Category Archives: Book Review
Twelve Extraordinary Women, by John MacArthur
I bought this book to use as a study. I usually need a lot of structure and am working on just reading my Bible. This book is probably a quick read to most people, but I decided to break it down and just go section (or short chapter) by section. I’m really glad I did, I had me really digging into the Bible and re-reading stories I thought I “knew”.
Bear in mind, this is the author’s opinion in many ways, but I do think he used truth from the Bible to form his opinions and I found myself agreeing with almost everything. He chose 12 women from the Bible and told their stories. There are others I wish he had written about, but the ones he chose were all great. The women he chose and their central characteristics are:
- Eve – perseverance in faith and expectation
- Sarah – steadfast hope
- Rahab – remarkable conversion
- Ruth – devotion, love, trust and humility
- Hannah – dedication of motherhood
- Mary, mother of Christ – humble submission
- Anna – faithful witness
- The Samaritan woman – eager response to the Gospel message
- Martha – devoted servant
- Mary, of Bethany – worship above all else
- Mary Magdalene – great love and devotion
- Lydia – a heart willing to receive the Good News
The author did a great job of citing these women’s flaws as well as their “redeeming qualities”. He made a point to state that they were not perfect, but God’s perfect plan was able to manifest through them. Each one of them also had the central theme of faith in the promised Messiah or faith in the King that has come. This theme was so important in connecting the people of God of the Old Testament and the witnesses and converts of the New Testament.
He also acknowledged that sometimes, in our feminist world, we forget that the Bible is really good about promoting women as equal as men. None of these women were extraordinary because of who they married or what family they came from. They had their own unique qualities about their person, as well as exemplified women’s virtues to accomplish things in a way no man could. I appreciated that because sometimes the world tries to label Christianity as too traditional, as if that’s a negative thing! They view the Bible as something that puts women in the background. In reality, women were created as a helper, or equal, and there are roles that only we can fill. These women played the main character in their stories and I’m thankful for these reminders. It just goes to show, no matter who you are, or your background, God can use you!
One of my favorite little things from this book: The first chapter was about Eve and it was one of the longest ones, rightfully so. It begins with creation and follows Even through the exile from the Garden. The very last thing he talks about is that even through Adam and Eve’s original sin, they were given a promise. The promise actually came through the curse of the serpent, “I will put enmity…between your seed and her Seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Gen 3:15) The mere mention of her Seed means she would have children, but not just any children. Her line would produce the Messiah. The thing that stood out to me was he also mentions that heaven will be filled with Adam and Eve’s offspring – ALL of us! It gave me chills to think of being in Heaven one day, praising our Savior in the flesh while being in the midst of all the ancestors of faith. The last line says “After all, heaven will be filled with her redeemed offspring, and they will be eternally occupied with a celebration of the work of her Seed.” Extraordinary!
(Disclaimer: This is actually a review of the journal based on the book Get Out of That Pit…went the cheap way!)
I started this book back in February, so I’ve been done for a while but have been waiting for a few good minutes to tell you all about it! Ladies, if you haven’t done a Beth Moore Bible study before, I sincerely recommend that you do! I knew she had some great things to say but kept thinking “oh, that’s for moms, or grandma’s or you know, anyone but me“. HA! Last fall the ladies Bible study at our church did a study called “Loving Well” by Beth. It was fantastic! Well, long story short I had been wrestling with the fact that I wasn’t learning God’s Word very much other than Sunday mornings…no quiet time and God was really calling to me, “Come back!” It’s been way too long. Tim and I have been focusing on strengthening our individual relationship with the Living God as well as our marriage (more on that in another post). I need a lot of structure and sometimes lot’s of help getting started. I did some research on the internet and thought “Well, I’ll do this one…” No real big commitment, huh? Like the disclaimer says I went the cheap route and only bought the journal. Little did I know, it would hold EXACTLY the words that my heart would need to hear…
First off, Beth Moore is a wonderful teacher. She knows how to talk to a woman without being saccharine sweet. The way she words things just made me say “WOW!” But, also, of course her words are helpful – they are TRUTH filled! This book/journal is filled with Biblical truths about what a pit can be for each different person, how we easily fall into it, how living in it feels, and, most gloriously, how to grasp onto Jesus, our Savior, and RISE out of that pit! Before beginning this, I could definitely equate my spiritual life to that of living in a pit. I definitely knew that’s how it felt but didn’t realize all the things that led up to that or how God had been working so hard to prepare me to be removed from the pit. It was eye opening. One quick example of my own personal pit: I had definitely replaced Jesus as my first love and had been suffering the consequences and shame for a while. Once I traced it back as far as I possibly could, admitted my specific sins that led me down that road and believed that the Almighty God truly does forgive me, it was like taking a breath of fresh air. Things have changed so much since that, I don’t have time to write it all down, but I hope to tell you more through more posts about my life out of the pit now.
Don’t get me wrong, it is not a “get fixed quick” type of book. I truly believe that through the “happenstance” of finding this book at B&N it was just exactly what God wanted me to read. He knows how my mind works, how I need the structure of a journal like this, how I need to be pried out of my comfort zone. The journal itself worked really well for me how it is laid out. There is a short devotional type point, a question relating to what it teaches, a question for relating it to your life specifically and then a section for prayer journaling. And of course, scripture to back it all up! I thoroughly enjoyed getting back into His Word and began to notice so many fascinating things through this study. I also am not great at journaling, but this encouraged me to do more of it and made it really easy.
If you’re struggling with anything, doubt, shame, depression, loneliness, or you just feel stuck in one place, you should give this book and journal a try. I believe Beth has been blessed with a talent for explaining things succinctly and in a new way. A way that will get your attention and make you see the Truth. Jesus wants us to live a life of freedom!