astonished bookcover

Astonished by the Word

Reading Scripture for Deep Transformation

Author Brian Russell

SKU: 978-1-953495-73-0

Book - Paperback

Product Info

How many times have you been told to “read your Bible more,” but not seen transformation in the process? Does the Bible just tell you how to believe and behave, or can it help you actually become more Christlike?

Shipping Info

  • Delivery method: Physical
  • Weight: 0.5625 lbs
  • Length: 8"
  • Width: 0.25"
  • Height: 5"

Bulk Discounts

We have implemented bulk pricing discounts for books. Simply enter the quantity; discounts will be visible in the cart.

  • 20-49 units: 20% off
  • 50-99 units: 25% off
  • 100-199 units: 30% off
  • 200-299 units: 35% off
  • 300-499 units: 40% off
  • 500-999 units: 45% off
  • 1000+ units: 50% off

In this revolutionary book Dr. Brian Russell reminds us that the goal of Biblical interpretation is ultimately about our ongoing formation as people who more fully love God and neighbor. Perhaps our failure as a church to teach people to read the Bible in this way is our greatest blemish. Indeed, it has directly resulted in too many people equating Christians with hate and exclusion rather than love and inclusion. When Dr. Russell mentions teaching over a thousand students various courses in Old and New Testament interpretation – I was one of them. The way Brian taught me to read the Bible missionally sitting in his class as a first semester seminary student has continued to shape my ministry to this day. The way he taught me to read the Bible for my own formation, has shaped me as a Christian. In these pages, you too can become one of Brian's students. I pray it will be as transformational for you as it has been for me.

Michael Beck
Michael Beck
(, Director of the Fresh Expressions House of Studies at United Theological Seminary and Director of Fresh Expressions for the United Methodist Church. He is the author of nine books, including Painting with Ashes

This is a book not simply about how to read the Bible or what the Bible says, but the effect that it has on our lives. Through our engagement with Scripture, God works in our lives to change us, to make us bearers of divine love. Brian Russell has provided us with a helpful guide to the transforming work of God through sacred Scripture. Highly recommended!

David F. Watson, Ph.D.
David F. Watson, Ph.D.
Academic Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor of New Testament, United Theological Seminary

In this approachable text, Brian Russell demonstrates that our biggest obstacle to a formational reading of Scripture is ourselves. With Astonished by the Word, Russell reminds us that for the Bible to transform our lives, we have to approach it with vulnerability, honesty, and trust.

Michael C. Voigts
Michael C. Voigts
Professor of Christian Spirituality and Theology, Asbury Theological Seminary, and author of The Fourth Degree of Prayer

Astonished by the Word is a beautiful and practical invitation to deep transformation through Scripture.

J.W. Bertolotti
J.W. Bertolotti
Founder at Perennial Leader Project and Host of In Search of Wisdom

Brian Russell teaches us to “embrace the temporary discomfort of inner transformation for the possibility of a long-term deep dive spirituality" which he communicates succinctly. The practical exercises and questions for daily reading of scripture will help you apply the word of God to your life, and of astonished. 

Keith Harcombe
Keith Harcombe
Lead Pastor, Palm Harbor UMC,

During centering prayer, we open to the presence and actions of God within. Just like centering prayer, Brian teaches us how to open to the presence and actions of God in Scripture to guide, form and transform us. Brian challenges us with this powerful question, “Are we open to the deep work Scripture wants to do in us?” Highly recommended.

Rich Lewis
Rich Lewis


We all come to Scripture with biases, blocks, and assumptions that can lead us to read our own interpretations into it, use it to justify our beliefs, or even weaponize it against others. But God invites us into a more exciting journey with His Word, one that reveals what’s going on in our own hearts and invites us into deep soul transformation.

Astonished by the Word recaptures an ancient way of engaging with Scripture that takes you beyond knowledge to whole-life transformation and a greater love of God and neighbor. Using the Idolatherapy tool – an experiential method that combines biblical studies with spiritual direction and contemplative practice – you will learn how to move from reading the text to allowing Scripture to read you, changing you from the inside out.

Discover how reading the Bible can bring you inner healing, help you understand yourself and God better, and become a more loving person as you walk through the world.

Astonished by the Word is a blueprint for:

  • Approaching Scripture with fresh eyes and ears
  • Understanding who God is and how Scripture is authoritative in today’s modern world
  • Identifying and overcoming your biases and blocks when approaching the text
  • Finding inner healing and transformation through your reading of Scripture
  • Learning how to integrate powerful ancient practices like Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina into your Bible reading
  • Growing in love of God and neighbor by reading the Bible


You’re invited to bring your whole self to the Bible: your curiosity, questions, intellect, doubts, fears, and hopes. Be amazed and energized by the Bible again, as you open yourself up to its transformative power and allow it to heal your body, mind, soul, and spirit.