How the Bible Actually Works

In Which I Explain How An Ancient, Ambiguous, and Diverse Book Leads Us to Wisdom Rather Than Answers―and Why That's Great News

hardcover, 304 pages

Published Feb. 19, 2019 by HarperOne.


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4 stars (1 review)

Controversial evangelical Bible scholar, popular blogger and podcast host of The Bible for Normal People, and author of The Bible Tells Me So and The Sin of Certainty explains that the Bible is not an instruction manual or rule book but a powerful learning tool that nurtures our spiritual growth by refusing to provide us with easy answers but instead forces us to acquire wisdom.

For many Christians, the Bible is a how-to manual filled with literal truths about belief that must be strictly followed. But the Bible is not static, Peter Enns argues. It does not hold easy answers to the perplexing questions and issues that confront us in our daily lives. Rather, the Bible is a dynamic instrument for study that not only offers an abundance of insights but provokes us to find our own answers to spiritual questions, cultivating God’s wisdom within us.

“The Bible becomes a …

5 editions

Review of 'How the Bible Actually Works' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

(Full discloser: I received an advance copy of this book as a Harper One Partner)

Pete Enns has been an influential writer on the way I think about theology and the Bible in particular, so I was excited to see his thoughts about the proper use of scripture.

The main point of the book can be summarized as that the Bible is a collection of stories about God's children and their dealing with the Divine, which are then used by other writers to continue the conversation as their situations require and cultural/historical moments recontextualize their experience with God. As such, Enns posits that the modern posture that Christianity takes towards the Bible, namely that it is to be used as a rulebook containing final answers to all of life's questions when properly interpreted, is inconsistent and inappropriate, and that the correct posture is a guide to interpreting the nature and …