The Bible is so much more than a dry compilation of genealogies, prophecies, and laws. It is the story of the most important relationship in the world, the one between God and his people. God did not always select the best, the most important, the most talented, or even the most honest persons to lead/influence his people in their journey to Him. A reflection on their lives reveals so much about God’s character, his love, and his strategy for saving us.
Though we are familiar with many of the men in the Bible, how many of us recognize the names of the more than 50 women mentioned in the Bible. How many women of the Bible can you name right now. How about Hagar, Miriam, Deborah, Naomi, Esther or Jael, Rizpah, or Joanna? And yet, their stories have much to tell us about God’s love and how His love can make an impact on and difference in our own lives.
In Matthew’s geneology, four significant women besides Mary are mentioned: Tamar (who became pregnant by her father-in-law), Rahab (a prostitute), Ruth (a Moabite) and Bathsheba (wife of Uriah whom King David had murdered). The list of women of Scripture offers us a fresh perspective on the story of salvation. The cast of characters is long and colorful, including a parade of prostitutes, evil queens, prophetesses, wealthy women, abused women, single and married women, and widows both young and old. These are real women who struggled with tragedy and sometimes created it, who risked their lives and their reputations for the sake of others, whose compassion and wisdom often saved the day.
Even though our culture and the world today are vastly different from theirs, we share many of their emotional responses and concerns. We agonize over infertility, worry about our children, long for a little affection, strive for wisdom, and sometimes harbor doubt about God’s real intentions toward us. Their stories reveal so much about God’s love, his relentless jealousy, and his creative ability to bring good out of the most desperate of circumstances.
The following is a Study and Sharing Guide for BCBP women, a methodology for living with and understanding how God worked in the lives of many of the women in the Bible and how He can work in our own lives, adapted for BCBP by Nancy R. Catan, BCBP Manila, from the reference: “Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture” by Ann Spangler & Jean E. Syswerda. (Zondervan Publishing, Michgan. C1999). Published in 2000, 2001, in the Philippines by OMF Literature Inc.
Step 1: Scripture, Study, Reflection
Select your woman. It is recommended that the selection be done by drawing lots or by random selection from the following list after praying for the Lord to guide you. This way the Lord will let you select the woman whom He feels can best make an impact on your life. After reading about your selected woman in Scripture, look at five main elements in her life:
1. Her Story – who she was, what did she value in life, what was her life like, her good points and her bad points
2. Her Life and Times – check out background information about the culture and practices of her day and time, put yourself in her place, imagine how you would fare if you had been her
3. Her Legacy in Scripture – why is she mentioned in the Bible, what did God do for her, reflect on the lessons/insights in her life and apply them to your life today
4. Her Promise – what Bible promises apply to her life and to yours
5. Her Legacy of Prayer – pray about your life in the light of her story, what is God telling you through that woman in the Bible
Step 2: Journeying with Your Woman Today
As you come to understand and relate to your woman, as you discover how her life and your life are similar in many ways, put these insights into practice in your life. Invite her to walk with you during your day. How would she have reacted, how do you react, discover how God wants you to react/respond to your life situations. This may be done over a period of time – at least one week, but preferably for one month.
Savor the riches of your experience and hers, discover and understand anew how God acts in surprising and wonderful ways to draw us to Himself. Pray about your insights and experience; pray for God’s message and listen to what He tells you.
Step 3: Share about your experience with your woman.
During your ladies’ breakfast, action group meeting, or bible study group meeting, give a brief mini-sharing (8-10 minutes). Include: who she was, what she is remembered for, what God did for her, her impact on your life, your experience journeying with her, the discoveries/insights and lessons God has given you through this experience.
If time permits, it is good to have a short open forum to allow others to comment (always positively, negative comments not allowed) and/or ask clarifying questions about your woman and your experience with her. This interchange often deepens your insights and clarifies God’s message to you and to your BCBP sisters.
58 Women of the Bible are listed in the attached table. Rest assured that the Lord will bless you abundantly through this experience of walking with the women of the Bible.