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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
15-minute read
Audio available
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

What Is the Bible? (2017) takes a fresh look at the best-selling book of all time: the Holy Bible. These blinks take the Bible for what it is – a conglomeration of books written by real people in real historical contexts that are at once subversive, timeless and transformative.

  • Christians and non-Christians interested in learning about the Bible
  • Those who have left the Church
  • People with a negative view of religion who are open to new perspectives

Rob Bell is the New York Times best-selling author of Love Wins, among other titles and founder of the nondenominational Christian megachurch Mars Hill Bible Church. In 2011, he was named one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by TIME magazine.

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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
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
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
Synopsis

What Is the Bible? (2017) takes a fresh look at the best-selling book of all time: the Holy Bible. These blinks take the Bible for what it is – a conglomeration of books written by real people in real historical contexts that are at once subversive, timeless and transformative.

Key idea 1 of 9

The Bible is the most popular book of all time, yet it’s often misunderstood.

What’s your favorite book? Some like fiction, others history – but there’s one book that’s a best seller across the board. In fact, it’s the best-selling book ever.

We’re talking about the Bible, which can be found in homes and hotels around the world. But despite how common this book is, many people misunderstand its origins.

For instance, many are unaware that a number of biblical stories are rooted in the historical context in which its authors were writing, and the relative minority status of its original readers. Readers also fail to realize that lots of biblical tales began as oral traditions, passed on until they were written down.

Interestingly, while history is generally written in favor of those with power, the Bible is an exception to this rule. Rather than being penned by the rulers of the time, the Bible was written by Jewish people, an oppressed minority for hundreds of years. This is why the motif of liberating the exploited is so central to the book as a whole.

So, why were these stories published in the first place?

Originally, the ideas in the Bible were presented as a new way of viewing the world, one that gave hope to the oppressed Jews who came to see themselves as imbued with a divine purpose. For example, in the story of Exodus, Moses leads the Jews out of Egypt. In this narrative, the implication is that the divine force is on the side of the oppressed people, and that slavery can be ended. For readers at the time, this idea was absolutely revolutionary.

Later in the book, the reader discovers that, when Moses died, “he still had his vigor.” The implication here is that Moses retained his sexual potency until his death.

But why does Moses’ libido matter?

Well, metaphorically speaking, the idea that’s communicated is that in order to break a cycle of oppression, you have to pass your freedom onto your offspring.

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