Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds

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It is right to speak of Christianity in this way, but not exclusively in this way. Interestingly, the same verse that commands us to love God with all of our hearts also commands us to love him with all of our minds. Our minds are the seat of our intellects. Attaching our intellect to our faith does not come naturally to most of us. We live in a time when faith and reason are spoken of as polar opposites. At times, the church has even embraced this kind of language. For some of us, the strength of our faith is gauged by how close we feel to God at any given moment — by how a sermon made us feel, by how a worship chorus made us feel, by how our quiet time made us feel.

Hidden in this thinking is an honest desire to share a deep relationship with a personal God, but sustaining our emotions can be exhausting and defeating. Changing circumstances can topple our emotional stability in an instant. Our "walk with the Lord" can feel more like a roller-coaster ride of peaks and valleys than a straight path in which valleys and mountains have been made level.

Could this be because we've gotten things backwards? By asking our hearts to lead our minds, have we willingly purchased a ticket to the roller-coaster ride? Unless we turn things around, placing the mind in charge of the heart, we could be in for a long, wild ride. Asking us to put our minds before our hearts sounds almost unspiritual, doesn't it? But notice the way that Scripture talks about the role of the mind:. In repentance: "If they repent with all their mind and with all their heart in the land of their enemies In finding peace: "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

In right worship: "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. In understanding the Scriptures: "Then [Jesus] said to [the disciples], 'These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.

In transforming us: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Don't rush past that pivotal truth you just read in Romans —3. What Christian doesn't desperately want life transformation and knowledge of the will of God? In these verses, Paul states unequivocally how we can have them: by the renewing of our minds — not our hearts.

For years I tried to love God with my heart to the neglect of my mind, not recognizing my need to grow in the knowledge of the "I AM. But I was missing the important truth that the heart cannot love what the mind does not know. This is the message of Romans —3 — not that the mind alone affects transformation, but that the path to transformation runs from the mind to the heart, and not the other way around. The scientific community has noted this mind-before-heart connection. Paul Bloom, a Yale professor with a PhD in cognitive psychology, specializes in pleasure research — the study of how we as humans develop the ability to derive pleasure from people, experiences, and things.

He has discovered through his research that pleasure does not simply occur, it develops. And how it develops is a point worth noting: "People ask me, 'How do you get more pleasure out of life? The key to enjoying wine isn't just to guzzle a lot of expensive wine, it's to learn about wine. Bloom has found that pleasure results from gaining knowledge about the object of our pleasure, not, as we might assume, from merely experiencing it over and over.

Specifically, our pleasure increases in something when we learn its history, origin, and deeper nature. This is particularly relevant to Christians. We are called to be a people who delight ourselves in the Lord, who can say with conviction that "at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" Ps.

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Yet we fight daily to live as those whose greatest pleasure is found in God. If Bloom is right, finding greater pleasure in God will not result from pursuing more experiences of him, but from knowing him better. It will result from making a study of the Godhead. Think about the relationship, possession, or interest you derive the most pleasure from.

How did you develop that delight? Whether you are passionate about modern art, your car, conservation, your spouse, nutrition, education, or baseball, my guess is that you became that way by learning about the object of your passion — and that your pleasure in it grew as your knowledge grew. Jen Wilkin takes knowing the God of the Bible seriously. Women of the Word will help all who read it to find their way deeper into the Word of God without having to be seminary educated, a genius, or even an especially good student.

Jen Wilkin knows this mercy in the core of her being. Read Women of the Word with your Bible open and your friends alongside you. Her servant heart in unpacking the Scriptures as well as her affection for the women she is teaching is evident the moment you meet her. Jen encourages women to grow in knowledge of the Word in order to know our Lord. She speaks out of her own joyful and growing experience of learning to dig in. May her voice be joined by many others! There are difficult passages, many interpretations, and often so little time to read thoroughly. Jen Wilkin recognizes this and provides tools to help us navigate it all.

Women of the Word gives us a blueprint for Bible literacy. If we want to know the God we love, we must engage our minds and know his Word where he reveals himself. The bottom line: this book encourages women to know God better by developing good habits of reading his Word. Amen, sister! Jen Wilkin shows us how in this must-read for every woman interested in teaching and leading Bible discussion groups in your church. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview This best-selling book offers practical guidance and helpful tips for women who want to go deeper in their study of the Bible and learn how to teach others to do the same.

Pages: Sales rank: , Product dimensions: 5. Problem solved. This is one of the most helpful guides I've come across in my many years as a student of the Bible. Highly recommended. View all 3 comments. Jul 17, Rachel B rated it it was ok Shelves: christian-non-fiction. Overall, this book was just okay. It has fairly sound teaching, and I can appreciate Wilkin's desire to motivate more women to really know their Bibles. However, her tone throughout the first half of the book read to me like, "I used to be a terrible Christian who didn't know anything, either.

But I have now arrived, and if you just do exactly what I do, you can become an awesome Christian, too! The book was really dry. I finally started skimming Overall, this book was just okay. I finally started skimming in the last few chapters which I hardly ever do , because I just wanted it to end already. Her version of studying the Bible is essentially the induction method. Rather than reading an entire book on it, one could save a lot of time and energy by doing a quick Google search to discover the key attributes of such a study. This book is about pages, but it could have been greatly condensed!

I would have personally preferred reading stories from multiple women in various life stages. I'm an ISTJ, and so it would make sense that the concepts she spoke of being "breakthrough" type moments only made me go, "Well, duh. The truth is, we all come to our Bibles with vastly different personalities and experiences, and since she seemed to be writing to only one type of person someone who shares her exact personality , I had a very hard time connecting with her and walking away with anything of value For someone who is very new to the Christian faith and needs very basic information on getting started with studying the Bible, or for the ENFP : this could be a helpful read.

View all 7 comments. Jan 13, Wendy rated it it was amazing. An accessible hermeneutic for ladies and seriously Oct 16, Melanie rated it it was amazing Shelves: non-fiction. This book was amazing. I loved the content and the way it was written. It had a lot of helpful tips about how to study the Bible and I can definitely see myself rereading it in the future.

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It was a very easy read, and yet it had a lot of depth. I highly recommend this book. View 1 comment. Apr 25, Christine Hoover rated it really liked it. Women of the Word is an excellent resource for learning a process for Bible literacy. Would be helpful to walk through with someone in a discipleship relationship who would like to learn to study the Bible for themselves. Dec 29, Kate rated it it was amazing. I certainly see some of the weak spots in this book, and agree about its flaws, but I feel like a lot depends on what you're hoping for this book to accomplish.


  • Book Review: Women of the Word, by Jen Wilkin : 9Marks.
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For me, it did exactly what I needed it to: 1. It ignited a much greater interest in Bible literacy. This is something I've found it easy to overlook or take for granted. I have read the Bible and attended church for more than 20 years, so I can assume that Bible literacy will simply come to me through Sunday morning preaching which is vital - don't get me wrong!

But this book highlights the importance of studying the Bible with intention and depth. I want to know the Bible for myself, and be able to share it with others. I think this book could ignite a similar passion among other women. It helped me realise that I can understand the Bible for myself. This may sound like a strangely obvious statement, but I found Wilkins's encouragement to only bring in commentary and other resources after an initial in-depth study for yourself, really eye opening for me.

I have felt that because I have no formal Bible training, I must rely primarily on the teaching of others in order to understand a text, so it was refreshing to be encouraged that God reveals Himself in His Word when any of us are faithful to study it. That isn't to say my interpretations are infallible - I think Wilkin was very clear that we will still find passages hard to understand and will need to ask for as much help as possible as we seek to faithfully understand Scripture - but it was an enlivening to be reminded that God speaks to us through His Word directly.

The length of this book was great. I could see this book not only being an accessible resource but actually a catalyst for spurring on Bible study within churches. It sets out a great vision at the beginning and end, and between it gives simple practical tools. Though some have compared this book to more in-depth writings by Kay Arthur and John Piper, I'd say that my interest in reading those books has been stirred BY reading this one.

Perhaps this is the "introductory" level book on Bible study that begins a longer journey. Apr 16, Rebekah rated it it was amazing. This book was so helpful! I can't wait to dig into my Bible study tomorrow morning using the things I learned from this book! Aug 18, Olivia Liv's Library rated it it was amazing Shelves: christian. I cannot talk enough about this book, so just read it. Dec 15, Laura rated it really liked it Shelves: books-i-believe-in. Thanks, Jen Wilkin! Good encouragement for women who want to actually study for themselves, not just sit in front of a screen listening to someone else's ideas about the Bible and filling in the prepared blanks.

I especially appreciated her encouragement for women to become teachers of other women. This book is sorely needed and I'm sorry I didn't buy it when I had the chance a few years ago. I'm encouraged afresh to realize I'm not alone in my frustrations!


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Jan 01, Paul J. This was a great book I really appreciated and will be going back to repeatedly. While I didn't find any "secret key to Bible study" or "the way to master God's Word in just 20 seconds a day", it is a very useful, succinct overview of good Bible study. There were a lot of good reminders. I think it is well-written and a surprisingly easy and enjoyable read. Shelves: kindle , bibles-christian-resources.

Kay Arthur's. She does have some good quotes but overall it doesn't live up to all the 5-star reviews I've seen. All those high reviews making this sound like the best book on how to study the Bible made me expect it to be much better. The Bible is a book about God. But sound Bible study does more than that—it leaves the student with a better understanding of the Bible than she had when she started. Stated another way, sound Bible study increases Bible literacy.

It is actually a sign that our understanding is being challenged and that learning is about to take place. Observation can be subjective—it can connote a casual perusal, in which I pull out details or thoughts that seem significant to me as I read. Comprehension, on the other hand, is more objective. It seeks purposefully to discover what the original author intended me to notice or ask.

Women of the Word - LifeWay

Replacing Observation with Comprehension is like skipping the Observation step of Bible study and splitting Interpretation into Interpretation Part 1 and Interpretation Part 2. And per thesaurus. She wrote that she does "not have any background with them, nor am I familiar with how they structure their studies beyond what friends have told me. Even the best Precept studies I've participated in were the ones that were led by women who had done BSF first and structured their classes similarly to BSF's classes.

Nov 19, Elizabeth Johnson rated it it was amazing Shelves: bible-study , best-reads , reading-challenge. It's the reason I enrolled in seminary last year. Thankfully, there are many tools available that can help us learn how to do that, even if you don't want to pursue formal education. But I was pleasantly surprised at the substance and insight it offered, and appreciated the overarching focus on engaging the mind before the heart when approaching Scripture.

Women in the Word combines sound biblical reasoning with practical steps, helpful personal anecdotes, and even humor ever heard of the Xanax approach to reading Scripture? The book begins with a simple question that we all would be wise to consider: when you approach Scripture are you looking for truth about yourself, or truth about God? Too often we approach it like Moses did the burning bush, wanting to know what it can do for us but neglecting to see what it teaches about God.

I found those concrete applications very helpful. She also includes a short section for Bible teachers or those who will be someday , which considers various aspects of preparation and delivery of a Bible study lesson or curriculum. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Crossway in exchange for providing an honest review. All opinions expressed herein are completely my own.

Dec 31, Rosa rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Christian women. Shelves: finished-in I really enjoyed this book! It is a book that makes you think and one that you'll want to read slowly in order to properly comprehend the message. I especially appreciated her emphasis on changing the mindset of Bible study that focuses on who we are and what we should do to focusing on Who God i I really enjoyed this book! I especially appreciated her emphasis on changing the mindset of Bible study that focuses on who we are and what we should do to focusing on Who God is.

Consequently, learning more about Him changes who we are. I found her analogies of how most people approach the Bible amusing, yet sadly true. Her examples of how she outlines her study of a passage is very helpful. While the author recommends sources that are rather liberal, I think the overall concept of her book is excellent and would highly recommend it.

It is a means to love God more, and to live differently because we have learned to behold Him better. And it is a means to become what we behold.

How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds

Feb 09, Cassandra Eggert rated it it was amazing. This book is really good. It convicted me and has spurred me into wanting to study the Bible more and know God better. I did find it overwhelming at some points just a bit, but I re-read a lot of chapters and that helped. Jul 05, Nay Denise rated it it was amazing Shelves: christian. If you're looking for a book that will give you an awesome study method that's practical this is it!

Jen really unpacks how to study the Word using the basics of the 5 Ws and 1 H by incorporating her 5 P's. I truly enjoyed this book. Her method is similar to that of Bible journaling, just a bit more organized. Though most of the tips were things I already knew and did, I enjoyed reading her point of view and seeing how her thoughts match with my own. Totally recommend this book for those who are If you're looking for a book that will give you an awesome study method that's practical this is it!

Totally recommend this book for those who are new to studying their Bible -- especially if you want to do an in-depth book study that is verse-by-verse. Stormie Omartian. More by Jen Wilkin. Jen Wilkin. Melissa Kruger. Who am I? It's a question we all ask ourselves at some point. Depending on the season we focus our identity on our job performance, marital status, personality type, or social network, among other options.

However, there's a larger question to consider. Who does the Bible tell me I am in Christ? From the wisdom and perspective of insightful authors-including Jen Wilkin, Hannah Anderson, and Jen Pollock Michel-we'll seek to answer this question by: Exposing our false notions of identity; Understanding the biblical truth of our identity in Christ; and Reflecting on what it looks like to live in our new and true identity.

In 10 chapters we'll cover everything from our identity as children of God to citizens of heaven.

Women of the Word

At the end of each chapter, study questions will facilitate group discussion as you consider this glorious truth with your friends. Join us as we explore how knowing who we are in Christ changes every aspect of our lives. Similar audiobooks. David Jeremiah. David Jeremiah explored the book of Revelation through the lens of its major players. Now, in the much-anticipated follow-up, Agents of Babylon, Dr. Jeremiah examines prophecy through the eyes of the characters in the book of Daniel, explains what the prophecies mean, and helps us understand how these prophetic visions and dreams apply to our lives today.

Written in the same highly engaging half dramatization, half Bible teaching format as Agents of the Apocalypse, Agents of Babylon is not only an in-depth exploration of the characters and prophecies contained in the book of Daniel but also a dramatic retelling of Scripture that is sure to bring ancient prophecy to light like never before.

In The Best Yes she will help you: Cure the disease to please with a biblical understanding of the command to love. Escape the guilt of disappointing others by learning the secret of the small no. Overcome the agony of hard choices by embracing a wisdom based decision-making process. Rise above the rush of endless demands and discover your best yes today.