In Is the Bible Good for Women? Wendy Alsup searches through the Bible and discusses how it reveals God’s good divine design for women. Alsup argues that many feminists attack the Bible by extrapolating half-truths without considering the entire biblical canon, cultural implications, and literary complexities. Thus, she spends the first portion of the book laying out a framework for reading the Bible in a Christ-centered way. In doing so, the author asserts that this method avoids cherry-picking and misusing biblical texts to fit our own sinful preferences. Next, Alsup tackles specific parts of the Bible such as Old Testament Law and New Testament epistles to illustrate how these texts serve to reveal God’s intent for women. For example, she brings up the example of Dinah who was raped and mistreated by the men around her. Alsup argues that the narrative is not prescriptive but descriptive of sinful human hearts that fail to live up to God’s commands. Other texts that she focuses on include the wearing of headdresses and directions against allowing women to teach men publicly. Being a short book that aims to tackle such a massive issue, the greatest weakness of the book lies in not being able to dissect the issues presented in a balanced and comprehensive way. Thus, I find that readers are often left with a brisk stroll through texts without careful analysis and discussion which greatly reduces the strength of the author’s arguments. With the vast amount of scholarly work written on biblical gender roles along with thousands of commentaries on the various books of the Bible, the book falls much short of convincing readers to agree with its premise concerning the Bible’s positive view of women.
I would recommend this book to those who want a general introduction on feminist claims against the Bible. Alsup is commendable for upholding the authority of the Bible as being the Word of God. Moreover, the author advocates for a Christ-centered approach to reading the Bible which is integral to interpreting and applying scripture to our lives. However, I urge readers to dig deeper into the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit and His servants who have laboured to seek greater understanding of the different nuances of each text. Regardless of our theological positions, let us remain committed to the Bible as the inspired Word and humbly pray for wisdom to embrace what He commands concerning His will for women and men.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from The Crown Publishing Group in exchange for a book review.