(Book Review) Women Who Knew Jesus


Women Who Knew JesusReviewed by: Josh Henreckson, professional writing major Taylor University

 


Introduction

Title: Women Who Knew Jesus

Author: Bonnie Ring

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Publication Date: September 17, 2015

Format: Paperback

Length: 262 Pages

OVERVIEW

Women were easy to ignore during Jesus’ ministry. They had few rights and little social standing. Episcopal priest Bonnie Ring sees this same dismissiveness in the attitude of today’s church as it was toward the women in the New Testament. But she doesn’t see it in Jesus.

In Women Who Knew Jesus, Ring leads her readers chronologically through Christ’s ministry, specifically zooming in on every interaction he had with women. Through this process, she strives to lead readers in meditating on these women and what their examples can teach modern Christians.

The book is divided into chapters—each one focusing on a specific interaction between Jesus and a woman. Chapters are further divided into subsections. All chapters retell a story (including scripture passages) and often also include some mix of commentary, personal anecdotes, visual illustrations, questions for reflection, and guided meditations.

Because of its format and the nature of the discussion questions and mediations, the book seems well suited to groups, such as women’s Bible studies.

Unfortunately, the book has several weaknesses. The provided questions are sometimes very pointed and appear to be purposefully leading the reader to a predetermined “right” answer. This may not be the author’s intention, but it is a trend. The guided meditations—the reader is asked literally to stop and imagine the events of the story—are also somewhat suspect. In the interest of providing depth and vivid feeling to the reader, Ring sometimes presents her interpretations of the settings, peoples, tones and motivations involved in particular scenes as if they were factual: how the reader is supposed to understand the scriptural story.

The book also suffers from a somewhat disorienting mixture of complicated theological and historical discussions and more informal, almost creative storytelling and reflections. Ring clearly has a lot to say, and she seems to be very knowledgeable about her topics, but she often tries to say too much in too small a space.

Overall, though, Ring provides an interesting and much-needed perspective on an undervalued facet of Jesus’ ministry. The book may be directed toward a female audience, and Ring’s feminist perspective may rub some readers the wrong way, but her perspective on the value that Jesus affirmed in women is thoroughly refreshing.

ASSESSMENT

Rating (1 to 5)

3 out of 5 stars

Suggested Audience

Adults

Christian Impact

Women Who Knew Jesus is designed to take its readers on a spiritual and meditative journey through Jesus’ ministry to women. While geared toward women, this journey can stimulate reflection and provide strong examples of Christian character for any believer.

Josh Henreckson is a professional writing major Taylor University. He has been a lover of the written word from his earliest memories.


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