Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bad Girls

I've wanted to read Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn from Them by Liz Curtis Higgs, ever since I ran across it while searching for a study to do with my women's group.  The group has never quite gotten around to it, so I was thrilled when I was offered a copy for review.

Liz starts the book off with Eve, "the first bad girl," and explores the stories of nine other women, whom she has classified as "bad to the bone," like Jezebel; "bad for a moment," like Lot's wife; or "bad for a season, but not forever," like Rahab.  Each chapter begins with a short, contemporary, fictional retelling of the story, followed by a verse by verse exploration of each bad girl's story as told in the Bible.  Liz finishes each chapter by pointing out several lessons we can learn from each bad girl's story, and lists questions for private reflection or group discussion.

This format was absolutely perfect for me.  I have a hard time staying focused and engaged long enough to read an entire non-fiction book, but the short interludes of fiction were just enough to keep me interested and engaged.  I also love Higgs' witty, honest, and down to earth girlfriend-to-girlfriend writing style.  She definitely makes the material easy to understand and is skilled at highlighting each story's relevance.

Also included is a study guide to assist group leaders.  Each chapter ends with eight discussion questions, but this simple study guide at the end of the book includes Bible references relevant to each question to "bring a satisfying and biblical closure" to group discussions.  This would definitely be a lifesaver for my group.

I think one of the biggest obstacles to studying the Bible, those words written so long ago, is that it's hard to see the relevance to our lives today.  It's easy for us to dismiss the stories of the Bible as things that happened a long time ago, and we don't really see any connection to what's going on in our lives.  It's hard to relate to the people and stories of the Bible, and that makes it hard for us to understand.  In Bad Girls of the Bible, Liz Curtis Higgs has artfully bridged the gap for us.   Each of these women's stories was included in the Bible for a reason.  Through Liz's words, the stories come to life, and it becomes clear that each of these women has something important and beautiful to teach us: about sin, about forgiveness, about redemtion, faith, grace, and love.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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