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Epic: The Story God Is Telling and the Role That Is Yours to Play
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Epic: The Story God Is Telling and the Role That Is Yours to Play

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  2,895 ratings  ·  243 reviews
Life, for most of us, feels like a movie we've arrived to forty minutes late.

Sure, good things happen, sometimes beautiful things. But tragic things happen too. What does it mean? We find ourselves in the middle of a story that is sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful, usually a confusing mixture of both, and we haven't a clue how to make sense of it all. No wonder we keep
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published September 15th 2004 by Thomas Nelson (first published January 1st 2004)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  2,895 ratings  ·  243 reviews

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Mark Jr.
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
I get so tired of books.

That break up paragraphs.

To make them seem.





This is a device which should be used sparingly. But I think John Eldredge read the memo backwards, because "normal" paragraphs almost seem to be the exception in his epic (but tiny) book. Epic but tiny. And that's just it: Eldredge wants to make every sentence in this small book breathless (see the last sentence on page 80). His topic justifies that desire, but his treatment of it does not.

And my complain
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
30th book of 2019.

Not what I expected. Can't really explain it, I liked it a lot but also had some issues with parts of it.
John Eldredge is definitely a good writer, weaving popular culture with the gospel to make it accessible for the masses.
Why else use sooooooo many examples from movies?
You almost don't have to watch Narnia, that's how much Eldredge reveals in Epic.
Laurissa Gordon
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
As someone who enjoys acting, I really enjoyed the different way he told the gospel. He separated it into 4 Acts and in these he has many references to scriptures, books, and movies. To show how we are living in this very real story, and these books/movies all address what people yearn for, a happily ever after. And with Christ we have that.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
John really has a way with words. His descriptions can make you feel like you are there and a part of it.
Biggest drawback was all the movie references that he bounced back and forth between them. A couple of the movies I had never seen and another one I saw partially but couldn't get into. Made it tough for me but might be easier for someone else.
Overall, the story is excellent and very well written. If you have seen the movies talked about it would be beneficial.
Sep 07, 2008 rated it did not like it
Something of a ripoff. Is excerpts from previous works, all of which I'd read. Not so identified. Disappointed. ...more
At some point, this crossed my youngest son's path from a Sunday School teacher. I thought I'd pick it up and read it a bit at a time.
I was intrigued by the thesis, which places the Gospel into the epic stories that we tell to understand the world. He, however, uses only contemporary films as illustrations of these stories, and is both very Protestant and very Ransom Theory.
As a quick, bit at a time read, it was fine. As serious theology, it is problematic.
Oct 30, 2009 rated it it was ok
Have you ever heard someone refer to the Bible “God’s love story”? Sure it sounds good, but what does it really mean? Eldredge does a nice job describing exactly why the Bible IS, in fact, God’s love story: how a God who was already in perfect relationship chose to create people who are free to rebel against Him and through time God continues to love, pursue, and rescue these rebellious people.

However, the full book title is “Epic: The Story God Is Telling and the Role That Is Yours to Play,” an
Ethan Pollard
Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Epic is "the story God is trying to tell us". I personally am a big fan of John's writings because they say a lot to me, and where I have been in life. That being said, if your looking for deep bible based things, then this is not the place to look. Eldridge compares the story that God created for us to many popular movies of heroism and alturistic behaviors among people that we hold in high regard. He claims this is because the story of God is in every person, and it gets expressed in things li ...more
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love that this little book does what we teach at our school: reminds us that the Bible is one, big true story, and that every believer has a part to play in God’s story. It also illustrates another truth emphasized at our school: that every good story in our world contains elements of the BEST story - God’s story of creation-fall-redemption. Beyond that, this little gem is chock-full of literary references (and movie references) that I love. It’s like the author peeked at my shelf of favorite ...more
Joel Mitchell
John Eldredge launches his fresh look at Gospel with this quote: "I wonder what sort of tale we've fallen into" (J. R. R. Tolkien, LOTR). Christianity is not a series of rules and church attendance, but the opportunity to participate in "the story God is telling."
Eldredge draws frequent parallels with various books and movies to show that our best loved stories reflect God's great true story because "eternity is written in our hearts." This short book is both thought-provoking and beautiful.
Eric Mikols
Jul 26, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read "Wild at Heart" last Christmas and thought that it was one of the most important books I would read in a while. This book, however, makes me see a few faults in Eldredge's style. The repetitive nature of his writing gets old once you notice it, and he likes to use scripture liberally to fit his means. My big problem is that he didn't tell me anything I didn't already know.
A good devotion book but nothing to base a change on.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed-books
I enjoyed this book but...

"So Commodus was thrown down in the arena; so Darth Vader was hurled spinning into space; so the trinity foiled Magua's first assault, and he fled into the wilderness." pg. 39

The Emperor was hurled spinning into space by Darth Vader. Vader was ceremonially burned upon a funeral pyre. Correct this grave error in future printings!
Walt Walkowski
Feb 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian-living
I enjoyed this book. Nice that it's short. Not sure I entirely agree that the Gospel is the entire story Eldredge points to, but I get his point. Also, I don't think I'm his target audience, but it was a decent read anyway.
Allyssa Bloomfield
I bought it a month ago and my jaw dropped. First deception? In the site looked bigger. 100 pages in a tiny lil book. Second? Its a religious book, not a historic novel as they kinda sell it. Giving it a chance tho. Its really short

Update: Pure crap. If i could put zero stars id do it
Sep 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Instead of reading this book watch the Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, and Apollo 13. Then read Donald Miller's Million Miles in a Thousand Years. It will take longer, but you'll be better for it. ...more
May 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
We are in the middle of a story that is sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful.

We have a crucial role to play in the larger story.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it liked it
"Epic" by John Eldridge is an abstract sized version of his full length novel, "Waking the Dead." What makes "Epic" unique is that he's arranged the book into four acts. Each act takes a part of the hero journey and related the spiritual lessons to many of the famous heroes in literature: Frodo, Maximus, Neo, and others.

While I liked the fleshed out version of Eldridge's view on God's involvement in our heroic journeys, this condensed version was a good refresher but the four acts arrangement ma
Justin Ferguson
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
"Epic" by John Eldridge is an abstract sized version of his full length novel, "Waking the Dead." What makes "Epic" unique is that he's arranged the book into four acts. Each act takes a part of the hero journey and related the spiritual lessons to many of the famous heroes in literature: Frodo, Maximus, Neo, and others.

While I liked the fleshed out version of Eldridge's view on God's involvement in our heroic journeys, this condensed version was a good refresher but the four acts arrangement ma
Christian Barry
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Why do we love the stories we love? Eldredge writes that it’s in our nature to desire tales of courage, hope, fear, love, sacrifice, and tragedy because we were designed by God to do so. He endowed us with a dignity, gave us a greater purpose beyond individuality, and He destined us for a future glory. Through His salvation plan - He’s been telling the story that man has attempted to recreate through epics like Gladiator, Titanic, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and many more we love. It may b ...more
Jennifer Robb
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Christians
Recommended to Jennifer by: YMCA Book Exchange
I went back and forth on how much to rate this book. It is one I will consider keeping and might read again (which is one of my criteria for a 4-5 rating) and I did really enjoy it (also one of my criteria for a 4-5 rating) but I did start it once before, put it down, and take it back up again (though in this case it was because I had too many other books started at the time and I wanted to read it at a time I could focus on its message) and some of the stories he references as examples are not ...more
Albertus Minimus
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
The premise of this book is that all humans relate well to stories and are very much fascinated by it because there is something that God has put in each of us that yearns to know this One Epic Story (The Gospel). Fellowship, beauty, villain, fall from grace, hero, rescue, love, redemption are all elements of stories we have known and loved. He contrasts each as well as other parts with the Gospel Story.

The logic of the book is good, but I’m not really sure that people are propelled to come to k
Lara Giesbers
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"With every step of our lives we enter into the middle of some story which we are certain to misunderstand." - GK Chesterton

Have you ever been lost as to what the meaning of life is? What your purpose in this world could be? I think we all wonder 1) what is God up to? and 2) how can we get in on it?

John Eldredge seeks to give us a new perspective of telling God's epic tale or love, tragedy, good, evil, fellowship, and purpose. Through the themes of different well loved stories, he shows how our
John Lucy
Jan 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Not entirely sure there's any purpose for having written this book. There's nothing new or exciting here. Eldredge simply couches what we might call "traditional" Christianity into a new form, that of a story. But anyone who has read the Bible knows that God's relationship with us is indeed a story and cannot be understood outside of that.

Essentially all Eldredge does is try to make the same old Christianity seem "cool" by mentioning a bunch of fairly contemporary movies, movies that were more c
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fairly quick read. I thought that throughout the book John Eldredge did a good job relating the points he was trying to make with the reader, and did a fabulous job in drawing the reader in through modern films and stories.

My favorite point made in this book is how many of us do not like the idea that in heaven all we do is sing worship songs all day, and how the author explains there is so much more to heaven than even our minds can imagine, as we cannot fit God into the box of faulty human
Joel Gibbons
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Very interesting dive into how our culture (present and in the past) have told epic stories with very similar over-arching themes. These themes imperfectly reflect the story of history from before creation through God's final redemption of all things when Jesus returns. The stories we tell and enjoy are full of flawed characters taking some very valiant actions, while also often failing in light of sin and the brokenness of this world. When you see or read and epic story of good versus evil, it ...more
Emma Nugee
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
John's writing is clear and certainly very powerful, but the book reads more like a salesman's pitch than an informative explanation and there are aspects of it that are very frustrating because of this - it feels a touch like his metaphor of the story becomes more important than the story itself that God is telling. That being said, the actual biblical and theology content of the book is good, if a touch hard to find! ...more
Ali Jackson
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tck, for-my-soul
I was touched by reading Epic. I love story and how we usually learn best from stories and not statements and facts. Eldredge used epic adventure and romance books and movies that we already know to show us how God's story is also an epic romance set in a time of war. Though I didn't agree with his premise that the Gospel is true because it follows the same patterns as other epic adventures we love, I still enjoyed reading this little book. ...more
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good easy to read book. Nice to focus on our purpose in life and why we thirst for adventure, why we are always excited about a hero winning over the bad guy. Eldridge uses many adventure movies as illustrations in this book and it really helps to solidify his narrative of life being like an adventure movie (an Epic as he would call it) we see 3 acts in the book each dealing with different stages in human kind.
A good quick and easy read.

I would recommend.
Edward Loduca
I was directed to this book after listening to an amazing couple of episodes of the Wild at Heart Podcast from Jan 6th and 13th 2020, titled "God, Movies, & Your Story - Part 1 & 2." I was hoping they would be a bit more like these episodes, but they were exactly as explained. I did enjoy this perspective on storytelling and can see the truth in it. As an aspiring writer I find it to be helpful as well to keep in mind. ...more
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A well written and thoughtful insight into the greatest story ever told.

In a world 🌎 witnessing countless relationship and societal breakdowns, John Eldredge addresses a fundamental question. If there is a God, how can this seemingly senseless situation be allowed? In answering this question he reveals the compassionate heartbeat of God.
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John Eldredge is an author (you probably figured that out), a counselor, and teacher. He is also president of Ransomed Heart, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God, recover their own heart in his love, and learn to live in his Kingdom. John grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles (which he hated), and spent his boyhood summers on his grandfather’s cattle ranch in eastern Ore ...more

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83 likes · 21 comments
“How wonderful to discover that God has never been alone. He has always been Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God has always been a fellowship. This whole Story began with something relational.” 5 likes
“Christianity, in its true form, tells us that there is an Author and that he is good, the essence of all that is good and beautiful and true, for he is the source of all these things. It tells us that he has set our hearts’ longings within us, for he has made us to live in an Epic. It warns that the truth is always in danger of being twisted and corrupted and stolen from us because there is a Villain in the Story who hates our hearts and wants to destroy us. It calls us up into a Story that is truer and deeper than any other, and assures us that there we will find the meaning of our lives.” 4 likes
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