A book to help women connect with women of the Old Testament
“I come from a long line of strong women who loved God fiercely and passed along their faith to many children, both biological and spiritual,” Sarah Christmyer writes in the introduction to Becoming Women of the Word (2019, Ave Maria Press). She continues, laying the foundation of her own upbringing, which involved an intimate knowledge of Scripture that I can relate with.
“This book reflects on the lives of these Old Testament women who said yes to God’s call and found their place in his plan of salvation,” she promises. “They are true women of the Word—not just because we read about them in God’s Word but also because, like the blessed and faith-filled people of Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17, they knew and followed the word of God.”
In the next ten chapters, Christmyer spends time with Old Testament women you may (or may not) have heard of: Eve, Sarah, Leah and Rachel, Miriam, Rahab, Deborah, Ruth, Hannah, Esther, and Judith. She calls it “a kind of spiritual pilgrimage through the Old Testament,” inspired because she felt “so strongly that [these Old Testament women’s] experiences are relevant to us, regardless of the miles and years between us.”
She got my attention, that’s for sure. I get that we’re all women, but can we really have something in common with a desert nomad from four thousand years ago?
Yes. And yes.
(Not that you’re really surprised by that, I know.)
Each chapter starts with a personal story from Christmyer’s background. Some are from her childhood, others are from family member’s adventures, and still others are of her own immediate family. She follows with the context of the Old Testament woman, that woman’s story, and relating that story/adventure/challenge back to our modern lives. There are also reflection questions at the end of each chapter, tying it all together.
The storytelling in this book complements the Old Testament stories quite well. You can read the passages and books Christmyer references, which makes for quite an in-depth study. You can also whip through it (guilty) and then mark passages for revisiting later.
Christmyer beautifully unpacks the Old Testament women, bringing them to life and making me remember the hours I spent as a child poring over my Children’s Bible (the comic strip one). She turns what were merely stories into a heritage, one that’s been passed down to me as part of the family.