I was honored recently to receive a request to review a new Bible study: The Women in Jesus’ Life by Mindy Ferguson. Mindy was gracious enough to agree to an interview in tandem with my review.
Liberty Speidel: Why did you decide to write “The Women in Jesus’ Life”?
Mindy Ferguson: I taught an evening women’s Bible class for about seven years. Most of the women worked and I noticed that they often struggled to finish their homework when we did in-depth Bible studies that required a lot of Bible reading and questions. I also noticed that the majority of the women felt like they couldn’t measure up to all of the expectations or meet the many needs of their families, employers, and friends. It was clear to me that a study with a lighter amount of homework that emphasized the depth of Jesus’ love for them was needed. As I prayed about that need, my attention was drawn to the compassionate and loving way Jesus treated the women He encountered during His life and ministry. Inspired, I wrote The Women in Jesus’ Life for the women in my class. I found the lessons generated rich, open discussion. Women came to class each week feeling affirmed and encouraged, anxious to share how they related to the women they had studied during the week. It was a special time with a special group of women.
LS: What kind of research did you do? How did the research impact how you decided to present this study?
MF: I did my best to step into the sandals of the women we studied each week. I researched the culture, as well as the attitudes of and about the women of the time. I imagined myself in each woman’s circumstance and attempted to feel the emotions she might have felt. Then I related those circumstances to the situations women face today. I wanted the study to stir women’s minds as well as their hearts. By keeping the lessons short, I was hoping the women in my class would be able to complete their lessons. They did. I was encouraged by what I learned and it blessed me greatly to see group feeling affirmed and excited about the material.
LS: Did anything you learned surprise you?
MF: What surprised me most is the important roles women served in Jesus’ ministry. Many of them supported Him by their own means. Jesus first spoke of Himself as the Messiah to the Woman at the Well. The first person to see the risen Christ was Mary Magdalene. Jesus always treated women with dignity and He enabled them to participate in His work while He walked this earth, just as He does today.
LS: What did writing this study teach you?
MF: I gained a greater sense of the depth of Jesus’ love and mercy.
LS: For the writers, how is writing a Bible study such as “The Women in Jesus’ Life” different from writing a different kind of book, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction.
MF: I’ve always considered myself more of a Bible student than a writer. I think it is important to allow God’s Word to teach His Word. Writing a Bible study is more like guiding a friend through Scripture and allowing her to discover the sweetness of God, the vastness of His power, and the consistency of His commands for herself. Rather than painting all of the details, like you might do as you develop characters and create scenarios when writing fiction, a Bible study writer paints a picture with broader strokes and allows the Word of God to bring out details that convict or encourage.
LS: What do you hope women gain most from this study?
MF: I hope that their hearts will be touched by Jesus’ lavish love for them and their minds would be engaged as they learn new information and read familiar passages of Scripture in this fresh context.
In reading and working through the Bible study, I’ve found it to be a study that not only teaches me about the women in the Gospels, but gives me a new perspective on Jesus. The passages utilized are typically ones I’ve never heard unpacked before, or ones I’ve never seen from such a point of view. But the questions asked in the study really make me as a woman dig deep into myself and further explore my own relationship with Christ. There were many points where I couldn’t honestly answer a question without thinking about it for several minutes, hours, or even a day or two.
That said, this is a study I would love to do with a group of other women. It would also probably be a great study for a MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group. I recommend this book to any woman who wants to dig deeper into the lives of the women in the New Testament.
In a world that urges us to live for ourselves, Mindy Ferguson encourages women to live for Christ. She founded Fruitful Word Ministries in April 2003 and is passionate about encouraging women of all denominations to develop a more intimate and fruitful relationship with Jesus Christ through the study of God’s Word.
Mindy stumbled her way into the arms of Christ at the age of twenty-six. She speaks nationally at women’s events and at retreats as one who understands the tug of worldly passions and the emptiness of selfish ambition. Her writings have appeared in Christianity Today’s Kyria.com, the P31 Woman magazine, Just Between Us magazine, Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler’s Soul, and the One Year Life Verse Devotional. Mindy is the author of the in-depth Bible study, Walking with God: From Slavery to Freedom; Living the Promised Life. Mindy latest book, Hugs Bible Reflections for Women, is now available in bookstores.
Mindy lives in a suburb of Houston, Texas with her husband of twenty-two years and their daughter. Their son is currently attending college in Bryan, Texas. You can find out more about Mindy at her website and blog.
Thanks, Mindy, for letting me review this book, and offering up a copy to one of my lucky readers.
Interested in a copy of The Women in Jesus’ Life? Leave a comment in this post for a chance to win! You can also purchase a copy for $9.99 through Amazon.com. The giveaway will close midnight CDT on Labor Day (Sept. 6, 2010), and the winner will be announced sometime on Sept. 7.
Until next time,