What can Jezebel, the Bible’s wickedest queen, reveal about God’s holiness and power and even about his sense of humor? What about the Woman at the Well—the one with five husbands and a live-in lover? And what of the prostitute whose tears bathe the feet of Jesus in front of people who despise her?
There are also “wicked good” women like Deborah, Ruth, Hannah, Abigail, Esther, Mary, and more. What do their lives tell us about God’s invincible love and his determined plan to save us?
In Wicked Women of the Bible Ann Spangler tells the stories of twenty wicked and “wicked good” women in greater detail. At the end of each story, Ann provides a brief section including additional historical and cultural background as well as a brief Bible study in order to enhance the book’s appeal to both individuals and groups.
The stories of these women of the Bible reveal a God who is not above it all but who stoops down to meet us where we are in order to extend his love and mercy.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; … Psalm 1:1-6
Wicked Women of the Bible casts a wide net giving readers a comprehensive view of the Bible through the lives of the women (good and bad) who’ve shaped Christianity. Ann Spangler’s fact-based, fictional narrative draws readers through the scripture beginning with Eve at Creation and concluding with Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the resurrected Christ. This book is both entertaining and enlightening — the perfect catalyst to discuss God’s redemptive plan with anyone.
Are you familiar with the literary quote*, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”? I believe this is exactly what Ann Spangler has done in her retelling of each woman’s story. She ventured to gain the perspective of key women in the Bible in order to extol their obedience, reverence, and seeking of God or to admonish their disobedience, irreverence, and/or turning from Him. Their examples, whether “wicked bad” or “wicked good,” impacted the people of their time and ours. Serving as foundations we can build upon, or red-flag warnings of behaviors to avoid. Here and there I disagreed with the author’s characterization of people or their dialogue, however she frequently explains her reasoning in the footnotes.
Wicked Women of the Bible is a ministry tool for several reasons. First off, it’s easy to envision non-believers being drawn to the title and the narratives and then feeling compelled to uncover the complete story (or at least those of these women) as it’s written in the Bible. Secondly, as I read I marveled again at God’s wisdom in including spiritual giants, screw-ups, and rebels His Word. I believe Ann’s book reminds each of us that our stories matter and that God loves us despite our failures, sin, and shortcomings. If we are willing to surrender to Him, He can turn our lives around, refresh our souls, and set us on the right path (Psalm 23:3). Finally, In both “The Times” which puts the narrative into historical, chronological, and cultural context and through “The Takeaway” questions, Ann equips reading groups to dialogue about what they have read.
I recommend this title for believers and non-believers alike. Wicked Women of the Bible has a similar execution as The Day I Met Jesus, Agents of the Apocalypse, and The Family of Jesus. If you read and enjoyed any of these titles for their blend of biblical fiction and bible study, you may enjoy this book as well.
(*) quote taken from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
CONGRATULATIONS KATHRYN D.
Christian Shelf-Esteem and Family Christian would like to bless one reader with a copy of Ann Spanglers WICKED WOMEN OF THE BIBLE. LIMIT: ONE (1) ENTRY PER E-MAIL/IP ADDRESS. This giveaway is sponsored by Family Christian and is open to residents of the United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry. No PO Boxes. Ending 11:59 PM (CST) ON 9/18/15.
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Additional Suggested Reading
My regular readers know that I am a huge fan of biblical fiction. Below you will find a list of biblical fiction titles I’ve read and enjoyed about the women found in Wicked Women of the Bible. Some titles I read before I began blogging/reviewing. They are all on my Goodreads “read” shelf. Books I’ve review on this blog will be marked by a (*) – click those titles to read my review.
Eve: Havah by Tosca Lee
Sarah: Sarai by Jill Eileen Smith
Tamar: A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers
Miriam: Miriam by Mesu Andrews (Coming March 2016)
Ruth: In Fields of Grace* by Tessa Afshar
Michal: Michal by Jill Eileen Smith
Abigail: Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith
Gomer: Love in a Broken Vessel by Mesu Andrews
Esther: Esther: Royal Beauty* by Angela Hunt