I attended at TGCW12 was a panel talk featuring Kathleen Nielson as moderator, Colleen Gallagher, Deb Lorentson, Jenny Salt, and Carrie Sandom. Jenny, Carrie, and Kathleen were also plenary session speakers.
The workshop was entitled, "Training Women to Teach the Bible: Why, What, Where, & How?" Kathleen facilitated the discussion. She emphasized that the focus was on expository teaching of the Bible. This was defined by Colleen as a way to work systematically through the passages of a book of the Bible within the whole context of God's entire redemptive work. Exposition has at its heart the truth that the Bible is about God's redemptive purposes in Christ.
Kathleen asked why was Bible exposition important to women. Colleen answered from Titus 2, not as only a discipleship reason of the older women to the younger women, but more from the point that all of Titus is an imperative to the Christian to teach sound doctrine so that the Word of God is not reviled.
Hoo-rah! I wanted to shout. My argument for years regarding women's Bible study is their overblown, overwrought emphasis on "felt needs" ministry. Read this post by Jen Wilkins to see what I'm really talking about but she says it so much better so just read it there. Basically we go to Bible study to be changed or improved in our daily living. Yes, God's Word changes us. And yes, it most certainly can improve us. But the Scripture is not a multi-vitamin supplemental super-pill to keep our joints from aching, our cholesterol from rising, or our memory sharp. Scripture is all about Christ and His glory no matter our joints, cholesterol, or failing minds.
There is also such a heavy dependence on the "fill-in-the-blank" study methods that if and if ever a woman is presented with the task of reading and thinking through a book of the Bible without the helps, her mind is virtually blank on how to go about the process of understanding the words that lie on the page.
But we are commanded as His people to understand, to delight in, to meditate on, to apply, to be renewed in, to be transformed by His Word. This doesn't happen in a vacuum and it doesn't happen without time and it doesn't happen without effort.
So how does it happen? A consistent theme from this panel came out in this way:
1) An intentional, strategic leadership that was excited about and worked towards the training and education of their laity
2) An intentional, disciplined, even patient taking of opportunities by the laity to receive and/or seek out opportunities for training
3) Mentorship and one-to-one discipleship opportunities; both offered & sought out & then implemented
4) A refusal to put ourselves as the main characters in Scripture through experience based or emotionally driven studies; instead, a focus on God's redemptive work through Christ as the focus
I realize that you, like me, may not have all of these things available to you for this season of life. Honestly, I'd love to go to seminary but two teens, a tween, a husband, and a job preclude a full time student's life for me right now. But I am able to avail myself of solid resources, to give up TV time and even reading of other things time, for a pursuit of the opportunities present.
Sometimes that means downloading a sermon while I walk on the treadmill or reading a chapter a day of a book on doctrine. It always means sometime everyday spending time reading Scripture. Placing myself before and under His Word whether I do homiletics on it or memorize it or just read it is profitable for my life and heart.
Women must be teachers and tellers of a sound word so that the Word of God is not reviled, so that the legacy of the gospel is passed on to the next generation.