Rob Bell wants you to read the Bible better.

He wants you to ask, when reading:

Why did people write this down in the first place?

When you do this, the Scriptures turn from stale to sacred—inspired not just by definition, but truly and deeply inspirational.

Bell inspires this perspective with examples. From Moses’ organ to Ehud’s knife to the three apocalypses, the Bible is full of stories that mean so much more than we’ve settled for. So much more than Bible-tract bullet points—platitudes that make the whole thing seem so unrelatably dull.

The book is as useful for well-read Christians as for skeptics. Bell adeptly addresses both audiences with the same language (that this is possible is perhaps the most alarming, but pertinent, lesson of this book). His goal is to help us read the Bible better—prior convictions notwithstanding or particularly relevant.

This is what makes the book powerful.

Bell’s perspective is refreshing. No labels, no jargon. The Scriptures, he argues, defend their own inspiration. No need for artfully-defined, highfalutin ideals (inerrancy, infallibility) to see that this ancient library is worth reading over and over.

If we’d only read deeply, like Bell does, we’d get it.