Lucy S.R. Austen, Elisabeth Elliot: A Life (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2023), 611 pp.

My late Aunt, Betty Steele used to urge me to read biographies, especially missionary biographies. In a strange irony, the latest biography on my reading list is Elisabeth Elliot: A Life by Lucy S.R. Austen. The ironic twist is due to my late aunt’s acquaintance with Elizabeth Elliot when she served at HCJB in Quito, Ecuador. Elliot is known best as the wife of Jim Elliot, one of the five men slain by Auca Indians, the people group they longed to reach with the gospel of Jesus Christ. On January 8, 1956, Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, and Pete Fleming were speared to death.

Nate Saint’s son, Steve Saint retells the tale of his father’s death in his book, The End of the Spear. Lucy S.R. Austen tells another story – the story of a young woman whose husband was abruptly taken in the early years of their marriage. Austen presents readers with a comprehensive biographical look at one of the most well-known Christian women of the twentieth century.

Elisabeth Elliot: A Life is an inside look at a woman who endured gut-wrenching tragedy, yet persisted in her dream of winning lost people to Christ. Austen does not spare any details. She helps readers understand what made Elisabeth Elliot tick. She recounts the full spectrum of faith in Elliot’s life – both struggling and resilient.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Elliot’s life was her commitment to complementarianism. Austen cites from Elliot’s book, Let Me Be a Woman: “God created male and female, the male to call forth, to lead, initiate and rule, and the female to respond, follow, adapt, submit … Within the Godhead, there is both the just and legitimate authority of the Father and the willing and joyful submission of the Son.”

Elliot’s views on marriage struck the proper biblical balance: “The man and woman who recognize that they are heirs together of the grace of life move in time to the rhythm, accepting their boundaries as do the waves, yielding their self-life to the Will of life Universal … moving always toward the final fulfillment and joy – the perfect Music – which is the will of God.”

Elisabeth Elliot: A Life is a riveting look at a remarkable Christian woman. She penned twenty-eight books, spoke around the world, and left a legacy that will stand the test of time. Elliot’s life was not perfect – not even close. She, like every follower of Christ, was a sinner saved by grace. Her life is a testament to the gospel of God and will continue to shine forth for generations!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

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