Maybe you’re reading this right now and you want to be a good student of the Word, but you don’t know how. Or maybe, the motivation isn’t even there. Why read the Word if you’re already going to church and praying?
Enter in this little treasure of a book, Women of the Word. It’s so resonated with my heart because it’s something already wanted to talk to you guys about, but, it’s added more meat to the bones of my message. I still plan on delving a little deeper into a future post about entrenching yourself in the Word properly, but right now, I’ll leave you with these beautiful takeaways:
1.) We need to learn to love our God with all of hearts and minds.
As women, and as members of today’s church, we get that we need to love the Lord with our hearts, but we leave out a significant part of the verse we quote.
We need to learn to love God with all our minds. I know, this sounds kind of scary at first, like we’re going to have to take an exam with our perfectly pointed number 2 pencil, but there is no need to fear, guys. Just think of anything you love. Right now, do it. Formulate the list in your mind. You may love home decor, playing a favorite instrument, health topics, or something else entirely different. Whatever some of your favorite activities are, you’ve spent time gaining an understanding of the subject and building a knowledge base. Our fascination with learning the subject is an expression of our love.
But shouldn’t the same be the case with God? Maybe we neglect an in-depth reading of the Word because we haven’t transferred the thought over from the secular (studying subjects like nutrition, decor, etc.) to the sacred (studying the things of God and applying knowledge to our spiritual lives).
We’ve reduced love in our spiritual lives to emotional compulsions based on experiences rather than broadening our love of God by studying the Word and the things that pertain to Him. And let me just say, there is nothing wrong with experiencing God with our emotions. Our emotions should be part of our spiritual life. But as Jen Wilkin mentions:
“The heart cannot love what the mind does not know.”
2.) Look at the Bible through the eyes of the Big Story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.
If you take a look at the Bible, you’ll notice a theme of its overarching story. There’s the creation in the beginning of time, the fall of mankind when everything went awry, the moment went Jesus redeemed what went wrong, and the very end when everything will finally be restored. (I’ve talked about this here.)
And if you’ve noticed, all of the amazing Hollywood films and popular books tell the same story. There are discombobulated stories in Hollywood and on the book shelves, but they usually only receive acclaim from the highbrow artsy reviewer types, not the general public.
We all love a good story, and the Bible was the originator of comprising this wonderfully written story outline.
What I hadn’t thought of prior to reading Women of the Word was that it’s not just the Bible as a cohesive whole that tell this story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration, but also the individual 66 books of the Bible. Noah’s story contains the creation, fall, redemption, restoration pattern, Jonah, and so many others!
3.) You have to start with a good foundation by evaluating the original intention of the text (pgs. 63-64).
If you look at the book of the Bible you’re currently in right now, can you answer:
- Who was the text written by and to what audience?
- What was the purpose and main message?
- What was the cultural background of the time?
These are just a few questions that will help you form a good cultural background for your reading. Our problem is we want to read the Word with Western eyes through our 21st century lens. And although we should DEFINITELY know that the Word is applicable for today, we need to first know the cultural background. Otherwise, we can have a totally off the wall interpretation of Scripture and fall into a position that’s contrary to the Bible.
That’s why we really love the Behaving Badly Series and the CSB Worldview Bible. They give cultural context to put flesh behind our reading of the Word. Suddenly, a difficult passage is infused with clarity and we can appropriately apply the Bible to our lives today.
4.) Prayer is vital to the study of the Word.
I love what Jen Wilkin says on this topic:
“Without prayer, our study is nothing but an intellectual pursuit. With prayer, it is a means of communing with the Lord. Prayer is what changes our study from a pursuit of knowledge to the pursuit of God Himself.”
So please, friend, pray as you read the Word. Praise God if there is something written that exalts Him or speaks into your situation. Repent if something niggles your conscience and convicts. Make your reading of the Word relational with God.
And always know…
Hope is an option,
I generously received this book for free from Crossway in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and images are my own. Please don’t replicate without permission.