A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans Review

A Year of Biblical Womanhood has been misunderstood perhaps as much as women’s roles in Christianity. Rachel Held Evans sets out to understand the Bible’s relationship to contemporary women by literally living out instructions from both the Old and New Testaments.


Honestly, I was hesitant to read this book because typically discussions around literal interpretations of the Bible, especially beyond common sense, by moderate or progressive believers devolve into disrespectfulness and mocking. I began to read Evans’ blog after she visited Baylor last year before the book was published. I have been pleasantly surprised to read a voice in the Christian world that has a brilliant combination of humor, faith, social commentary, egalitarian convictions, and occasional sarcasm. After reading some of her blogs over time, I ordered this book and read it relatively quickly compared to my typical pace.


I found myself laughing out loud because of Evans’ wit and comedy of errors. This was, of course, knowing laughter! What woman can’t relate to a burst of homemaker energy only to find herself tangled in fabric reciting the old saying- measure once, cut twice and begging for reinforcements to finish the project, or baking a large volume of something and following the instructions carefully, only to find herself with mass volumes of dough everywhere and still hungry?


Evans offers educated comments about various women in the Bible after each chapter or themed month. While there are some finer points of some of these sections that I have a different opinion about, Evans is on track displaying the variety of women in the Bible who lived at many different times with many different circumstances, and a variety of responses balancing their religious establishment and God’s work in their lives.


Her sincerity shines even brighter than her humor. Evans honestly desires to increase her understanding of Jewish customs and Torah, and New Testament instructions [especially by way of Paul]. She certainly has a point to make that cannot be missed- the Bible should be respected higher than an adjective- this or that is “Biblical”. Just because something is “Biblical” does not make it a good idea. [such as polygamy or capital punishment]


As many women in my life struggle with what it means to be holy, to be Christian, to be woman, to be feminine, I will point them to A Year of Biblical Womanhood in hopes that they will be reminded as I was that God loves women and men equally, calls men and women equally, and God desires a living sacrifice.


Evans concludes that she “was looking for permission- permission to lead, permission to speak, permission to find my identity in something other than my roles, permission to be myself, permission to be a woman. What a surprise to reach the end of the year with the quiet and liberating certainty that I never had to ask for it. It had already been given” (296). This is the purpose of the book- God gives people freedom to love and serve Him. God is more interested in our hearts than our following a checklist. There is no Greek, Gentile, slave, free, male, or female- only people loving God and loving each other.




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Proverbs 31 WomEn | The truth. The whole truth. Nothing but the truth.
  2. Trackback: Biblical Manhood: Warrior Theology | The truth. The whole truth. Nothing but the truth.

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