I just received my copy of the Study Bible for Women, published by the B&H Publishing Group. Dorothy Kelley Patterson served as the General Editor of what is being called the “most comprehensive ever” Study Bible. The publisher notes, significantly, that the Study Bible was prepared “by women and for women” — all of whom are fully qualified by their academic training in Biblical studies and their knowledge of the original languages of Scripture for the monumental task that they undertook. Mrs. Patterson is a Professor of Theology in Women’s Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Study Bible for Women is a one-volume, beautifully produced Bible that is full of resources that will enrich in-depth Bible study as well as provide life-enhancing materials for daily devotionals. I like the fact that the Study Bible for Women will serve the serious Biblical scholar and new Christian as well as long-time believers, like me, who seek to go deeper into God’s Word. I like challenging materials that stretch me spiritually and mentally without overwhelming me with materials that are designed for theologians or so sophomoric that I feel patronized and become bored because everything is too simplistic and obvious.
I have spent several hours getting acquainted with my new Bible. It is comprehensive, attractive, and easy to understand.
- The extensive study notes are placed right at the point where the reader needs the extra information. The introduction to each book gives an overview of the key facts and themes, mentions the importance of various issues addressed in the book, and provides specific guidance unique for women’s needs.
- There are content outlines that provide a brief “Cliff Notes-type” overview for understanding the content as a whole. The notes identify “threads” that run through the content revealing doctrine — explicating those foundational beliefs that are at the heart of our faith and the solid stones on which we build our convictions and standards of behavior.
- The character profiles give plenty of background for the women in Scripture that help us understand who they were as historical figures and how they fit into the coming of the Messiah in the Old Testament, or how they helped to spread the Gospel in New Testament times.
- While I thought the “word studies” would be tedious and irrelevant, they seem to examine the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words in a way that reveals deeper meaning to the Scripture as it relates, ironically and amazingly, to our modern-day lives.
- There is a section on “hard questions” that provides answers for some of the more difficult passages in the Bible.
I’m tremendously impressed with the extras that are a vital part of this Study Bible for Women. There are relevant essays and devotionals that are titled, “Written on my Heart,” because they apply so well to women’s lives and address matters that are very much on our hearts. In addition, there are the full-color maps that are typically included in study Bibles and that provide a geographical context for the messages. And, there is a concordance — a tool that I cannot do without; it is just so convenient to have it right there in one volume, easy to reference when it is needed.
There is also a brief essay, “The Christian Life” — written by Rhonda Harrington Kelly, Managing Editor for the project and a PhD, professor, and Director of Women’s Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary — that I plan to study, because it will be insightful and challenging. Best of all, Mrs. Patterson describes, in five pages of suggestions, a plan for Bible Study that I fully intend to implement.