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Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again

by Rachel Held Evans

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6342337,641 (4.24)12
Christian Nonfiction. Religion & Spirituality. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:

If the Bible isn't a science book or an instruction manual, what is it? What do people mean when they say the Bible is inspired? When New York Times bestselling author Rachel Held Evans found herself asking these questions, she embarked on a journey to better understand what the Bible is and how it's meant to be read. What she discovered changed her—and it can change you, too.

Evans knows firsthand how a relationship with the Bible can be as real and as complicated as a relationship with a family member or close friend. In Inspired, Evans explores contradictions and questions from her own experiences with the Bible, including:

  • If the Bible was supposed to explain the mysteries of life, why does it leave the reader with so many questions?
  • What does it mean to be chosen by God?
  • To what degree did the Holy Spirit guide the preservation of these narratives, and is there something sacred to be uncovered beneath all these human fingerprints?
  • If the Bible has given voice to the oppressed, why is it also used as justification by their oppressors?
  • Drawing on the best in biblical 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, and even a short screenplay.

    Undaunted by the Bible's most difficult passages and unafraid to ask the hard questions, Evans wrestles through the process of doubting, imagining, and debating the mysteries surrounding Scripture. Discover alongside Evans that the Bible is not a static text, but a living, breathing, captivating, and confounding book that can equip us and inspire us to join God's loving and redemptive work in the world.

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    » See also 12 mentions

    Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
    Fundamentalist and evangelical preachers often try to enforce a “literal” interpretation on the Christian Scriptures. That perspective often removes the affective, emotional, and wonder-filled components – precisely the original authors’ main points. The late Rachel Held Evans was raised an evangelical but became an outspoken mainline Protestant before her untimely death. Here, she tells her story alongside the Bible’s story. She tries to recapture some of the amazement that drew many to read the Christian Scriptures in the first place.

    Held Evans has the evangelical bona fides down. She grew up in Dayton, Tennessee, home of the famous Scopes Trial about evolution. She was raised in a conservative evangelical family and attended an evangelical college, majoring in English. However, as she grew up, she slowly became aware of a great insecurity among her evangelical leaders about the modern world. She eventually left evangelical circles, wandered a while, and became an Episcopalian. As she tells in this book’s beginning, she came to appreciate the Bible again by avoiding the pitfall of the defensiveness so prevalent in American conservative churches today.

    After finishing her story, she spends the bulk of the book retelling the Bible story all over again. With a descriptiveness that only an English major could bring, she tells of the wrestling that she has done in subsequent years. She tells of her troubles with the wars and the rapes in Scripture. She tells of the lessons that she’s learned from each Biblical segment. She tells of wonder, struggles with St. Paul’s writings, and how all this brought her to appreciate the main point more.

    Mainline Protestant Christians are this book’s main audience. Evangelicals often malign this group for straying from the Bible, but Held Evans argues otherwise. Her interpretation is utterly Biblical but open-minded towards learning and our common humanity. Evangelicals would do well to read this book, too, to learn how moderns can and do struggle with Scripture by “wrestling with God.” Held Evans’ writing possesses an earthiness shared by excellent Christian authors like CS Lewis and Madeline L’Engle that brings the faith to life. It’s worth one’s time to peruse this book. ( )
      scottjpearson | Oct 3, 2023 |
    Listened to the audiobook. Greatly enjoyed, as usual Rachel's perspective on faith and having faith and finding inspiration even in the midst of doubt. Loved her discussions of the different types of stories in the Bible.
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      MandyPS | May 13, 2023 |
    If you have never had questions or doubts about what you've read in the Bible, this book is not for you. However, if you have ever struggled with the text, if you enjoy wrestling, thinking critically and considering new ideas you should check this out. I love Rachel's honesty, humor and humility. This book helped me to look at the Bible, a book I've read countless times, with new eyes and it refreshed my weary soul. If you can manage it, I would recommend reading and discussing with a group of friends as I think so much of this would be best digested in community. ( )
      lmbrandonsmithapl | Jan 23, 2023 |
    If 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. (Amamzon.com)
      staylorlib | Dec 19, 2022 |
    I don’t think I had gotten much farther than the first chapter of this before I knew it was a book I needed to buy. It’s the kind of book I highlight like crazy, and it’s one I’ll want to reread. I related to a lot of what she wrote about her evangelical upbringing and coming to a point when she started to question things she’d grown up believing, mainly that every word of the Bible is irrefutable. I appreciated that for her, having questions and doubts didn’t mean she wanted to throw Christianity out the window. She accepted that she didn’t have all the answers and didn’t have to have all the answers. She was still pursuing understanding and wisdom as she wrote her last book.

    The premise of the book is that there are many different genres of book in the Bible—origin stories, war stories, wisdom stories, gospel stories, etc.—and people should be mindful of that when reading them. She precedes each chapter about a genre with a short fictional piece of her own that illustrates it. I wasn’t sure I’d like these little creative writing breaks but actually, they were all quite good. What she said about the different types of book and their historical and cultural context made a lot of sense too.

    I had never heard of Rachel Held Evans until the days leading up to her death. A Christian writer I follow on Twitter, Sarah Bessey, was tweeting requests for prayer for Evans after she was hospitalized with brain swelling caused by an allergic reaction. She didn’t recover, and she died in May of this year. I’m thankful I finally heard of her, but wish I’d heard of her under different circumstances.




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      Harks | Dec 17, 2022 |
    Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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    Christian Nonfiction. Religion & Spirituality. Sociology. Nonfiction. HTML:

    If the Bible isn't a science book or an instruction manual, what is it? What do people mean when they say the Bible is inspired? When New York Times bestselling author Rachel Held Evans found herself asking these questions, she embarked on a journey to better understand what the Bible is and how it's meant to be read. What she discovered changed her—and it can change you, too.

    Evans knows firsthand how a relationship with the Bible can be as real and as complicated as a relationship with a family member or close friend. In Inspired, Evans explores contradictions and questions from her own experiences with the Bible, including:

    If the Bible was supposed to explain the mysteries of life, why does it leave the reader with so many questions? What does it mean to be chosen by God? To what degree did the Holy Spirit guide the preservation of these narratives, and is there something sacred to be uncovered beneath all these human fingerprints? If the Bible has given voice to the oppressed, why is it also used as justification by their oppressors?

    Drawing on the best in biblical 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, and even a short screenplay.

    Undaunted by the Bible's most difficult passages and unafraid to ask the hard questions, Evans wrestles through the process of doubting, imagining, and debating the mysteries surrounding Scripture. Discover alongside Evans that the Bible is not a static text, but a living, breathing, captivating, and confounding book that can equip us and inspire us to join God's loving and redemptive work in the world.

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