Thursday, August 23, 2018

Inspired: a book review

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

by Rachel Held Evans

Released June 12, 2018

Published by Thomas Nelson

Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again is Rachel Held Evans’s attempt to get readers to fall in love with the Bible, despite the tough stories within it.

The introduction pulled me in right away as Evans weaves her own fairy tale of a girl in love with a book and describes the wondrous stories she found in the Bible, until she was older and realized there were many stories that left God seeming more like a villain than a hero.

What I appreciated about this book is that Evans doesn’t shy away from the harder parts of the Bible that deal with war, slavery, rape, and other difficult topics. She doesn’t sweep those under the rug in a blind “The Bible is perfect” way. In fact, she talks about how some of these points caused her to deeply question faith and Christianity.

Ultimately, Evans is still making the case for Christianity and learning from the Bible, but she approaches text as a collection of letters, poetry, and prose -- as a wide literary canon that can be studied. For example, she describes how the story of Jonah and the whale employs fanciful literary conventions to make its point, and she says that it is okay not to view the story as a literal history.

Having heard plenty of literal interpretations without room for questioning, I appreciated Inspired for its ability to question and reframe these stories. It’s worth a read for Christians and questioners.

Disclaimer: I received an advance-read copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I used Amazon affiliate links in this post. Should you choose to buy something through those links, you will not pay any extra, but they will send me a small fee, which I will likely add to my book fund. Thank you. Please see my Book Review Disclaimer for more information.

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