The book Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin was a GREAT book to begin the new year with. As I look forward to a year of stillness, I know that what I need more than anything else is to dig even deeper into God’s Word, and this book has given me some great tools for exactly that.
Wilkin gives an excellent method of study that will help women at any point in their spiritual walk to understand and know God better on a more personal level. The method revolves around what she calls the Five P’s of Sound Study:
- Study with Purpose
- Study with Perspective
- Study with Patience
- Study with Process
- Study with Prayer
I probably lost you with that, but I promise, this book is not boring. 😉 It is a bit technical, but it is a short and simple read that gets to the point without a lot of fluff.
What I really, really love about this book is that it doesn’t cater to its female audience by giving yet another emotionally-driven approach to Bible study. The study methods described in the book are excellent for men and women alike. The book is written to women, yes, but for the purpose of challenging us to systematically delve deeper into our Bibles in a purposeful manner that will slowly and surely strengthen our relationship with our Creator.
This book was extremely convicting to me personally and I’ll tell you why. I know that I have a tendency to make the Bible about, ahem, me. God’s Word is a Lamp and a Light, but unfortunately I sometimes think that it is a big spotlight shining down on my head instead of lighting up the path in front of me.
i.e. “How does this Bible verse help me feel better about my current situation?” or “What do I feel like reading today that will be encouraging?” or “I am feeling (insert emotion here) today, so I will read about (insert Bible character here) so that I have someone to relate to.”
I’m not saying that feelings and the need for encouragement don’t have a legitimate place in our Bible study, but we do need to remember that the Bible isn’t about us. It’s all about Him. Who He is. What He thinks. The more we know Him, the more like Him we will be, and the less of an emotional, hit-or-miss rollercoaster our lives (and Bible reading) will be. Wilkin does an excellent job of taking that spotlight off of us and swinging it back around to where it belongs: on God and his Son.
Without giving away too much, here are just a few portions that I highlighted from the book:
“Before we can ask, ‘What does this text say to me?’ we must ask, ‘What did this text say to its original audience?'”
“We [erroneously] approach our ‘time in the Word’ like the drive-through at McDonalds: ‘I’ve only got a few minutes. Give me something quick and easy to fill me up.'”
“The book of Ruth is not a book about women for women, any more than the book of Jude is a book about men for men. The Bible is a book about God, written for people.”
“It is not the job of the female teacher to make the Bible relevant or palatable to women. It is her job to teach the text responsibly.”
In short, I highly recommend this book and hope you will check it out on your own! I will be adding more of her books to my reading list as well (pictured).
(Obviously, as with any book, I do not necessarily endorse everything in the book, or anything else the author has written.
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