Equipping Women How to Study the Bible (Book Review)

Fitzpatrick, Elyse. Finding the Love of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation. Bethany House Publishers, Bloomington, MN. 2018. 160 pages.

The Christian life is a call to faithful stewardship. This begins with rightly understanding and applying the Word of God. As 2 Timothy 2:15 instructs, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth”. Yet, many Bible studies fall short in training Christians to rightly handle the word of truth. That is because these studies teach what the Bible says without teaching how to study the Bible. This has left many Christians hearing what God’s Word says without knowing how to handle it. Women’s Bible studies have not been exempted from this challenge. The need in the church is for resources and tools that equip Christians how to study the Bible accurately for themselves. Elyse Fitzpatrick, a frequent speaker at The Gospel Coalition and True Woman conferences, has seen this need and has coupled this with her passion for teaching women how to study the Bible. The result has been Finding the Love of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation.

In 8 chapters, Mrs. Fitzpatrick opens the Scriptures to Christian women who desire to know their Savior and how the whole of Scripture centers on Him. Chapters 1 and 2 lay the foundation of the book, exposing faulty methods and assumptions used in Bible study and reorienting the study of Scripture where Jesus connects it all and is the center of it all. The remaining portion of the book, chapters 3 through 8, walks the Christian woman through the Bible, finding the love of Jesus in the Book of Moses, in Israel’s Stories, in His Songs and Sayings, in His Prophets, and in His Law and Gospel. The book closes with an appendix on coming to saving faith.

Getting a Handle on Bible Study

Finding the Love of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation does an exceptional job of equipping Christian women to get a handle on Bible study. Elyse helps the Christian woman understand the Word of God does not start with us but with God. She shows why the Bible is not a big book of morality tales and how all of Scripture points to Jesus Christ and should be interpreted through that lens. She, then, gives the student of Scripture an opportunity to put into practice rightly handling the Word of God through the “Open Bible, Open Hearts” and “For Further Study” questions at the end of each chapter. The book also stresses the divine nature of Scripture, emphasizing the divine authorship and the importance of prayer in Bible study.

A Need for Some Clarity

Fitzpatrick’s simple approach helps reach the everyday woman who desires to study Scripture but lacks formal training in how to study the Bible. An example of this simple approach is when she defines for the reader the curse of the law as essentially the equivalent of death for disobedience. Yet, this simple approach at times can feel simplistic. For instance, on one of the “For Further Study” questions on page 83, she encourages the reader to “see if you can find Jesus there”. A more appropriate way to phrase it would be to see how a particular passage, especially when studying the Old Testament, points forward to Christ. She also attempts to describe how the Christian woman can study the Old Testament in a way that points forward to Christ while still holding to the original intent of the author, but states this means to hold “sometimes very different meanings in mind at the same time” (Fitzpatrick 105). These two examples are only a couple of cases where clearer language would help the Christian woman in understanding exactly how all of Scripture, particularly the Old Testament, points to the gospel in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Equipped to Handle

These minor critiques do not take away from the sound tool for Bible study Elyse Fitzpatrick has put together. The Scripture examples Fitzpatrick uses throughout the book make it clear Jesus loves women and wants them on mission as they learn to study and apply His Word. While men can benefit from the book, Elyse states Finding the Love of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation is for women “regardless of your background, ability, or opportunities” (Fitzpatrick 18). Whether you are a woman who sees herself as a beginner in studying the Bible or as someone looking to bolster their own study of the Bible, Finding the Love of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation is a tool to aid you in your study. With this book, your Bible studies will begin moving from merely hearing what the Bible says to handling how to study the Bible.

I received this book for free from Bethany House for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

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