Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Elisabeth Elliot's Writings

Elisabeth Elliot was a prolific writer.  One source said she wrote 28 books in her lifetime.

I am no Elliot expert, but I do own 22 of her books.  These are the ones on my personal shelf, with commentary on their content:

The two on the left in this picture are her gold standards.  The common book associated with Elliot is Through Gates of Splendor, the story of how her husband and four other missionaries were speared to death in the 1950s in the jungles of Ecuador.  It is now a classic missionary read.  Shadow of the Almighty is the story of her husband's journey to his outstanding walk with God.  It is the book that influenced me so greatly in college.  And The Journals of Jim Elliot is the raw material from which Shadow of the Almighty was gleaned.

The following picture shows her straightforward books about missions.  These Strange Ashes chronicles her year in the western Ecuadorian jungles, before marrying Jim and moving with him to the eastern side of the country.  It raises very important questions about the value of missionary work - because everything she did that year, in attempting to reduce the Colorado Indians' language to written form, so that the Bible could be translated, was lost when a suitcase was stolen off a jungle bus.  Did that mean that all that effort was in vain?  A worthy question worth pondering.  No Graven Image is Elliot's one foray into novel writing, and it is based on the work of These Strange Ashes.  

The Savage My Kinsman is the one book that includes a lot of pictures.  It chronicles the time she spent with her young daughter, and Rachel Saint (sister of another of the martyred missionaries) actually living with the people who speared her husband.  I was able to use this book in class this past year, to illustrate one of the selections in the eighth grade literature book.

These are Elliot's earlier works on Christian thought.  They've been on my bookshelf since the late '70s.

Elliot became a voice for the principles of allowing God to direct one's love life.  Her first work in this area was Let Me Be A Woman, written when her daughter was about to be married.  It was followed up with The Mark of a Man.  But her work that really captured the Christian reading world was Passion and Purity, which discusses in depth the issues that confront single women and men who would desire a spouse.  Her solution is, to put it simply, not the world's solution.  Quest For Love chronicles the stories of people who followed Elliot's explanations of the Bible's teachings.

These are Elliot's two biographies.  Who Shall Ascend is about a missionary in central America in the mid 20th century.  I've never heard of R. Kenneth Strachan except in this book, nor have I ever heard of this book.  It was on a thrift store shelf and I snatched it up because of the author's name.

A Chance To Die is considered to be a classic biography on the life of Amy Carmichael of India.

These are some more of Elliot's tackling of Bible truths.  Loneliness, A Path Through Suffering, and The Shaping of a Christian Family, which shows how her parents reared their children with deep foundations in their lives.

And finally, her later books were assortments of radio transcripts and devotionals.  Keep a Quiet Heart, Taking Flight, Be Still My Soul, Gateway to Joy (also the title of her radio broadcast), and Secure in the Everlasting Arms.

I would highly recommend delving into Elliot's writings to anyone who is interested in thinking more deeply about the Christian walk and what it truly means.


Barbara H. said...

Great post. I've read the majority of these. I'd never heard of Strachan, either, that I remember.

Lou Ann Keiser said...

Interesting that she wrote that biography, and I never knew anything about him. The one about Amy Carmichael is one of those I've read several times. My personal favorite is These Strange Ashes. It rocked my missionary mind! Thank you for the nice, concise reviews. Helpful!

Christy said...

I sure would love to borrow half of these. I have all of her later stuff. None of her older ones. I saw her speak one time with my Aunt. It was neat. I met her and everything.