Nancy Leigh DeMoss, ed. Becoming God’s True Woman. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008.
What is a godly woman? In today’s culture, many women—even Christian women—struggle with this question. Is she loud and fun-loving, or quiet and reserved? Is she out-there and bold, or does she always work behind the scenes? Is she exceptionally gifted and talented, or is she an ordinary citizen? Is she fit and good at sports, or is she girly and feminine? Is she out in the work force, or is she always at home? Is God’s woman always found at one end of these extremes, or is there room for many different personalities and types of women in God’s program?
These questions are confusing and even frustrating for women as they read their Bibles and try to reconcile what is there with what they see in modern culture all around them. What is worse is that even within the church, women often hear conflicting answers to their most basic questions. For many, who simply have a genuine desire to please God with their lives, answers seem elusive at best.
Becoming God’s True Woman, edited by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, offers a good starting place for women as they ponder the question of godly womanhood. Since the book has seven contributing authors, it reads almost like a magazine with each chapter being a succinct introduction to a relevant topic.
Part one is entitled The Glory of Womanhood as Created by God. Here, the authors lay a helpful foundation for the rest of the book with three chapters covering femininity, true beauty, and knowing God as Father. Here, the chapter on femininity, written by Carolyn Mahaney, is especially helpful as it offers a broad perspective on many of the roles and responsibilities to which women are called in life. While women are challenged in a counter-cultural way, many will be pleasantly surprised to hear that femininity does not equal being a wall-flower! Instead, there is room for many personalities and types of giftedness in God’s kingdom. The key issue is a woman’s attitude and willingness as she takes on her God-given roles in life.
Part two addresses The Challenge of Biblical Womanhood in a Fallen World. A particularly helpful chapter by Nancy Leigh DeMoss addresses the troubling issue of discretion. As believers living in a sex-saturated society, women desperately need to hear the call to modesty and good judgment as they interact with the men in their lives as well as society at large. I was slightly disappointed by another chapter in this section also contributed by DeMoss on a biblical portrait of a woman used by God. Although the chapter covered many helpful concepts, it stretched the biblical text a bit too far in drawing principles from the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus as showing the life of a woman used by God. This chapter could have been stronger if it were supported by additional texts and did not try to draw all its information from the life of one woman in the Bible.
Part three talks about The Freedom and Joy of Women as Helpers and Nurturers of Life. The chapters in this section cover many practical topics including the wife as helper, submission, raising feminine daughters, being nurturing mothers, and finally implementing a Titus 2 ministry in the church. In a time where many mothers and wives feel unimportant and underappreciated, these chapters serve as an encouragement and a challenge to women as they step up to these demanding roles. The chapter on Titus 2 ministry by Susan Hunt offers several practical suggestions for encouraging mentoring in the local church. While interested readers will want to seek further information, the chapter offers an excellent starting point.
A particular strength of this book throughout is the concentrated effort made by the authors to address women in all seasons of life. Married and single, younger and older women will benefit from this book. Many of the chapters offer direct advice to single women which is refreshing in a book that covers many issues directly relevant to marriage and motherhood.
Another helpful feature is an extended list of recommended resources at the end of the book. Because each chapter is short, many readers may find they will want to do additional reading on a topic of particular interest or challenge to them. The recommended resources are grouped by category and readers will find this feature very user-friendly.
The end of the book also features an extensive set of questions for “thinking it over and making it personal”. This book could serve as a wonderful starting point for a group study on biblical womanhood and the well-written questions would be very helpful in that context as well as for individual use.
I would highly recommend this book for individuals or groups who would like an accessible introduction to the topic of godly womanhood. The book does not merely gloss over the issues, but it presents a variety of topics in a readable way that is not overwhelming. It opens the door for women to start talking and thinking through some of these issues, and will motivate many to do further study after they have completed this book.
Tracy Mickle is a homemaker living with her husband Allen. She has a Bachelor of Sacred Music and a Bachelor of Science in Bible from Baptist Bible College, Clarks Summit, PA. She is also a certified Suzuki piano teacher. She and Allen are currently relocating to Tunkhannock, PA where Allen will begin serving as Senior Pastor of Tunkhannock Baptist Church in the near future.