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On page 11, in the introduction, the author, Wendy Alsup, establishes how she will use Bible. “The Bible is the best commentary on itself. (Alsup, 2017, p. 11)” I found this refreshing as we are some several thousand years down the road, and our interpretations are influenced by the times we are in. The Bible is relevant for itself from the beginning to the end.
Alsup references Genesis 1:26-27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. She then states, “Both genders were made to image God fully in the world (Alsup, 2017, p. 33)”. I find this to be profound.
The author takes us through many of the women in the Bible and how what they do and what importance they have including the women that were the first to be made aware of the news of the Resurrection of Christ. (Alsup, 2017, p. 41) For those that have never read the Bible, this book will allow you to see that women are not only respected in the Bible, but have great purpose.
My problem with the book is that assumptions are written as declarative statements. On the section titled Jesus and the Law, the story from John 8:3-11 is told. For those unfamiliar with this story it is about the Pharisees bringing a woman to Jesus Christ that was caught in the very act of adultery. They did this as a test. They wanted to see what Jesus would do. He does not respond to them at first but writes something on the ground. Then he stood and said (from the KJV) He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. The Pharisees left, beginning with the oldest then they all went away. Wendy Alsup states “whatever protection Deuteronomy 22 was supposed to provide women, it had failed. If her partner was married, it failed the wife of the man with whom she was caught as well as the adulterous woman herself, neither keeping her from the sin that harmed another family, nor `equitably punishing her male partner in the sin.” (Alsup, 2017, p. 111) Alsup then goes on with presumptions about the male as to his status was likely valued above hers.
I must make this very clear, we cannot and should not try and plug our 21st century mindset into the mindset of God. Deuteronomy 22 did not fail this woman as we are granted the freedom to choose to sin. This woman chose to have an adulterous relationship as it is described as such and not rape. Then if we simply read the scripture again we read that the woman was brought without the man as a test or to tempt Jesus into incorrectly interpreting scripture. We do not know what was written on the ground but it is clear that what he wrote allowed the Pharisees starting with the eldest to know Christ was not gullible. You see in Leviticus 20:10 it states, and the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife even he that committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adultery and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
If Christ did what he did when He was tempted by Satan in Matthew 4, then we know Christ used scripture to defeat those tempting Him. If He wrote Leviticus 20:10 on the ground using the previous example from Matthew, then the Pharisees would have known that they themselves were caught trying to trick or test Christ. You see, they did not bring the man although the adulterous couple were caught in the very act. If the Pharisees try and condemn her without the man, they are breaking the law. Therefore, Christ writes down something to dispute the action, the Pharisees left, and Christ then tells the woman go, and sin no more. John 8:11.
The title of the book will draw women to read it, and they will believe that the Old Testament and the law were detrimental for women and Christ fixed this. I believe that this is completely wrong as Jesus Christ said in Matthew 5:17-18 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. The law is still in place. We have it as a measure. The New Covenant is detailed clearly in Jeremiah 31:31-34 and the law is now in our inward parts. We cannot say the law is and failed women at the same time we say that Christ was for women, as He was for the law in fact, we are to walk as he walked and keep the commandments 1 John 2:3-6.
Although I stated that compared to a previous book I had read, this book was a breath of fresh air. I wish the author had used the Bible completely as her guide instead of preconceived notions about how the Bible treats women. This could have illuminated to those seeking or those that have never read the Bible, that it is a powerful guide for our lives.
I will say that I read Is the Bible Good for Women with my Bible at my side as well as the Blue Letter Bible website open as to figure out Bible versions etc., that were used. I think that this is a good way to read any book that presents itself as a study help or guide to the Bible. If you do not have a Bible or access to one I would not read this book until you do. Feel free to click here for a free Bible.
Alsup, W. (2017). Is the Bible Good For Women. New York: Multnomah.
Disclaimer: with my thoughts about what Christ wrote. I am in no means suggesting my thoughts are to be taken as what it means. I just wanted to use the scripture: test/tempt and find another place Christ was tempted and show how he dealt with that temptation. I take 2 Timothy 2:15 to heart.