I was recently enamored by a popular female speaker who spoke with grace, passion, and fire. She said many good-sounding things as she spoke of purpose and God’s plans. There was one problem; there was not one mention of Scripture. Sure, her points sounded Biblical initially, but her enthusiasm could have lit a blazing furnace in the coldest of chests. The speech was meant to inspire awe and motivation and boy did it do its job. Once she was finished breathing fire, the crowd erupted in applause when she finished with the call to take hold of our purpose. However, inspiring her message was, it was meant to motivate herself. It was laced with motivational mantras like, “God is going to use you! You’re just in a season of waiting! He’s got big things planned! Dare to dream big!!!” The problem with this type of twisted teaching is that the use of any Scriptures or Bible stories are made to be all about self. Suppose you are constantly being taught to think of yourself, your dreams, and your goals when listening to any teacher. In that case, it should be a red flag that you are being lied to and fed bite-sized theology with out-of-context verses sprinkled in to make it sound Christian enough to pass a sniff test.
The truth is God will use us for His purposes. He will use us despite us for His glory. The message of the cross is not one of “stepping into our calling” but of sinners who could not make themselves right with a Holy God. If the popular authors, teachers, pastors, and speakers never get around to telling you the truth that you are a sinner in need of a savior and that the gospel is the most essential message you need to be reminded of. Sisters, it’s time to leave these teachers behind.
Women who make a habit of feasting on bite-sized theology are unknowingly malnourished. We would do well to remember there is a point in starvation when you do not feel hungry anymore. Many Christian women are wading in the shallow end of the “theological” pool of self-help, advice, and “Christianish” sounding mantras. Many Christian women do not know when they are being lied to or when Scripture is being twisted because Bible reading is not as much of a priority as meeting felt needs, ten ways to happy tips, hitting us right in the feels, and being pumped up with vain ideas of our own self-importance.
I believe women want more than this, and I think that women who are starving on the table scraps of the motivational speeches will find food for their souls when they learn how to read the Scripture for themselves and when they learn to search the Scriptures for more of God and not more of what makes them feel good. We must keep in mind that our attention spans in our Instagram and internet theology-saturated world are short. We want drive-thru sermons and one-liner mantras that make us feel good. We want others to do the hard work of mining Scripture for gold when we are meant to mine it ourselves. Daily devotions do not replace daily Bible reading. If we teach our children to survive on the table scraps of Instagram square theology and one-page devotions, we will also be starving them.
Moms are the “theological meal” providers of our children’s minds. What we know, what we teach, what we practice, and what we nourish them with theologically is the most important meal we could serve them in our home.
This is why we must know our Bible, and we grow in grace by a diligent application of a variety of God-appointed means and Spiritual disciplines; Bible reading is one of these means. This is not solely for the seminary student or self-appointed super saints with a special anointing. It is for the entire church body. It is most certainly for us women.
Maybe you are intimidated by the Bible. Perhaps you’ve been fed bite-sized theology for so long that you don’t have an appetite for meat or know where to begin.
It’s not too late to pick up your Bible and read it.
Let’s briefly break this down as you approach the Scriptures and some helpful things to keep in mind.
Context is key, do not cherry-pick Bible verses. You wouldn’t open up your favorite novel, and pick out one sentence, and believe you understand the chapter. In the same way, we must read the Scriptures in the proper context. When we see a confusing passage in Scripture, we use Scripture to interpret Scripture; if it’s not clear in one passage, it might be better understood in another. The Bible never contradicts itself, and we can trust it.
A few questions to ask yourself before reading a book of the Bible are: Who is the author? Who is the original audience? Is this a prescriptive or a descriptive book?
Many moms have very busy schedules and are short on time. Having a sound commentary to assist you in properly understanding the text is crucial in these seasons. I have been edified by the commentary of sound teachers. I have gleaned so much from the ESV Study Bible, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, and my John MacArthur Study Bible. Remember that it will take diligent time in the Word and study to understand what some passages mean, but you can slowly start somewhere. We do not want to move through Scripture too quickly just to say we have read it, slow is better when you are trying to really meditate on a passage, there is no rush, and no trophies for reading quickly, so take your time.
Moms, we must not settle for the Instagram theologian for a church that does not properly exegete the text and point you to the proper understanding of the Scriptures. This is where the importance of a healthy local Biblical church comes in. Expository (verse by verse) preaching every Sunday will train you how to read your Bible throughout the week. A male godly pastor who meets the qualifications of an elder as laid out in Scripture is going to give you enough to chew on all week. Find a church that will take you through the Bible verse by verse, and you will be amazed that you will start to feel full, you’ll start to connect some dots in your own Bible reading, and your time in the Word will be more enriching when you’re in a Biblical church. Sitting under with expository preaching in a sound local church will grow you in a way that reading books, listening to online sermons, and even ladies’ Bible studies never could.
Remember that women who live on bite-sized theology will be swayed easily by the passion in someone’s voice, the authority by which they speak, and the excitement of the speech. However, women who know their Bibles won’t be swayed by tone alone but by truth. So, if you want to know how to test a teacher, know your Bible. May we get to know the God of the Scriptures, turn our eyes upward, and be done with motivational speeches. Your life depends on it, and the next generation depends on it. Mom’s, get to know your Bible. Get to know your God.
I’ll close with this quote from J.C. Ryle for you to consider the importance of your time in the Scriptures.
“What is the best safe-guard against false teaching? Beyond all doubt the regular study of the word of God, with prayer for the teaching of the Holy Spirit. The Bible was given to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Psalm. 119:105.) The man who reads it aright will never be allowed greatly to err. It is neglect of the Bible which makes so many a prey to the first false teacher whom they hear.”
Angela Mitchell is happily married to Brandon Mitchell. She has three children and is a stay at home homeschool mom. Angela has a heart for training her children in truth, equipping them to spot cultural lies, and teaching them to have a Biblical worldview. You can find her online ministry to women on Facebook and Instagram @raisingapologists, where she seeks to encourage moms to equip their children to think Biblically.