We have been meeting for over twenty years now. What do we study? We study the Word of God. Even when we use a study guide of some sort, it is one that always directs us to the Word. Maybe three times in twenty years we have used a book that had opinions and commentary in it, and all three times we had no problem at all pointing to our Bibles and saying, “Well, the author got that one wrong.” What we have NOT used is what Mama believed, what we’ve always heard, and “what we feel comfortable with.”
We have become a close knit group. We have a rule: what happens in class, stays in class. That means we can open up with private problems and expect confidentiality. It means we can ask questions that would have been embarrassing in a mixed class. It means we can ask why and not be immediately accused of heresy. It means we can comment and the comment will be treated seriously, instead of being passed off by a male teacher who was too busy looking ahead in his notes because a woman was speaking and he figured it wouldn’t be worth much anyway.
We love. If anyone needs help on a given day, we give it. We support, encourage, enlighten, and correct, even if it takes half the class. On occasion we have met in hospital rooms. Other times we have met at the home of a sister in need and spent a couple of hours serving instead of studying. Many hands can accomplish much, and isn’t doing the point of learning?
We begin every class discussing others—not a gossip fest, but a list of who needs help—food, housework, transportation; who needs prayers, who needs a pat on the back or a visit. We all share whatever information we have and then pray some of the most heartfelt prayers you will ever hope to hear. We go through more Kleenexes than a community with a flu epidemic. Then we go out and put the feet to those prayers.
And we study. Really study. And discuss. Really discuss. And learn. Really learn. I have seen light bulbs go off in faces over and over. Every woman there has changed her mind about something major simply because a moment arose when she said, “I never thought of it that way before.” And ultimately, lives have changed. I have seen all of these women grow in the past twenty years to become the kind of women you would hope you could be some day, the kind we often remember long after they are gone because of the example they set and the wisdom they shared.
It’s catching. Another group began on Sunday afternoons about nine years ago—once a month for two hours, following a shared lunch. It has blossomed in the same way, and I cannot see it stopping any time soon.
And so I praise my sisters, just as Paul so often praised his brothers and sisters at the end of his epistles. They have taught me every bit as much as I have taught them. I often go home with new ideas to think about from simple comments they share. I challenge you to make your women’s Bible classes every bit as praiseworthy.
And I look forward some day to a huge gathering of sisters from all places and all times, but essentially the same women I have met with all these years—faithful, devout, humble, and good—women of God who will worship Him together forever.
Many daughters have done worthily, But you excel them all. Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain; But a woman who fears Jehovah, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; And let her works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:29-31