A new book providing a fresh look at the lives of interesting women in the Bible is out today. This book, "The Women Of The Bible Speak," is now available for order - just before Women's Month ends.
"The Women Of The Bible Speak" features 16 women from the Old and New Testament. All are presented in pairs to bring about a deeper look at their commonalities and what readers - Christian or not - can learn from them. The new book also lets readers get a glimpse at eight more women who had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ - and what that means for everyone today.
Author Shannon Bream, host of "Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream," spoke with Christianity Daily and expressed her enthusiasm and hopes that the book will be an encouragement to everyone who reads it, whether women or men.
Bream indicated that the book will feature some characters that are readily familiar to most Christians and people who've been exposed to Bible stories. It will also feature some stories that might not be familiar to many, but are nonetheless interesting and carry great lessons with them.
"Fox actually came to me with the idea because they have a new book label, Fox News Books, and so they approached me about this and I was super excited right away because to me, there are so many beautiful stories that are lesser known, some people have never heard of," she said.
The author also noted how the women in these stories possessed qualities that most people can relate to - making learning from them even more exciting.
"They're all flawed like we all are in real life, but they also showed great faith and great courage, and so it was a lot of fun for me putting this together," Bream said. "And I hope it will be encouraging to other people because it was very encouraging to me in the process."
Guiding hand of God
Bream spoke at length as to how some of the most broken women can play a great part in God's plan. She spoke of Queen Esther who faced a lot of twists and turns, but with the guiding hand of God setting things in place, was able to save the Jewish people from a plot meant to kill them. Today, Jews celebrate this historical account in what is known as "Purim."
"I think about Queen Esther, there's so much in her story, so many twists and turns that are like a blockbuster book or movie on its own because there's so many things that happened - from her being orphaned as a child, and then being raised by her uncle Mordecai who at times told her to hide who she was and where she came from," she narrated. "And she ends up in this position as the Queen of Persia through so many twists and turns."
"But she was placed in that moment - and the verse says "for such a time as this" - and she went there bravely and had courage to save her entire people, the entire Jewish nation," she continued.
"So I love seeing her courage, and just God's guiding hand through her life to take her to a place that nobody would've ever expected of her as an orphaned child decades before she became Queen."
The author believes that Esther's story is very timely and should encourage people to believe and trust in God who has a "plan for us."
"It's not a surprise when anything happens in our life, good or bad, I think He knows - when we get a difficult phone call, a difficult diagnosis, when we lose our jobs, or all things that people have been through in the last year; He's also there in our victories, in our good moments and He saw those coming as well, so I think He's faithful through all of those things," she said.
A unique approach
While most books presenting different Bible characters present them individually, "The Women Of The Bible Speak" presents the Bible's women in pairs.
Bream explained that some of these women were naturally paired together because they were related or had a relationship, like sisters Mary and Martha or Rachel and Leah. The other characters, she said, were paired because of a common factor.
"I talked about Queen Esther but we paired her with - and I fought for us to include Rahab who was a prostitute," she said. "And people would say, 'a queen and a prostitute, why would you put them together?' I think both were in the right place at the right time, and then when they were called on to have the courage to step up and save the Jewish people, they did it."
"So I thought it was great to pair them and to see the commonalities," she continued.
She added that the book isn't just about the women of the Bible - it also includes the key men in their lives, such as their "fathers and husbands." This clearly indicates that the book was also written for men everywhere.
"So I hope it'll open up a whole new world to people who don't realize there's so many powerful, dynamic, interesting women in the Bible. It is good, I think, for men and women, for anybody who's interested," Bream said.
Jesus and the Women
It also features a special chapter about Jesus Christ and some women He had a relationship with, such as the Samaritan woman by the well and the women caught in the act of adultery, and clearly portrays how His treatment of them shows the love of God for all, including those hated and cast out by society.
"We talk about the people that He went to who were outcasts of society or people who were not viewed as desirable," she said, adding "We see with these women, He went to them where they were and He had compassion for whatever their circumstances were."
Bream further explained that the book was written in such a way as to make it easy for those who don't read the Bible to see the beautiful and redemptive stories laid out in its pages.
"So I hope that people who maybe are intimidated by the Bible, or not people of faith and maybe wouldn't pick that up will say, 'alright, these stories sound interesting, and what can I learn from them?'" she said.
Keep and grow the faith
In closing, the "The Women Of The Bible Speak" author said she hopes that by reading the book, people will find encouragement in the fact that God hears and is able to redeem people from whatever circumstance they're in - and all of the women featured in the book's pages prove just that.
"What I found in writing the book is that these problems are timeless and universal - family trouble, sibling rivalry, widowhood, infertility, betrayal, a sense of longing for something, and wondering if God hears you - I think that those are things that were true centuries ago, they're true now, and so God is in that. He is, there's purpose in the waiting and He always has a plan, and when we get off track and we think we have our own plans, we learn through this book that He's even able to redeem that.
So, the truth is I think He still sees us and hears us and the problems of yesterday are the problems of today, so I hope in that people will find encouragement here, see how people held on to their faith or grew in their faith to get through these trials, and just be encouraged and inspired by the bravery and the faithfulness of these women."