Though this book may have been recommended highly by Rob Bell, author of Love Wins and What is the Bible? - "A great book about the Book" - that is not why I'm here. This is another notoriously controversial topic and, as I have come to know, it is therefore a point of interest for me. I may detest debate and conflict, but I love reading about controversial topics and hearing perspectives that seem to get shut down before they even have the chance to make it off the ground.
Peter Enns wrote The Bible Tells Me So to explore "why defending Scripture has made us unable to read it". He is a highly intelligent man who has taught courses at several post-secondary institutions, including Harvard University, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Princeton Theological Seminary, but he writes in an easy conversational way, not bogged down by complicated terms and strings of words that quickly make a sentence meaningless to those of us who do not teach university-level theology.
He approaches such questions as how to reconcile the violence in the Bible with the unfathomable, unending love of God; how to approach the contradicting passages in the Bible, or the incomprehensibly strange portions. Enns' big question is "what do you do when the Bible doesn't behave?" and he approaches it with a a deep and intimate respect for Jewish and Christian Scripture. All the while, he keeps that conversational tone of a friend explaining something over coffee - passionately, and with great conviction, but also great gentleness and humour.
Enns is like that High School teacher everyone encountered or heard of, who entertained his classes with jokes and bad puns woven into the most impassioned, interesting lectures and coursework you could ever hope to experience. Even the students that talk all the time or spend the class on their phones have to pay attention every once and a while because he's just so quirky.
Perhaps the most beautiful thing about this book - I have found - is that, regardless of whether I agree or not, I do not feel pressured to agree with him. He is not claiming to have all the answers and to know, resolutely, that this is the new, right way to interpret everything, so that life becomes clear.
Far from it.
As with his latest book release, The Sin of Certainty, Enns dwells in the reality of being unsure. He is open to change, adaptation, and the alteration of ideas. So long as there are ideas to be had and theories to be made, he will keep on asking the questions that desperately need to be asked.
For more information on The Bible Tells Me So, by Peter Enns, visit our website here.