It shows a pregnant woman, one whose due date is a-knocking, and she’s seated with her head bowed. A group of women are gathered around, looking like angels as they pray over her, asking God for a healthy baby, safe delivery and a strong epidural.
The neatest thing about the picture is this: every woman in it is a friend of mine, someone I came to care for deeply because of our time spent in a weekly Women’s Bible Study.
I snapped the picture myself, and it’s a treasure. Truly, it speaks a thousand words about the bonds that can form between women, but can also be described in two words:
He was there when the picture was made, as He always was when we gathered for Bible Study.
“For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20, NIV)
Thinking of the picture, I remember a morning when I was expecting my oldest son. I was in the first trimester, and my Martian green glow prompted someone to say:
“The sicker you are, the more likely it is that you’re having a girl.”
I’d heard dozens of old wives tale, but never that one. “Why is that?”
“Because—two women can’t get along in the same body.”
Ha ha, but some people believe that about relationships between women. According to them, we’re jealous gossips, competitive snits and known for combusting into cat fights with nary a notice. Deep down, we’re happy when Twinkies show up on our friend’s hips.
People who think that describes female friendships missed the beautiful story about Ruth and Naomi. “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I will stay.” (Ruth 1:16, NIV)
Two women CAN get along in one body. Two HUNDRED women can get along in one body—especially when it’s the Body of Christ.
A Christ-centered Women’s Bible Study is the greatest of Chick Havens. Among its blessings are increasing knowledge of the Word, fellowship, prayer support and opportunities to serve. (Those meals-on-wheels when you’re recovering from surgery are mighty nice, too!)
Women are more emotionally-wired, and often seek other women when the need to spill our hearts arises. A good Women’s Bible Study recognizes these things, and employs them to strengthen our walk with the Lord.
First, by teaching how to apply scripture to the specific needs, concerns, struggles and joys we experience as women. Second, by inviting us to consider the feelings of those we study— Jesus’ heartbreak when Peter denied him, Mary’s fear when Joseph considered ending their engagement, John’s amazement when he witnessed the Transfiguration. The more we personalize scripture to our own lives, and emotionally connect to the feelings of those we read about, the closer our hearts draw to the Lord.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:8, NIV)
Third, an effective women’s Bible study supports our need to nurture and be nurtured. Country music singer Marie Osmond once said, “Women are the nurturers. We take care of our husbands, we take care of our kids, we take care of our bosses, we take care of our work, we take care of our friends. Who takes care of us? Other women." 1
God love ‘em, not all guys are stumbling clods in the nurturing department. Many are wonderful emotional caretakers, but only a gal can hear us out and say, “As a woman, I get it.” Only a woman can really understand why certain things frustrate us, know first-hand that hormones make us crazy and agree that, yes, chocolate IS medicinal.
Because women understand women, and are more open to openness, a Bible study provides many opportunities for God’s love to show itself. Countless times in small groups, I’ve seen women bare their souls, then be embraced by the empathy of other women, many who had Godly advice on how to handle situations.
“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26, NIV)
I encourage all ladies to seek a Women’s Bible Study. When you find the right one, the teachings and expressions of Christ’s love will become photographs on your heart—the kind you’ll want to keep forever.
And—oh—I mentioned chocolate.
It’s a Bible study perk.
There’s a Betty Crocker in every study—and at some point, she WILL bring brownies.
1 The Oprah Winfrey Show, Marie Osmond-Lost in Motherhood, October 25, 1999
Sorry, Donna, I disagree. Maybe women do understand women better, but we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. In my view, to put on men only/women only events is divisive and unbiblical. It's just a silly trend that has crept into churches. Mixed Bible Studies would help men and women understand each other better. We should be aiming for the unity Jesus spoke of.