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

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  12,944 ratings  ·  1,771 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, 236 pages
Published June 12th 2018 by Thomas Nelson
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Christina Wolf Barnard Yes, it does - to some extent. That is not the focus, but it comes up several times.
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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 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 ...more
Pastor Matt
Aug 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
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
Jul 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: false-teaching
****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
Kaitlin Kline
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"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
Clif Hostetler
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
Rachel Held Evans provides an engaging presentation of a progressive perspective on the Christian religion in general and the role of the Bible in particular. She frequently recounts personal experiences of growing out of a belief in the Bible as a magic answer book and evolving toward an understanding of it as a work of literature filled with stories that can be inspirational and instructive if combined with knowledge of the genre and context. The book’s narrative includes frequent quotations o ...more
Cydney Daniel
Nov 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion, nonfiction
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
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
JR. 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.
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: purchased-gifted
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
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
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.
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 up...here's a new way to love the Bible." Rachel Heald Evans never dissapoints. ...more
D.L. Mayfield
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I can really remember thinking I can't wait to put this in the hands of my daughter when she is 13 years old and say "read this. I hope this is how you can learn to approach your faith and the Scriptures someday."

It's a stunningly accessible look at how Christians can and must start to treat their sacred texts outside of the narrow confines of biblicism. This is my favorite book of Rachel's, and I cried while listening to her read the audio herself. What a gift she was, an
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.
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I never had the privilege of meeting Rachel Held Evans, but it was still incredibly sad to learn of her death this past spring. She was an honest and passionate voice that echoed what so many felt. This book, her final book, echoes that honesty and passion.

In the book she shares how she grew up learning the Bible. But, as happens, over time she learned things were not as simple as she was taught. One option, which many have taken, was simply jettison faith altogether. Rachel could never do this
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Christina Westbrooks
Jun 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
Ann-Marie "Cookie M."
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you have looked at the Bible closely and found the conflicting parts hard to reconcile, Rachel Held Evans is the person you need to read. Evans has grown up with the Bible and its stories; the Bible was her default setting for all of life as a child. But, as she grew older, the brutalities of the God-led battles along with the cruelties inflicted on women and slaves and other groups began to bother Evans more and more.

This is the story of Evans wrestling with God. It's clever and thoughtful
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I started this as part of an online book club which has since died out, so I went ahead and binged the rest of it on my own. It's kind of a bittersweet read considering the recent untimely death of the author, but a reminder of what her voice meant in the Christian world of ideas - something different and refreshing from the constant barrage of legalism, patriarchy, violence and bigotry. It's a reminder that stories matter, and knowing where those stories came from matters even more. I've enjoye ...more
Mar 13, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: reconstruct
The first half of this book rocked my little theological box right off its shelf.

The second half... well, it wasn't nearly so successful: it felt like rewarmed bible stories the author tried (and failed) to imbue with innovative spin.

Still, that first half is full of clear-eyed reasoning that skewers soooooooooooooo much of the batshit craziness mainstream Evangelicals sling. It absolutely slayed.

So, three stars feels fair, all things considered.
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I first became aware of Rachel Held Evans in the last year when she was a guest on one of my favorite podcasts The Bible for Normal People. She was actually promoting this book on the episode. Fast forward to May 2019 when I found out that Rachel passed away after a brief illness. Her passing bothered me first because she was so young and left behind her husband and two young children. Second it bothered me because her voice is needed in such a time as this. Not knowing what to do I decided to b ...more
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
Marnie  (Enchanted Bibliophile)
“Jesus did not simply die to save us from our sins; Jesus lived to save us from our sins.”

live inspired

I truly enjoyed Rachel's retellings at the start of each chapter. Changing one’s point of view can so often give new light and insight to a very old story.
I’ve learned that in life, the Holy Spirit can use just about anything to teach us what we need at a certain point in time, opening our eyes to things we never even considered before.
June 2018:
In short, I loved it!

August 2018:
I loved it so much that I already read it again!

May 2022:
I think this is my first time re-reading this entire book since Rachel died. A small group I'm in at my church internship has been going through this book, most of them for the first time.

It's such a great book. She was such a great writer. It still hurts to have to use the past tense to talk about her.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a strong reflection of current popular voices and thoughts concerning Christianity in general and the bible in particular.
The main focus is nothing too new or groundbreaking, and mirrors what large portions of scholarship have been communicating for decades. That being said, Held Evans has a knack for delivering that same message (one which fundamentalists have tended to ignore over the decades), albeit in a warm and accessible format.
She openly parrots the work of heavy hitters
K.J. Ramsey
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In Inspired, Rachel’s artistry, humanness, and love make the Bible come alive. Here we can encounter more than truths to know or even stories to tell; we can encounter the living, breathing God who always is inviting us into love.

From the stunningly beautiful retellings of Scriptural stories woven throughout the book to offering a cohesive, accessible framework for understanding the role and purpose of the Bible’s various genres, Rachel gave us a great gift in this book.

Rachel’s willingness to
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.
Rod Horncastle
Mar 16, 2022 rated it did not like it
Okay, okay - don’t attack the liberal progressive socialist leftist Christian* (?) bimbo, attack her ideas and pathetic emotional bashings and warpings of the Bible. Reminder to Stay focused.

I know, she’s dead (eventually we'll all be. So I’m over it) apparently I’m supposed to be nice to her. Hmmm?! But famed atheist Christopher Hitchens is dead as well - and nobody worries about soiling his rank legacy. They both surely have a surprising and eventful Judgement Day looming in the near future.
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Rachel Held Evans was 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 wrote about faith, doubt and life in the Bible Belt.

Rachel was featured in The Washington Post, The Guardian, Christianity Today, Slate, The Huf

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