Book Reviews - Women of the Word and None Like Him
Here are two nourishing books for any woman—both written by Jen Wilkin. They are books that will actually help the reader dig in and digest the Word of God for themselves. I recommend them for women of any age, but can see a special usefulness in moms and daughters reading them together—how great for young women or young believers to read these truths early on in their spiritual journeys!
Recently I was browsing in a bookstore with my friend who has been a Christian for well over 20 years. She picked up “Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Minds and Our Hearts” by Jen Wilkin and cried out, “This book changed my life!” She went on to describe how Wilkin’s direction revolutionized the way she read and understood scripture—even after all this time. I was intrigued and had to read it for myself.
Wilkin starts off by sharing two major paradigm shifts that she had to make when she began seriously studying the Bible as an adult: the Bible is about God (not us) and in order to love God and His word with our hearts, we need to know Him and His word with our minds first. I really appreciate her illuminating those truths and imagine they are eye opening for many readers.
I found myself agreeing out loud with Jen when I read, “Bible literacy matters because it protects us from falling into error. Both the false teacher and the secular humanist rely on biblical ignorance for their messages to take root, and the modern church has proven fertile ground for those messages” (page 45). Preach it, sister.
Jen goes on to teach the Five P’s of Sound Study, designating a chapter for each one:
- Study with Purpose
- Study with Perspective
- Study with Patience
- Study with Process
- Study with Prayer
- And, if possible, study with People.
I won’t elaborate here on each of the P’s—buy the book! But I will say that they provided a rich review for me as a teacher of the Bible. I find her methods solid, thorough, and accessible for any man or woman eager to better know and love the Word of God. I can see why they revolutionized my friend’s Bible study habits.
I share Jen Wilkin’s drive to see women Biblically literate. I think “Women if the Word” would be a great group study to tackle this summer for any group of girlfriends. It will lay the foundation for a lifetime of sound study for the reader.
“None Like Him: 10 Ways God is Different From Us (And Why That’s a Good Thing)” is another Jen Wilkin book you should add to your wishlist. A group of us moms and teen girls have been reading it together for the last several months. We’ve let each teen girl take a turn leading discussion on each chapter and I think it has been eye-opening and nourishing for both moms and girls.
In Jen’s introduction she says, “I want us to consider the majesty of a limitless God. I want us to meditate on his perfections so that they become to us the most rational object of our reverence and awe. And along the way, I want us to stare down our tendency to ask others and even ourselves to be what only God is” (page 13). I love a book that causes me to take my eyes off myself and to fix them on Jesus. And this book not only does that, but it forces me to examine where I have tried to make myself like God—where I have tried to be all-powerful or all-knowing or self-sufficient, for example.
The book includes 10 chapters, each focusing on an incommunicable attribute of God—meaning a character trait that only He has, not one that we created humans may also have (such as love). They are infinite, incomprehensible, self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and sovereign. Jen skillfully describes each trait using both the Bible and everyday illustrations to bring each one solidly into our understanding. She then leads the reader to question where we may have disbelieved such truth about God or where we might be attempting to be like God in each specific area.
I appreciate that Wilkin asks, “How should the knowledge that God is ____ change the way I live?” (page 17). It’s not enough to read and know scripture and to grow in our knowledge of God, but we must also seek to be transformed by our knowledge. As Bible teachers and preachers often say, the Bible is not just for our information, but our transformation. This book both informs and challenges us to be transformed.
Since moving back to the States 18 months ago, I have read and listened to Jen Wilkin often—books, podcasts, conference sessions, blogs. She has become an online mentor to me. She’s a woman who prioritizes the Word of God above all else—above fads, style, even social causes, and the ebb and flow of popular ministry movements. She wants to get the Word into her heart and the hearts of readers. Keep your eyes and ears out for her. This summer I’ll be hosting a women’s study in my home on The Sermon on the Mount and I look forward to reading Wilkin’s 1 Peter: A Living Hope in Christ, as well.