(E) Ages 12-15, (F) Ages 15-18, (G) Ages 16 and up, Book Reviews, Christian, Nonfiction, Starred Reviews, Teen/Adult
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*Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot

through gates of splendor*Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot. Tenderly House, 1981 (reprint, orig. 1957). 274 pages.

  • Reading Level: Young adult (ages 12 and up)
  • Recommended For: ages 10 and up (see review)

Bottom Line: The classic account of Jim Elliot and his four friends who earnestly desired to be used by God to bring the gospel to the Auca/Waorani** Indians and how their wish was granted through their martyrdom. **the book originally called the Indian tribe “Aucas” but the name has since been changed to Waorani.

Imagine a young couple, very much in love with one another, but even more passionately committed to their Lord and Savior. Such were young Jim and Elisabeth Elliot. Single-mindedly pursuing their callings from the Lord, they set out with four other young couples to bring the gospel to an Indian tribe deep in Ecuador’s jungles. The five couples planned and prayed for this venture long in advance, knowing the tribe had a reputation for slaying white men.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.

So wrote Jim in the journals from which Elisabeth Elliot gleaned for her account of their missionary journey. Written just one year after the five men were martyred at the hands of the Waorani Indians, Through Gates of Splendor is a moving story. The earnestness of the five missionary couples will carry readers through slower parts as the book chronicles months of preparation, detailed accounts of attempts to befriend the Indian tribe, and the final climactic moments in which the wives await news of their husbands’ flight within the Indian territory.

Elisabeth Elliot went back to the same Indian tribe with her young daughter and another of the widows after Jim and the others were killed. The Lord used these five men’s deaths to help bring the gospel to this tribe even though it was not the way most humans would choose. First published almost 70 years ago, Through Gates of Splendor has since inspired motion pictures and many other biographies of the men and women who were part of the team. Highly recommended. Elisabeth Elliott includes these words in the 1996 epilogue–words which reflect her attitude and faith right up until the time the Lord called her home:

God is God. If He is God, He is worthy of my worship and my service. I will find rest nowhere but in His will, and that will is infinitely, immeasurably, unspeakable beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.

Cautions: violence

Overall Rating: 4.75

  • Worldview Rating: 5
  • Artistic Rating: 4.5

Categories: Young Adults, Christian, Biographies, Starred Review, Retro Reads

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  1. Hi Betsy! I was excited to see this review today. Yeah, I’m a tad older than the “Young Adults” it’s recommended for, but with Ms. Elliott’s passing this last week I was reminded that I’m missing out because I’ve not yet read any of her books. Thanks for bringing it to my attention again. I’ll be taking this one on vacation. 🙂

  2. Betsy says

    Great, Hannah! And this book is definitely not just for young adults! Hope you enjoy it.

  3. Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot… Excellent choice. Sometimes as Christian you don’t get to see the manifestation of God’s work from your life.

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