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

4.65  ·  Rating details ·  171 Ratings  ·  119 Reviews
 One Woman’s Journey Back to Loving the Bible

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 ch
Paperback, 240 pages
Expected publication: June 12th 2018 by Thomas Nelson
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Chrsitina Wolf Yes, it does - to some extent. That is not the focus, but it comes up several times.
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Kat Coffin
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Kristi Brokaw
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
J.R. Forasteros
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Chris Crosby
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 dont 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 fin ...more
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Ben Wideman
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jeffrey Nelson
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Charlene Bader
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Ansley Gerhard
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
(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.
Allison Sees
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
I loved the playful spirit of this book and the way it invited me in.
Tanner Cooper-Risser
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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's a new way to love the Bible." Rachel Heald Evans never dissapoints.
Marie Hougton
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thoughtful, engaging, lovely.

I received an advance reader copy from the publisher.
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a book review for the not-yet-released Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans. This book is available in stores June 12th, but you can pre-order it at

I should start by saying - I filled out an application to be on the Launch Team for this new book, so I received an Advanced Reader Copy from the Publisher.

I first came across Rachel Held Evans when her book A Year of Biblical Womanhood crossed upon my Goodreads page.
Caroline Fly
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

It’s beautiful. A truly beautiful book. I’ve long been a fan of Rachel Held-Evans, and this latest book combines her usual eloquent, naturally poetic style with a new twist. She has a gift for sharing profound ideas, and intricate theology in an accessible and thought provoking way, and that’s exactly what she does in Inspired. She tackles the vexing questions of the Bible - the bloody war stories of the Old Testament, the m
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
As a relatively new member of a Southern Baptist church whose favorite books on Christianity are by Tim Keller and Matt Chandler, I was a little bit nervous to read "Inspired." I don't fit neatly into either of the two intended audiences Evans identifies in her introduction (in simplest terms: folks with an evangelical background wrestling with Scripture and folks in progressive mainline traditions wanting to dig deeper). But it only took a few pages for Evans to convince me that yes, this book ...more
David Jordan
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Bethany Ober
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I will read everything RHE writes. I love her memoirs, and I have learned from the experiences she shares and the biblical study she narrates. I received an advance copy of Inspired from the publisher. It's very different than her other three books; this one includes some personal narrative, but also experiments with other forms (screenplay, poetry, retellings from the point of view of characters like the Samaritan woman at the well) that I found delightful.

Inspired zooms in on a question that
May 02, 2018 is currently reading it
The introduction to this book hooked me in 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 becaus ...more
Anything that 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 ha
Nicolas Abdallah
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A thoughtful and compelling read. The perfect companion for Christians who find themselves dissatisfied with prevailing interpretations of the biblical text. Rachel doesn’t shy away from important topics and I appreciate that. Several chapters are not for the faint of heart, they are however a well in the desert for those that have grown weary of Evangelical Christianity. A must read for the certain and a gift for the certainly confused.
Sarah Street
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Like it or not, the gospel is a story unleashed.”

Rachel Held Evans has presented a case for loving the Bible as a STORY (again, or for the first time). Through her imaginative literary devices, she brought me in to a heart-space & head-space to approach the Bible through the eyes of those actually present in the Great Stories. It makes me think of C.S. Lewis who said that we can enter a new reality by reading stories: "We want to escape the illusions of perspective…. We want to see with oth
Mar 08, 2018 rated it liked it
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
Lori Jane
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In INSPIRED, Rachel Held Evans is inviting readers to join ongoing conversations --- with her, with the writers of the Bible and with God. Anyone who is interested in a healthy dialogue and has the desire to understand God’s word is welcome to join. You might not agree with Rachel on everything, but you will enjoy the conversation. I certainly did.
Confession: Over the course of my own faith journey I have embarked on several quests to read the entire Bible that were never accomplished (Leviticus
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Rachel Held Evans is a New York Times best-selling author whose books include Faith Unraveled (2010), A Year of Biblical Womanhood (2012), and Searching for Sunday (2015). Hailing from Dayton, Tennessee—home of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925— she writes about faith, doubt and life in the Bible Belt.

Rachel has been featured in The Washington Post, The Guardian, Christianity Today, Slate, T
More about Rachel Held Evans

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