Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Proverbs 31 Woman :: An E-Book

We took a break from women's Bible study, so I was looking for something a little different to do in the interim. I kept hearing about Good Morning Girls, so I decided to give it a try. This website is specifically designed for online study: you sign up to be a part of an online group, or sign up online with your own in-person group. They encourage accountability, with periodic check-ins with your group. There are several studies to choose from, and I chose the Proverbs 31 study.
Confession...I did the exact thing they discourage: doing the study on my own without the accountability of a group. I am all for the accountability and think it is important; but since I have my own group of accountability on a regular basis, I decided to just do a previously completed study on my own for this short interim time.
They use the SOAP method, where you take the assigned verses for the day and walk through it in the following way: 
Scripture- write out the Scripture passage for the day
Observations- write out facts about the passage, things you observe
Applications- write down ways you can apply the passage to your life
Prayer- pray over the passage and how you can apply it to your life
It's pretty simple and straightforward, which I enjoyed. I typically like more in-depth studies, with questions and further study, but I enjoyed the change of pace and the different way of studying the passages. In addition to the SOAP method, the study included a mini e-book as a supplement. While I was thankful for some additional insights into the Proverbs 31 woman, I wasn't completely sold on this one person's opinion of the verses.

Unfortunately, like too many women's Bible studies out there, this one seemed one-dimensional and incomplete. There were glaring omissions as to what the passage was actually referring. The most difficult part was how it seemed to only support one type of woman: a stay at home mom. While this is something that I think Scripture encourages as ideal {it's something my own heart longs for}, and even the role of the specific woman described in Proverbs 31, it is hardly the only type of woman who loves the Lord and seeks to be a godly woman. My hope would have been a more thorough inclusion of the godly woman in all of Scripture, not just in these verses {especially since this can be a sensitive topic for so many women}. In other words, I wish the study supplement had highlighted the character traits of a godly woman in any {Biblical} role, rather than in one specific role. 
I realize it was a study of Proverbs 31, so the specific role was the sole focus of the author. However, since the study took the reader to outside verses anyway, then I personally believe the e-book should have included a more in-depth picture {or even a mere admitted mention} of a godly woman in varying roles. I spent most of my time trying to dig deeper and see how it would relate to me personally: a working married woman. I also thought about how it would apply to all of the women in my life: the working {outside the home} mom, the single gal, the newly-married wife {with no kids}, the long-time-married wife {with no kids}, the empty-nester wife, the engaged and soon-to-be wife, and the single mom. Because I know the principles of the passage don't solely apply to one type of woman {like the e-book seems to suggest}.

It may seem like I am overly critical of this study, and I want to be sure I highlight the positive aspects of it. While I may not have loved every aspect of this study, and I believe that parts of it were Biblically incomplete, it was not necessarily Biblically inaccurate. I liked the encouragement of group accountability/discussion {probably the piece I was missing by doing the study solo}. I liked the simple SOAP method and how it led you to look at the verses each day. The reader was pointed to many other passages that related to the verses of Proverbs 31, which added to the understanding of the passage.
Because I lead women's Bible studies, it's important to me that I don't just take things at face value; not all women's Bible studies are created equal. My heart's desire is for women to learn how to study the Word for themselves, and to fall in love with studying and meditating on the Scripture. I don't think we do women any favors by sugar-coating, omitting the hard/uncomfortable passages, or playing into the emotional aspects of our natures. So as much as I can, I will {unapologetically} go Berean on a women's Bible study :)

1 comment:

  1. I just saw your comment on my blog post and I definitely appreciate it! I can tell from your review of this study that you are definitely trying to be aware that women come in many shapes and have all kinds of lifestyles and stages. Thank you thank you thank you for being sensitive to it and endeavoring to serve all sorts of women. God calls us to all sorts of walks of life, not just the stay-at-home mom scenario.