Review Tuesday: What is the Bible? By Rob Bell

I’m a huge fan of Rob Bell’s. I was introduced to his Nooma series back when I was in university volunteering as a youth leader at a church I went to. He spoke about Christianity in a way I had never heard before and it was captivating. He has published numerous books – his first one being Velvet Elvis. All of his books talk about Christianity in a new way – or at least a way that you don’t normally hear Christianity talked about, and What is the Bible? is without a doubt one of my favourite books of 2017.

From Goodreads:

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.

One of the features I most love about Rob Bell’s books is that he writes how he speaks. There are no crazy long paragraphs or chapters in any of his books, which makes what he saying easier to understand and much more digestible. It’s a great way of writing for what he’s talking about because he’s able to blow you away with just a couple of sentences.

In What is the Bible? Rob talks about a different way of reading/seeing the Bible. And his reasoning/arguments for seeing it that way are perfectly valid. I found it so mind blowing because as a kid going to Sunday school you are definitely taught to read the Bible in a certain way – and sometimes it felt that since the adults didn’t have the answers to your questions, your questions were either not valid, or God didn’t know. Faith and the Bible didn’t seem functional to the world that we live in. I changed my mind about that in university, but I’m thinking about it again in a new way because of this book.

I think my favourite part of this book is when Rob explains the history of something or puts a story/verse/word into its original historical context. In many instances there was a clarity that came simply from doing that, and my perspective shifted because now I understand the history. I definitely want more of that understanding, which is why I’m very happy that there’s a suggested list of reading at the end of this book. I’m definitely going to checking out some of those.

There are people who are seriously not going to like this book, and who will disagree with how Rob views the Bible simply because it doesn’t fit into their vision of what being a Christian and having faith looks like. The only thing I can suggest to those people is that you read it and see what it says. Your faith isn’t static or stagnant. It evolves and grows as you evolve and grow and if you’re not doing that then I think that speaks to a larger problem.

For anyone interested in the Bible, or interested in a really good non-fiction read I would suggest this book to you. It’s a good one.


Sunday Baking: Apple Pies

Two weeks ago my girlfriends and I went apple picking.


It was my first time going and I picked and bought 26 apples. It was a lot of fun, and I got all excited about everything that I was going to make. I also bought while at the farm this fantastic apple peeler, slicer and corer. It is now my favourite piece of kitchen equipment that I own. It seriously cuts down the prep time for making apple crisp (one of my favourite things to make, and something that I definitely did make last week).


This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, and so yesterday I made 2 apple pies for the first time and used up the rest of my apples from apple picking.  Now, full disclosure, I did not make the pastry for these pies. I most definitely bought them. I don’t have a rolling pin (adding that to the shopping list), but I wanted to make pies.

For all that I didn’t have to make the pastry, I was still apprehensive about making the pies. I’ve never made pies before, and I know that they can be super difficult to make.

For the pies, I used this recipe from 12 Tomatoes.


8 cups cored, peeled, sliced apples
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for top of crust
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
splash of water

Even though I was making 2 pies, I decided to do the filling for each pie separately. I thought that there would be less chance of me everything up, which turns out was not the case.

Once your apples are sliced, peeled and cored put them aside. Then in another bowl, you mix the sugar, brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir that up until everything is mixed together well, and then add in your apples. Mix it until the apples are all covered with the sugar mixture.


Then you pour the apple sugar mixture into your (in this case) premade store bought pastry shell. I found that I ended up with too many apples for the first pie, it started to look a bit like a mountain and the second pastry shell wasn’t deep enough to go on top and seal.

After you pour your apple sugar mixture into the pastry shell, chop up 2 tablespoons of butter into little pats and put them on top of the apples. Then in a little bowl you crack open an egg and separate out the egg white and the egg yolk. Discard the egg white, and stir up the yolk, and add a splash of water. Once that’s done, take a little brush, or if you don’t have one of those use a spatula, and brush on the egg mixture around the lip of the pastry. (It took me until the second pie to figure out the spatula thing because I don’t have a brush. That is also going on the shopping list.)

Then in a little bowl you crack open an egg and separate out the egg white and the egg yolk. Discard the egg white, and stir up the yolk, and add a splash of water. Once that’s done, take a little brush, or if you don’t have one of those use a spatula, and brush on the egg mixture around the lip of the pastry. (It took me until the second pie to figure out the spatula thing because I don’t have a brush. That is also going on the shopping list.)

Next, take your second pastry shell, flip it over, and cover your pie. Press down on the edges so that the pie is sealed. You can take a fork and make little indentations around the edges to give it some flair (or if you are more creative than I am, go to town with your design). Make sure though you poke some holes in the top of the pie so that the steam can escape.


Finally you take the rest of your egg mixture and brush it onto the top of your pie. Then you take a tablespoon of sugar and sprinkle it onto the top.

Then you just bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes.


This is what mine looked like at the end. They actually exploded a little bit in the oven and then spilled over. I think it might be because the shells weren’t deep enough or maybe I didn’t make deep enough holes in the top?

Also another full disclosure: The pie on the left I forgot to add the egg yolk to the top of the pie and then sprinkle sugar on the top until about 20 min into baking, so I took it out and did it and then put it back in. The pie on the right, I totally forgot to add the little butter pats to the top of the apples. My friend Natalie though assured me that it would still taste fine. We’ll see how this goes. I’m taste testing it on my family today and tomorrow 😉