"What Women Need Most for Better Bible Study"
Jen Wilkin is a Bible teacher of women who has also recently authored a book called Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds. It has been reviewed positively from several different quarters, for example,
9Marks reviewed her book here
Tim Challies reviewed her book here
I have not personally taken any of her in-person or online studies, but I did order her book last night. What got me interested is that a 6-month old clip from a conference in which Mrs Wilkin was an invited speaker surfaced. I loved what she had to say about what women need when studying the word. I say, hear hear, especially to #3.
The clip is 9-minutes. Please share with pastors and leaders and elders and deacons.
For those who can't stream video, here is a short synopsis:
1. Women need better definitions about what Bible Study is, and what bible study isn't. It is not a devotional and it is not topical. Have you ever seen a devotional on Leviticus? No. If we only study devotionals we will only get a skewed view of God and only learn about topics we personally like. Devotionals are not Bible study.
2. Women need better resources. Resources that focus on who God is, first, and who we are, second. We need resources focusing less on us and more on studies that teach us about who God is. Too many studies, topical books and devotionals open with asking questions like "Who are we before God?" when the real question is "Who is God, and THEN we will know who we are before Him."
2a. We need resources that target the mind and not solely the emotions. When the verse that says "Love God with all your soul, strength, heart, and mind, it means women too. Our intellect should be engaged in the pursuit of the knowledge of God.
2b. We need resources that train us to do the work. We need to learn how to be better students of the Bible so that at the end of it we feel more comfortable opening the bible without study aids rather than less comfortable. Too many current studies make women feel less confident of studying His word.
3. We need better leadership support. Women flourish in the church when men care about women flourishing in the church. If you're a church leader, educate yourself on the kinds of studies that your women are doing, caring about what is going on with over half of the people who fill your seats on Sunday.
I have very recently written about how good it feels as a woman to see a Pastor taking the time to delve into popular women's Bible Studies and make a learned determination as to their edification level. I said that Pastor Hull, a Lutheran Pastor who researched Beth Moore, had spoken gently but firmly to his flock about the unworthiness of Moore's teachings. He said that only one or two ladies were upset, but none left the church. In the end, he said, they understood his role is to make these kind of calls. I agree with Wilkin that women DO flourish when Christian men in church take an interest in their studies and gently but authoritatively assess and decide.
Jeff Maples wrote a very good essay called "The Rise of the Feminine Church of Eden" in which he charged the men with their part in the women usurping male roles, drifting off into poor theology of emotionalism and romanticism of the kind of books that Sarah Young and Ann Voskamp write. Maples said,
I would suggest that Christian men turn off the televisions, open a Bible, and learn how to step up and be a man. Pay attention to your wives. Your wife needs your affection, your love and your acceptance, but she also needs your guidance. You must be able to provide her with guidance. Your problem is you care more about who your NFL team is drafting than you do about your wife sitting in her bed reading Jesus Calling while looking for some kind of affection.
Please take a listen to Mrs Wilkin above.
Here is Tim Challies with a page of recommendations of studies for Women.
Bless you all. Men, we need you to guide us. Women, we need to choose Bible studies that engage the mind. Once the mind is illuminated and refreshed with knowledge of Who God is, the emotions of loving God and being in awe of Him will follow!