Most Christians know the famous men of the Bible.
You know, guys like Adam and Moses, David and Abraham. But the women of the Bible are usually lesser known. How many people have heard of the Widow of Zarephath in the Old Testament or Tabitha and Phoebe in the New Testament?
There have been a few books in past decades that have sought to bring attention to these women. Women of the Bible is one of them, and I loved reading that book when I was in high school. But there’s been a long need to update this text, and I think that Aaron and Elaina Sharp have done just that with their 2017 publication, The Most Important Women of the Bible: Remarkable Stories of God’s Love and Redemption.
Aaron and Elaina Sharp do a masterful job of painting the big picture of God’s love and redemption throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and they show all the different ways in which a wide spectrum of women play a role in this picture.
Their intent is to move away from discussions of power between genders, i.e., they are not interested in approaching the women of the Bible with questions like, “Who has the power?”, “Who wants the power?” and “Who is being kept from power?” This is not a book about women as victims or as figures oppressed by patriarchal systems. Rather, their vision is clear and succinct: God used both men and women as participants in his redemptive plan, and this book is going to highlight the stories of women.
The Most Important Women of the Bible: Remarkable Stories of God’s Love and Redemption covers the lives of thirty six different women, including well-known players like Eve, Sarah, Ruth and Bathsheba to unknown figures like Jochebed, Gomer, the Syrophoenician woman and Eunice.
Each woman has her own chapter, though the structure for each chapter follows the same outline: a brief biography is followed by a reflection on what role this woman played in redemptive history, and then each chapter concludes with statistical analysis of biblical references and reflection questions. Examples include: “Were Abraham and Sarah separated, or at least living separately, when she died?” and “Why did Esther have multiple banquets before presenting her true request to Xerxes?” If you don’t know the reference to these questions, you’ll have to check out the chapter to learn more!
Overall, I think this is a great book for both men and women to read.
It is informative and critical. Most importantly, it weaves women into God’s redemptive plan through history, which is a much needed lens for Christians today.
Have you read it? Let us know what you thought of it in the comments below!
Want to read more about women and the Bible at The Art of Taleh? Check out our post called “Why can’t women be elders?”