Inspired
 One Woman’s Journey Back to Loving the BibleIf the Bible isn’t a science book or an instruction manual, then what is it? What do people mean when they say the Bible is inspired? When Rachel Held Evans found herself asking these questions, she began a quest to better understand what the Bible is and how it is meant to be read. What she discovered changed her—and it will change you too.Drawing on the best in recent scholarship and using her well-honed literary expertise, Evans examines some of our favorite Bible stories and possible interpretations, retelling them through memoir, original poetry, short stories, soliloquies, and even a short screenplay. Undaunted by the Bible’s most difficult passages, Evans wrestles through the process of doubting, imagining, and debating Scripture’s mysteries. The Bible, she discovers, is not a static work but is a living, breathing, captivating, and confounding book that is able to equip us to join God’s loving and redemptive work in the world. 

Inspired Details

TitleInspired
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 12th, 2018
PublisherThomas Nelson
ISBN-139780718022310
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Religion, Faith, Christian, Theology, Christianity

Inspired Review

  • Kat Coffin
    January 1, 1970
    What can I say about this book? I received an ARC, due to the special promotion early preorder customers received. I was one of the first 500 to provide proof. I received my copy on Ash Wednesday/Valentine's Day--and how appropriate! The timing of this remarkable book is impeccable. Not long before, I stared rereading Scripture again, to try and infuse daily Scripture into my morning routine. I read one chapter of the Old Testament and one chapter of the New. The first chapter of the Old Testame What can I say about this book? I received an ARC, due to the special promotion early preorder customers received. I was one of the first 500 to provide proof. I received my copy on Ash Wednesday/Valentine's Day--and how appropriate! The timing of this remarkable book is impeccable. Not long before, I stared rereading Scripture again, to try and infuse daily Scripture into my morning routine. I read one chapter of the Old Testament and one chapter of the New. The first chapter of the Old Testament I read was from Numbers--the Israelites utterly annihilating the Midianites and being scolded for keeping the virgin women alive. The second was from Romans--a chapter I recognized as the verses that spurred Megan Phelps-Roper to leave Christianity. Paul's "some people were created to be vessels of destruction" bit.Not a great place to start out. So thank God for this book. Thank God for a book that assured me that truth didn't have to be literal. Thank God for a book that captured the magic of Scripture and encouraged me to wrestle with the things that trouble me. Thank God for a book that doesn't explain away the genocide, that doesn't hand wave some of the more dick-ish things Paul had to say. Thank God for a book that actually helped me reconcile with Paul. Thank God for this book. RHE's research is meticulous, she takes care to include theology from people who are not white straight men, and she even gets a little creative--with everything from short stories to screenplays to poetry. In that sense, she encourages me to be a little creative with my faith too. I know mine is only the ARC and this book may go through some changes by June. But the post-Evangelical--the Exvangelicals, we might say--are in for a treat, especially if they're like me. Someone who misses the environment but not the suffocation of Evangelicalism. Someone who badly wants to love the Bible and God again, but doesn't know how to anymore.
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  • Stacy
    January 1, 1970
    I often feel like Rachel Held Evans is telling my story but in better prose. Like Rachel, I grew up in a conservative evangelical church but eventually realized that sect doesn't match my view of the world or God. But having been taught that if you don't believe every word of the Bible is literally true, then you can't believe any of the Bible at all, it's now difficult to know how to approach it. It's so refreshing to see that there are other people who have wrestled with this and started to fi I often feel like Rachel Held Evans is telling my story but in better prose. Like Rachel, I grew up in a conservative evangelical church but eventually realized that sect doesn't match my view of the world or God. But having been taught that if you don't believe every word of the Bible is literally true, then you can't believe any of the Bible at all, it's now difficult to know how to approach it. It's so refreshing to see that there are other people who have wrestled with this and started to find some answers, even if we will always struggle. This book has inspired me to think about the Bible in new ways and do further reading and research on my own to better understand it.
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  • Pastor Matt
    January 1, 1970
    I've read several of Rachel Held Evans' books. She is a talented writer but a poor biblical interpreter. She uncritically accepts "higher criticism" with liberal presuppositions as a way to "unlock an ancient text" even though this method is built on post-enlightenment fantasy and an implicit desire to accommodate the cultural whims of the day. She accepts theories such as Matthew Vines' discredited portrayal of same-sex relationships in the ancient world (which is just a summary of John Boswell I've read several of Rachel Held Evans' books. She is a talented writer but a poor biblical interpreter. She uncritically accepts "higher criticism" with liberal presuppositions as a way to "unlock an ancient text" even though this method is built on post-enlightenment fantasy and an implicit desire to accommodate the cultural whims of the day. She accepts theories such as Matthew Vines' discredited portrayal of same-sex relationships in the ancient world (which is just a summary of John Boswell's long discredited work even rejected by one of Evans' heroes, N.T. Wright). She dismisses the heart of the atonement, mocks other long held orthodox views without cogent arguments and champions every leftist cause as if it is found in Scripture (even though she does so via logical fallacies, anachronisms [especially in the area of economics] , etc.). Evans' Jesus is Bernie Sanders who happened to be nailed to cross and her scripture is a mess...except for the areas she likes and can translate into social justice causes...funny how that works out! Avoid.
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  • Nova
    January 1, 1970
    ****Note: I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. This in no way impacts the rating****2nd note: I was deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the author's passing. Please be in prayer for her family.While this book may have a high overall average rating on this site as well as others, this comes as a surprise to me. How could Christian readers find this to be a work filled with biblical truth? This woman and myself have read the exact same book and come to completely different conclus ****Note: I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. This in no way impacts the rating****2nd note: I was deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the author's passing. Please be in prayer for her family.While this book may have a high overall average rating on this site as well as others, this comes as a surprise to me. How could Christian readers find this to be a work filled with biblical truth? This woman and myself have read the exact same book and come to completely different conclusions.. I do not recall another time where I've come across a book by a Christian with interpretations of scripture that stray so far from their actual meanings. In the words of Erwin Lutzer, "The doctrinal apathy among many Christians in our nation is deserving of tears ." Yes, tears. And I would add, extra vigilance and personal study of scripture so as not to be led astray.I noticed quite a few very easily corrected errors in the copy I received. Since this was not the final edit, I hope these things were taken care of. But also, I don't think this book should have been written, and I do not recommend it.The author makes a point of saying she recognizes and upholds the authority of scripture, but only sentences later states the opposite with what she writes about scripture. Very liberal in theology and in interpretation. She holds on to midrashic interpretation as well. Of this, she writes, "I suspect I resonate with midrashic interpretation because it helps me recover some of the curiosity and wonder with which I approached the Bible as a child. It gives me permission to 'play' a little with the stories" (page 23). She put the emphasis on play, not me. Now, this may not seem like much, but the more I read, the more I saw that the author wasn't interpreting scripture by scripture and, yes, in keeping with her own statement that she plays with scripture, she truly does so. What's in the Bible is not open to any private interpretation, as 2 Peter 1:20 warns, but the author of Inspired was using her own private interpretations as well as "fanfiction" to do just that. In mentioning the plagues that God brought upon Egypt, the author writes: “This single event, whether historical or legendary or a bit of both, has shaped the faith of millions of people, inspiring artists and activists and world leaders for centuries. Never should it be discounted as just a story” (page 39). So she just stated that God rescuing the Israelites from the Egyptians may very well be a mix of legend and truth. She's not taking it as something that really happened. She's leaving it as a 'maybe.' Yes, she proceeds in doing the very thing she advises to never do: discounting it as a story. If one is uncertain and thinks it might be a legend then what else is it but a story? She mentioned how Abraham was instructed to sacrifice Isaac (page 24). I see a lot of people misinterpreting this part of the Old Testament due to a lack of understanding . She seems to have very little understanding as well that this entire scene is a shadow of God's promise to send Christ as the Savior of the world, that anything we can do by our own efforts will not work. God sent His Son to die for us, and the story of Abraham and Isaac on Mount Moriah was a shadow of what was to come. In one of Evans’ fanfiction stories about Hagar: “Just one person in all your sacred Scripture dared to name God, and it wasn’t a priest, prophet, warrior, or king. It was I, Hagar – foreigner, woman, slave” (page 31). This is a thing that is stated twice. While this is a fictional story from the author’s own mind, this is also not true. God is given so many names in the Bible, and not just by Hagar.Interspersed between chapters were little fictional stories about biblical characters. I really did not enjoy these and have an aversion to Christian authors doing so. As the culture deviates from the clear teachings found in Scripture, so also will people move toward teachers who move little by little away from the truth found in the Bible. The author says one thing, and then...says what she really means. The Bible says that God has magnified His Word above all His name (Psalm 138:2) and that the Word of God will last forever (Isaiah 40:8).The conclusions the author came to about scripture were troubling to me. I've had time to think on this, and the seriousness has grown.. Undermine scripture and you take the sword of the spirit (the Word of God) from the believer. The Bible advises: let not many of you become teachers (James 3:1). When writing books, Christian authors need to be very careful about what they're teaching. We do not abandon scripture because the culture is moving in a different direction. We love others but we tell them the truth as well. I strongly disagree with how Mrs. Evans handles scripture. I advise readers to not eat up every book they read as true, but to examine everything with care and in light of the scripture. I do not recommend this book. This kind of teaching is spreading into churches all over, and I want to strongly caution people to be vigilant and make sure they know what the Bible actually says.
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  • Kristi Brokaw
    January 1, 1970
    3 1/2 Stars (if Goodreads allowed it!)First let me just say—this is a beautiful book. Whoever did the cover design gets a bunch of stars for making such a pretty book.I loved this book. There are very few things which I didn’t like and for which I did deduct stars. The things I didn’t like were the “creative retellings” in the chapter openers. They felt unnatural and awkward to me. It was obvious the author was working with unfamiliar mediums. The screenplay version of Job was my least favorite. 3 1/2 Stars (if Goodreads allowed it!)First let me just say—this is a beautiful book. Whoever did the cover design gets a bunch of stars for making such a pretty book.I loved this book. There are very few things which I didn’t like and for which I did deduct stars. The things I didn’t like were the “creative retellings” in the chapter openers. They felt unnatural and awkward to me. It was obvious the author was working with unfamiliar mediums. The screenplay version of Job was my least favorite. But these sections are short and only about half of them were truly awkward enough to take me out of the experience of reading. What I loved: everything else. I love the author’s honesty and her voice. I love how she mixes personal struggle and experience with research from other scholars. I love her obvious joy in the poetry and stories of the Bible and her angst and discomfort with the same parts I am anxious and uncomfortable with. Her take on Paul’s epistles was utterly refreshing. Her acknowledgement of the abused women in the Bible felt like a friend acknowledging my feelings—I felt relieved and loved. Rachel Held Evans has written a book that really does allow us to delight in the gift of the Bible while lamenting the ways it has been weaponized and misunderstood. I have already recommended it to several friends and would love to discuss it in a book club setting. I also want to add that I appreciate that the author took time to include multiple perspectives and elevated the voices of the marginalized. *I received an advanced copy of this book for review purposes and these opinions are my own.*
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  • J.R. Forasteros
    January 1, 1970
    Rachel has given us a great gift... a book that invites us to rediscover the Bible as the book God gave us, not the book many of us were raised to expect. She introduces each chapter with a fiction piece - these are pretty uneven, and I'm not sure they do much for the overall effect of the book. The non-fiction is much stronger, and where the real power of the book lies. Overall, this is a great book that anyone who loves the Bible - or USED to love the Bible - will really enjoy.
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  • Amy1N
    January 1, 1970
    Reading this book was like sitting down with an old friend to talk through the Bible. I came away with a fresh desire to read passages I’ve yet to read and go back and read well remembered verses with fresh eyes. This is exactly the book I needed at exactly the right time. If you’re struggling picking up the Bible every day, this book is for you. If there’s nothing you enjoy more than starting or ending the day in scriptures, this book is for you. I’m so thankful for Rachel and her ability to so Reading this book was like sitting down with an old friend to talk through the Bible. I came away with a fresh desire to read passages I’ve yet to read and go back and read well remembered verses with fresh eyes. This is exactly the book I needed at exactly the right time. If you’re struggling picking up the Bible every day, this book is for you. If there’s nothing you enjoy more than starting or ending the day in scriptures, this book is for you. I’m so thankful for Rachel and her ability to somehow write the exact words I need to read.
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  • Jeffrey Nelson
    January 1, 1970
    I clearly remember the time--the first time, that is--when my faith began to fall apart. I was in my second semester of college as a Religion major and was enrolled in several Biblical Studies courses that spring, including one that dealt heavily with the concept of the "historical Jesus," a scholarly attempt to get behind the faith claims of the Gospels and see what definite things one could say about the real life person who lived in 1st Century Galilee. I had a much more conservative-minded a I clearly remember the time--the first time, that is--when my faith began to fall apart. I was in my second semester of college as a Religion major and was enrolled in several Biblical Studies courses that spring, including one that dealt heavily with the concept of the "historical Jesus," a scholarly attempt to get behind the faith claims of the Gospels and see what definite things one could say about the real life person who lived in 1st Century Galilee. I had a much more conservative-minded approach to scripture in those days, and largely was able to brush off most of what I'd been reading and learning. I believed not only in the truth of the Bible, but that it presented factual accounts not just about Jesus but about other characters as well: Adam and Eve, Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jonah, the Apostles, and so on.But on one fateful Tuesday evening during Bible study, it all seemed to crumble down at once. The claims of my classroom studies were causing more and more friction with the claims of the night's discussion, until finally near the end of our time together I thought to myself, "I don't know if I believe this any more."The next few months--and really, the rest of my life so far--would feature a deep and abiding wrestling not just with the Bible's contents, but with what the Bible itself was to me. Is it a closed canon handed down and divinely dictated whole cloth for eternally-relevant application, or does its origins, gradual collection, authorial diversity of experience, and occasional historical, scientific, and literary dubiousness make it something still capable of communicating truth about God, life, and faith, yet in ways more nuanced than before?This is one of the questions at the heart of Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans. Evans' journey has also been one of beginning steeped in a subculture that approached the Bible in a certain way, and when the questions and contradictions that came with her own study became too big to ignore, she began a transition to a different way of nurturing faith and discipleship and of reading the Bible.Evans recounts this journey more thoroughly in her previous works, particularly Faith Unraveled, and in fact a read through that book may serve as a helpful background to some of what she shares here. But her self-identifying as a memoirist is appropriate, as she shares personal anecdotes in nearly every chapter to help flesh out some of her own experiences that led her to revisit her view of scripture and its meaning for her now. However, her own story is far from the only element at work here. Evans pulls from a variety of trusted scholars both past and present. She was intentionally diverse in choosing the voices that helped inform her approach, pulling thoughts from thinkers such as Walter Brueggemann, William Barber, Peter Enns, Nyasha Junior, and Amy-Jill Levine, among many others, as she delves into the stories of the Bible and the stories behind the Bible. Evans' basic approach is to separate the Bible into the unique genres that make up its pages, and her natural inclination toward telling, sharing, and examining stories provide the framework and lens through which she examines them. She looks at stories of origins such as the early chapters of Genesis, stories of liberation such as Exodus and some of the prophets, stories of war such as in Joshua, stories of wisdom such as Job and the Psalms, and stories of Jesus and the early church, among others. She treats each as part of an expression of a larger narrative the people behind its pages are trying to make sense of for themselves, but also connects those stories to modern life through her own experiences and parallels to contemporary events and issues. As an additional aid to her overall presentation, each chapter is accompanied by a retelling of each scriptural portion, including first-person accounts from Hagar and the Samaritan woman at the well, a short play of Job and his friends, and the story of Peter stepping out of the boat to meet Jesus on the water cast as a Choose Your Own Adventure story. These are often cleverly done and help set the stage for the analysis to come. Evans' writing has always had a certain light touch even when exploring serious issues, and these preludes help present the scholarship to follow in accessible ways that many readers will appreciate. Evans' awareness of how difficult questions related to the Bible can be serves her very well, and many will benefit from her sensitivity, her attentiveness to scholarship, and her ability to connect it to present-day experience. Whether one is nearing their own Tuesday evening crisis of faith or just wants to make better sense of how this strange collection of stories relates to a modern understanding of faith, Inspired provides an easy on-ramp to that conversation.
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  • Kaitlin Kline
    January 1, 1970
    "The apostles remembered what many modern Christians tend to forget--that what makes the Gospel offensive isn't who it keeps out but who it lets in."This book, like many that deal with Biblical interpretation, is probably going to piss some people off. But I think that's why it needs to be read. If a book is making you mad, or deeply uncomfortable or exposed, then it's doing it's job; to stretch your current view of the world a little larger and deeper. There were a couple of points like that fo "The apostles remembered what many modern Christians tend to forget--that what makes the Gospel offensive isn't who it keeps out but who it lets in."This book, like many that deal with Biblical interpretation, is probably going to piss some people off. But I think that's why it needs to be read. If a book is making you mad, or deeply uncomfortable or exposed, then it's doing it's job; to stretch your current view of the world a little larger and deeper. There were a couple of points like that for me in Inspired. Like Rachel, I grew up in a very conservative home and spent my childhood and adolescence debating the Bible's reliability. We were both raised to believe that the Bible was always right, no matter the context. So it was a little jarring for me to hear Rachel tell me that, just maybe, Scripture isn't perfect all of the time--but that's okay, because it was written by imperfect people. It doesn't mean that the Bible isn't special and wonderful and dependable; it simply means we can remove it from the pedestal we have placed it on and engage with it as we are: imperfect sinners, just like the characters within. I actually find I can love the Bible more when I don't have such lofty expectations for it to tell me what to do (actually, that's how I feel about my husband after being married for three years). The Bible isn't just a history book or an instruction manual; it's a portable library of a thousand stories from differing genres. Never before have I asked, while reading a chapter, "Whose voice is this? Why does that matter?" Being able to differentiate Jewish storytelling from historical reports from practical letters means that we can appreciate the Bible for its variety while realizing that we are not the original audience. Yes, God's Word is for us, but it is not solely for us. To assume as much does this great literary and historic work a disservice; and it harms the people that we weaponize this great book against. The Bible, like any book, is an epic act of love, so if we use it as an excuse for hatred or violence, we have clearly missed the mark. I think any external writing that helps the Bible come alive has great value, and this is my favorite one so far. If you have questions about the Bible, or if you have never thought to question the Bible for fear of it letting you down, you should give Inspired a shot. I know it helped give me a healthier view of the book I have tried to love my whole life; it has given me more room to fall in love with the Word.
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  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    It was comforting to hear someone say, "I get that you have questions and doubts and struggles." But it was also good to hear someone say, "Don't give up...here's a new way to love the Bible." Rachel Heald Evans never dissapoints.
  • Haley
    January 1, 1970
    I love her. She approaches Scripture like a storyteller, and views Scripture as a collection of powerful stories that we've all been caught up with in some way - stories that can be used either to oppress or to liberate, stories that, even if divinely inspired, "have human fingerprints all over them." I feel like I can't really write an adequate review because it's intended for a specific group of people - as one of the people it's clearly intended for, I highly recommend it to others in that gr I love her. She approaches Scripture like a storyteller, and views Scripture as a collection of powerful stories that we've all been caught up with in some way - stories that can be used either to oppress or to liberate, stories that, even if divinely inspired, "have human fingerprints all over them." I feel like I can't really write an adequate review because it's intended for a specific group of people - as one of the people it's clearly intended for, I highly recommend it to others in that group - current Christians who feel suffocated by the legalism and/or bigotry of your churches, Christians now without church homes, former Christians who left because your church and faith experiences didn't ultimately line up with the message you were fed that true religion in the sight of God is taking care of widows and orphans, is love and compassion.Also an incredibly important reminder that Scripture - or the stories and letters that now make up Scripture - were subversive and transgressive in their time - disrupting national power and empire and social hierarchies. And that's a much more exciting Scripture to read about than the one that mostly seems intent on keeping women (among others) in our places and supporting politicians and policies who couldn't care less about the poor or marginalized.
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  • Ann-Marie
    January 1, 1970
    I finished this book a couple of weeks ago and set aside until I had more time to give it a thoughtful review. I am unable to do that.Rachel Held Evans died May 4, 2019, after complications following a short illness. I am heartbroken. She was a young, vibrant voice for women and common sense in Christianity. She inspired me to continue on my path of weighing my beliefs and actions against the words and teachings of Jesus Christ, not what church fathers and dogma tell us we should think those wor I finished this book a couple of weeks ago and set aside until I had more time to give it a thoughtful review. I am unable to do that.Rachel Held Evans died May 4, 2019, after complications following a short illness. I am heartbroken. She was a young, vibrant voice for women and common sense in Christianity. She inspired me to continue on my path of weighing my beliefs and actions against the words and teachings of Jesus Christ, not what church fathers and dogma tell us we should think those words and teachings mean today. Please read "Inspired." God gave up brains and hearts to use together to find the right path. II received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Rest in peace, Rachel.
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  • Ben Wideman
    January 1, 1970
    This is an incredible reflection on the purpose of the biblical narrative, written by weaving together humor, biblical study, various stylistic genres, and a lot of heart. I’m so grateful that RHE wrote this book, and that we get to read it.
  • Christina Westbrooks
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book in a giveaway. I'm not a huge fan of non-fiction,but have been pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Rachel Held Evans seems relatable and I think I would like her. The book is well written too, but their are a few things I have problems with. I wasn't a fan of the stories inspired by Bible characters. While we can always wonder what happened in the experiences that wasn't included in the Bible, I just wasn't a fan, but out of the problems I have with this book, t I received an ARC of this book in a giveaway. I'm not a huge fan of non-fiction,but have been pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Rachel Held Evans seems relatable and I think I would like her. The book is well written too, but their are a few things I have problems with. I wasn't a fan of the stories inspired by Bible characters. While we can always wonder what happened in the experiences that wasn't included in the Bible, I just wasn't a fan, but out of the problems I have with this book, that one is extremely minor. While I understand that people use creative devices in writing and that it's almost certain that they did in the Bible(Jesus was known for telling fables), it's a little bit of a stretch to say that most of the Bible could possibly be not true, but rather a literary device used to teach us a lesson. I get that some stories give people pause, but that is simply because we are not capable of looking at things through Gods lenses and and we need to understand that we don't know everything. Their are alot of things as a believer, that you have to accept as being beyond your scope of imagination. You are creeping into dangerous territory when you try to use your own reasoning to explain Gods words because the Bible simply makes you uncomfortable. Their are several times that she discusses instances where scientific theories have disproven the Bible, but many of these instances have great Bible explanations if you only search for them(J Warner Wallace's Cold Case Christianity is a great look at how to approach the Bible from a more logically minded angle).Example: she discussed how they have proved that it is physically impossible that the world was formed in 7 days and yet, the Bible doesn't give us any insight as to how long those "days" were. We have no idea if Gods idea of a day is the 24 hour cycle we use now, or if his days are 1,000 years. This is just another example where the human brain can't comprehend something, so we make up our own non biblically answer because we don't like not knowing the answer. The thing is, their are so many instances in scripture that show that this way of looking at things is wrong and it bothers me that people follow this theory(Psalm 33:4 is one). It presents a grey area, where (again) the reader is thinking about things from their perspective instead of God's and I wonder, if you simply cast aside a story as fiction because you can't reason it or it makes you uncomfortable, where do you draw the line? Is the whole Bible true? Or just the parts that you want to be true? While it's true that scriptural interpretation can sometimes differ, this isn't interpretation, it's beyond that. The shift comes when you assume that you have all the answers and the authority to deem scripture as untrue(when other parts of the Bible tell you otherwise).
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  • Chris Crosby
    January 1, 1970
    note: I received an Advance Copy of the book from the publisher. Short Version Review: if you have read Rachel's earlier books, you will love this. And you will be INSPIRED to reacquaint yourself with the Bible. More In-depth Review: This book is not an academic exercise in how to read the Bible. Rachel Held Evans has written a book that is deeply personal about how she learned to love the Bible all over again and why. The book is as much about how she grew up being taught certain things about w note: I received an Advance Copy of the book from the publisher. Short Version Review: if you have read Rachel's earlier books, you will love this. And you will be INSPIRED to reacquaint yourself with the Bible. More In-depth Review: This book is not an academic exercise in how to read the Bible. Rachel Held Evans has written a book that is deeply personal about how she learned to love the Bible all over again and why. The book is as much about how she grew up being taught certain things about what the Bible says, how she realized those teachings made no sense to get any longer, and how relearning the stories drew her back to a love of the content, even when she doesn't like it. If that sounds impossible, well, it's the Bible! Lots of impossible things happen in there. But, if you don't give up on it, Rachel says, you can begin to ask questions and, "These questions loosened my grip on the text and gave me permission to love the Bible for what it is, not what I want it to be. And here’s the surprising thing about that: When you stop trying to force the Bible to be something it’s not— static, perspicacious, certain, absolute— then you’re free to revel in what it is: living, breathing, confounding, surprising, and yes, perhaps even magic."(p. xx)The basic premise is that we can read the Bible best if we understand that it's a series of stories and learn why the stories are written the way they are. Rachel breaks them up into literary styles to cover the easy, the obscure, the challenging, and the downright unbelievable. When you walk through all of the chapters with her, you see the complexities, but it's easy to stay on the path. From millennia of Jewish rabbis, she learned how the stories are open to our interpretation with every reading. She learned about the power of telling the stories in between the facts in the text, and, in the time honored traditions, she wrote her own 'midrashim,' to illuminate particular dilemmas. She obviously delights in this discovery of interpretation, and these interludes are diverse and delicious. She notes, "In other words, Bible stories don’t have to mean just one thing. Despite what you may have heard from a pastor or Sunday school teacher along the way, faithful engagement with Scripture isn’t about uncovering a singular, moralistic point to every text and then sticking to it. Rather, the very nature of the biblical text invites us to consider the possibilities." (p 42)If you've read any of her other memoirs, you will find this a delightful time of catching up with a best friend. If you are new to RHE, be prepared for a super treat. You will gain a terrific understanding of how humans relate to God, how God never gives up on humans, and how stories are the life lines to human relationships. I learned a lot about RHE's upbringing in her earlier books. In this one, I learned even more about how people raised in an evangelical environment interpret what I believe to be the INSPIRED word of God, written for our learning. For example, I also grew up knowing the Bible stories, but I never, ever, worried that looking in our car's rearview mirror might turn me into a pillar of salt. And, truth be told, Rachel is not the first evangelical woman I've known to confess this fear! I feel this education was possibly most important for me, as I live in a progressive area, have mostly liberal Episcopalian friends, and study at an Episcopal seminary. In our incredibly divided nation, if I know more about how evangelicals approach scripture so very differently than I do, I hope I can be more compassionate when I run into disagreement. Rachel is very convincing on this point. She knows how to mark where her own upbringing fell far short of what she knows to be truth today." We’re all selective. We all wrestle with how to interpret and apply the Bible to our lives. We all go to the text looking for something, and we all have a tendency to find it. So the question we have to ask ourselves is this: are we reading with the prejudice of love, with Christ as our model, or are we reading with the prejudices of judgment and power, self- interest and greed? Are we seeking to enslave or liberate, burden or set free?"She closes out the book speaking of how she and her husband are raising their son (and almost born daughter, also!). They hope to instill in their children the same love of story that they know, along with the conviction that the stories speak to us all uniquely as we experience them. And to introduce their children to the God who never gives up on any of us.The last line brought a lump to my throat: "We may wish for answers, but God rarely give us answers. Instead, God gathers us up into soft, familiar arms and says, “Let me tell you a story.” "
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  • Allison Sees
    January 1, 1970
    I first came to Rachel Held Evans through her book "Searching for Sunday." At the time I had just finished a rough semester of Divinity school and I was burnt out in so many ways. There are not many books that I would describe as "healing" but that book was one of them. It reminded me WHY I was in Divinity school, why I was doing what I was doing - because I love God. And I love the Church and our rituals and sacraments. It renewed a part of me that greatly needed it.And so I was very excited to I first came to Rachel Held Evans through her book "Searching for Sunday." At the time I had just finished a rough semester of Divinity school and I was burnt out in so many ways. There are not many books that I would describe as "healing" but that book was one of them. It reminded me WHY I was in Divinity school, why I was doing what I was doing - because I love God. And I love the Church and our rituals and sacraments. It renewed a part of me that greatly needed it.And so I was very excited to receive an ARC of her new book, "Inspired." I knew it was about the Bible...and I knew I needed some healing there, so I went in with an open mind.So at this point in my life I am a United Methodist minister, serving a church as a head pastor for about 8 months now. And I have a lot of baggage about the Bible. I love Scripture. I love delving into the Revised Common Lectionary each week and figuring out what the Holy Spirit has to say to me and my community each week. I feel that preaching is one of my spiritual gifts and it greatly informed my call to ministry. So I love individual passages of Scripture. I love the Revised Command Lectionary. I even like all those weird and strange Bible stories that would NEVER show up in the lectionary (Rachel mentions a few in her book!)...but the Bible? This great big leather bound tome? This collection of stories and laws and letters and all that TOGETHER? That has done harm or can justify harm? That has been used and misused and people have been hit over the head with it and some people do the hitting with it...and yeah. When I think "Bible" I think BIG. HEAVY. Baggage. I'm much more comfortable with my little worship resource that just gives me the week's lectionary and some hymn suggestions rather then THE BOOK."Inspired" helped me work through and process a lot of those feelings and fears. I'm still processing - it's a journey. But like "Searching for Sunday" helped remind me that I love Church, "Inspired' helped remind me that I love the Bible. Her play of the book of Job & Aelia's telling of listening to one of Paul's letters particular struck me. All of her re-tellings or re-creations or imaginings of Biblical stories stirred something within me. I even think she (with the Spirit!) "inspired" my upcoming project toward ordination, working with some of the Biblical texts of violence against women. Because, deep down, underneath all the baggage, I love the Bible, I do. I think (at least by next Lent!) I'm even willing to pick up the whole leather bound, big book, and sit down and read it once again for myself, and to let the magic of the story wash over me.So I don't describe many books as healing, but "Inspired" by Rachel Held Evans was definitely one.
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  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    The introduction to this book hooked me and drew me in as I felt like I was reading my own story. Rachel describes her childhood and formative years in the evangelical church. All the familiar rites of passage - youth group, reading scripture, memorizing verses, leaning on the wisdom of youth leaders, and going back to the Word when times of crisis hit and questions arose - all of this was relatable. Even down to her name, Rachel, being taken from scripture. We might as well be sisters because m The introduction to this book hooked me and drew me in as I felt like I was reading my own story. Rachel describes her childhood and formative years in the evangelical church. All the familiar rites of passage - youth group, reading scripture, memorizing verses, leaning on the wisdom of youth leaders, and going back to the Word when times of crisis hit and questions arose - all of this was relatable. Even down to her name, Rachel, being taken from scripture. We might as well be sisters because my name is Leah. And then as she grew older, questions began to arise about this magical book. Were the stories in it true? Science can disprove some, which would then make them more myth then truth. Is God truly loving in the face of the punishment he's doled out to humanity over the centuries? Her blog has been a source of affirmation for me - yes, you can be a liberal, feminist believer and not to go hell, if hell exists in the way I'd always been taught. Her books have honestly splayed open her heart and its wanderings away from evangelicalism, but always back to God. And now, here is a book that will discover the Bible in new and fascinating ways, as it is in all its dirty, gritty, confusing messiness. I'm so encouraged to see Amy Jill Levine and Pete Enns on her list of influencers while writing this book.Rachel discusses our stories of origin and how some stories in the Bible were God's way of allowing peoples of ancient cultures to communicate. When we try to place our present day selves in the center of biblical stories, we are missing the original intent of the story and its purpose for communication. She goes on to explore the origins and intentional meaning behind many stories those of us who grew up in the church are familiar with. I wish I could share this book with so many of my friends, those of us who have left because the direction of the evangelical church has taken turns we no longer agree with or believe in. I think there are messages here we can all relate to that are inspiring and just might take us back to some of our spiritual roots.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Rachel Held Evans has been an important author for me in coming to understand liberation theology. Through her own stories of wrestling with Scripture, Evans offers insights on familiar stories that render them new. She reminds us that, above all, our interpretations should move us closer toward’s the openness and inclusiveness that is God’s love. What a wonderful read.
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  • Cydney Daniel
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars, rounded to 3. Buckle up, friends. Quickly at the beginning here: I have so many thoughts. This is interesting read if you want to stay on top of current popular beliefs and teachings. Evans is becoming an increasingly popular progressive Christian author (note: I don’t mean liberal Christian although I believe she is. I mean her views and interpretations of scripture are largely more progressive than traditional interpretation, and we run into some issues here quite often). I would no 2.5 stars, rounded to 3. Buckle up, friends. Quickly at the beginning here: I have so many thoughts. This is interesting read if you want to stay on top of current popular beliefs and teachings. Evans is becoming an increasingly popular progressive Christian author (note: I don’t mean liberal Christian although I believe she is. I mean her views and interpretations of scripture are largely more progressive than traditional interpretation, and we run into some issues here quite often). I would not recommend this to a new Christian, and honestly, I wouldn’t personally recommend this to a Christian in the middle of the throes of doubt and questioning. Ill explain why soon. I would only recommend this to Christians who I know have a firm grasp on scripture, excellent critical thinking skills, and a strong relationship with God, and even then I would only recommend it as an educational, stay-in-the-know kind of read. Here’s the longer reason why:There are a lot of fundamental principles and definitions Evans and I disagree on, and therefore i disagree with about half of this book. Foundational principles i’d like to ask Rachel about:1. What is the gospel, truly? How do you define it?2. Do you believe that Jesus was fully divine as much as he was fully human? You focus so much on his humanness and get skeptical when you approach his divinity.Surprisingly, I did end up enjoying some of it and agreeing with many points she made; but unfortunately I cannot agree with the conclusions she came to because of these points. She asks a lot of questions, and then avoids answering them by changing the question (ex: do I believe in miracles? Better question, am I acting like it? Better context in the book), and every approach to the scripture really comes across as one that “makes ME feel the best about scripture.” She often explores traditional literal interpretation with exaggeration and sarcasm, which frustrates me.. we cant really come to an accurate conclusion if we’re presenting sides of the argument sarcastically.I agree that there is a lot that the evangelical community “picks and chooses” and sweeps under the rug. I also agree that it is important to come to scripture with our questions. God is not scared of our doubts, and i don’t think we are far from him when we doubt. As she says: “a lot of people think the hardest part about religious doubt is feeling isolated from God. It’s not. At least in my experience, the hardest part about doing is feeling isolated from your community.” I can definitely attest to that. There was a time in my life that I questioned much of my faith because of 2 years of turmoil and change in my family’s life. But I went to scripture and to those who could be trusted to share truth with me, and came out on the other side with confidence that Gods word is living, true, and has the answers I need. I know that God is not scared of my doubts and questions.. but I think in many ways Evans minimizes the impact of scripture by equating God-breathed word with humanness - which I can only assume means sinful? I’m not sure what she means by the humanity the Bible displays. (Humanity vs sinfulness is a very interesting topic that happened on Evans’ twitter feed the other day that sparked an interesting discussion between my husband and I. But I digress.)Context, etc. make a huge difference in scripture interpretation, as Evans repeatedly points out, but I don’t believe we can use our own feelings and emotions to accurately interpret scripture. I struggle with this myself, because what I feel is justice or injustice or love or compassion or whatever, isn’t always what God says those things are. (There’s a verse in Proverbs about God knowing justice and man not knowing it.. and there’s that C.S. Lewis quote about “where does our idea of morality come from?”) We cannot approach scripture with our own feelings and emotions, and look for the things that validate them. I feel like Evans waters down the Bible in such a way that makes it seem like we need to come to the Bible and ask what WE want to hear or know. How can i interpret this to benefit ME? Come to scripture with your grief for comfort, but don’t come to scripture with your anger for vindication. Approach scripture with humility and desire to grow and change based on what God says. She calls out a lot of ways the American church has failed— injustice toward minorities, sexism, the focus on specific sins (some of which Evans doesn’t even see as sin), the lack of confession and repentance with each other as a part of our daily walk— and these things definitely need to be discussed. However, there’s a lot of talk about “resistance” and “rebellion” right alongside the talk of “peace” and “love.” Its a little confusing isn’t it? These ultra-legalistic Christians who can’t seem to find a problem with how African Americans are treated in this country? They have fallen short the same way the rest of us have— even progressive Christians. We have ALL fallen short of the glory of God, we have ALL sinned. I totally agree that white Christians are not the traditionally oppressed in this country and have often been let off the hook, but we are called to give grace and love to them the same way we give love and grace to the oppressed minorities. Jesus loves us all the same. Stand up for the oppressed, call out the oppression, but love them all. Don’t get too prideful thinking your compassion makes you a better Christian or person.. in the eyes of God it doesn’t.Evans’ (and, I suspect, many others) view on the church makes me very sad, and it makes me very thankful for the church I belong to, where we have solid doctrine and theology... that also allows us to actually love other people, even those with vastly different lifestyles than our own. Believing that sins are sins doesn’t make my theology bad, or me any better or worse of a person; it makes the gospel that much more powerful. The gospel is not social justice, although we are called to love and serve the unloved and oppressed because of the gospel. We are not saved by our works, only by the grace of God. Toward the beginning of the book, Evans states: “To demand that the Bible meet our demands is to put ourselves and our own interests at the center of the story, which is one of the first traps we must learn to avoid if we are to engage the Bible with integrity or care.” But as we read through this book, we see a variety of her approaches to the Bible. Some are rooted in deep study, and she shares multiple interpretations from different scholars. Most of Evans’ conclusions or takeaways from scripture, however, come from putting her interests and experiences at the center of the story. If you read this book, be wary. Think critically about her answers to or avoidances of tough questions (the latter she accuses fundamentalists of doing). Realize that many times Evans interprets scripture with what makes her feel okay about scripture, because many things in the Word of God are hard to swallow. Ultimately, I am glad that I read this and I hope that some other Christians will read this (carefully and critically) as well. There are excellent takeaways from INSPIRED, but also a bunch of really worrisome theology that really won’t hold up. If you read all of this, God bless you hahah.
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  • David Jordan
    January 1, 1970
    Inspired is a terrific book for the thoughtful Christian who has struggled with the idea of the divinely inspired infallibility of scripture. Anyone who was taught to read and obey the Bible without questioning the contents, contradictions, or conflicts that arise from a literal interpretation of this sacred text will definitely appreciate the author's careful and well-reasoned, loving critique of the world's best-selling book. Rachel Held Evans' examination of the challenges we uncover when we Inspired is a terrific book for the thoughtful Christian who has struggled with the idea of the divinely inspired infallibility of scripture. Anyone who was taught to read and obey the Bible without questioning the contents, contradictions, or conflicts that arise from a literal interpretation of this sacred text will definitely appreciate the author's careful and well-reasoned, loving critique of the world's best-selling book. Rachel Held Evans' examination of the challenges we uncover when we read the Bible from a historical/critical context is a breath of fresh air for the reader who wants to wholeheartedly follow Jesus Christ and continue to love the scriptures at the same time. She addresses interpretive conundrums with scholarship, humor, and genuine love for God's Word. There is also a good bit of impressive creativity on display, as she re-interprets several familiar biblical tales with a keen eye for detail. There is also a short contemporary play based on the story of Jonah and a choose-your-own-adventure type story inspired by Peter's walk on the Sea of Galilee. Much like Rob Bell described a progressive understanding of biblical criticism that still allows for committed Christian discipleship in his book "What is the Bible?", Held guides us on a journey of discovery that shows us how to read scripture, discern its truth, and apply that truth to our lives without devolving into doctrinal and partisan conflicts over inerrancy and infallibility. I have an advanced reader copy I received from the publisher, but I'm looking forward to sharing copies of the printed book with friends who have been hurt by fundamentalist dogma and turned their backs on the possibility of ever finding anything true or useful in the pages of the Bible. What a blessing this book is to the faith community and the even wider circle of thoughtful people looking for inspiration.
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  • Charlene Bader
    January 1, 1970
    Emerging from a season of disillusionment with contemporary American Christianity, this book helped me find my footing on the journey.Seamlessly incorporating a conversant array of academic and spiritual voices, Evans clears space for her readers to encounter ancient Scripture in new, relevant ways. I tend to avoid young writers, assuming they lack the seasoning of life necessary to bring perspective to any person outside their own cultural experience. Since Rachel Evans and I had similar childh Emerging from a season of disillusionment with contemporary American Christianity, this book helped me find my footing on the journey.Seamlessly incorporating a conversant array of academic and spiritual voices, Evans clears space for her readers to encounter ancient Scripture in new, relevant ways. I tend to avoid young writers, assuming they lack the seasoning of life necessary to bring perspective to any person outside their own cultural experience. Since Rachel Evans and I had similar childhood faith experiences, transitioning from conservative Evangelicalism to liturgical traditions, I knew her book would have personal relevance for me. Surprisingly, her inclusion of numerous diverse, authoritative voices culminates in a book that’s as academic as it is relevant, and notably, not limited to the spiritual nourishment of 30-something-year-old women.Through ancient and contemporary biblical commentary, storytelling, and historical sources, Evans explores Scripture with an honest, concerned, and hopeful approach.The main takeaway I received from Inspired is the goodness of searching and the freedom to question. I was hoping for a more stark resolution, an answer book to my Bible difficulties. Instead, Evans sets the stage for her reader to wrestle with God, just as Jacob in the wilderness – to wrestle the Almighty until we are blessed.
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  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    Any book that starts with “Once upon a time” and ends with the image of God taking me in his arms, saying “let me tell you a story” becomes a definite favorite of mine. I’m long an admirer of Ms. Evans. I appreciate her questions and how her questions deepen her faith. More importantly, I’m impressed with how clear Ms. Evans is in the understanding that questioning is not only acceptable by God, it’s encouraged. I’ve long been a believer in the power of story and the idea that story has deep inf Any book that starts with “Once upon a time” and ends with the image of God taking me in his arms, saying “let me tell you a story” becomes a definite favorite of mine. I’m long an admirer of Ms. Evans. I appreciate her questions and how her questions deepen her faith. More importantly, I’m impressed with how clear Ms. Evans is in the understanding that questioning is not only acceptable by God, it’s encouraged. I’ve long been a believer in the power of story and the idea that story has deep influence over individuals and groups alike. As a child therapist, I would encourage my clients to use the power of stories to work through their problems, gain insight into their choices, and provide and encourage hope for change. “Inspired” shows how the Biblical texts—so familiar and ingrained in my soul—can do the same for me. Bravo, Ms. Evans. I’m again thankful for your ability to articulate my thoughts, questions and beliefs so profoundly.I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the publisher.
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  • Ansley Gerhard
    January 1, 1970
    (I received an advance copy from the publisher)Order this book. I’m serious. It is incredible. The best thing RHE has written yet. It’s smart, it’s brave and it’s eloquent. My favorite was the retelling of Hagar’s story from Hagar’s point of view.
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  • Cara
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the playful spirit of this book and the way it invited me in.
  • Sarah Poling
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to read this book- knowing I wouldn't agree with the author's beliefs, but also knowing that each of her books helps me to understand other's theology, perspective, and our current culture of faith based people leaving traditional churches and even many of their beliefs. The author, RHE (Rachel Held Evans), other books have opened my eyes and given me perspective, as this book did. I learned more about her personally and realized she has a literature degree. It's that dimension of her e I wanted to read this book- knowing I wouldn't agree with the author's beliefs, but also knowing that each of her books helps me to understand other's theology, perspective, and our current culture of faith based people leaving traditional churches and even many of their beliefs. The author, RHE (Rachel Held Evans), other books have opened my eyes and given me perspective, as this book did. I learned more about her personally and realized she has a literature degree. It's that dimension of her education and passion that this book stem from. I love the Bible and read it every day. I believe it is a literal book written on pages by men but the words were given by God and are His words. The stories that she addresses and re-narrates in the Bible are a new spin, and her version that they aren't true rather than taking God at His word, and recognizing that the wonders and unbelievable aspects reveal who He is. By goodreads standards- I marked this as an okay- book- there were parts that I liked, and it's well written and brings words to what I know many believe. I can't say that I liked it because I struggle with the conclusions drawn- and how it seems necessary for this generation to alter the word of God to suit their beliefs. I also struggle with some assumptions about ALL fundamentalists, all evangelicals, all______-- it appears that we pull one another down by finding people who had the same raw and ugly experiences, that do not represent all believers or christians- and assume that there is no other way to have a local church function other than with horrifying experiences for some, and that has not always been my experience in a church.
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  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free advance promo copy, which this review is based on.Having read and appreciated Rachel's previous books, I am familiar with her voice, and the doubt and questioning infused in her writing. I have found her honesty refreshing as someone coming from a similar religious background myself. I read this new book hoping to come away convinced the Bible was a 'good book' after all, that it could be inspiring- after coming to my own conclusions years ago that it is more hurtful than helpf I received a free advance promo copy, which this review is based on.Having read and appreciated Rachel's previous books, I am familiar with her voice, and the doubt and questioning infused in her writing. I have found her honesty refreshing as someone coming from a similar religious background myself. I read this new book hoping to come away convinced the Bible was a 'good book' after all, that it could be inspiring- after coming to my own conclusions years ago that it is more hurtful than helpful. What I am inspired by most from reading this book, is Rachels' dogged tenacity to dig and search to find some semblance of something good to hold onto in her faith and in the Bible. I was most encouraged by the concept of looking at scripture as stories of complex lives. Also, her treatment of the epistles, and the Jesus story were thought provoking.p. 106 "...treating Scripture as an owners manual, based on a few versed here and a few verses there, will leave you more lost than found." I couldn't agree more, Rachel.For myself, I remain unconvinced that I should dig out my old Bibles and try again. But I have been the littlest bit softened in my attitude toward scripture. Maybe its a start.
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  • Megan Ericson
    January 1, 1970
    Two-word review of this book: Mind. Blown.(Runner-up two-word review: Bubble. Burst.) I thought this book was going to be a creative retelling of Bible stories I've grown up having read and heard hundreds of times – a way to see them with fresh eyes from a new perspective. I was right and so wrong. There were retellings of Bible stories, but I was also presented with historical and literary perspectives of these stories I've never heard or considered. In addition, the author lays out her story o Two-word review of this book: Mind. Blown.(Runner-up two-word review: Bubble. Burst.) I thought this book was going to be a creative retelling of Bible stories I've grown up having read and heard hundreds of times – a way to see them with fresh eyes from a new perspective. I was right and so wrong. There were retellings of Bible stories, but I was also presented with historical and literary perspectives of these stories I've never heard or considered. In addition, the author lays out her story of growing up in American Evangelicalism and her own difficulties with figuring out apparent discrepancies in scripture. Many parts of her story were similar to mine – the Bible presented as literal fact and to think anything else is heresy. I appreciate the lack of "I've found the answer and this is the way you should think about this" stance in this book. The author lays out her perspectives, not saying her perspective is right but giving what she has discovered during her studies and research.My brain will be chewing on the ideas presented in this book for a long time! I am glad for having read the author's perspectives and having my beliefs challenged.
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  • Tanner Cooper-Risser
    January 1, 1970
    What a captivating read! Having read all of Rachel Held Evans books I found this one her best one yet! Her exploration of the Bible was inspiring and refreshing. It reminded me of the different genres of the Bible both in content and writing style. Utilizing different writing styles to portray each biblical genre was an excellent idea! She uses short stories, a screenplay, a sonnet, and even a choose your own adventure story to remind us that our Scripture is a combination of letters, poems, war What a captivating read! Having read all of Rachel Held Evans books I found this one her best one yet! Her exploration of the Bible was inspiring and refreshing. It reminded me of the different genres of the Bible both in content and writing style. Utilizing different writing styles to portray each biblical genre was an excellent idea! She uses short stories, a screenplay, a sonnet, and even a choose your own adventure story to remind us that our Scripture is a combination of letters, poems, war stories, deliverance stories, wisdom, letters, and more! Most books on the Bible intrigue me and bring more understanding to me, but this one brought back the wonder to our Bible and made me want to reread the Bible itself. It inspired and brought back the magic that the Book once held for me. It showed me that I am not alone in my interpretation and beliefs. It brought to light stories of Hagar, Tamar, the Samaritan woman, and even the house churches that Paul wrote to. I definitely recommend pre-ordering this incredible read!
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  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    I jumped at the chance to request an Advanced Review Copy of this book from the publisher, and I'm so glad that I did. Timely and yet timeless, Rachel Held Evan's new book is an elegantly-organized walk through the Bible that's thought-provoking, convicting and reassuring, often all on one page. This is not a book that I will read only once, straight through, and then set on a shelf, but a book that I will re-read, discuss, engage with, and refer back to. Reading this book made me excited to rea I jumped at the chance to request an Advanced Review Copy of this book from the publisher, and I'm so glad that I did. Timely and yet timeless, Rachel Held Evan's new book is an elegantly-organized walk through the Bible that's thought-provoking, convicting and reassuring, often all on one page. This is not a book that I will read only once, straight through, and then set on a shelf, but a book that I will re-read, discuss, engage with, and refer back to. Reading this book made me excited to read the Bible again, and now I'm reading with a fresh perspective: that the Bible is not a handbook meant to provide an answer for every life challenge and a position statement for every hot button issue, but a rich and beautiful collection of ancient literature. Not an instruction manual, but a divinely-Inspired STORY.
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  • Marie Hougton
    January 1, 1970
    In the introduction, Rachel refers to this as, "a book about the Bible by a memoirist may seem like an odd undertaking," but "goody goody" I'm so glad she did. It was thoughtful and well researched. I had the idea of reading all the other works she referenced and then I saw how voluminous the notes section was. After reading this book, I contemplated my own journey with the Bible. I felt a better appreciation for all the steps a long the way. I will defiantly share is with others.
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