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  • What Is the Bible?

  • How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything
  • By: Rob Bell
  • Narrated by: Rob Bell
  • Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
  • Categories: Religion & Spirituality, Christianity
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (189 ratings)

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Summary

New York Times best-selling author Rob Bell, using his inspired and inquisitive approach, focuses on the most widely read book of all time. He provides surprising insights and answers about how the Bible actually works as a source of faith and guidance, showing a brand-new way of interpreting this sacred text.

Rob Bell, the beloved author of Love Wins and What We Talk About When We Talk About God, goes deep into the Bible to show how it is more revelatory, revolutionary, and relevant than we ever imagined - and offers a cogent argument for why we need to look at it in a fresh, new way.

In Love Wins, Rob Bell confronted the troubling questions that many people of faith were afraid to ask about heaven, hell, fate, and faith. Using the same inspired, inquisitive approach, he now turns to our most sacred book, the Bible. What Is the Bible? provides insights and answers that make clear why the Bible is so revered and what makes it truly inspiring and essential to our lives.

Rob takes us deep into actual passages to reveal the humanity behind the Scriptures. You cannot get to the holy without going through the human, Rob tells us. When considering a passage, we shouldn't ask, 'Why did God say...?' To get to the heart of the Bible's meaning, we should be asking, 'What's the story that's unfolding here, and why did people find it important to tell it? What was it that moved them to record these words? What was happening in the world at that time? What does this passage/story/poem/verse/book tell us about how people understood who they were and who God was at that time?' In asking these questions, Rob goes beyond the one-dimensional question of 'is it true?' to reveal the Bible's authentic transformative power.

Rob addresses the concerns of all those who see the Bible as God's word but are troubled by the ethical dilemmas, errors, and inconsistencies in Scripture. With What Is the Bible?, he recaptures the good book's magic and reaffirms its power and inspiration to shape and inspire our lives today.

©2017 WORB, Inc. (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

Praise for Rob Bell:
"Bell is at the forefront of a rethinking of Christianity." ( Time)
"One of the most influential evangelical pastors." ( The New York Times)
"Rob Bell is one of the hottest names." ( Boston Globe)
"Bell will be joined by the likes of Brian McLaren, James Martin, Diana Butler Bass and Carol Howard Merritt." ( Christianity Today)
"Forever grateful for the brilliant mind, boundless heart and fierce faith of Rob Bell. His work convinced me that it was possible - maybe necessary and thrilling - to be a person of both faith and intellect.... Please read everything Rob's ever written and then go see him live." (Glennon Doyle Melton, author of Carry On, Warrior)
"It isn't easy to develop a biblical imagination that takes in the comprehensive and eternal work of Christ.... Rob Bell goes a long way in helping us acquire just such an imagination - without a trace of soft sentimentality and without compromising an inch of evangelical conviction." (Eugene H. Peterson, professor emeritus of spiritual theology, Regent College, and author of The Message and The Pastor)

What listeners say about What Is the Bible?

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So interesting and educational and enlightening and ...

Despite Rob Bell’s apparent disdain for the comma, I absolutely loved this book. I learned so much; deeply insightful observations about scripture context and meaning. I highly recommend to anyone even slightly intrigued by the Bible. It helps to be familiar with the books of the bible but you can definitely still enjoy this book without any knowledge of them. Can’t wait to read my next Rob Bell book! His podcast is great, too.

1 person found this helpful

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Rob bell does his thing.

If you have ever found the bible inexplicable, incomprehencable or just barbaric, this book will give you an insight into it's value and it will give you good tools in engaging with it.

There will be, no doubt, hundreds of individuals denouncing it as heresy, but Rob is not saying anything that is not well within the christian tradition, and uses methods that some of the great bible scholars used.

I fully endorse this book.

2 people found this helpful

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fantastic ! eye opening !

New insight to reading the bible ! states the obvious in a very clever revolutionary new way
the bible was written by real people, at a real point in time a very long time ago. What points were the writers trying to highlight when chosing what words/stories/poems to include?

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Read it

Reading this book has transformed how I view the bible and how to engage with it.

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Amazing book

Rob's narration was excellent as always, and this book is incredibly inspiring. I absolutely loved it.

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Excellent. A must read for any Christian.

A must have in the library of any Priest and equally good for lay people. Rob Bell opened me up to a new way of reading.

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What is the Bible

A real eye opener into the background of the Bible, revealing the context of why it was written. A book for everyone to read, especially if you are not religious!!! This book left me wanting more and I would encourage the author to continue writing more on understanding the Bible, as I felt disappointed when the main section finished on explaining the Bible’s context and then went on to the question sections.
The narration was excellent and full of energy; I started listening on Sunday evening and had finished listening to the book by Tuesday morning!
I would recommend this book to everyone both young and old, especially those that deliver sermons!!!

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Vague equals intellectually sound???

Left thinking "How then can anyone reach conclusions about who Jesus really is?" or "What does the bible say about this or that issue relating to everyday life?"
This was the author's personal interpretation at the time. You can interpret this in any way you feel is right for you. Little resonance for someone who is genuinely searching for consolidated foundations for living by faith.

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Erratic

Although it contains some real nuggets of insight and information I found Rob Bell's telling erratic and sometimes confusing. Perhaps this needs to be read rather than listened to, to further understanding of what he is saying.

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Every Bit As Good As I'd Hoped

First off, I am a Rob Bell fan. He has a gift of making difficult concepts more easily accessible and this down to earth explanation of what the Bible is, is clear and very helpful. Whatever you may or may not believe about God, the Bible is first and foremost a human resource compiled by human beings, and within its pages you see an unfolding of the story of humanity's attempt to understand itself and its relationship to the world and to God.
Thanks Rob!

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  • Blogger1
  • 12-01-21

Interesting in parts but theologically unsound

I really enjoy the Rob Bell Podcast. So I naturally enjoyed this book and his reading thereof.

Much of what he covers was very interesting and really enlightening. I haven’t fact checked it, but particularly the story of Jonah and much of what he said about Abraham were particular highlights.

But by section 4, he seemed to lose momentum a bit. And the theological reasoning or ‘soundness’ became a little wobbly.

So I would read this book with caution. If you are looking for a lighter theology that’s informative while being entertaining, go for it. If you are really trying to gain a deeper understanding of the Bible and what it represents, this probably isn’t the right book.

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  • sT cW
  • 21-02-19

Reading the Bible from a different angle

this is one of those books that one has to listen to multiple times. it is literally overflowing from new perspectives, new(different) angles and information. narrator brings him some quirky humor and his storytelling in general is very good. Very enjoyable audible book.

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  • BronSimp
  • 25-01-19

If you only ever read one book...

If you only ever read one book, it should be this one. It will change everything...

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  • Laurence Martins
  • 12-07-17

Guess who's back!? Back again!

Everyone will benefit from this book! yes. even the Christians...

It's a piece of CLARITY and literary enlightenment for this generation!

i luv his humor and flow...he brings deep issues to the surface and challenges us to go into the deep end with him...

nothing in this book is "new" (like all things under the sun)...hermeneutics for the simple minded...he reads the bible like an artist, a critic, a historian, a scientist, and with a generous heart.

5Star for his vivid narration....easy to listen to...
just download it...

(luv u, Rob. so thankful that OurFather, put me in the same timeline of history as u)