In God’s wisdom, he has ordered the church so that men and women have complementary roles, with men entrusted with public teaching and the role of elder (1Tim. 2:8-3:7). We worked through this topic a little over a year ago in a sermon titled, “Women of the Word.” However, we must say more. Women are not merely Word receivers, but Word speakers. In fact, the health of the church hangs on the capacity of every member to speak the Word of God one to another (Eph. 4:11–16; Tit. 2:3–5).
Moved by this conviction, we want to see women at Heritage and in our city flourish in the Word. That’s why we recently hosted a workshop on biblical exposition for women in partnership with the Charles Simeon Trust.
Liz Stratton, our Director of Women’s Ministries, owns this vision with our elders and headed up this workshop. I pinged her with a few questions so we could hear from her on how it went.
1. Liz, thank you for coordinating and leading this event. Let’s start with this question: what is a Simeon Trust Women’s Workshop on Biblical Exposition? That’s a long title. Tell us about the goals of the workshop, how this fits into our desires for women’s ministry here, and what happens at these workshops.
The purpose of the workshop is to equip women to rightly handle the Word of God by giving them the tools and the confidence to do so. Many women Bible teachers in particular are not formally theologically trained so this type of training is needed in the church. Each workshop focuses on a particular genre of Scripture and a specific book within that genre. For this one, we focused on the epistles in general and 1 Peter specifically. Each participant was assigned 2 passages from 1 Peter to study beforehand. Then they were given an opportunity to share their work in a small-group and receive feedback that will help them to progress in their work. It can be a bit intimidating at first to be opened up to peer review like that, but I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful to hear from more experienced teachers how to make progress in my work. In addition to the small-group times, we also receive instruction in many different Bible study tools that give us a process for gleaning from the text what the original authors intended, as opposed to coming to the text and forcing our own interpretation on it.
2. Who is the workshop for and who joined us?
The workshop is specifically designed for women who teach in more formal Bible-teaching settings. So in our context at Heritage, that would probably be Ladies’ Bible Study and ladies’ elective classes. It can also be helpful for women who teach in children’s ministry settings. We had 63 women attend—8 women from Heritage, about 20 more from local churches throughout the upstate, and many more from around the country.
3. What was the most memorable part of the event from your perspective as the coordinator?
I just loved getting to know and learn from women from other churches who all have the common goal of teaching the Bible well. But if I’m honest, I think my favorite part was introducing the from-out-of-town guest speakers to Bacon Bros!
4. Why is it important for the local church to equip women to teach?
It’s important because according to the book of Titus, all mature Christian women should be teaching. Often when we hear people talk about teaching we only think of the select few who stand up in front of a group and give a prepared talk of some kind. But teaching looks a variety of ways in the church, and all women need to be equipped to teach so that the whole church body is built up in love (Eph. 4:15). Marriages will be strengthened as wives know how to lovingly speak truth to their husbands. Families are stronger as moms and grandmas know how to answer tough theological questions raised by children. Shepherding groups flourish when women are able to offer unique perspectives that are grounded in Scripture. Relational bonds are formed when older women know how to counsel younger women and when friends are able to offer Bible-saturated encouragement to one another. All that to say, it’s important for the health of the whole body, and I’m really thankful for church leadership that not only gives permission for women to be equipped to teach, but actively encourages and equips women to teach!