Book Review: Women of the Word
Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds
I’ve come into a season of my life where things are, for lack of better words, busy (trust me, I did the whole left-click for synonyms and nothing else made the cut)! I’m sure you know the feeling – it’s a similar sentiment I get from other people when we catch up over snacks on Sundays or in that window of time before Small Groups start. Life is busy and it doesn’t seem like things are looking to slow down any time soon (and I don’t even have kids! What will I do then…!) For this reason, I feel like I’m always looking for things to help me be more efficient – to do more, faster and better!
Thankfully, I have people in my life to remind me that this efficiency-equals-faster-and-better approach does not and should not apply to all areas of my life. I was recently talking to a friend about Bible reading, and we were talking about how easy it is to make Bible reading into just another thing to be checked-off. Instead of running to the Word, I would often drag my feet, lamenting my own busyness and taking rushed bites instead of really letting the Bible feed and nourish my soul.
So what could be done? I was talking to my mom about feeling busy even during quiet times, and she recommended Jen Wilkin to me. She had been using and enjoying her Bible studies, and thought I’d enjoy the structure and thoroughness of her workbooks. It was funny because my husband had recently given me Wilkin’s book, Women of the Word. Two recommendations for one author? I figured I’d give it a go, and I’m so thankful I did.
Women of the Word is a quick and thorough read that challenges women not only read the Word, but to know it, understand it, and love it in a truly meaningful way. Wilkin discusses how easy it is to approach our times in the Word incorrectly, and how that leads to a limited view of God and the Christian life. How often do we cherry-pick truths in our reading? How often do we look into the Word looking for ourselves? (i.e. “Who am I? What should I do?” instead of looking into the Word to see who God is, and what scripture says of Him.) Our identity as Christians does not start with ourselves, but who God is and what He’s done for us. Wilkin says, “Sound Bible study transforms the heart by training the mind, and it places God at the center of the story.”
Wilkin goes on to lay out a practical and thorough plan for such sound Bible study (and eventual teaching and discipleship!) She titles it the “Five P’s of Sound Study” and this is where the book really got me. I love planning but I love it even more when people share their well-thought-out and easy to follow plans. She suggests we study with Purpose, Perspective, Patience, Process and Prayer, giving instructions on not only how to study in this way but why we should approach the Bible with these things in mind. Her instructions for the plan actually are the backbone of the book. It’s thorough and thoughtful enough to lead to deep understanding and application, while also being practical enough to be doable (PTL) for those of us with a lot on our plates.
I appreciate the passion with which Wilkin calls Christians women to action. Indeed, we become what we behold. She says, “I want to be conformed to the image of God. How can I become conformed to an image that I never behold?” and I whole-heartedly agree. If you are anything like me and struggle with the actual doing of Bible study, try reading this book as a good primer and a great encouragement. Even if you are not a woman, there are great truths that you can apply to your life or share with the mothers, sisters, daughters and friends in your lives and ministries. Let’s read the Bible together!
Megan serves as Lighthouse’s church administrator. She appreciates the humility of the Lighthouse elders and staff as they lead the church. Megan also volunteers in Children’s Ministry and youth group, and she loves getting to know the families of the church through that. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, sleeping, traveling around the world, eating delicious food and debating with the staff over what constitutes such delicious food. Megan is happily married to our very own youth pastor, Eric Cai!