Women of the Bible have been trapped in dry and dusty literary caskets for centuries. While a few women, such as Mary, Sarah, Elizabeth, and Mary Magdalene, are familiar, many of the women who speak in the Bible have long been ignored. Yet their words are part of God's Word, the Bible, for a reason. Through these women, God spoke, intervened, changed, illustrated, and proclaimed the story of redemption.
In this groundbreaking book named best Bible study of 2015 by Illumination Book Awards, Episcopal priest Lindsay Hardin Freeman identifies every woman who speaks in the Bible, providing their words, context, and historical background. We learn which women speak the most (hint: it's not Mary!) and which books of the Bible have the fewest words from women.We hear the only conversation in the Bible between a mother and daughter (and it's not pretty), the words of a woman who eats her own child, and the triumphant exclamation of a woman telling the world about the risen Christ. Questions at the end of each chapter encourage individual or small-group reflection about what we might learn from each of these women and how God is speaking through them to us.Step into God's sacred circle of mothers, grandmothers, warriors, prophets, prostitutes, and murderers. You won't come out the same.Lindsay Hardin Freeman is an award-winning author who is passionate about the stories of Bible women. Her works include The Scarlet Cord: Conversations with God's Chosen Women and The Spy on Noah's Ark and Other Bible Stories from the Inside Out.
I read Eve today and found myself disagreeing on certain words used like "we probably wouldn't be here" and I thought that "possibly" we wouldn't but maybe we would and what would that look like, how might God have way... Thank you for making me think... for helping me to wonder. I look forward to continuing digging into a delightful book!
The book's concept and innovative format are deceptively simple; the stories of women in the Bible, told through their own words recorded in scripture, are complex, and invite deep contemplation. I was happy to be able to introduce Bible Women to the weekly study group at my church; we're excited about both the personal reflection and the lively group discussions it will generate.
This book came to me unexpectedly for review at just the right time. Freeman's work catalogues all the women who speak (and a couple who don't) in the Bible. They are listed by name or by identifying characteristic. Each woman has a few pages to herself. For some of these women, (see: Samson's first wife), this may be one of their few glimpses of the sunshine of study and appreciation.
Each entry lists the woman, her prominent traits, where to find her story, a "classic moment", and her Biblical profile (high, low, or otherwise). There is a summary of her words, a quick recap of her story, and then some reflections on her life and how she might relate to various areas of modern life. The questions at the end of each short section allow a reader or group to journal, discuss, or think about the woman in question.
Frankly, I loved this book. After my study is over, I hope to use the book for some personal devotional time. It's easy to read, with the information in clear, digestable chunks. The scholarship is well done and accessible.
By looking at the record of the words of Biblical women, we can get a sense of how they are involved in the larger stories. They are not absent. The back of the book has suggested studies using the book, a list of speaking women in order of chattiness, and lists of the books in which the voices of women are not recorded. I highly recommend adding this book to yourself and considering how it could be incorporated into the educational devotional life of the community you serve.
Lindsay Hardin Freeman presented to a group at The Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, in Philadelphia, this past weekend and received a standing ovation at the conclusion of the program. This doesn't typically happen with out-of-town speakers, so I was floored. But having read and digested the book myself, I shouldn't have been surprised. The author weaves both heart and humor into her stories of the 93 women who speak in the Bible, and in her narration we discover ourselves. Like them we are broken. Like them, we find healing through God's power. The author and her research partners have accomplished a tour de force with this book. They combed the pages of the Bible, both testaments and the Apocrypha, to identify the women who speak in these pages. And they synthesized their research into a compelling analysis which the author shares of why the words these women spoke matters, even today. Especially today.
Lindsay Hardin Freeman has done it again. With her wonderful literary technique and exhausting amount of research, she has brought to us the gift of our historical biblical women. This book will become ragged as I enjoy the pages time and time again. Since I have found nothing like this written before, it will be given many times as gifts since it is written in a style for everyone to enjoy.
I'm forever changed by this book, and I'm only up to Kings. I had no idea of the suffering, loyalty, bravery, heartache, confidence of those women. WOW. It's hard to read the stories and their words. Very humbling.
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