Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Message to Women

This post is not really addressing gender issues per se. It is rather addressing a crying need in the church today. That need is for women who understand their Bibles. There is a great hue and cry in the church today for women to live biblically. This is all well and good. But how can that happen without women knowing their Bibles? The impression one sometimes gets of women in the church is that they are supposed to be ignorant of Biblical truth. Biblical truth? That's for men, many say. Balderdash. Women are supposed to know their Bibles, both for their own spiritual growth, and for the growth of their families. If the woman of the house is well-trained in biblical truth, she can discuss Bible truths with her husband, questioning him and having give-and-take conversations and debates with him. And there is inestimable benefit for any children, since they will receive constant biblical training from their mothers. Okay, some might be convinced that this is a good idea. But does one go about doing it? I think a lot of people would want to do something about their ignorance, but they don't know what that would be. I would say that the first place to start is simply reading. There is no substitute for simply reading the Bible. And don't get stuck in Leviticus; keep on reading through it. Even if you don't know what it means, keep reading. The more you read, the more connections will be established, and you will start to see the big picture. However, along with reading, it is helpful to have a few good tools. A good Bible Dictionary is absolutely essential. It will tell you all about places, names, dates. It gives good overviews of Bible books, and, most importantly, can direct you in how a theme wends its way throughout Scripture. A good concordance is also essential. Next, a good book telling us what it's all about can be very helpful. Not only does it tell us what the Bible is really saying, but it also helps us in telling us how to intepret Scripture's truths for ourselves. None of this requires us to be scholars. Lastly, you need a good commentary that can be your guide through the text of Scripture. Matthew Henry is as good as it gets for non-scholars. Buy it. Every house should have this commentary. Here are some helpful starters. If you are still hungry for more, then you need to hear godly men expounding Scripture. Covenant Seminary has done an unprecedented thing by putting all these lectures on the internet. You can get an almost complete seminary education for absolutely free. Cheers, and start digging!


At 7/29/2006 06:40:00 PM, Blogger Susan said...

Ah, now this is a message that needs to be heard. I'm reading a book right now, When Life and Beliefs Collide, which is on this very subject: the need for women to know theology. My pastor's wife recommended it, and so far I've enjoyed it, though I haven't gotten much into it yet.

Matthew Henry is on my "to buy" list, actually; I have Calvin, but I really would like Henry as well. And thank you for the link to the Covenant Seminary lectures!

At 7/29/2006 06:43:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Baggins said...

Thanks, Susan for your encouragement. Actually, there is a great new book written by Lig Duncan and Susan Hunt entitled _Women in the Church_, which I forgot to mention. That should be pretty high on any woman's reading list, as well.

At 7/30/2006 09:13:00 PM, Blogger Susan said...

I heard Lingon Duncan speak earlier this year at a WCF conference. He was excellent! I'll have to write down the name of that book. Does book recommending run in your family? ;) My book recommendation list has been growing much slower since your brother disappeared a few months ago, but it still remains quite large. Speaking of recommendations, thank you so much for recommending Marshall's book on sanctification. That is (no exaggerating) the best non-fiction book I have read, excepting the Bible.

At 7/31/2006 09:15:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Baggins said...

Yes, book recommendation runs in our family. ;-) At least, between Adrian and myself, it does. Glad you liked the Marshall book. It is outstanding. The Goldsworthy trilogy is every bit as compelling, btw.

At 8/02/2006 03:28:00 PM, Blogger Admin said...

A hearty Amen on this subject matter -- one that is near and dear to my heart. J.I. Packer said that we could not make heads or tails out of the Bible if we did not know God in all of His attributes. I have been beseeching women to understand doctrine since 1984 when my husband bought my first book on doctrine "The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination" by Lorraine Boettner so that we could converse in doctrinal discussions and so that my practical application of doctrine would be biblical. That began a long quest for knowledge of God so that I could encourage other women to do the same. Getting into God's Word and reading these good authors is paramount to being that biblical wife and mother that Christ has called women to. I also enjoy authors such as Carol Ruvolo, Susan Hunt and Elyse Fitzpatrick who are working hard to train women in doctrine. Thank you for posting this most important subject.

Living Coram Deo, joany

At 8/02/2006 03:43:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Baggins said...

Thank you, Joany, for your comments. It is indeed important, especially in view of the feminist movement. In some ways they have a point: women have not been encouraged to seek out theological truth in many Reformed circles. This is very unfortunate. But what ought to happen is not that God-ordained roles for women and men should be erased, but that women should be encouraged to know their Bibles, and study theology. The great women of older times all did this, to our great shame.


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