Exposition Is For Women, Too.
I recently spent a weekend at a Simeon Trust Workshop for women. For three days we learned how to faithfully study Scripture in preparation to teach. The greatest part of the weekend for me? Being in a room with 70 other women doing intense, collaborative work centered around the Word of God. We pushed, questioned, and encouraged one another in deep, academic Bible study. And it was all for the sake of becoming better teachers of the Word.
Too often women’s ministry in the church is characterized by “fluff.” It sends the wrong message, not just to women, but to the world around us, especially if we focus our time together on feel-good, us-centered activities and teaching. Women are quite capable of studying the Bible and studying it well. My recent Simeon Trust weekend proved this to me again.
Yet sometimes we need to be convinced or reminded of our capabilities because we’re regularly tempted to keep women’s ministries “fluffy,” lacking serious content from the Word. We may think it’s more welcoming to women who are new. Or we might think women are already overworked and want to kick back and be refreshed. Or perhaps we even believe serious study is for others, whoever they may be. But what if the whole intent of the Bible is to minister truth to us? What if we short-change women by not teaching intently from the Word?
I believe women need to hear other women exposit (teach clearly and directly from) the Bible. Here are just a few reasons why:
God Speaks to Us Through the Bible
Scripture is the primary way that God has revealed himself to us. God, in his greatness, holiness, and righteousness chose to use human communication to speak to us. He did this so that we can know him and love him. This is amazing!
We often take it for granted that we have this book to open at any time. Sometimes we treat the Bible like any other book, rather than as the words of our beloved Father. If we belong to him, we should make every effort to draw near to him. We can do this best by reading, knowing, studying, and teaching Scripture regularly (Deut 6:6-7).
We are cheating ourselves and others if we do not put time and effort into our study of the Bible. We might think of it as God’s love letter to us. I remember an email I received from my now-husband just after we started dating. I first read it as quickly as I could, wanting to know all that it said. Then I re-read it a thousand different ways, trying to ascertain ever underlying detail. I wanted to know him and know how he felt about me. I wanted to know where this relationship was heading. This is how we should read the Bible. We should pore over it, wanting to understand every detail.
God Has Given Women Good Brains
Not only did God give us His Word, he gave us good brains to understand it. Every single person who genuinely seeks to know God through his Word can do so (Ps. 119:130). Women are incredibly smart. Women excel in all walks of life because we are capable and intelligent. And yet, often we do not provide opportunities for women to use our great minds in the church. This is not only unfortunate, it is wrong. Women can and should use their intelligence to know the Bible. And we should teach one another using skillful exposition.
God Has Gifted Women to Teach
I am privileged to know some amazing women who teach with such skill and grace. I hope that you do, too. Without a doubt, many women are gifted teachers. We need to use the gifts God has given us.
Women communicate differently than men. When women exposit to women, we can challenge and exhort one another in ways that a man could not. We are refreshed and encouraged when we gather together to study and learn the Word together.
The Bible Ministers to Women
I have participated in numerous Bible studies in my lifetime. Inevitably, women at times come to a study feeling broken. As a leader, there were times that I suspended our entire discussion to care for the needs of women in distress. Other times we listened and loved, prayed, and then moved on to our regular study time.
Though it sometimes seems like the most caring thing is to suspend the study, in my experience women are better cared for by carrying on with Bible study. God’s words are ones of life and love given to us to minister to us. God’s Word reveals Jesus, shows us our great need of him, and assures us that we are safe in his presence. No better way exists to care for one another than to lead each other to his grace. One of the best means of doing this is through exposition. My words of comfort to a hurting woman will always fall short. But God's words of comfort bring exactly what is needed.
Thorough, intentional study of the Bible is not just for others. Expositional teaching is for women, too. When we embrace a serious study of the Word, we will see women grow and flourish. We will show them that God’s Word is powerful, life-changing, and attainable for all.