March 29th, 2009
Barrs, Jerram. Through His Eyes: God’s Perspective on Women in the Bible. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2009. 352 pp. $19.99.
With all the discussion today regarding a woman’s roll in the church and whether or not she is obligated to stay at home with the children, we often lose sight of her most important roll—the seed bearer of the Savior. Jerram Barrs, the founder of the Francis Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Theological Seminary, presents a biblical theology of how God views and treats women in the Bible.
He begins with Eve and ends with the church, the Bride of Christ. He discusses Sarah, who even though she laughed and doubted God, is the mother of all who believe. He shows how Naomi and Ruth were not only a picture of godliness but also of redemption. He shares the tragedy of Tamar and the delightful duty of Esther. He concludes the Old Testament study of women by looking at the Proverbs 31 woman.
In the New Testament, he describes Mary, Jesus’ mother, in all of her glory. (Yes, it is a glorious thing to be able to say you carried, birthed, and nursed the Savior of the world.) We get a description of the woman of Samaria at the well and how she was loved by God even though she was disgraced in her own land. He concludes with a look at the honor a woman has when she is married. To be called a bride is one thing, but to be called a bride in the context of the church offers quite a different understanding of what it means to be a bride.
What puts this book over the top for me, is the study questions at the end of each chapter. These discussion questions offer a deep look into one’s heart regarding how one really views woman. Even better, you are challenged upon the authority of Scripture to (in most cases) rethink your views on how God sees women. This is true whether you are a man or a woman. I could see this book being an awesome (I do not use this term lightly) tool for a women’s book study.
Barrs states from the outset that he is not going to discuss the restrictive passages that have been argued about for centuries (see 1 Cor. 11; 1 Cor. 14; and 1 Tim 2). He succeeds in doing just that. What Jerram Barrs has done is offered up a book that is a must read for every man and woman. This book will empower women to see themselves as God sees them and challenge men to treat women “as Christ loved the church.”