Studying the women in the Bible can point us to the heart of the biblical narrative and effectively counter the oppression of women in culture and the Church. Without ignoring its difficult androcentric passages, our contributors show us the liberating implications, for both men and women, of Scripture.
Junia Pokrifka commends "a grand narrative approach" to interpreting the stories of women in the Bible. The scriptural narrative, being centrally concerned with redemption and restorative justice, "places injustice against women in a light" [in which] patriarchy and androcentrism are no longer seen as normative, but as regrettable conditions that God and God's human agents are working to overcome." Mona LaFosse surveys the cultural context of early Christian women to interpret the difficult passages in the Letters to Timothy and Titus. Joy Schroeder traces how the ancient prophetess and poet Deborah became "a potent symbol of female authority and speech" in the nineteenth century, and Mary Ann Beavis restores the biblical and historical Mary Magdalene as a model of discipleship in our day.
In Jocelyn Mathewes's marvelous images of women holding icons of their patron saints we glimpse how the icons, and the women whose lives are being shaped by holding them close, point "to the power of the larger story of Scripture." New songs and a liturgy by Jeanie Miley proclaim "the perfect balance of masculine and feminine strengths" in Christ, "strengths that call us to become more fully human, more completely creative and productive, and more loving as we learn how to balance all the qualities God inscribed within each person, made in his image."
The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to explore the stories of women in Scripture. The study guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.