The Bible Tells Me So

September 2014, HarperOne.

What if the Bible is fine just the way it is? Not a well behaved Bible, where everything lines up and makes sense, but the messy, troubling, and weird Bible we actually have? What if the Bible doesn’t need to be protected and defended, but understood–just as it is? What if the real problem isn’t the Bible but the false expectations we sometimes bring to it? Perhaps, when we let the Bible be the Bible rather than what we expect it ought to be–or need it to be–we will find a deeper faith in the process.


The controversial Bible scholar and author of The Evolution of Adam recounts his transformative spiritual journey in which he discovered a new, more honest way to love and appreciate God’s Word.

Trained as an evangelical Bible scholar, Peter Enns loved the Scriptures and shared his devotion, teaching at Westminster Theological Seminary. But the further he studied the Bible, the more he found himself confronted by questions that could neither be answered within the rigid framework of his religious instruction or accepted among the conservative evangelical community.

Rejecting the increasingly complicated intellectual games used by conservative Christians to “protect” the Bible, Enns was conflicted. Is this what God really requires? How could God’s plan for divine inspiration mean ignoring what is really written in the Bible? These questions eventually cost Enns his job—but they also opened a new spiritual path for him to follow.

The Bible Tells Me So chronicles Enns’s spiritual odyssey, how he came to see beyond restrictive doctrine and learned to embrace God’s Word as it is actually written. As he explores questions progressive evangelical readers of Scripture commonly face yet fear voicing, Enns reveals that they are the very questions that God wants us to consider—the essence of our spiritual study.


“Peter Enns has written a great book about The Book. If you’ve ever struggled with the violent or contradictory or just plain strange passages in the Bible, this book is for you . . . And he’s funny.” — Rob Bell, author of Love Wins

“Cross a stand-up comic, a robust theological mind, a college professor, and a decent normal guy, and what do you get? Peter Enns. And what does he write? A super-enjoyable, highly informative, disarmingly honest, and downright liberating book. The message of this book needs to get out. Fast.” — Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity

“Stop what you’re doing and read this book! Challenging, compelling, and delightfully readable, The Bible Tells Me So, is a game-changer. Enns releases scripture from the cage we’ve built for it and then teaches us to love it for what it is, not what we try to make it. Every Christian should read this book.” –Rachel Held Evans, author of Faith Unravelled and Searching for Sunday

“The question of how to read, inwardly digest, and eventually ‘live’ the Bible is probably the most divisive one among Christians today. The shock of Enns’s The Bible Tells Me So, then, is either the simplicity and clarity of its answer to that question or else the humor and confessional belief with which the answer is offered. This is a book that every Christian will be the better and richer for having read.” — Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence

“Peter Enns has emerged as one of the stars of biblical interpretation for thinking Christians. With writing that is winsome, readable, and non-intimidating, he cuts a path between wooden literalism and faithless liberalism, giving us a way to read the Bible that is both faithful and intellectually credible.” — Tony Jones, theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Porch and the author of Did God Kill Jesus?

“In The Bible Tells Me So, Peter Enns addresses the problems of scripture from the position of an evangelical Christian who observes with candor and fresh humor that too often faithful readers approach the Bible with expectations it is not set up to meet.” — Publishers Weekly


Aaaaand I’m about five chapters in to “The Bible Tells Me So,” and you’re my favorite. . . . I just…thanks for what you’re doing. ~ Rachel

[I] love that for you, being a Christian doesn’t mean committing mental suicide. I appreciate that you aren’t afraid to explore and even sometimes answer the tough questions without abandoning your faith. ~ Jennifer

I haven’t had a book boost my faith in a long time.

The Bible Tells Me So is one of a handful of books I have read that have changed my life. . . . It is so well written and easy to read and I feel like I know you a little so I thought I would write and thank you personally. . . . You have changed my life. ~ Debbie

. . . your writings have challenged me and impacted me to really dig deeper into my faith. . . . I don’t have to be afraid of God, I don’t have to try to defend God for ordering the killing of many people, cause He didn’t. I just love the freedom that it brings! The truth really does set us free!!! ~ Heidi

I am writing to say a grateful “thank you” for writing The Bible Tells Me So.   I found it to be a very wise and far-reaching book; it helped clarify a number of issues I’ve been struggling with.  It was much easier to read than my usual theological fare . . . . ~ David

I wanted to drop you a note of thanks and highest regard for your well-spoken but uncompromising commitment to helping Christians think through how we ought to understand and apply Scripture. . . .  ~ Mark

I just wanted to extend a simple “thank you” for writing [The Bible Tells Me So]. . . . I have long wrestled with the ancient biblical text, and have seen it be a point where people reject their faith. . . I read about a book every week, but it’s been a while since I read something that had this big of a positive impact on my faith. Thank you! ~ Eric

Thank you for your work. There’s much more I could say on that front, but just know your words and scholarship have blessed my life and faith and have continued to aid in my development as a Christian and pastor. ~  Josh

I just wanted to write a short thank you note for your book, The Bible Tells Me So. I read it, then gave it to my wife who also read it, and it’s going to her sister next. . . .Thank you for all the encouragement we got as we continue wrestling to understand the Bible. It was a profoundly faith-building experience for me – thanks again. ~ Simon