Writing in The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani called the book "powerful", but said the social allegories were at times "heavy-handed".
The Guardian said the book was "remarkable not just for its story but also for its narrative form."
The Poisonwood Bible was selected for Oprah's Book Club in 1999. Additionally that year, the book was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. It won the 2000 Boeke Prize.