FRANKLIN — In his book “A Grain of Mustard Seed,” author Steve Tyner demonstrates what faith is by retelling seven biblical stories and adding one of his own.
Tyner lets readers step into the lives of the biblical characters to understand them more personally and to understand the ways their lives were changed by faith. Some of the stories are well known but he always wondered about the back stories of the figures, their personal stories, Tyner said.
“Blind Bartimaeus. The woman with the issue of blood. The 10 lepers. We know their stories from the gospels of how they had amazing encounters with Jesus that changed their lives,” Tyner said. “These are stories that serve as examples to show us what true faith really is.”
Tyner has put a new twist on these tales.
“They’re true Bible stories but they are also based on my imagination,” he said.
In his stories, each of the characters has one thing in common, their afflictions, Tyner said. They all suffered some type of physical infirmity. He wanted to show how suffering these ailments helped the characters build their faith and to ultimately meet Jesus, Tyner said.
He retells seven Bible stories and in the eighth story he brings all of the characters together.
Tyner gives characters who don’t have them in the Bible stories names so readers can connect with them. He researched the history of the biblical settings and found names that would fit that period.
In one of the short stories titled “Faith of Friends,” Tyner retells the story of a lame man whose four friends — all unnamed — take him to be healed by Jesus. Tyner said it’s difficult for readers to relate to the characters when they don’t even have a name.
“I have all the main characters of the proceeding seven stories show up in Jerusalem during the week of Passover, learn of Jesus’ arrest and trial, and eventually wind up at the site of the crucifixion,” Tyner said.
The title, “A Grain of Mustard Seed,” is based on a verse in the Bible, Matthew 17:20, that says that nothing will be impossible if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed.
Tyner, 63, is a former resident of Lumberton and a graduate of Pembroke State University, now known as The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. After receiving a degree in English education, he taught in private and public schools in Robeson County for 38 years. He has a background in theater and has performed and directed religious dramas throughout his life.
After retiring, he and his wife, Martha, moved to Franklin. He has five children and nine grandchildren.
“Writing has always been a part of my life,” Tyner said.
Tyner has taught Bible study courses in churches and schools for more than 40 years.
Tyner’s book was published by Christian Faith Publishing, located in St. Meadville, Pa.
A book trailer is available on YouTube, and “A Grain of Mustard Seed” can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon, and at Barnes and Noble.
Reach Tomeka Sinclair at 910-416-5865.