different way to Abram. Nahor does pop up from time to time in Genesis and comes across as cautious and predictable- a safe pair of hands. Perhaps because he’s trying to compensate for not producing grandchildren for Terah, he seems to perform the role as the dependable family man. I can’t see that he and Abram had much in common or in deed much to talk about. Then there’s Abram’s nephew, Lot. Whether or not Nahor was the practical one and Abram the thinker, you can be pretty sure Lot was neither. All that can be said about Lot’s decision making was that it tended to end in disaster. And yet there is obviously a greater bond between Abram and his nephew than Abram and his brother. You don’t sense in any way they are kindred spirits, and yet there is a bond. Lot may have been a pain in the neck to Abram but you never sense he tired of him. He may have won his way into Abram’s affections as the son he never had. But perhaps he stayed there, because of the life Abram never lived: seemingly carefree, but actually chaotic and crisis ridden! Who knows? 

What we do know is that a prosperous family’s comfortable life was about to be turned utterly upside down, and I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when it happened! This is how I imagine it unravelled. Enjoy! 

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Patriarch is a novel retelling the remarkable story of Abraham. For five years I lived and breathed his journey. Come and walk his road of faith with me.

It’s been fun revisiting Patriarch after a fourteen year break, in order to re-record the new audio version. It’s good to be back. 

For those five years I wrestled with questions like: who initiated the initial journey to Haran- Abram, his father Terah, or maybe both- albeit for very different reasons. I spent months trying to get beneath the skin of the two patriarchs, aided by research into the remarkable city of Ur and the context of the time. Of course, I can’t be at all sure I got the feelings or motivations of either men right, but the more time I spent with them those years ago, the more the Bible and this particular story came alive. And now that I’m back, I know I will go still further on and deeper in. Oh, how I love the Bible for that! I still open it with a sense of awe and wonder, fondly remembering what it has taught me before, and excitedly anticipating what new might be revealed.  

The Bible tells the story of real people living real lives in real places. Dare I say it, essentially, people just like you and me. They wrestled with the same issues albeit contextually and culturally different. So, I’m pretty confident I haven’t transposed and imposed my feelings and thought processes onto them.  

I see an old man, Abram, wrestling with legacy, and an even older one, Terah, wrestling with mortality. Both are unsettled by their quest, no longer able to acquiesce complacently in the superficiality and futility of what their society valued. One looked up, outside of his experience, in the quest of a higher being. The other looked back, to his past, to find the comfort of the familiar. I relate to both, but know only one- the revelation of God Himself, can provide eternal answers. Neither knew God, and my guess is only one found Him. And he was the one to find legacy, meaning and life as a consequence. 2000 years later Jesus was to tell some equally clueless men that God is the God of the living Abraham. This is the story of how Abram found eternal life, and how he paved the way for us to find life in Christ too. And it all began in the dust and dirt of a city called Ur, approximately 4000 years ago. 

For the latest news from Colin and Melissa and a daily devotional guide visit



Greetings From The Croft

This is where Patriarch is recorded, albeit from under a pile of cushions! It’s a small Scottish croft where Melissa and I are privileged to live. The photo was taken last summer at about 11pm and the sun is setting over the islands of Lewis and Harris. The Christian heritage of this region is amazing. The last UK revival happened on the western isles you see from our window, and our house had a Bible cemented into the foundations so it could be built upon the Word of God.

We either travel from here to serve youth workers across the globe, or we video conference them, starting on the Pacific coasts of Asia and Oceania in the morning and wrapping up the day on the coasts of the same ocean but now in the Americas. We hope in time to build a cabin here where those we serve across the globe as well as our friends and supporters can come on their own journey of faith and meet with God. Perhaps a bit like Abraham did those 4000 years ago! Honestly it’s hard not to meet with God here. Deer on the croft, otters on the beach, whales out at sea, and eagles soaring above. We can’t wait to be able to welcome those hungering and thirsting after a revelation of the Father’s love, and share it with you!

We’d love to hear from you. Please use our Biblenovels facebook page on this link



Around the world in a few minutes

We’re so grateful for your interest in Patriarch and hope you’re enjoying it. We’ll keep recording episodes and uploading them every Monday and Friday. It’s no hardship being locked down here on the Scottish coast. Yesterday over my birthday breakfast, we watched through the lounge window our first Minke Whale of the season breaking through the surf. I happen to believe God loves to pull off stunts like that! 

It’s a different story for many of our team across the globe, which is why we wrote and have now rerecorded Patriarch. We want to build awareness of these sacrificial heroes of faith. If you have time, do give a few minutes of this video a watch. I recorded it for the Oneprayer initiative  and in it  take you on a whistle stop tour of youth ministry across the globe all from our little croft where I record Patriarch. Enjoy



June 2020


Thank you for so much positive feedback for this new edition of Patriarch. We’re so encouraged it is inspiring challenging and strengthening so many. If you’ve been blessed, we’d be grateful if you could tell your friends about it. You can direct them either to this site, or the ask them to like the facebook page, Biblenovels. We’re passionate about the Bible, both Old and New Testaments and how God speaks into our lives through them. And we want as many as possible to be inspired to read the Bible afresh with eyes of faith!

Candidly as we build the listenership this will enable us also to generate income through some advertising. We’ve committed that 100% of any advertising revenue will go straight to grassroots youth workers in the majority world. Right now, because of Covid lockdown some of these are under huge pressure, and yet, heroes that they are, they soldier on because of their love for Christ and for this generation. Of course if you want to give directly to them, click the DONATE button above and tell us that’s what you’d like us to do with any donation and we’ll make sure it gets there- all of it!

We’ve been asked if the podcast is available on Apple yet. We submitted it months ago but they haven’t verified it yet. Hopefully they will soon. You can find it though on Podbean, Spotify, Facebook and Youtube! You can also subscribe on podbean so you get alerts of new episodes. We try to get these out Mondays and Fridays by the way. Thanks again for your support, and for walking the road of Abraham with us.