I don’t normally do book reviews because that’s not my main focus for this blog, however, every once in a while I come across one that I feel like you should all read that ties into my message and I’ve got one for you today! Now I’m sure you think that it is about health–eating or exercise, but it’s not at all. Its about the very thing that drives me to do what I do here on the blog–it’s about digging deeper into the living and active Word of God!
If you’ve followed me for any time you know that I am a big fan of Matt Chandler (The Village Church). I fell in love with his teaching style and content about 2 years ago and haven’t looked back. We joke that he’s my pastor crush, but truthfully, I love him because he has greatly shaped my thinking of my faith and theology. From following him and some others, I came upon Jen Wilkin and fell in love with HER writings! Nearly every blog post she writes cuts straight to the core and provides such a unique perspective to the topic. I was thrilled to see that she was writing a book, “Women of the Word“, and unfortunately, it took me some time to get my hands on it!
When I re-branded my blog in March, I changed my tagline to, “Train hard. Eat well. Live Free”. While most people think this is a nod to the physical lifestyle, I also wrote it to be a parallel for our faith. What I’ve found in my walk is that too many Christians aren’t training hard enough (stretching themselves in their faith pursuit), eating well (filling up on milk instead of meat in a short 5 minute segment of the day), and living free (living open-handedly in full surrender). My prayer is that my words will push you to increase in all things, both physically and spiritually. Part of what I’ve found in my personal faith journey is truly understanding the Word of God (Bible literacy). Being able to apply it rightly, understand context, and hold it in high esteem–not flippantly.
Jen’s book outlines how to do just that–and how to be aware of the traps that you could fall into while reading the Word of God. Perhaps my favorite section was the unhelpful habits of bible study. See if any of these have applied to you in your life? I know I’ve been guilty!
– The Xanax Approach (the Bible exists to make us feel better)
– The Pinball Approach (read whatever passage you come upon when you open up the bible)
– The Magic 8 Ball Approach (Shake the bible, and place finger on verse to give you an answer)
– The Personal Shopper Approach (Letting another author give you answers to your topic)
– The Telephone Game Approach (Reading books about the bible instead of the bible)
– The Jack Sprat Approach (“Picky eating” the Bible)
“Clare, at least they are reading the Bible!!!” Well, true, but if there is a BETTER way to study, why wouldn’t you do that? It would be like me letting you do a squat the wrong way, but letting you continue with that form since you are at least getting them done, or eating food that is causing inflammation to your body, but is deemed “healthy” amongst popular belief. Little changes can really add up to your final goal! Jen gives us the “5 P’s of study” to run through when we examine scripture. Just like any student, we must have great tools and techniques to use to get the most out of our study.
Have you found there to be a lot of confusion in regards to verses and passage in the Bible? With a world full of bloggers, Facebook, and people’s opinions, you know this to be true! Many times I’m left challenged with an opposing view to what I’ve always held and I personally don’t want to take anyone else’s word for it. I want to study and learn what God reveals to me–not primarily via another person. I don’t want to crumble at the basic challenges. I want to be able to stand solidly on Truth.
At the end of the book she talks a bit to those who have the gift of teaching, which I believe I have. I think it’s why I have this blog! I no longer am learning something about myself, or the Lord, than am ready to turn around and teach it to someone else! If you have the gift of teaching, that chapter will have some great tips and thoughts for you!
Grab this book! It is a very easy read and you will walk away with some great tips, tools and techniques! There is a free study guide you can grab from a web page at the end of the book so if you are looking for a study to do with some friends, this would be a great option! There’s nothing I love more than women who voraciously attack the Word of God. We have a voice to the generations above and below us and with a resource like “Women of the Word,” you will be well-equipped!