In ever widening circles, I am continually grateful for the opportunity to retell God’s story. Writing and recasting Bible narratives in new forms has been a passion of mine since I first reimagined them (Noah’s Ark, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, David and Goliath, etc.) for my young sons. As I wrote from different perspectives — the dove on the Ark, the lions who did not eat Daniel, and the slingshot who helped David defeat Goliath — the women in the Bible rose up like stars on a dark night.
A continuing magnet for me, they reveal truths about God and faith, especially in harrowing circumstances. Survivors all, their bravery, wisdom and tenaciousness run through Hebrew and Christian texts alike. Some women sought healing and would not give up until cured. Others confronted Jesus with the pains and hopes of their lives, expressing anger, joy, sorrow, aspiration and even sarcasm. Still others ministered to him in ways that men did not. A loyal cadre stood at the foot of the Cross, when the disciples, save John, had fled. Remarkable voices all, we see in them witness not only to themselves, but to some of the deepest sides of human nature.
What might we learn from Eve, Deborah, Hannah and Mary Magdalene? Who were the three women that formed a holy trinity around Jesus’ birth…and what might they teach us? What about rape, child marriage, substance abuse, mental illness or domestic violence? It’s all there in the Bible. Rarely talked about in church circles, the accounts are surprising, and give us valuable theological and personal insights.
A NOTE: What is Bible study all about?
I find Bible stories often to be best shared out loud, in a small group setting. I would commend that format to you for exploring these books…and more importantly, scripture itself. Deep emotions bubble up in such settings. Sorrows and joys are shared and embraced by the group, and loving wisdom in community is found. Brokenness. Vulnerability. Chesed, (the Hebrew word for “sacred kindness”). Joy. Transformative love. It’s what real Bible study is about.