Editor’s note: This book review was written by Brook Breed, member of the Women’s Advisory Sub-Committee (WASC).
By Jerram Barrs, founder and resident scholar of the Francis Schaeffer Institute and professor of Christian Studies and Contemporary Culture at Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO – Reviewed by WASC member Brook Breed
Jerram Barrs is a masterful storyteller, bringing the lives and times of different biblical women alive to the reader. In each chapter, Jerram relates the historical setting and cultural practices to present-day practices to help the reader identify more closely with the biblical women. He makes practical application from their lives that match our mindset and temptations today. Showing how God used these women in spite of their fears, manipulations, sinfulness, and faithlessness. God’s grace and redemptive plan are revealed through the lives of these women. Of Tamar Jerram writes: “God gave her this place in his grace and love, despite her sin, and honored her as one who was more righteous than Judah, as one who was faithful to her sense of obligation. We are not asked by the Word of God to approve of her deception, her disguise, her acting the part of a prostitute; but we are asked by the Word of God to honor her faithfulness, her readiness to fulfill her obligations, her righteousness.” (page 84)
I felt like I was on a journey looking at the lives of biblical women-those we know by name (as Eve) and those we don’t (“the woman of noble character”). The final chapter, “…we reflect on the image by which God chooses to describe his church-the bride of Christ-and rejoice in the honor that God shows to all women with this title.” (page 11) We see how Jesus ministered and treated the women of His time, setting an example for all to follow. Jerram writes: “He never patronized women or looked down on them; he never regarded them as inferior or spoke slightly of them; instead he showed respect, honor, and grace to women in all his dealings with them.” (page 315).
I highly recommend this book for those who are interested in a personal or group study of key women in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. For those of you who attended the 2010 Women’s Leadership Training Conference, this book is a continuation of the rich biblical teaching we received from Professor Barrs!
** For more on Francis Schaeffer, read Charles Dunahoo’s recent book review, Francis Schaeffer, A Mind and Heart for God.