I am half way through this study and I felt compelled to leave this review even before finishing. Every day, I look forward to doing this Bible study for my quiet times. Every day it challenges me to dig into the scriptures. A few years ago, I tried to do one of Cynthia Heald's studies and I set it down. Honestly, I think I was young and I wanted to be spoon fed. I put more stock in feeling and dwelling on my feelings as a woman. I used to do a lot of studies that encouraged me to infer into the Word and only ask you to look up single verses. But, over the years, I've learned a few things.
#1: It is important not to take verses out of context and short cut your way to an understanding of the Word. Take time to read the passage that a verse is in.
#2: Don't infer your own feelings into the Word. I know that statement could be taken a lot of ways and some people might disagree with me. But, what I mean is this--the Bible is about God. The stories that are included are meant to point us to Him. They are not intended to point us to ourselves. We cannot save ourselves.
#3: Be careful and don't get misled by how an author tells a story--don't read details into the Bible that aren't written in it. The story of Bathsheba is a clear example. You can think about what you think the story says and then go read it. You will likely be surprised about how little is actually said in the Bible about Bathsheba.
These three things guide much of how I feel about Bible studies. I hold onto them so that I won't become cynical. They are my way to fight cynicism about Bible Studies.
This Bible study is so good. Heald primarily looks to the Word and includes very wise quotes from other authors. (I have shared several with our small group and everyone has loved them.) She shares from her own experiences--but they are brief. Much more time is spent in the study with the reader digging into the word. She directs the reader to look up passages (most of the time) rather than a verse or two. In my selfish heart, I want to check the box and be given one or two verses to read, but that's why I know this study is so good for me to do--I have to look up passages (5-10 verses) at a time.
This study is about God's grace and how we love one another. The study delves into God's grace for us (His covenants with us), legalism vs. grace, love and grace, and what it means to live out our lives in God's grace. The chapter about legalism was especially good, but all of the chapters have been challenging and encouraging. I haven't found a Bible study in a very long time written for women that I would recommend--but now I have!
One last note...if you are a woman and you enjoy John Piper's, Jerry Bridge's, or Tim Keller's books and studies, I think you would particularly enjoy this study.
Please note, I did receive this book as a complimentary copy from Navpress, but it is one I would definitely have purchased on my own. I am sure I will be purchasing the other books in the series on my own, because I have enjoyed this study so much.
on January 3, 2010
I recently had the opportunity to review a new Bible study book by Cynthia Heald, Becoming a Woman of Grace (published by NavPress).
This is a great little Bible study tool. It's not very long, just 11 chapters, each only about 6 or 7 pages in length. But there is so much wisdom packed into this little book. Chapters include: "Set Free by Grace", "Growing in Grace", and "Becoming a Gracious Woman", among others. Each chapter is introduced with a bible scripture and a quote from a Christian author, then is followed by a number of questions on the topic of the chapter. Each question is brief and contains a Bible scripture to look up and reflect on.
I've read many, many Bible study books in my adult life, and this one is definitely one of my favorites. I especially like the fact that this study is relatively simple and short (a must-have for my busy Mom life), but it encouraged me to really dig into my Bible and consider what the scriptures have to say on a topic, not just read what someone else thinks about the scriptures.
I highly recommend this book as a great way to start your new year. You will be changed by it in the best possible way!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
on January 7, 2012
I love all of Cynthia Heald's Becoming a Woman of...series, but this one is by far my favorite. She introduces a topic, and then gently guides you into digging deeper into the word and to yourself. I didn't even realize it was happening at the time, but God used this study to teach me so much more about Himself and His character, and maybe for the first time in my life, I truly understood the freedom that it is to live and breathe and move in His grace. If you are wondering if this study is worth it, it really is. What have you got to lose when there is so much to gain?