By Taylor Turkington
As politically incorrect as it is to say that the Bible can be taught wrongly, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s true. I’m sure you’ve seen the consequences in the pain of the prosperity gospel or the confusion after other false teaching. You’ve witnessed it when powerless principles are pulled from a text out of context. When this happens, the Bible is unintentionally stripped of its life-changing strength and leaves listeners with no hope and no reason to return.
Of course, the Scripture is not taught solely on a Sunday morning from the pulpit of your church. Its use echoes through a church body in conversations, Bible studies, children’s lessons, and other speaking times. Men and women in your church are using it to minister to others in some way or another. Alternatively, they may be communicating its insufficiency if they aren’t using it at all.
Even though the life of a pastor is hectic, it’s likely that educating leaders in your church to use the Bible well is high on your priority list. However, with a busy schedule and a focus on developing elders, pastors sometimes overlook the training of women. Or perhaps they want to train them, but they’re not sure how. Either way, women likely fill more than half of the seats in your church and want to handle the Word of God correctly, so their training is essential.
Even if you’re already equipping the women in your church, here are three things to remember about training women intentionally.
God has called the women in your church to labor in the kingdom
The ladies in your church are called to be disciples of Jesus. As disciples, part of their inheritance is the Holy Spirit’s indwelling and gifting. What grace God gives! In this grace, they have good works that God has put before them, and as disciples, they’re called to make disciples. As you probably know from experience, they have passions, wisdom, insight, and power from Jesus to live out. They delight to be essential partners and servants with you in this kingdom work. The encouragement you give helps them labor alongside you, and seeing that you care deeply about their training in biblical knowledge will spur them on them to use their gifts for Jesus’s glory.
Training empowers and protects them
When asked to do something you don’t know how to do, there can be varied responses – panic, over-confidence, frustration, or just fleeing for your life. Everyone needs help to know how to do the things we know Scripture calls us to do – things like discipling younger women in the church, pouring into our children, speaking the gospel truth to those in our community, leading a Bible study, or teaching the Bible to others. Talking about the ministry task in the abstract is encouraging but doesn’t necessarily help anyone take the next step. Training takes us by the hand and empowers us to use the gifts God has graciously and powerfully given.
Training also protects. There is a multitude of material marketed towards Christian women for spiritual growth and equipping. Unfortunately, much of it is only valuable as a kindling booster for your firepit. The truth is that it is dangerous if taken as serious reading material because of how it teaches to use the Bible. Yet, training your women in how to use the Bible well will enable them to discern good content from bad. This will protect her and the people to whom she ministers and will build up the theological framework she’s already receiving in her church. It gives examples of how to use that framework practically in everyday conversations with the Bible open. How desperately Christian women need this protection as they navigate the “Christian” section on Amazon.
They will be better equipped for service
I imagine you already appreciate the service done by the women in your church. They probably do countless tasks and sacrificial acts to honor their Lord and minister to others. Still, encouraging them with further training will either commission them to new tasks of discipleship and ministry or help them grow in those areas. As they are equipped to use the Bible better, they will acquire tools to use in their own lives and in the lives of those around them. They will serve, encourage, and provide fresh insights as they see the gospel as central to all of Scripture and all of life. And you will see Jesus honored as women continue to obey the charge to labor in the Kingdom alongside their brothers.
So, you’re excited to add to the biblical capacity of your women. You already see their input as essential to the church and the communities they influence, and you know there’s more to come. So what next?
A good place to start is Verity Fellowship.
Training women is the heart behind the Verity Fellowship and their coming event Verity Forum. Verity exists “to encourage and equip women to use the Scriptures well.” The event on May 7th held at Western Seminary is packed with workshops on discipleship, Bible studies, teaching, and gospel ministry. In an effort to lower any boundary that would keep women from coming, Verity Forum costs only $20 if you register before April 26th.