Nicodemus and Chapter Hooks

by | Jan 22, 2020 | Fiction Book Reviews | 2 comments

10152012_WileECoyote1_articleAnybody like cliffhangers?

Okay, maybe not in REAL life, but how about in fiction/movies? Personally, I’m not a fan of them, because I want an ENDING (or the promise of a happy beginning), but something I DO enjoy are chapter hooks. Chapter hooks are those moments at the end of a chapter when you left with a “cliffhanger” to get you to keep reading.

A body is discovered. A character is held at gunpoint. The hero ste

CTT cover

ps forward and looks like he might just kiss the hero…FINALLY.

“Luke, I am your father.”

A mud-covered professor strips down to his underoos to drive home in his fancy car (that is totally stuck in the much)only to have his possible love interest show up (#AdorkableAlex).

An explosion happens.

Or…someone is actually hanging from a cliff. (Poor Wylie Coyote).

The great thing about chapter hooks, is all you have to do to find out what happens next is…turn the page. And in the gospel of John, we kind of get one in the story of Nicodemus (John 3)

bible-1149924_1920Quick review: Nicodemus, a Pharisee, comes to Jesus by night. Now, we don’t know whether he came by night because he didn’t want the other Pharisees to know he was meeting with Jesus or if Nicodemus was just respecting the “rabbi’s” daytime teaching time, but we can see how Nicodemus’ coming to The Light out of the night’s darkness is a pretty cool motif 😉 (Go, inspired writers!!) Nicodemus and Jesus have the whole discussion about being “born again” or “born from above” and then, as readers, we’re left without an answer. What happened? Did Nicodemus believe? Did he understand what Jesus was saying? Whoa, John! Are you going to leave me on a cliff about this?

Thankfully for us, in this instance John eventually gets around to taking us “off the hook” so to speak about what happened to Nicodemus and his faith. In chapt 7:50, we see Nicodemus stand up for Jesus’ teaching in front of his fellow Pharisees, a marked difference than the ‘coming by night’ fellow.

And in chapter 19, we see Nicodemus’s name again…this time at the burial of Jesus, “bringing myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight.” This was an extravagant amount, which may be an indication of Nicodemus’s love for Jesus.

As writers and readers, we love character development. And there’s not a whole lot of it to see in Nicodemus from the little bits of information we read about in Scripture, but if he came to Jesus by night the first time because he was afraid/ashamed, he’s definitely had a heart change by Jesus’ burial. We watch him grow from afraid to boldly loving his Savior.

I can handle chapter hooks like that 😉 How about you?





  1. Rebecca Maney

    Great post! I love chapter “hooks” . . . not a fan of cliff hangers in books. I love your insight into Nicodemus. . . .when I scripted our church’s Resurrection Trail, I was so touched by the reminder of his love for Jesus after his death. The tomb scene ended up being my favorite.

  2. Kathy Bailey

    Pepper, this is deep, and a good way to illustrate a writing lesson. And a life lesson.


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