There are few things more important to me than studying the Bible. I know I have spent little time actually discussing the process of studying scripture here on this blog, but for five years teaching people how to study the Bible was my job. My passion.
I believe that studying the Bible is the most important thing a mama can do and with the right tools she is empowered and able to do it. This is why I’m excited to have my friend Dr. Natalie R. Wilson Eastman here on The Toothless Grin, today. Natalie recently published her new book Women, Leadership, and the Bible. Sit back and hear her heart for tired mamas, as well as her passion to equip women to be able to read the Bible well and on their own. While you’re at it, pick up a signed copy of her book or order one on Amazon.
Imagine a world in which Christian women—even tired, frazzled mamas—humbly, yet skillfully study Scripture to get clarity on their hardest biblical questions! And imagine those very women sifting and sorting through all kinds of opinions and interpretations as they study and consider what the Bible’s text says!
If you’re a mama, can you even dare to imagine such a world? I mean, sooo many mamas spend days wiping tiny bums, washing endlessly-appearing dirty dishes, and magic-erasing genius artwork from the painted-last-week walls. How do I know this is how many mamas spend their days? I am one! I’ve still got the littles: ages 5, 6, & 8, at present, and spend three-quarters of my days wondering where the day went. Can I get a witness?
But, sisters, true freedom and self-confidence await the woman who engages her difficult life-questions through the lens of Scripture in a systematic way.
Wouldn’t you like to believe that you understand biblically and theologically how women can serve in the church? Would you like to know in your soul that you have a good grasp—biblically and theologically—on whether that baby you’re expecting should be baptized or dedicated? Would you like to know who or what the Holy Spirit is and the role the Holy Spirit plays in your life? Wouldn’t knowing how to think about—and how God thinks about—homosexuality and other sexes and orientations make the entire issue much less frightening and help you know how to be when you are around friends, family, or associates who have come out?
That freedom and confidence come from knowing and understanding not only what you believe, but why you believes what you believe. You will know you have formed your own thoughts, opinions, and interpretations using reliable, tested, and grounded methods, carefully testing your own and your community’s beliefs against Scripture. It is life-changing! I know you already know it’s important to read and study the Bible. But right now it seems theoretical. Yet here’s my news today: it doesn’t have to be theoretical any more.
If you can engage your difficult life-issues with competent biblical integrity (and you can!) rather than relying exclusively on emotions, what others say, or the last book you read’s interpretation (as I did for so long, too), just imagine the difference this will make in your life, your church and, yes, the world! You can feel confidence before God that you are attempting to understand his Word as best you can, as you subsequently seek to follow and obey it.
In the book Women, Leadership, and the Bible: How Do I Know What to Believe? I’ve broken down the process for studying, understanding, and interpreting the Bible—and distilled two seminary degrees and fifteen years of ministry experience—into a 5-step process accessible to every woman, even those consumed by child-raising. If you have a hard life question that’s been under your skin for a long time, and yet you don’t have the time, inclination, or $35,000-$75,000 in financial resources to attend seminary for 2-4 years in order to gain the skills to sort through the issue biblically to your satisfaction, such that you can feel confident that you’ve done a great job discerning a godly answer to your questions, then I’d invite you to check it out.
Also, please go look at the brand new online video training program I’ve created at Biblical Breakthrough!. Good news: the basic training level is free!!! And you can join it with or without ownership of the book. It officially launches on July 9, 2015, but you can still see the information and the site is live, even if pieces of the text are missing. Hey, I said I wrote a book and created a training program, but I’m still a tired, distracted human. When you’re a mama of 3, with a music business, writing a book, and launching an idea (and basically battling off too many other ideas for one brain to manage) lots of details – even important ones like the front page of your new ministry website – slip through the cracks! Still, in the program you’ll find the same method, only it’s in video form. And you’ll find a community, too, some of whom are mamas just like you. Like you, they’re mamas who take their faith seriously and who want to know the Bible and what God says about life stuff, as best they can. Come join us!
So, okay, we’re not a utopian community :). But we’re real, we’re available, and we want to be moving and studying and reflecting on God’s Word side by side with you. We, too, want to experience that freedom and confidence that can be ours through our relationship with God and through the truth of his Word. So, now will you come join us?
Blessings to you today, friend. Thank you for sharing your precious time with me.
Q & A With Dr. Eastman
Q: What’s the purpose of your book, Women, Leadership, and the Bible: How Do I Know What to Believe?
A: The term “empowerment,” it seems to me, is vastly overused these days. Yet, admittedly, that’s exactly what I’m doing through WLB and Biblical Breakthrough! Through equipping women with seminary-level tools by which they can study, understand and interpret the Bible; then, stuffing them full of confidence through constant encouragement that they can do this, I hope to empower them to change from an internal status of paralyzed and possibly ignorant (or simply the feeling that one doesn’t know much or enough) to confident, ready, and trained to engage and effectively apply God’s Word with theological reliability and biblical skill.
Of course I hope this empowers and encourages any Christian wanting to become more grounded in God’s Word, not women only; but my primary mission and calling is to and for women.
Q: What makes it different from other books on women’s issues?
A: Plenty of books espouse one position or another on women’s roles or any other issue, effectively telling women what to think and why to think that. Yet, few teach women to discern God’s messages and desires for his people through systematic, thoughtful, seminary-level analysis. Women, Leadership, and the Bible steps into that void, offering step-by-step, approachable, “non-jargonese ,”methodical process of analyzing an issue on many levels: scriptural, academic, spiritual, emotional, community, and personal. The ultimate goal is to equip women (and any men who desire to read it) to thoroughly and effectively investigate God’s Word, along with filtering through various interpretations of it, and subsequently make up their own mind about an issue.
Q: How could things change if every Christian woman was to read your book?
A: Just IMAGINE a world in which Christian women humbly, yet skillfully study Scripture to get clarity on their hardest biblical questions! And imagine women sifting and sorting through all kinds of opinions and interpretations as they study and consider what the Bible’s text says!
True freedom and self-confidence await the woman who engages the material in Women, Leadership, and the Bible. That freedom and confidence come from knowing and understanding not only what she believes, but why she believes what she believes. She will know she has formed her own thoughts, opinions, and interpretations using reliable, tested, and grounded methods, carefully testing her own and her community’s beliefs against Scripture. It is life-changing!
If women can engage their difficult life-issues with competent biblical integrity (and they can!) rather than relying exclusively on emotions, what others say, or the last book they read’s interpretation, as I did for so long, just imagine the difference this will make in their lives, their churches and, yes, the world! Women (and men who learn these skills, too) can feel confidence before God that they are attempting to understand his Word as best they can, as they subsequently seek to follow and obey it.
DR. NATALIE R. WILSON EASTMAN (M.Div. ‘02, D.Min. ’05–Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is a freelance writer, editor, and member of the Redbud Writers Guild. She has served as a full-time youth minister to girls and women; Bible study teacher; worship leader and team developer; missionary to east Asia; and retreat and event teacher/speaker. She lives in Delaware, OH, with her husband and three young children. Links to her blogs may be found at natalieeastman.com, and her training and coaching at biblicalbreakthrough.com.
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