LOST WOMEN OF THE BIBLE: Finding Strength & Significance Through Their Stories
Carolyn Curtis James
Christian Living/Practical Life
Has life ever turned out differently than you expected? If so, you're not alone. Carolyn Curtis James believes these moments of feeling lost --- when you're not quite sure of either who you are or what you're supposed to do --- are more common than we realize, both for the modern woman and the biblical woman. In LOST WOMEN OF THE BIBLE: Finding Strength & Significance Through Their Stories, James uses her passion for biblical background, culture and history to unlock hidden treasures in the lives of scripture's most well-known and unknown women.
The book takes an in-depth look at the lives of Eve, Sarah, Hagar, Hannah and Tamar, among others --- many of whose lives have been written about en masse before. But James adds fresh insights into each of their stories as she examines the social, emotional and physical challenges they faced in their day. She manages to dig deeply into Bible commentaries, theological thought and a variety of resources to add substance to the chapters. Then the author draws lessons and comparisons to our modern world.
One of the most unusual chapters in the book looks at the life of Noah's wife, a woman barely mentioned in the Bible. Yet James manages to draw rich lessons from her life without speculating too much. Her observations on rebuilding after a flood are particularly tender and timely in the wake of the recent hurricane season.
She writes: "When Mrs. Noah gazed out on the waters, did she dread what lay beyond? The losses? The mess of the aftermath? Did she groan at the thought of starting over again or sink beneath one last wave of depression? Mrs. Noah couldn't open a Bible, join a prayer group or seek a Christian friend to help her see this crisis. Those options didn't exist. Her only lifeline was her relationship with God. And God was making himself known to her in powerful ways if she only had eyes to see it."
The book rings with themes of women being image bearers of God, helpmates, and members of something James calls the "Blessed Alliance" in relationship with God and each other. These repetitive themes help make the text more cohesive.
Throughout the book James highlights the way the Bible affirms women as wives, mothers and leaders. Her emphasis on the strengths of women is balanced by her examination of each woman's weaknesses and character flaws as recorded in scripture. In the end, her well-balanced examination makes her case stronger that the Bible is abundantly affirming of women.
This book is extremely well-designed, using texture-rich fonts and a clean layout. Each chapter includes a key focus or lesson, suggested scripture passages to read, and a list of discussion questions. This addition makes it a solid resource for book clubs and women's small groups.
Overall, LOST WOMEN OF THE BIBLE is well-written and solid. Recommended to both new Christians and veterans of the faith.
--- Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg (www.margaretfeinberg.com)
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