I was thrilled to find a new book leaning against my door where the mail carrier had left it.
It contained a trusted Bible teacher’s thoughts on the book of Exodus–just in time to begin preparing for a class I would be teaching soon.
Tearing open the package, I began dreaming about a big mug of tea and a marathon reading session.
Written by a true woman of the Word, the book did not disappoint.
She had dug deeply, done her research, and her insights were scriptural and challenging.
“How does she do it?” I wondered.
I was determined to know, and the longer I read, the more pronounced the answer to my question become.What does a true woman of the Word look like, and how can you become one?
Women of the Word Begin With the Word
“Open my eyes so that I may contemplate wonderful things from Your instruction.” – Psalm 119:18 HCSB
Women of the Word start their study of the Bible with… the Bible!
Instead of depending upon the teaching of others, the scholars I admire most have rolled up their sleeves and done the work for themselves.
Naturally, they check their work carefully against trustworthy commentaries, study Bibles, and the cross-referencing, internal consistency of the Word itself.
They have learned to trust God’s promises because they know what God has promised—and what he has not promised.
God is able to speak to them through biblical truth because they have stored his Word like treasure in the vault of their hearts and minds.
Rather than depending upon the already-digested, second-hand offerings of devotional books—or even Bible studies—as the foundation of their biblical worldview, women of the Word open their own dog-eared Bibles with Psalm 119:18 on their lips.God is able to speak to women of the Word through biblical truth because they have stored his Word like treasure in the vault of their hearts and minds.
Women of the Word Will Not Be Deceived
“This is my practice: I obey Your precepts.” – Psalm 119:56 HCSB
When I am in the process of turning bright red tomatoes into fragrant and delicious spaghetti sauce in my kitchen, I’m usually working with inexact measures.
The recipe may call for nine cups of tomato puree, but my garden produces whatever seems right in that season.
Measuring the herbs that flavor the sauce is definitely more of an art than a science.
“Needs more oregano,” I said aloud to the cloud of steam rising from the kettle. “And maybe some more brown sugar.”
When the flavor of the sauce is off, I know it because I know what it’s supposed to taste like.
Even when my sons were young, they could tell the difference between my sauce and something I bought in the store.
I want that kind of familiarity with the truth of God’s Word.
When I read a book or listen to a message that deviates from biblical teaching, I want to be able to say, “Hey, the flavor is off here!”
And so I read, but I handle my reading of Scripture differently than I handle all the other hundreds of pages I read as part of my book-loving life.Women of the Word have a great familiarity with the truth of God’s Word.
How to Read the Word as a Woman of the Word
“I will meditate on Your precepts and think about Your ways.” – Psalm 119:15 HCSB
Here are three ways a woman of the Word reads God’s Word.
1 – Women of the Word Read Slowly.
I can finish off a novel or the average Christian non-fiction work in less than a week, but this year, it is going to take me twenty-one weeks to work my way through John’s Gospel.
Reading at the pace of one chapter per week, I have time to notice nuance and word choice.
I might decide to memorize part of the chapter or to branch off into some other portion of Scripture that seems connected, and I have time to do that because I’m not racing through to some arbitrary finish line.
2 – Women of the Word Read Repetitively.
Reading the same chapter every day for a week gives me the opportunity to read in different versions.
After I’ve followed cross-references and thoroughly pondered the passage to comprehend and interpret it on my own, I have all week to check commentaries or even read a book alongside the sacred text.
3 – Women of the Word Read in Context.
I understand Ephesians 6 best when I first read Ephesians 5.
I’ll appreciate the book of Ephesians even more if I have read Romans and Colossians because Paul writes thematically and consistently with every book opening a window to the truth of the others.Here are three ways women of the Word read the Bible.
Women of the Word Read the Entirety of God’s Word
“I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from Your commands. I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.” – Psalm 119:10-11 HCSB
Because Paul quotes the Old Testament extensively, and because other New Testament writers (and Jesus himself) often explain and expand Old Covenant truth, reading in context requires staying in touch with both the Old and the New Testaments.
I try to read through the Bible or listen to a podcast that takes me through the whole Bible almost every year.
We need the whole narrative arc of Scripture to guard against error. Even more important is that it fuels our love for God–the sole motivation for ministry for which our souls were designed.
Wholehearted immersion in the Word of God is the only preventative to a subtle slippage into error.Women of the Word need the whole narrative arc of Scripture to guard against error.
Women of the Word Stay in Their Lane
“He stores up success for the upright; He is a shield for those who live with integrity.” – Proverbs 2:7 HCSB
My recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease has felt like taking on a part-time job.
Daily exercises and physical therapy appointments gulp my time, but the question that chases me out the door and keeps me stretching and strengthening every day is powerful:
“Do you want to fight this disease or give in to its deterioration?”
I don’t have time to do a lot of things that, perhaps, others think I should be doing.
I don’t even have time to do all the things I might think I should be doing.
Like everyone, I have to choose the most important things and then try to do them with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
If I want to be a woman of the Word, if I want to know the Word of God well and teach it clearly, I must spend time with the text.
How much time do I spend scrolling through Instagram?
Do I have hobbies that have started to take over my life and my living space?
Is entertainment a form of relaxation and connection with my family, or has Netflix become a personal idol that absorbs precious hours?
As a young man, Jim Elliot wrote in his journal, “Be on guard, oh my soul, of complicating your environment so that you have neither time nor room for growth.”
Distraction is the 21st-century pandemic for which there is no vaccine.
Google and the iPhone have convinced us that we can know everything, be everywhere at once, and do it all.
But we honor God most and best when we leave omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence in his job description and embrace our creaturely limitations.
God is using my chronic illness to teach me that it is a gift to stay in my lane.Women of the Word resist the world’s distractions and dedicate time to regular Bible study.
Becoming a Woman of the Word
“Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in Your ways.” Psalm 119:37 HCSB
So, do you want to be a woman of the Word?
Are you willing to put in the time and the hard work of study in order to serve your people well?
What safeguards do you have in place to help you recognize any signs that you are becoming distracted?
A detailed daily do-list will show you how you are spending your precious minutes.
God will honor the prayer of Psalm 119:37 as you make it your own.
Commit your minutes as well as your years to becoming a woman of the Word.
The team at Living by Design Ministries has recently released an Updated & Expanded Version of their beloved Wisdom Whispers study.
If you need a little extra help with Bible study, this free resource is a great place to start.
The updated version of the study now includes a Printable PDF version with five personal application questions for each daily devotional. If you’ve never done this free Bible study before, today is a great day to sign up!
Then commit to connecting with them on a weekly basis throughout the thirty-day study (by e-mail, phone, video chat, or social media).
Wisdom Whispers will take you on a 31-day journey through the life and writings of King Solomon and will teach you how to listen for the whispers of wisdom in your life.
King Solomon began his reign with wisdom and ended it with folly. We will explore what went wrong and do our best to learn from his mistakes.
You will receive a welcome letter (+ a free gift!) once you confirm your subscription, and the first devotional will arrive in your inbox tomorrow morning.
– Michele Morin
Michele Morin writes, speaks, and teaches from a desire to see women become Christ followers & students of God’s Word. She is a wife, Mum to four great men and four daughters-in-love, and Bam to five adorable grandchildren. Active in educational ministries with the church she calls home, Michele shares the books she is reading and the grace she is receiving at Living Our Days. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.