Is the Bible Good for Women?: Seeking Clarity and Confidence Through a Jesus-Centered Understanding of Scripture (Paperback)
Is it possible to embrace the inherent dignity of womanhood while still cherishing the Bible?
Many people, both inside and outside the church, are concerned that an orthodox understanding of the Bible is threatening and even harmful to women. After all, the Bible has a number of passages regarding women that are deeply troubling and hard to read.
But is that assessment accurate?
In this fascinating look at God’s work of redemption from Creation to today, Wendy Alsup explores questions such as:
* How does God view justice and equal rights for women?
* What does it mean to be made in the image of God?
* How have the centuries distorted our interpretation of how God views women?
* How did Jesus approach the Old Testament and how does that help us read difficult passages today?
* What is the difference between a modern view of feminism and the feminism that Scripture models?
* How does the Bible explain the Bible to us?
Using a Jesus-centered understanding to look at both God’s grand storyline and specific biblical passages, Alsup gives practical and accessible tools for understanding the noble ways God speaks to and about women in its pages and the dignity He places on His daughters.
About the Author
Wendy Alsup is the author of Practical Theology for Women, The Gospel-Centered Woman, and By His Wounds You Are Healed. She began her public ministry as deacon of women’s theology and teaching at her church in Seattle, but she now lives on an old family farm in South Carolina, where she teaches math at a local community college and is a mother to her two boys. She writes at theologyforwomen.org and gospelcenteredwoman.com.
“Is the Bible good for women? Some hear the question and scoff: ‘Of course not! It’s antiquated, dangerous, misogynistic.’ Some hear the question and grieve: ‘Of course it is! It’s God’s Word, and it frees women to be who God means for them to be.’ What Wendy Alsup understands and articulates is that even something as good as the Bible can be put to poor use in the hands of sinful people. Thus she approaches the question with care and insight to provide an answer that is thoroughly biblical and so very satisfying.”
—Tim Challies, blogger and author of Visual Theology
“The Bible is good for women. Yet many misunderstandings and misapplications of the Bible’s teachings harm women and, in harming women, harm the world. Providing helpful textual and contextual insights and backed by careful research and clear writing, this book shows how the Bible has always advanced the flourishing of women and can continue to do so today, if only we will read, understand, and apply it.”
—Karen Swallow Prior, author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me and Fierce Convictions—The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More: Poet, Reformer Abolitionist
“Wendy Alsup offers a Jesus-centered way of interpreting some difficult passages of the Bible related to women. These are passages the Bible’s critics love to offer as proof that God’s Word hurts women. Rather than a line-for-line rebuttal, Alsup attempts to shift the debate by providing counsel in how to read the Bible as a whole story focused on our glorious Savior. Even if you don’t agree with her at every point, you’ll be helped to understand the Bible better and why it’s not only good but the best book for women.”
—Thabiti Anyabwile, pastor of Anacostia River Church and author of Reviving the Black Church
“Is the Bible good for women? Many people (both women and men) would emphatically say no. To them, the Bible promotes a patriarchy that has historically crushed women and given men license to suppress and abuse them. After all, how could a book that talks about forcing a raped woman to marry her rapist or tells wives to ‘submit’ to their husbands be good for women? Without flinching at the difficulty of certain parts of the Bible, and while at the same time upholding divine inspiration of the Scripture, Wendy Alsup weaves together answers that are not only consistently Christ-centered but are also true to the heart of the Lord who loves women. As a woman who highly values both women and God’s Word, Alsup gives us answers to some of the most difficult questions about gender in the Bible. Because her answers are deeply compassionate and true to Scripture, this book will be good for you. I highly recommend it!”
—Elyse M. Fitzpatrick, author of Home: How Heaven and the New Earth Satisfy Our Deepest Longings
“Unlike other volumes with the words women and Bible in the title, Is the Bible Good for Women? offers readers more than lessons on femininity via the sacred text. Instead, Wendy Alsup aims to give us a better understanding of the Scripture itself, reminding men and women alike that our ultimate good is found in knowing and reflecting Christ. Whether you are on a personal journey or teaching through a difficult passage, this book provides the necessary context and story arc to understand that, yes, even in its more difficult points, the Bible truly is good news for all of us.”
—Hannah Anderson, speaker and author of Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image and Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul
“Wendy has done a magnificent job here in answering the question of the book title. If we desire women to flourish in God’s good design, then we must understand from the whole of Scripture what that design is. Although I don’t agree with all her conclusions, this is an excellent book that is serious about the Bible and serious about women thriving.”
—Matt Chandler, lead pastor of the Village Church and president of Acts 29 church-planting network
“I know the Scripture is inerrant, yet the first few times I read through the whole Bible, there were directions about women that made me cringe, and I wrote in my margin, ‘Help me understand, O Lord!’ If you have felt like this, you will be so enlightened by Is the Bible Good for Women? A biblical scholar, Wendy Alsup puts these passages in the context of all of Scripture and brings light that will affirm that yes, indeed, not only is Jesus for women, but the Bible is for women! We need this not just in speaking to our secular friends but to our own souls.”
—Dee Brestin, author of The Friendships of Women and Idol Lies
“Wendy asks penetrating questions about the Bible that have lingered in the minds of many people: Can women trust the Bible? What do we do with women like Tamar, Dinah, or the daughter of Jephthah? What about the imperatives for women to submit to husbands and church officers? Is the Bible merely a patriarchal document that supports the oppression of women, or is it God’s good Word to all people? Wendy tackles these questions head on, revealing that these are not arbitrary stories and commands but rather meaningful texts that point to a reason and a hope to keep the memories of even these women alive. God does value and care for women, and we see that when we read Scripture interpreted through Christ our Lord.”
—Aimee Byrd, author of Housewife Theologian, Theological Fitness, and No Little Women
“Some pastors and laypeople treat difficult texts of Scripture like the scariest parts of a movie—taking furtive glances through barely parted fingers, fast-forwarding to the parts of the story that seem easier and happier. Others use these texts as proof points to shore up a particular framework or ideological agenda, or to tear one (or all of them) down. This book does neither. Instead, Wendy Alsup shows how reading the Bible as the cohesive story of Jesus and His work on our behalf is the answer to questions some of the most challenging texts in the Bible raise for women to read and receive as good. Whether you’re a pastor or a layperson, a complementarian or an egalitarian, or whether you’re someone for whom such terms create more questions than they answer, you will find insights that challenge and encourage you and be driven to deeper study and trust in the sufficiency of Scripture to answer even the hardest questions.”
—Rachael Starke, writer at GospelCenteredWoman.com and TheThinkingsofThings.com