Bible Study, Mailbag

The Mailbag: Can you recommend a good Bible study for women/teens/kids?

 

Can you recommend a good women’s Bible study? 

Can you recommend a Bible study we can do with our teens/children?

Next to being asked whether or not a particular teacher is doctrinally sound, this question, or some variation of it, is the one I’m most often asked. And, to be honest, it’s a question I have a love-hate relationship with.

I love (LOVELOVELOVELOVE) that women ask me this question because it means two things: they want to study/teach their children the Bible and they want to be sure what they’re learning or teaching is doctrinally sound and in line with Scripture. That’s the central reason my ministry even exists- I want Christian women to be grounded in the Bible and sound doctrine, and it brings me unbelievable joy and encouragement when I see women seek that out.

The hate part has nothing to do with the people asking the question, but with the prevailing line of thought in evangelicalism that has led them to ask the question. Namely, that the people in the pew aren’t capable of studying and understanding the Bible for themselves- they need some Christian celebrity to tell them what it means.

This is scarily reminiscent of the pre-Protestant Reformation ideology that ruled Roman Catholic “Christianity.” The pope and the priests, not the Scriptures themselves, told Christians what to believe. Catholic rulers prohibited the people from having copies of the Bible in their own language and martyred many Bible translators and reformers. Only the elite, those in leadership, were supposedly able to comprehend the Scriptures and dispense doctrine to the common Christian.

Twentieth and twenty-first century evangelicalism hasn’t taken that direct and violent route, but rather, has gradually brainwashed – whether intentionally or unintentionally – Christians into thinking that if they’re going to study or teach the Bible, they have to have a curriculum, book, or DVD study in order to do so. Teach straight from the Bible with no leader’s guide or student books? It’s practically unheard of in the average church, and hardly anyone is equipped to do so. Why? Because for the past several decades, that’s how Bible study has been presented to church members. You walk into Sunday School and you’re handed a quarterly. Somebody wants to teach a women’s Bible study? She’s sent to peruse the shelves of LifeWay for a popular author, not to her prayer closet and her Bible. Using teaching materials written by somebody else is just assumed.

Well in my opinion, it’s time for another reformation. A Bible study reformation. And, so, with hammer in hand, I have one resolution I want to nail to the door of Church As Usual:

I will no longer help perpetuate the stranglehold the pre-packaged Bible study industry has on Christians. If you are a 21st century believer with access to a Bible in your native language and doctrinally sound preaching and teaching I will not recommend a Bible study book or program to you. You need to pick up the actual Bible and begin studying the God-breathed text for yourself, and teach it to your children. 

“…my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”¹

Ladies, I know you may feel inadequate, but don’t give in to those feelings. Try. Pick a book of the Bible, start at the beginning, and read it through to the end, taking as much time as you need. You might just be pleasantly surprised at how well you grasp it. That’s because, if you’re a believer, the Holy Spirit resides within you and will help you to understand the Word He authored.

Read directly from the Bible to your children. Ask them simple questions about the passage: How was this Bible character obedient or disobedient to God? What can we learn about what God is like from this chapter? What does this passage teach us about prayer, forgiveness, loving each other, kindness, etc.? Explain any big words they might not understand, or look them up together.

Afraid you might get something wrong? Confused by a particular verse? That may happen from time to time, and that’s OK. Bible study is a skill just like everything else. Nobody ever tried a new task and was perfect at it the very first time. But God has not only given you the Holy Spirit who will never lead you into doctrinal error, He has given you a pastor, elders, teachers, and brothers and sisters in the Lord to help disciple you. Ask questions, trust God to illumine your understanding, and keep right on practicing.

There are also a myriad of reference materials that can hone your skills and help as you study your Bible (see the “Additional Resources” section below). And there are some fantastic, easy to read books on theology by trustworthy authors that can give you greater clarity on various points of doctrine. By all means, read as many as you can get your hands on.

But when it’s time for Bible study, study your Bible. When it’s time to teach your children, teach them the Bible. You can do this, ladies. Women with less education and fewer resources than you have access to have done it for centuries and have flourished in their walk with the Lord.

Trust God. Study hard. You can do this.


Additional Resources:

The Mailbag: We Want Bible Study Answers

Bible Study resource articles

Bible Studies by Michelle Lesley

10 Simple Steps to Plain Vanilla Bible Study

You’re Not as Dumb as You Think You Are: Five Reasons to Put Down that Devotional and Pick Up the Actual Bible

10 Bookmarkable Biblical Resources for Christian Women

Rightly Dividing: 12 Do’s and Don’ts for Effective Bible Study


¹Just a little tribute to Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

15 thoughts on “The Mailbag: Can you recommend a good Bible study for women/teens/kids?”

  1. This is great advice. We don’t have to have prepacked study. I have gotten where I don’t always want to do a topical either.

    Like

  2. I couldn’t agree more and that is generally how I study the Bible. I have gotten away from doing any book studies. I asked that question and probably should have been more clear about wanting to do one of your studies. I like the simple yet thoughtful questions. Keep making them!

    Like

    1. Hi Karlyn-
      I get asked this question at least once a week, it seems like. No worries about clarity- I was probably answering a hundred ladies or so who asked the same question! :0)

      You’re more than welcome to work through any of my studies you’d like (they’re all under the “Bible Studies” tab at the top of the blog). Like I mentioned in We Want Bible Study Answers I think of my studies as sort of a training exercise, demonstrating the types of questions we should be asking of the text, themes we should look for, etc. I want to work myself out of a job when it comes to teaching women how to study the Bible :0)

      Like

  3. Amen, amen and AMEN!! This is the best lesson I’ve seen you dispense. Prayer for clarity from the Holy Spirit (aka discernment) is also a necessity IMHO. God loves for us to seek Him first and He reveals Himself when we do! Study your Bible EVERYDAY not because it’s necessary but because He is your First Love!

    Like

  4. This has been a bone of contention for me for the last 20 years, as it has been for my wife. I know this is an overgeneralization, but women’s bible studies tend to be on “How to be a good wife/mother/woman.” There is value in that, to be sure, but not to the exclusion of learning the whole counsel of God. I’m skeptical that all Lois and Eunice were able were able to teach Timothy about the Scriptures was the OT version of Titus 2.

    At the theology class I teach at our church (Gccsatx.com) we open it to males and females and more women attend than men. We’re not using an easy book as our guide, either – Robert Reymond’s systematic theology. I have to commend the women who have taken the initiative to attend – and it would benefit all women to study beyond the typical “women’s” curriculum.

    Like

  5. I agree, except when you have special needs children that need pictures, interaction, or games included to get a point or doctrine across, and I am not creative enough to do that.
    Sometimes, you just need help.

    Like

  6. I just wanted to add an actual recommendation – Jen Wilkin. She is a reformed Bible teacher (women only) and has written an excellent book (it’s small but sooo packed with information) on women doing real Bible study – inductively (I’m not saying you have to do *inductive* study in order for your study to be “real” – I just mean it’s not a mushy-gushy “study”.

    The book itself isn’t a Bible study – but a “how to study the Bible on your own”. It’s called “Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds”.

    And, if you’re like me and still feel like you need a little more help, she offers her studies online for free (including a weekly lecture at the end of the week). These are all inductive studies that encourage you to learn God’s Word for yourself. I’m presently on week 6 of 123 John, frequently frustrated (nearly every day is HARD) but am also very rewarded when God begins to show me glimpses of truth that I’ve never seen before. The frustration’s worth it. I’m thinking of having my daughter – who will be in 8th grade next year, do these studies instead of a typical reading curriculum. (You can find the studies at https://www.jenwilkin.net/resources-for-download/). You don’t need to fill anything out unless you’re planning on making many copies for a group study or something).

    As far as kids go, I’ve been frustrated with finding something that’s good quality. The Gospel Story Bible and The-ology, both by Marty Machowski are excellent (and reformed), and lately I’ve been simply using The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible. It has ideas for family worship for EVERY. SINGLE. CHAPTER. of the Bible!

    (I do not read from the kjv, only use the excellent resources in the study portion. I most always read the NLT to my kids).

    Anyway, hope these resources may help someone as much as they’ve been helpful to me. They aren’t necessarily pre-packaged and/or easy, but they are definitely helpful if you’re like me and don’t feel quite like you have it all down yet and need a little assistance 🙂

    …sorry for the super long comment!

    God bless you lovely sisters ❤

    Like

  7. We are reading Who Told You That You Were Naked by William Combs. It’s been a great read for our small women’s group. It’s a great read on Adam and Eve and the first sin. Been a reminder of how we still hide as Adam and Eve did.

    Like

Leave a Reply to audreystrawberry Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.