A Story of God and All of Us

A Novel Based on the Epic TV Miniseries "The Bible"


By Roma Downey

By Mark Burnett

Formats and Prices




$3.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around February 26, 2013. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Scripture’s greatest stories and most compelling characters come to life in this sweeping new novel by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett.

Beginning with the creation of man and ending with the revelation of a new world, readers will revel in this epic saga of warriors, rebels, poets, and kings, all called upon by God to reveal His enduring love for mankind. Ultimately, God’s plan is fulfilled in the story of Jesus the Messiah, whose life, death and resurrection brings salvation to one and all.

A STORY OF GOD AND ALL OF US is a companion to The Bible, the epic ten-hour mini-series produced by the authors and televised around the world.


Begin Reading

Table of Contents


Copyright Page

In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher constitutes unlawful piracy and theft of the author's intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at permissions@hbgusa.com. Thank you for your support of the author's rights.


In the spring of 2011 we began work on a ten-hour television miniseries: The Bible. It would begin with the Book of Genesis and end with the Book of Revelation. As you can imagine, we were immediately faced with a massive creative challenge: how do we tell this story? More specifically: how do we transform a sacred narrative that spans thousands of years and features hundreds of individual stories into just ten hours of television?

We had one of two choices: either select dozens of short summaries and tell many brief stories; or, choose fewer characters and stories but make a much deeper emotional connection.

Clearly, we had to go with the second choice.

So we began the TV scripts, written by a team of writers under the guidance of many theologians, advisors, and biblical experts. Their combined expertise brought forth vivid spiritual and historical images. To our great joy, when we showed the scripts to others for technical and creative feedback, the resounding messages we heard over and over were "I've never been able to imagine these Bible stories so clearly in my mind," "I'm going to reread the Bible," and "You really should publish these scripts."

Initially we were resistant, but then we started researching. We came across startling facts like: half of Americans cannot name the first five books of the Bible, 12 percent of American Christians believe that Noah's wife was Joan of Arc, and many believe that Sodom and Gomorrah were a married couple. If our scripts had provided an impetus for people to want to reread the Bible and given them a clearer picture of these stories, then maybe by novelizing the scripts we could spark even more people to pick up the Bible.

Thus, we began the novel A Story of God and All of Us. We feel very inadequate to teach the Bible, and we are certainly not theologians. We are television storytellers. It will be easy for people to focus on how we have "compressed stories" or to find "theological inaccuracies." But on this point, we must be clear: we are not retelling the story of the Bible; it has already been told in the richest, fullest possible way, from the mouth of God and through His chosen prophets, students, and apostles. Instead, we are dramatizing some of these beautiful stories from our scripts.

We owe a huge debt of thanks to all the small army of script writers, our amazing production team, and all of our advisors and biblical experts. We also want to thank you for holding this novel in your hands. Our television miniseries will be seen by millions around the world, and it is our hope that the series together with this book will inspire many more millions to read and reread the greatest story ever told: the Bible.

Roma Downey and Mark Burnett

California, 2013



Thousands of years ago, in the city of Ur, in modern-day Iraq, lives a man named Abram. He is a direct descendant of Noah, eight generations on, through the lineage of Shem. Abram is a vigorous seventy-five years old, with broad shoulders and a flowing beard barely flecked in gray. His wife Sarai is known far and wide for her great beauty, even though she is of the same generation as Abraham. The one sadness of their otherwise charmed life is that Sarai has not been able to bear children. One could never detect this sorrow from Abram's behavior. He is always quick with a smile, and forever has a "Peace be with you" on his lips.

Abram enters the great temple in Ur, where he is greeted warmly by friends. Ur is a city of many gods, and the temple walls are covered in elaborate symbols—an owl, a crescent moon, a snake, and the peaceful smile of a goddess. All around Abram, noisy worshippers gyrate and sway, consumed by the rhythm of a procession entering through the grand doors. A brightly painted wooden statue carried atop a litter is set down on a low altar, to which a live goat is tethered. The crowd chants louder and louder as a temple priest draws his sacrificial knife. The noise is deafening—shrieks, chants, thunderous cheers. The priest grabs the back of the goat's head and pulls it upward to expose the neck.

Abram would normally be absorbed in the ritual, but on this day, he hears a voice he has never heard before. It is speaking only to Abram; no one else in the temple can hear it.

"Abram." It is the voice of God. "Leave your country, your people, and your father's household, and go to the land I will show you."

Abram gazes up to the sky, his mouth open in shock as the unmistakable voice of God makes spectacular promises in exchange for the enormous demand.

The priest has cut the goat's throat, and presses his knife deep into its soft belly to reveal its liver. Abram sees none of that.

"I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse. And all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you."

A lesser man would be puzzled. Or perhaps fearful. But Abram hears the call, which is why God picked him for the task He has in mind, just as He once chose the upright Noah. Abram stands in the frenzied temple, where the priest now holds aloft the goat's liver, not an ounce of doubt in his veins.

"Yes," Abram softly tells God, in a voice brimming with passion. "Yes."

It's one thing for God to instruct a man to leave his homeland, his friends, and the very lineage that has coursed through his family for generations, and it is another for a man to deliver this stunning news to his wife. Abram races home from the temple, eager to tell Sarai. He steps into their courtyard and sees his beloved nephew, Lot.

"Abram," Lot greets him.

Abram slaps a friendly hand on his shoulder and steps briskly toward the front door.

Lot's wife stands to one side of the courtyard, cleaning, as Abram sweeps through. She and her husband exchange curious looks: they recognize something is different about Abram. Very different. They both shrug.

Inside, Abram calls, "Sarai," and then yells: "Sarai!"

He finds his wife in the back of the house, kneeling before a small clay figurine.

Abram's voice is tender and comforting. "Fertility dolls? Fertility dolls? Do we really have need of fertility dolls? What use have they been? Have they brought us children?"

Sarai weeps, thinking she hears disappointment in his voice. "Abram, I've failed you. It is my fault we have not been blessed."

Abram remembers his good news, and takes his wife into his arms. "Sarai, we are blessed. Today, God has spoken to me."

"Which God?"

"The God."

Sarai pulls back, confused. Theirs is a world of many different gods and idols, each designed to fulfill a specific need. Placing faith in just one god is a tremendously risky act.

"I speak the truth," Abram promises. "He has chosen me. Chosen us."

"For what? I do not understand."

"He wants us to leave here."

"Leave? But our whole life is here."

"Yes, Sarai. Leave. We are going away from this city to a new land. And we will have children in that new land. Of that I am sure. God has promised."

Sarai wants to believe Abram. She desperately wants a child, and she would do anything to present her husband with a son. But the prospect of leaving their home and setting off into the wilderness is almost more than she can bear. She looks hard at Abram, torn by her love for him and her fears of what might happen if they leave the safety and security of Ur.

Abram understands. He is a compassionate man who loves his wife more than life itself. But he also knows they must do God's will. "Believe me, Sarai. Believe me. He spoke to me. Sarai, He promised. Think about that: God made me a promise. A covenant. And God always keeps His promises. We must have faith that He will lead us to a land of wonder."

Sarai has always believed that there was something remarkable about her husband. He is not the sort to make delusional claims. Although he is asking her to do something extraordinary, something unimaginable, she knows she must trust him.

Sarai squeezes Abram's hand and smiles. "Take us there."

Abram sets out with Sarai, his nephew Lot and his wife, and a small army of friends and servants that form their extended family. Among them is Sarai's young servant girl, an Egyptian named Hagar. They travel north and west, following the ancient roads of what we now call the Fertile Crescent, trusting God to lead them to the land He has promised Abram. Their journey takes them through a city known as Haran and finally to a bountiful land of water and palm trees that offers a green oasis in an otherwise barren desert. But the land is not enough for all of Abram's party and their animals. Making matters worse, seeds of dissension are sown by Lot's wife, a jealous and small-hearted woman who chafes at Abram's authority for forcing her to relocate. It soon becomes a standoff, with Abram and his followers on one side, and the followers of his beloved nephew Lot on the other.

The situation finally explodes when two shepherds start a fight. Each believes the other is intruding on his grazing land. They roll in the dust, punching and gouging at one another. Lot sees them first. He races to the fight, his wife a few steps behind.

"Lemuel!" Lot yells to his shepherd. "Stop! Now!"

Lemuel reluctantly releases his hold on Amasa, one of Abram's shepherds. Amasa sneaks in one last punch and then dances back before Lemuel can retaliate. Both men gasp for air, their robes covered in dust and their faces scratched and bloodied.

Abram has heard the commotion and arrives on the scene. "What is happening here?" he asks.

"Your shepherd is stealing our grazing land," Lot's wife hisses.

"We need grazing land to feed our families," Amasa insists.

"So do we," argues Lemuel, who clenches his fists, ready to fight once more.

"This land belongs to all of us," Abram calmly tells the men. "God gave it to us to share."

Lot's wife is furious. She glares at Abram. "Then He should have given us more of it," she tells him. A stunned silence settles over the group. Not only is Lot's wife mocking Abram, she is also mocking God. She should apologize, or at the very least ask forgiveness. But she's not done. "This can't go on," she tells Abram, before giving her husband a hard look. "Tell him what we've decided."

Lot is uncomfortable. He loves Abram like a father and cannot bear the thought of disappointing him. He swallows hard before saying what he must say. "Abram," he mutters hesitantly. "There are too many of us. And there just isn't enough land."

"But the Lord will provide," Abram replies, trying his best to appear upbeat. "Have faith!"

"In a God we cannot see?" laughs Lot's wife.

Abram pretends he doesn't hear those words. He looks into Lot's eyes.

His nephew will not meet Abram's gaze. "It's time to go our separate ways," Lot tells him.

Abram is horrified. "No. We must stay together."

Lot is about to speak, but his wife interrupts. "Stay and starve, old man? Stay and watch our shepherds kill each other over a blade of grass?"

This time Abram acknowledges Lot's wife, but only with a steely gaze. As loving as Abram can be, and despite his gentle reputation, he is also a hard man. Lot's wife withers under his glare, and her cutting tongue is instantly silent.

"Uncle," Lot says reluctantly. "We're leaving. We have no choice."

"But where will you go?" Abram says pleadingly.

"To the greener pastures, closer to Sodom."

"Lot, that is a cruel and wicked city. Those people have turned their backs on God."

"But at least they are not starving," Lot's wife snarls.

Abram stands alone on the top of a hill from which he can see miles in every direction. He is building an altar to honor God. Stone by stone, he builds, lost in the quiet meditation of labor. He sees the tents of his people in the half-empty valley below, the flocks settling in for the night, the great forests. He also sees Lot and his tribe in the distance snaking their way to the east, toward Sodom. It is a sad moment. The great land is bathed in the red light of dusk. Abram sighs. He loves this Promised Land that God has provided for him, and he revels in its many beauties. God spoke to him again after Lot's departure. Abram had listened like an obedient servant. "Lift up your eyes from where you are, and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever."

Abram did as God told him, and building the altar for offering a sacrifice is a way to give thanks. But there is still a great deal of conflict in Abram's heart. He is deeply troubled by the departure of Lot, and of Sarai's recent use of fertility idols once again. Doubts about his leadership torment him daily.

To Abram, being chosen by God had seemed like a blessing. But now he knows it also means struggle. Abram places one last stone at the foot of the altar and then kneels in prayer. Weeks pass, and Abram continues to miss Lot. One day while in prayer at the altar, he gazes down upon the valley again, and is surprised to see a lone figure walking his way. It appears to be Lemuel, Lot's shepherd. And while he's still far away, Abram can see that he's limping and clutching his side.

Abram races down the mountain and walks quickly to the approaching figure. Lemuel staggers toward him, close to exhaustion. His clothes are in tatters. Dried blood covers his skin. His face is bruised and dirty. When he sees Abram, he stops and sways on his feet, as if about to collapse.

"What happened?" asks a stunned Abram.

"We didn't stand a chance. There were so many of them." Lemuel groans, sinking to the ground. "We got caught in a fight between local warlords. My flock is gone. Every last one."

Abram takes his goatskin from around his neck and hands it to the shepherd, who greedily drinks the water. He waits until Lemuel is through before asking his next question. He stares deeply into Lemuel's eyes, not once pausing to look away.

Lemuel knows what is on Abram's mind, and as he hands back the goatskin his voice becomes choked in grief. "Lot is alive," he says. "But he is their prisoner."

Abram is horrified.

"He helped me escape," Lemuel continues, "so that I could find you and come beg for your help."

Hagar, bright with youth and vitality, arrives with a bowl of water. She drips a cloth in the water and wrings it out, then opens Lemuel's tunic and swabs a gash in his side. As Lemuel winces with pain, he does not turn away from Abram. "You are our only hope," says the shepherd.

Later that night, Abram holds a council in his tent with Sarai and the families that came with him in search of their new home. The subject is war. "We will fight. We have many trained men among us," Abram tells the gathering.

"But Abram, my beloved," Sarai interrupts anxiously, "you are hardly soldiers."

"It doesn't matter. I made Lot come with us. I told him to trust in God."

"But Lot and his wife had their pick of the land. It was their choice to leave!"

Abram's mind is already made up. "They are family," he tells Sarai. "We have to help them."

The wife of Amasa, the combative shepherd, shakes her head. She is about to speak, to tell Abram that rescuing Lot would be folly. But before she can say a word, Amasa places a finger to her lips. He then stands and walks to Abram's side. The other men join him.

"We will return," Abram promises Sarai. He glances around at his brave men as they quickly prepare for battle and say good-bye to their families, not knowing if they will ever come back. Sarai is anxious and wraps her arms tightly around Abram's waist. She has tears in her eyes.

"I love you," she says.

Abram pulls away without saying a word. His love for Sarai is understood. He is a solid man and a good husband. Abram reaches for his sword, whose sharpened blade gleams in the firelight. He holds the sword aloft to examine it for signs of weakness. His fists are strong and his forearms powerful. Seeing no imperfections in the sword, he slides it into his belt. "God will take care of us," he assures his wife.

There is power in his words, and the confidence in Abram's eyes makes Sarai's heart swell with pride, despite her fear. She places her hand softly on his face and pulls her to him. She kisses him desperately, knowing that this might be the last time.

Abram looks deeply into her eyes, then pulls away and steps out into the night. There's no time to waste.

Abram and his ragtag army creep carefully toward the enemy encampment. There would be guards posted if this was wartime, and the cooking fires would have long ago been extinguished. But these soldiers have just routed their foes, sending them fleeing into the hills and tumbling into the Valley of Siddim's tar pits. This is a time to make merry. They sit around their fires laughing and drinking. The prisoners they have elected not to kill sit in a circle on the ground, hands tied behind their backs. Lot's wife is being prodded with a spear by their guard. She cries out in pain, which only makes the soldiers leer in delight. Their time away from home and the comforts of a woman has been long. One, perhaps many, of these men will have their way with her tonight. Lot is tied up, his mouth tightly gagged, and forced to watch these men ogle and humiliate his beloved wife. His attempts to cry out in protest are fruitless, and only amuse the guards.

Abram sees all this from the perimeter of the camp. The size of his household has grown since he followed God's orders and set off in search of a new land. His army is made up of shepherds, some 318 of them. They are hardly soldiers of war, but are all skilled with a knife or an axe from years of chasing wolves away from their flocks.

Their enemies, on the other hand, number in the thousands. They are hard men, with scars and muscles earned from long days on the march and countless hours in hand-to-hand combat. These foes are trained and disciplined, and have just conquered the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and their armies. Their bellies are full, and they are well rested. An attack on their camp would be suicide.

But Abram knows that his men have two things on their side: the element of surprise, and his deep faith in God.

As his men spread out along the camp's perimeter in the dead of night, Abram prays. He asks for God's blessing on their battle, and that he might have strength and confidence as he leads his brave men. As he prays, he can smell lamb being grilled on cook fires, wood smoke, pungent unwashed men, and the heavy, dusty aroma of the night itself. The smells make the battle more immediate. A still, small voice in his head reminds him that there is time to turn around and leave. Lot and his wife made a bad choice by abandoning Abram. No one would call Abram a coward for turning back now that the odds are apparent. Abram quiets that voice and finishes his prayer. He draws his sword, raises it into the air, and slices it in a forward motion—the signal for his men to stealthily launch their attack. A silent wave of shepherd soldiers floods into the enemy camp.

"Trust in God!" Abram roars. His army attacks. Abram and his men are clearly illuminated in the cooking fires. Abram draws first blood, plunging his sword deep into the stomach of an enemy soldier. The soldier cries out in agony, in an instant every head in camp turns their way. "Raaaaaaghh!" Abram screams, pulling his sword from the dead man and swinging immediately at another enemy soldier.

Others join the battle cry. A sword cuts the air next to Abram's face, missing him by inches. He pulls back, then plunges his sword into the man's side. The camp breaks out in chaos, as the enemy soldiers race for their weapons. In the confusion, the enemy cannot reach their tents to get their swords or knives. Abram and his men mow them down like grain being harvested, slashing and punching at the enemy. Abram was right about his surprise attack.

Abram steps over a pile of bodies toward where Lot is being held prisoner. "God is with us!" Abram whispers in his nephew's ear, as he slices the rope binding Lot's hands.

By now, the battle is turning into a rout. Enemy soldiers are running into the night. Many are chased down and killed by Abram's men, who know all too well that if these men are not slain they will ultimately come back and exact their revenge.

Lot's wife comes to her husband's side. She pulls him close and whispers to him, avoiding Abram's gaze.

"Lot," cries an ecstatic Abram. "Now do you see? So few against so many! This is a triumph for our mighty God."

But now Lot cannot meet Abram's gaze.

"What is it?" asks Abram. His gut tells him bad news is coming. But what bad news could they give him now, after this great victory?

Lot pauses, then looks downward at his wife, who nods. "Abram… Uncle…," Lot stammers. These are the toughest words he has ever had to utter: "We're carrying on."

Abram looks from one to the other in confusion. "To where?" he asks.


"Sodom! You can't possibly be serious."

"We're going back into the city to live. We're better off there."

Abram's face darkens. This is not a look Lot has seen often, and he knows to fear it. Abram sweeps his arm wide, showing the bodies of the fallen. He knows them all by name. He knows their wives and their children, and knows that upon returning he must personally deliver the news of their deaths. They all fought well. It was a good fight. A just fight. Lot's decision renders it all in vain. Abram feels a deep sadness in his heart when he speaks: "Lot, hear me when I say this: men have died to save you."

"I know! And there is no way I can repay their loss. But I have lost men, too," rationalizes Lot.

"You would have been dead by morning," Abram tells him. "Your wife would have been the trophy of some unwashed soldier—and many of his friends. Don't tell me about the men you lost."

"Uncle, look, your God has not kept His promises. We can't eat faith. We can't drink faith. Faith will not clothe us."

"But it will, Lot. And God is fulfilling His promises, Lot. Didn't you see? My small army of untrained shepherds defeated a mighty force. How else would this be possible? I beg of you: come with us!"

"Why?" Lot's wife boldly steps forward. "What has your God promised?"

"A nation! A future! A family! A son!" replies Abram. He believes every syllable.

"Your wife will never bear a son," she sneers.

The words pierce him, and a devastated Abram remains silent.

Lot's wife continues: "What about food? Water? Shelter?"

Abram ignores her. He is exhausted. The battle rattled his nerves. And now this? He places his hand on Lot's shoulder. "Nephew. This time. We must stay together."

Lot's eyes are downcast, but his mind is made up. He places his hand on Abram's, and then gently removes it from his shoulder. "No, Uncle. We must go."

As the bodies of the wounded are loaded onto carts for the ride back home, Lot's wife tries to rationalize with Abram. "Come with us," she offers.

Abram looks deep into her eyes for what seems like an eternity. Then he turns in disgust and walks past his men. "Let's go," he orders them over his shoulder. Abram and his soldiers leave.

The air is heavy. Lot and his wife stand silently amid the slain enemy, knowing Abram will never again trust Lot.

Abram doesn't turn back. Instead, he sets his mind to the grieving widows he must console and the dead friends he will have to bury. The hardest part will be facing Sarai, and trying to explain to her how he could have let Lot and his wife continue on to Sodom after the staggering cost his men paid to rescue them. She has always trusted in his wisdom, but this time, Abram knows, he has let her down.

God has promised Abram a land flowing with milk and honey, and descendants as numerous as the stars. Abram's faith never wavers. He immediately does as God asks. He truly believes in God and His promises. Yet he has become frustrated by God's timetable. When will Sarai bear him a son? Or any child, for that matter? Abram's beard is now almost completely gray. And though aged, Sarai's beauty is still beyond compare—she is the living embodiment of a princess. The shared adventure of their nomadic lifestyle is enhanced by their many attempts to have a child, but the idea that Abram will truly be the father of many nations seems hopeless.

Abram stands alone in the cold desert night, staring up into the sky. A campfire burns down to its final embers. Wind rattles the tent behind him, where Sarai shivers as she sleeps. He thinks of the men slain in battle while rescuing Lot, and the futility of their loss.

"Abram," whispers Sarai, shivering as she emerges from the tent. The firelight illuminates her beauty. She is wrapped in a thick blanket woven of coarse fabric that protects her from the desert winds. But even covered by a blanket, her beauty takes Abram's breath away. "Come inside," she says lovingly, holding open the tent flap.

Abram is shivering. He sees the inside of the tent, and their bed, so warm and safe. But instead he turns from his wife, gazes up into the sky, and considers the enormity of the universe above and its millions of stars, as if comprehending the vast scope of God's creation for the first time.

Then he collapses.

"Abram!" Sarai screams, racing to him. When she looks into his eyes she sees nothing but his deep belief in God's promise.

"All the stars. Count them! Count them!" he shouts.

Sarai cradles his head, terrified that her beloved husband is losing his mind. She strokes his beard to calm him.

"Our Creator, who made the stars, will give us that many descendants!" he says with complete faith, reminding himself as much as Sarai of God's promises. The fire in Abram's eyes grows brighter as his revelation continues to unfold. "To populate our land! For us! And for our children!"

Now it is Sarai's turn to be downcast. "How long have we been praying for children?"

He doesn't answer.

She looks straight into his eyes and says three very hard words: "I. Am. Barren."

"But he has promised! You will have a child! You will!"

She shakes her head. "I can't. I won't. There is no chance for me to carry a child."


On Sale
Feb 26, 2013
Page Count
352 pages

Roma Downey

About the Author

Mark Burnett is the executive producer of Survivor,The Voice, and The Apprentice. A four time Emmy winner.
Roma Downey, star of Touched By An Angel has recently developed a line of Angel products (DVD, Bible, book) that have sold more than 1 million units.

Learn more about this author