My friends and I used to amuse ourselves by inventing cutesy, cringy names for women’s devotionals:
- Coffee Time with God
- Puppy Snuggles with God
- Tea Cups and Promises
Our amusement came from what we saw as fluffy women’s devotionals that were packaged to make the content as winsome and inviting as possible, and we had no time for it.
I still don’t.
Observation 1: The devotional guides I’ve seen for women have disappointed me by being consumer-driven, comfy platitudes that try to make readers feel better. If you’re partial to a book or writer, and if you’ve found life in that content, I’m happy for you. There are some good writers out there but exceptional women’s devotional guides are rare.
Observation 2: Women need life-giving, rich input from God in order to fill their responsibilities well. I look at moms and the ways they see after their children, household, and neighbors with deep love, wisdom, and skills, and I think “How does she does she do it? She’s heroic!” Singles have other ways in which they give and feel depleted, but we all need so much more goodness and light than we can produce on our own.
This why I’m SO excited about the new Bible study guide, Kingdom of Priests! And until December 8, you can use a discount code to pre-order it: FRIENDS&FAMILY10. Run and get it for yourself and your friends, your small group, your neighbors. This is a meaty, serious, solid guide that you can take with you and be fed. A bonus for me is that my good friend Kristi wrote it, so I loved hearing her voice in it!
As a pilot tester, I got to do five of the ten lessons in the book. I loved the scope of the study, and how it explores the theme of priests from Genesis to Revelation. For years, I’ve been been thinking about the theme of temple—the places where we meet God—so studying priests fit perfectly into my line of interest.
The last few weeks, I began each day doing part of a lesson, and later, in the cracks of the day, my brain was pinging with ideas and words and concepts about priests and temples, the ways God shows His glory, the ways fallible humans represent God to their world. How does He trust us with so much! I kept thinking how much dignity and worth this calling of priesthood gives every person, how much responsibility women carry to represent God well regardless of their life calling.
In addition to probing the specific subject of priesthood, each chapter/lesson introduces a tool or a lens for exploring any Scripture passage. This give readers ways to study themes and passages of their interest, ways to teach Sunday school, and methods to study or lead Bible studies.
Probably the biggest weakness with women’s Bible studies is that we rush from the text to ourselves. We think “What’s in it for me? How does this speak to my situation?” I think that’s why those cutesy titles are wrong: they serve the reader who loves coffee or puppies instead of calling the reader to serve the text and its intentions.
Instead, we need to come to Scripture asking “Where is God here, and how is He revealing Himself? What is the author’s intent? How can I align my life with the ways God reveals His heart in His story?”
Imagine the results if women would sit in circles to explore these questions instead of talking about recipes and décor and gardening—all worthy topics in their places—but let’s not give ourselves a pass from studying Scripture, shrug, and say we’re not theologians or leaders. We ARE theologians—priests—in all the ways and places that we represent God to our world.
He doesn’t require us to be perfect, silver-tongued teachers, but shouldn’t we aim to be the best representatives of God we can be?