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.