Friday, December 04, 2009

Pink Fluffy Bunny Women's Bible Studies

Every third rainy Tuesday or so, my book ends up in the top 100 sellers on Amazon's Women's Christian Living section. That's the top 100 books selling on Amazon aimed at Christian women. It's a depressing section for me to read through. There is a lot of emotional fluff out there masquerading as Bible study -- stuff that quotes chick flicks and romance novels more than it does Scripture. Then there are some Bible studies that quote Scripture, but they don't deal with Scripture in context. They just pick and choose the verses that support their topical agenda. And that gets on my nerves as well. Even among the more conservative, reformed authors, the books tend to be singularly focused on the topic of women's roles. Where are the simple, focused Bible studies?

I am now reading a Bible study on Hebrews geared toward women that absolutely should be on that best seller list. It's called Hoping for Something Better by Nancy Guthrie. I have only just begun this study myself, but I have been blown away by it so far. Nancy does exactly what I think a Bible study geared toward women should do.

1) Walk STRAIGHT THROUGH Scripture! We have sold women in the church a lie -- that the stuff specific to them in Scripture is made up of a piecemeal compilation of small sections of Scripture from a few select places in the Old and New Testament. Ephesians 5:22 isn't the only Scripture particularly applicable to women in Ephesians. The WHOLE BOOK of Ephesians is written to women. Men too. But don't make the last part of Ephesians the only part we speak particularly to women. Stop it, women authors!! The women in your realm of influence need the whole counsel of Scripture. And they will benefit from hearing it from the perspective of a doctrinally sound, well grounded woman. I'm not at all saying that women can only learn from women, but I do believe that there are some perspectives that we can best communicate with each other.

2) Relate Scripture back to the real issues facing women! Nancy has walked through great hardship and does a very good job of relating to women at the heart of our insecurities and fears. And she shows why Hebrews is relevant to these issues. There is no pink fluffy bunny content here.

As I talk with women in various locations of various Christian backgrounds, I get the feeling that women really do want more than topically driven fluffy bunny Bible studies. I don't think they sell very well currently and so publishers don't seem to realize the value of these types of studies. If people start using Nancy's study of Hebrews, I hope 2 things will happen. First, I think you and the women in your study will grow in Christ and your understanding of His Word. Second, I think publishers might realize this is a need and start pursuing and publishing more Scripturally based Bible studies geared particularly to women.

If you are Hoping for Something Better (in terms of life in general and women's studies in particular), I highly recommend this study.

10 comments:

  1. Good to know that it is not just me getting bothered by this stuff! The theological shallowness of some christian books targeted at women is terrible.

    I would wonder if we really need as many women specific bible studies/books/study bibles as we have? Certainly there are some things (gender roles ect) where the advice that should be given to men and women is different but the huge majority of biblical content applies to both genders.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I still think there is value in women specific studies. I think there are fears and insecurities women face that are distinctly different that men's. And I think sometimes it is helpful to hear a woman who has struggled through the big issues of life apply Scripture directly to those specific fears and idols.

    I am currently reading Isaiah: God Saves Sinners by Ray Ortlund. Incredible study of Isaiah. I love it. However, I think inevitably that some women would be intimidated by it's length and tone. But they still need to understand Isaiah. That's where a women specific study of Isaiah can be helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I totally agree and I'm definitely going to check out this study!

    I think that point at which Scripture and women intersect is in the task of articulating it to women. I couldn't agree more about your statement that women have learned to piecemeal Scripture into a compilation of passages about women (I'm going to re-quote that in my own blog!) and if we just spent half the time engaging the rest of Scripture with the same degree of care and effort, women would see that every single jot and tittle has meaning for their lives, not just the ones that single out women.

    Great thoughts!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wendy. I love you. Amy Grooms.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wendy,
    Thank YOU for posting this! I thought I was the only one that felt like this. I have tried to join women's study groups only to pull out in the middle due to lack of revelancy and Scripture.

    I thought I was just being judgemental by thinking MOST of the Christian books geared toward women are fluffy...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wendy,
    My husband and I have been in ministry for over 25 years and we've said what you are saying in this post for a very long time regarding women. That's why I liked your book so much. I did it as a sunday school class over a year ago. I am presently teaching through the book of JOB, and it is a tough book, but we are plodding along, learning about God(theology).I totally agree, we as women need to be women of the Word. When I say we are in ministry, I mean my husband is the senior pastor and we work together as a team. I love women and love teaching and counseling. I pray women realize their need for God finding it in God alone through His Word alone. Thank you for this post.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. Amen. Amen. Amen.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wendy! I'm so excited because I added Nancy's book to my Amazon wish list (which if full of yet unfulfilled wishes :) thinking I may eventually get it. But just now I noticed it at a used book store and was able to get it for free with a coupon that I had!!

    With the women's group that I formerly led we walked through your book and every woman benefited greatly from it, so I trust your book advise. Thanks for making me aware of this resource!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Question? I have personally never taken a Beth Moore bible study, but I've noticed in the Midwest (or at least the churches where I live) use her curriculum exclusively. Just wondering if anybody can give me any pro's or con's.

    I have had a friend who left a study because she felt that scripture was out of context. When she tried to talk to the leader of the study about the issues she was shot down. They treated her like she was going against the bible itself.

    So I would love to hear some discerning advice. It seems like everybody loves Beth Moore.

    ReplyDelete

If you have a negative comment, please be sure to give the benefit of the doubt on motive or tone to the blog author or readers who comment. Anonymous comments are welcomed if you need a safe place to be honest about a burden or concern that you don't feel free to share with your name. Anonymous critical comments will be deleted. If you need to respond critically, please use your name.

Comments automatically close on posts over 30 days old.