Elaine Storkey – Women in a Patriarchal World

“The stories of people in Scripture are case histories of God’s relationship with human-kind”

Throughout this book, we are introduced to 25 case histories of women in the Bible. Some well known like Mary Magdalene, others lesser known like the five daughters of Zelophehad, but all notable for being included in the history of what is undoubtedly a patriarchal society – and clearly showing what value God places on women in his world.

Some of the women are not even named, but Storkey brings them to life and puts their story into context of the times they lived in. I found it so enlightening to read these stories and pay more attention to women who I may otherwise have skipped over.

What I also loved was that after the first half of each chapter where we learned more about these women, the second half of each chapter was about how we can apply their lessons into our lives today. It’s very easy to read the Bible without stopping to think about what it’s teaching us now, and this really unpacked it.

In fact, when I think about negatives for this book, my only criticism was that the passages from the Bible that were being discussed were not included in the actual book, which meant I kept having to switch out of the book and look up the passages, which was just a little annoying.

But apart from that, I read through this book in two sittings, highlighting passage after passage that I wanted to remember and come back to – at one point I started to think that the highlights were becoming ineffective as there were so many – I definitely want to just read this again.

The author had a very easy writing style, which made the book feel almost conversational rather than text-book-like, but that’s not to diminish the content, which was clearly well researched and insightful.

One example is the chapter about Moses – we’ve all read this story many many times, it’s one we were taught in sunday school. Yet I’ve never thought past the basket in the reeds to the women involved in the story – the mother who calmly hid her son in the river at a time when it was probably filled with other dead babies. The sister who watched the baby from the banks, and the princess who found him. They all play such a big part in the history, as Storkey writes:

None of them had the power to change a barbaric, unjust law. Yet the joint weight of the power they did have meant that one baby escaped the consequences of that injustice to become a future leader anointed by God.

Through this story, we learn that:

When we are led by love rather than fear, we gain more courage, and God often empowers us to be stronger and to see things more clearly.

I’ll finish with one more quote from the book, about the 23rd woman, Lydia.

Finally, Lydia challenges us to face our own significance in the spread of the gospel. Women were not at the margins in the early Christian Church; neither silent in churches nor absent in evangelism. They were effective communicators and vital in the expansion of mission.

I’d recommend this book to anyone with an interesting in uncovering a new layer to the stories we’ve all read many times before, but specifically to women who may be experiencing challenges in their own faith journeys – this book was such an encouragement.

(This book was an advanced copy from NetGalley)

My rating: 5/5Average rating: 4.67
144 pages. Published in: 2020
Read in E-bookon 10th-11th April 2020

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