Words for this book that has been decisive for me in my understanding of what the Bible is and how to use it:
1 - Scary. When I saw there was a chapter entitled "Jesus Was Wrong," I didn't want to read it. Very glad I did.
2 - Competent. Stark knows his stuff in both testaments and related fields. He knows and understands the inerrantist position. His treatment of the issue is thorough.
3 - Honest. This is the theme of the entire book, and is forcefully restated in the final chapter. Stark challenges us to be honest with ourselves. He and Peter Rollins (Insurrection) remind me of each other in this respect.
4 - Constructive. Stark doesn't just deconstruct the inerrantist view of the Bible. He loves the Bible so much that he pays careful attention to the details as well as to the big picture. He embraces it because of what it is: Not a touchstone that banishes uncertainty, but as a God-given document that reveals to us both God and ourselves as human beings. The parts that "get God wrong" are nonetheless vital, for they show us how we, too, can misunderstand God and then use that misunderstanding to justify our unjust behavior.
5 - Signpost. He motivated me to read Dale Allison's Jesus of Nazareth: Millennial Prophetic, a brilliant and rewarding work. (Allison, too, is a most honest author.)
6 - Exciting. Or "liberating."
7 - Chastened. Not the book; me, after reading it, for not seeing it all long ago because I didn't want to. Better late than never.