Book Review: Women of the Word

The heart cannot love what the mind does not know. Yes, it is sinful to acquire knowledge for knowledge’s sake, but acquiring knowledge about One we love, for the sake of loving him more deeply, will always be for our transformation. We must love God with our minds, allowing our intellect to inform our emotions, rather than the other way around.

Women of the Word pg 33-34

I’d like to introduce you to one of my new favorite books. This one is getting recommended right up there with How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong and Ordinary. I’ve known about it for years, but it took a pandemic and a book study with other pastoral staff wives – and a deadline – for me to finally read it. I wish I had read it ages ago.

Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin is as convicting as it is practical. Not only does she explain how to study God’s Word but also why. I didn’t think I needed more reasons. I grew up in church and was a missionary then camp counselor and am now a pastor’s wife. Of course I know why studying the Bible is important. However, my heart was rebuked so many times while I read this book.

While we’d probably prefer to not admit it, so often we run to God’s Word only when we need comfort or advice. We read scripture to find out what it says about me, rather than what it says about Jesus Christ.

“How does this apply to my life? Oh, it doesn’t? Well, I don’t have time for that today because I’m running out the door to work and need something encouraging to take with me throughout my day.”

Within our Christian subculure we have adopted a catch-all phrase for our regular habit of interacting with Scripture: “spending time in the Word.” . . . The potential danger of this vagueness is that we may assume that our version of “spending time in the Word” is moving us toward Bible literacy simply because we have been obedient to practice it. Not all contact with Scripture builds Bible literacy. Learning what the Bible says and subsequently working to interpret and apply it requires quite a different practice than many of those we commonly associate with “spending time in the Word.” We cannot afford to assume that our good intentions are enough.

pg 38

Any and all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable (2 Timothy 3:16-17). But we are only deluding ourselves if we think ten minutes in the morning is leading us to a deep understanding of God – which is what He calls us to in verses like Psalm 46:10. “Be still and know [yada] that I am God.”

Jen gives five principles for sound study, and each one gets its own chapter where she goes into more detail. At the end of the book, she gives a specific walk-through of what using these principles would look like in your own study time. She also includes invaluable advice in the very last section for how to lead a Bible study in a way that leads to Bible literacy.

Jen’s writing is simple and straightforward. She uses a few illustrations very intentionally. She is passionate about God and His Word and you can understand that by her writing. I’m thankful that she took the time to write this book, to encourage women to not settle for shallow “studies” or being spoon-fed positive messages for the rest of our lives. Understanding the Bible is not easy or quick! It is time-consuming, challenging, sometimes uncomfortable – but more than worth it.

Whether you know how to study your Bible or not, whether you’re young or old, whether you’re a woman or man, I encourage you to read this book. Read it and apply it. Read it with friends and work through it together. And know your God.

Pleasure results from gaining knowledge about the object of our pleasure, not, as we might assume, from merely experiencing it over and over. . . Finding greater pleasure in God will not result from pursuing more experiences of him, but from knowing him better.

pg 31

P.S. I exceeded my goal of 20 books this year!

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