Saturday, January 27

The Star of Esther

I spent my blogging time yesterday doing more preparation for a women's Bible study this morning. It's a BUWC thing. Women in many of the churches associated are studying the book of Esther this morning, and I'm helping to lead the study in our church.

Unfortunately, my section of the study required some rewriting and rearranging of the questions. The questions given with the study were not very open ended, and I could see where the intended answers were leading. They were making the star of the story of the book of Esther out to be Esther the Queen--the courageous but oppressed woman who fought for social justice, risking her life to do it. (And by way of application: How can the women of the church call for justice like Esther did? What justice issues should the church be addressing?)

I don't like Esther's situation any more than anyone else; I'll admit she had courage; and there are certainly social justice issues Christian women should be addressing. (What about social justice for the unborn, for instance?) But that's not the main point of the book of Esther!

And shouldn't the main point of a study of a book of the Bible be the main point of the book of the Bible? So I've rewritten (or reordered) some of the questions in hopes of focusing most on the providence of God, so that the application is more about how the knowledge of God's providential workings in every situation gives boldness to act in difficult circumstances. I'm not sure I was supposed to do that, but I did.

(Interestingly, in the questions as listed in the original study, which is supposed to take a couple of hours to go through, the providential God who is the real Star of Esther--the Star who never takes the stage--has two small mentions.)

Well, I'm off to get ready to go to the gallows. No time to proof read, so either ignore the mistakes or point them out to me in the comments so I can correct them when I get back. I prefer the second option.

Update: The study went very well. What a wonderful bunch of thinking Christian ladies! Every single one was well prepared, and there were more attending than I'd expected. It made me very happy that we had an outspoken objection or two to the premises behind the questions before we even got to the section I was leading, so I didn't have to take the group anywhere they weren't already going. I'll respond to the comments later, but now I've got the rest of a busy Saturday to finish.

Artwork: Esther and Mordecai, by Aert de Gelder.