Lydia, Ruth, and Esther found their way to my desk and have occupied much of my space over the past month. Through these women, we are given pictures of what it means to live as women of God. Their stories are wrapped in challenge, adversity, and beauty. The details of their homes, journeys, and lives have repeatedly run through my head and filled page after page of my notetaking with situations that may seem confusing and chaotic to us, but are actually small plot threads God weaves together to create a story. Filing away my study notes from “How Today’s Women Can Learn From Women of the Bible,” and returning commentaries and reference books to my shelves this morning signaled the close of the second annual summer seminar. It’s a somber moment. Yet I must say, seeing women dedicate time to spend in the Bible spurs me to continue on, doing those things I do in the name of Christ while building up His church.
Discipleship seminars (whether in my home or by Zoom) have provided opportunities reaching beyond the classroom in my local church. For this year’s seminar I was especially blessed to have an international friend join in. When it works well, technology can be a wonderful thing. An advocate for women to learn, enjoy, and share God’s word, these efforts would easily fall within my life’s mission. Remembering the biblical model of multiplication (2 Tim. 2:2) emboldens me to develop material, techniques, and methods to assist women in furthering their Bible knowledge and application. It’s important to remember that not only does the Great Commission call us to multiply through evangelism, but also through discipleship (“teaching them”). It’s my intentions that these Christian women might, in turn, share what they’ve enjoyed. What steps do you take toward multiplication?
“…and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” – 2 Timothy 2:2
As Christians, we will all agree that studying the Bible is critical. In this year’s seminar, our focus was on comprehensive biographical study. In that method, I chose to incorporate techniques used in general Bible study to insure proper context. The process of working through a text using proper hermeneutics, when visualized, is like a pyramid. However, our method for studying a particular Bible character resembles a funnel. And in our study time, we were reminded of the profound impact women have made on the church.
“Biographical study convinces one that Scripture was not given merely to satisfy the intellect, but to enrich one’s own life, to quicken the conscience, correct judgment, reinforce the will and direct the feet. Allowing for differences of time and place, the temptations and possibilities coming to the Bible women meet the daughters of Eve today. Their God is the God of modern women, who have a spiritual armory Bible saints did not possess. Women on this side of the cross and of Pentecost need not know shame and defeat in life. Christianity has supplied women with a full emancipation.” – Zondervan
Through biographical study, we examined the lives of Lydia, Ruth, and Esther. Each of these stories, regardless of their placement in history, helps us see the scope and beauty of God’s redemptive plan that culminated in Christ’s coming. His very own attributes emerged in each of these stories, aspects of his nature on which our salvation depends. We see the Gospel not only as a personal, individual matter but also as God creating a people from all peoples of the world.
Lydia (Acts 16) was a new believer who immediately bonded with other believers in Christ. She showed hospitality to those who brought the good news. Lydia’s hospitality to Paul and his missionary team was one evidence of her faith. She quickly used her spiritual gift as a means of serving the church. What spiritual gift is most evident in your life? For what purposes are you using your gift? How might God be able to use you in your local church?
Ruth is a reminder to us that God is concerned about the day-to-day struggles of ordinary people just as much as He is with those who are part of big-picture events. He works through everyday circumstances and faithfully provides for ordinary women, such as what He did for Naomi and Ruth. God cares about your struggles and difficulties today just as much as he cared about theirs. Where do you see God’s hand in all aspects of your life? Do your actions mirror His love?
Esther was an orphan girl who became queen. We see what could’ve been a major move to wipe out the whole Jewish race, but God made plans in advance to save the nation from extinction. You and I plan for vacations, projects, and a whole host of other things. Are you willing to alter your own plans in order to participate in God’s own work?
At the end of the day, what matters is that God has promised He will hold fast to us. This is our hope. In each of the women’s lives we studied, we see that God always finishes his work. This can be seen as a reality in our own lives.
In closing, I must give all credit to our God, who is good to allow me to join Him in what He is doing in the lives of women. I am humbled and grateful our God would choose to use me to participate in His work. May he multiply my efforts through the women I have had the opportunity to influence.