by Frances Vander Velde
Frances Velde believes that studying the lives of biblical women can stimulate our spiritual growth. Certainly these women filled their days with commonplace things that are part of our daily lives, cooking, caring for children, conversation. Her explorations show that "the women of the Bible were all living women of flesh and blood with faults, passions, and virtues."
The book presents 31 studies of notable women from the Old and New Testaments. Fascinating women such as Eve, Sarah, Deborah, and Esther are carefully presented. Each study includes a brief biography coupled with a character analysis designed to stimulate the reader to probe the biblical text looking for answers to the study questions at the end of the chapter.
For example, the study on the life of Rahab opens with "By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not" (Heb. 11:31). A brief historical sketch precedes the introduction of Rahab. Frances asks us to consider how easy it is to be told to emulate lives like Abraham, the friend of God. Then we should consider the challenge of including Rahab the prostitute in the lineage of Christ. And the author takes the reader to a relevant verse in Isaiah 55:9: "So are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
As a clincher, a discussion question asks, "We occasionally have outsiders come into our church. Do we really take in the Rahabs? What did Jesus do?"
Throughout the book, similar pointed questions make the reader honestly pause and consider the biblical answers to difficult issues. Such an approach makes the book an outstanding resource for either a group Bible study or for personal devotions.