Saturday, 13 April 2013

Book Review: The Gospel Centered Woman by Wendy Alsup

About the Book: Understanding Biblical Womanhood through the Lens of the Gospel
Many Christian books written to women claim to present God's good instructions for their lives. Some expound on the value of marriage and children. Many extol the virtues of the Proverbs 31 wife. A good number teach the value of love, submission, and respect in Christian marriages. Though this book deals with these topics, The Gospel-Centered Woman addresses women from an entirely different perspective. The most important part of the Bible's instructions to women center around the gospel. Jesus' life, death, and resurrection brought about a seismic shift in our understanding of Scripture. After His resurrection, His disciples understood words written thousands of years before with a clarity they never had previously. The good news of Christ illuminates all other Scripture, including instructions to women. 

My Thoughts: I absolutely loved this book. It was incredibly illuminating and intensely thought provoking. I definitely want to re-read it and ponder it more thoroughly - and I don't normally re-read books, particularly non-fiction ones. But this one had so much to digest and settle into the soul.

Though this book definitely speaks to our roles as mothers and wives, I loved that it focused primarly on the fact that woman (as well as men, of course) are first and foremost image bearers of God and though we have been marred by the fall, we have been redeemed through Christ's life, death and resurrection.

Let me share this quote that I really appreciated (emphasis mine).....
I encourage any woman reading this to be careful of the priority you give the women of Scripture as examples to you in relation to your first example, Jesus. I love Ruth, Mary of Bethany, and Esther, and I am particularly intrigued by Abigail, Lydia, and Phoebe. But they must all take a backseat in terms of role models. They are valuable to us because we need a plurality of saints, male and female, who are examples of Christlikeness in a variety of circumstances. But remember also that we were not created to be like Ruth. We were created in the image of God and are being conformed back to the example of Christ. Ruth is not the ideal for women - Jesus is. Our identity is completely tied to who Jesus is and what He has done for us. He is the vine, and we are the branches. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.

This book is great for both individual and group study. It's broken into sections and chapters, with a page of notes available at the end of each chapter, and discussion questions at the end of the book. I also appreciated that the book is so thoroughly entrenched in scripture, and that the scripture is provided directly in the book so you don't have to look it up yourself.

This is a book for every woman - married or single, with children or without. I highly, highly recommend it! I usually donate the books I review to our church library, but I'm keeping this one to re-read, and to give to my daughters to read, I think it would be particularly helpful during the teenage "searching" years.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for organizing this tour and providing me with my complimentary review copy.

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