Offering a clear and concise plan to help women go deeper in their study if Scripture, this book will equip you to engage God’s Word in a way that trains your mind and transforms your heart.
When I saw this book on sale at the SBC Annual convention in Dallas in 2018 I was beyond excited. I had seen a number of well respected bloggers share this particular book on their reading lists and from a quick glance on Goodreads the reviews were glowing. I snagged my copy of “Women of the Word” by Dallas based author Jen Wilkin ready to add to my seminary equipped tool belt of Bible study. However, I was knee keep in my final year of my masters degree so, although I started reading the book, I never got more than 1/2 a chapter in.
Then in 2019 I managed to read a few non-fiction books but for the most part I just devoured all things “brain candy” also known as fiction. January 1st brought on a renewed desire to read more books that will challenge and grow me and this book was the top of my list.
A Quick Summary
Jen Wilkin opens the book with a call for women to equip themselves through in depth, foundational Bible study. She shares that as she began to truly study, teach, and live out the Word of God she realized there were some things she had backward, things over the years of her ministry she has come to realize a lot (if not most) women also have backward.
Things such as realizing who the Bible is truly a book about (God) and how we should really be studying the Scriptures (with our minds more than our hearts). Chapter 2 presents her case for biblical literacy-something she feels everyone can achieve even without access to a seminary education. From there she outlines her preferred method of Bible study using what she calls “The 5 P’s of Sound Study”. Chapters 3 through 7 focus on each “P” individually. They are purpose, perspective, patience, process, and prayer. For each chapter she explains her own rational behind that particular word and seeks to provide real life examples for how to implement that “p” in Bible study.
The 8th chapter is the “tie it all together” The 9th chapter provides tips for those who feel led and called to teach. She rounds the book out with a conclusion and encouragement.
A Few Take-Aways
First, I want to say I think her heart is in the right place. As I read through the pages I could grasp the genuine appeal for women everywhere to truly dig deep into the Word of God with the goal of growing closer to him.
The Turn Arounds
When I read Jen’s revelation about how we study the Bible I felt the light bulb go on. She states that for far to long we have been taught to lead with our hearts when it comes to our interactions with the Bible. This causes an entirely feelings based approach. Rather, as Jen points out, Scripture directs us to lead our study with our minds and allow our hearts to follow. She provides several places in Scripture to support the idea that the mind is the first place and the heart and feelings will follow.
Study with Patience
One of the “P’s” in her 5 principle method stands for patience. In chapter 5 Jen lays out her arguement for studying the Bible with patience. Patience ultimately with yourself when it comes to grasping some of the more complicated or challenging places you might study. She explains that in her experience when a student comes to a place that is challenging one of two things happens. Either the student will give up and not pursue digging for the proper interpretation of the passage OR they will “take a short cut” by immediately seeking for the answers in the notes of an study Bible or commentaries. Her suggestion, rather than seeking out these resources, is to stay lost or confused by a passage in order to allow ourselves to be challenged and grow. She states that only after a time of fighting for interpretation on our own should we resign to seeking out the thoughts found in the notes of Study Bibles and commentaries.
While I understand for the most part where she is coming from the issue I have with this suggestion is that there is no real guidance on time frames. No where does she indicate how long one should “remain lost by a passage” before seeking others interpretations. This means a person could spend years living with the idea they are teaching and promoting the true meaning of a passage while being very far off the mark.
Putting It All Together
Chapter 8 of the book takes all 5 principles and walks the reader through what a typical study using this process would look like. While on paper and in theory it seems like a wonderful (minus the issues with being lost in a passage) process. However, for a stay at home homeschooling mom who barely has time to brush her teeth most days the whole thing seemed more overwhelming and daunting than encouraging and uplifting. Perhaps, when my children are grown and I have several hours set aside in a day to devote to intense Bible study I will be able to better interact with the method provided by Jen Wilkin in her book Women of the Word.