you’ve read the book…now what?

Today is the official release date for Women of the Word, but thanks to the faithful efforts of my publisher it has been available for a little over a month. I’ve been gratified to read the reviews and emails from so many of you who read the book and recognized the importance of building Bible literacy, of loving God with your mind through faithful study of His Word. I love hearing your stories of writing the five P’s of sound study on sticky notes to keep in your Bibles, of how you’re reshaping the way you use your personal study time. It’s hard to change old habits. It’s hard to learn a new skill. I’m so glad to know you’re willing to take on the challenge on your own, but I also want to offer you help where I can.

I have the spiritual gift of pie-making. Okay, it’s not actually a spiritual gift, but I’m really good at it. When I was in high school, my stepmother told me that the secret to winning lifelong friends was to make them pie from scratch. She was not wrong.  After dangling this vision in front of me she proceeded to show me how to make it a reality, one pie crust at a time. Rather than load me up with recipe cards and send me off to figure it out, she stood next to me and showed me how to cut the flour into the pastry, how to add the chilled water, how to roll out the crust with an outward motion rather than a downward motion, how to neatly crimp the edges, how to make a creamy custard and a towering meringue. She didn’t just tell me her pie-making secrets, she showed me how to put them into practice.

In my book I have told you the recipe for how to make a pie. If you put into practice what I describe, you will learn to study the Bible better. But I don’t want to leave you holding a recipe card when I can offer to hold your hand through the learning process. I don’t want to just tell you what to do, I want to show you.

When I write a curriculum for a Bible study, that’s exactly what I do. I write it to help my study participants put into practice the tools I describe in Women of the Word.  And I teach with the intent of building on the foundation the curriculum lays. The weekly homework is virtually free of commentary and intends to train you over time to ask good questions of the text.

If you resonated with the message of the book and now want a way to put it into practice, consider gathering a group of women to go through a curriculum that will help you practice building Bible literacy. It doesn’t have to be one I wrote  - just make sure it asks you to pursue the process of comprehension-interpretation-application before it gives you commentary. If you do want to use something I’ve written, you can download the workbooks and audio for my previous studies right here on the blog.

And after years of being asked, “When are you going to video your studies?”  I’m thrilled to let you know that LifeWay has released a 9-week DVD-driven version of the Sermon on the Mount study. It’s hard to pick a personal favorite of the studies I’ve taught, but this one is pretty near the top for me. And it’s a good starting place if you’re new to the study method.

As you look for ways to help yourself or the women of your church grow in Bible literacy, I hope you’ll consider these resources as a next step after reading Women of the Word. Many blessings on your time in the Word, both alone and in community. May your days be filled with joyful study. And also pie.