Women of the Word (2014, Crossway) is written by Jen Wilkin. Jen Wilkin is a women’s Bible study leader at the Village Church in Dallas, Texas (pastored by Matt Chandler). In this 152-paged book, Wilkin sets about urging women to pursue Biblical literacy and aims to equip them with the skills needed to study the Bible personally and then to share this knowledge as leaders (if that is their gifting). 

In this book, you can certainly hear Wilkin’s passion for improving women’s biblical literacy. Reading this, I felt inspired to pursue Bible study, carefully picking apart passages myself, rather than relying on devotional material to go with my Bible reading. 

One of the opening points Wilkin makes is that often we approach the Bible, searching for what God is revealing to us. The danger of this approach, is that we read the Bible being self-focused. Instead, Wilkin encourages us to approach the Bible searching for what God is revealing about himself. In being God-focused, we start with learning about who God is. In learning about God, our lives become focused on growing to be like him, rather than changing our view of God as a result of our circumstances. Like Jesus’ said to the Jewish leaders, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40). May we change our approach to the Bible in order to discover what God reveals about himself through them.

Wilkin also argues that as women, we often ‘feminize’ passages. Also, Wilkin points out that often our Bible studies are hijacked by the lengthy sharing of our burdens and discussing life and our emotions (I’ve never been one of these hijackers… not 😉 ) Instead, in re-structuring our group Bible study, Wilking recommends we prioritise the study of the Bible over that of relationship building. What about the friendship stuff then? Wilkin encourages us as women to pursue relationship building during other events and get togethers and during discussion times after the study has been done. 

A final point that Wilkin makes that really grabbed me, was her insistence that women listening to women speakers (outside of male-delivered Sunday sermons) is an important part of our spiritual growth and development. She writes:

 “First, we need the example of women teachers. When a woman sees someone who looks like her and sounds like her teaching the Bible with passion and intelligence, she begins to recognize that she, too, can love God with her mind- perhaps beyond what she thought necessary or possible. … Second, we need the perspective of women teachers. A woman teacher will naturally gravitate toward application and examples that are accessible and recognizable to other women….Third, we need the authority of women teachers. A woman can tell other women to stop making idols of their children or spouses in a way a man can’t. A woman can address other women on vanity, pride, submission, and contentment in a way a man can’t.” (Wilkin, 2014, pp.129-130).

In reading the book, I did struggle a little with Wilkin’s “Five P’s of Sound Study”. While I recognise the helpful method in equipping women with the skills to study the Bible, I did balk a little at her ‘P’ usage. This could have been because I’m an Aussie and our culture resists what is perceived to be rigid structure, or it could have been simply a little bit too formulaic for me. Whatever the reason, I do acknowledge that her content is helpful.

Overall, I found it a very insightful and helpful book and if you haven’t realised by now I stand and applaud loudly and with great enthusiasm when a woman is encouraging women to approach the Bible with their hearts, souls and minds. As Wilkin concludes, “You has said, ‘Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” (Psalm 27:8). May we be women seeking God’s face and equipping ourselves through resources like this to truly seek our great God through his written WORD!

Purchase from Book Depository here.