January 24, 2017
This month’s book review focuses on the B&H title: 31 Women of the Bible.
31 Women of the Bible provides short vignettes (one and a half pages) of information about each of the 31 women, and concludes with The Takeaway and Food For Thought (three questions). While the Food for Thought questions are not deeply theological, they do prompt one to reflect introspectively.
What can we learn from these 31 Women of the Bible? Plenty.
Three key points from the Introduction:
• Women have played an indispensable role in the great story of God. Though the Bible is without question dominated by towering male figures like Abraham, Moses, David, Pilate, and Paul, it is far from a sexist book (as some have charged). From Sarah to Mary and from Esther to Elizabeth, a number of the most important heroes of the Christian faith were female.
• Bible people were flawed, flesh-and-blood folks—not unlike us. We have a tendency to idealize Scriptural saints; however, it’s not necessary to either romanticize or idolize them to appreciate them. (It’s also not healthy!)
• The most vivid and valuable lessons came not from a lecture but from a life.
From the back cover:
31 Women of the Bible features 31 profiles of important women of the Bible. Each profile includes the related Scripture reference, character summary, and application questions to help discover who these women were and what we can learn from them today. Featuring a full color interior with illustrations on every page and a unique concise format, this book can be used for daily study or carried in a purse or backpack for reading on the go.
As one who’s intrigued by biblical characters and specifics, I’ve often wondered why more books are not written about women of the Bible. I’m the kind of person who is interested in knowing why an individual behaves the way they do, or why one guards their tongue in certain situations, but doesn’t in other situations. I have also wondered why the scribes didn’t include more information about these women. Of course, I am thinking in modern day scenarios. Still, knowing the period culture helps clarify some of the action/reaction and behavior patterns of these women. By including some of these additional components, the author of this book sheds some additional light on these women.
While this book does not dive deeply into any one character or situation, it does use the material provided throughout Scripture as well as period culture to help paint an introductory biographical sketch or create an introductory character profile.
The information contained in this small volume helped provide a different perspective of these women, such as:
• The strength and vitality of Anna, Phanuels’ daughter mentioned in Luke 2:36-38.
• Leah, mentioned in Genesis 29:31, as not simply the sister of Rachel, but as a woman fighting and longing for love of her husband.
• Gomer, mentioned in Hosea 1:2-3, as the unfaithful wife of Hosea.
• Then there’s Esther, Bathsheba, and Jezebel.
• Plus 25 other women
This book can be used in several different ways, such as a month long daily devotional guide, or read leisurely to discover more about each woman.
I enjoyed reading 31 Women of the Bible. As I said earlier, the information provided did help me see these women from a different perspective. The only negative comment I have about this book is in reference to the graphics. While I don’t think they took away from the book, neither do I think they added to the book. I will refrain from further comments regarding that aspect of the book, but due to the graphics, I would rate this book a 4 out of 5.
* I received a copy of this book from B&H Publishing in exchange for my honest review. While the information from the introduction and back cover appears as a courtesy from B&H, the actual review and opinions are solely mine.