A Note from Chris Adams: In part one of this article by guest writer Kristi Glenn, she showed how sometimes our fear of the Bible keeps us from knowing and living intimately with God. Now, that the illness has been diagnosed, Kristi shows four practical ways to help women discover the cure by engaging with God through His Word.
1. Teach women the Bible is for everyone.
Part of the issue at hand is a faulty belief that somehow biblical knowledge is only for pastors or missionaries, but not for “normal” Christians. These ideas are incredibly dangerous in the life of any believer. When we see the Bible as only for the elite, we cut ourselves off from the source of our deep knowledge about God. So, the first step to helping is to talk about the issue. Most of the women in our churches probably are not even aware they think this way about Scripture. In pulling back the curtain on the beliefs that drive our fears and actions, we start the road to healing.
2. Make the Bible accessible by showing the big picture.
Sometimes, the Bible is frightening to women simply because of its sheer size. Any time I begin discipling a new group of women, the first thing I do is introduce them to the idea that the Bible is one continuous story from beginning to end. This story has four key plot moves: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. This big picture view provides a road map to understanding any passage of Scripture. That way, even if they end up in the middle of Judges, if nothing else they already know that whatever is happening is after God created everything and it was good, humanity disobeyed God, and is looking forward to the redemption that is coming in Christ. Understanding the big picture demystifies some of the complexities of the Bible, and makes the task of understanding the Bible seem less frightening.
3. Make the Bible accessible by defining your terms.
The Bible is full of words that aren’t a part of our daily vernacular. Sometimes for those who have grown up hearing these words, it’s easy just to throw them around without ever defining what we mean. This practice is dangerous because it makes the Bible seem inaccessible for the outsider, and if we never define our terms we might not even know what they mean. On the other hand, these words are found in most English translations of the Bible, so avoiding them all together is equally unhelpful. My practice when I am teaching is to be intentional about the words that I use. Sometimes, for example, it may be better to skip the word “sanctification” and just use the definition. On the other hand, if we’re studying Romans and I come across “justification,” it is best not to edit the Bible. In this case, I would offer an accessible definition like, “being made right with God.” By defining our terms, we give women the tools they need to know the Bible for themselves.
Pray for the women you disciple. Pray for the Holy Spirit to illuminate the Scriptures as they read and open their hearts to love Him more. Pray with the women you disciple. Model for them intimate prayer with the Lord. Pray back to God the truths you uncover in the Bible. Allow what you learn about God to fuel your affections for God, and let that be evidenced in the way you pray. Relationships live and die in their communication, and our relationship with God is no different. By leading women to develop vibrant prayer lives, we help lead them into the thriving relationship with God for which they were created.
Knowing God is the heartbeat of the Christian life, and we gain true knowledge of God through His Word. I pray that by addressing some of the fears of the women we disciple we might lead them to be women with a robust knowledge of God in their minds that fuels a deep, affectionate love for God in their hearts.
Kristi Glenn is a Georgia native currently living in North Carolina as an MA student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is passionate about engaging and equipping women with the Word of God both in the U.S. and around the world.