Book Review - A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans

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A Year of Biblical Womanhood : How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master

by Rachel Held Evans, Thomas Nelson, 352 Pages

I first heard the buzz about Rachel Held Evans last Christmas when a friend of mine emceed a youth conference where she was a keynote speaker. I soon began following her blog. Then when another friend received for her birthday Rachel’s book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, I was first in line to borrow it once she finished. I am happy to say that the book did not disappoint.

As the title hints, Evans spends a year working through what the Bible says about women, literally.

Evans explores what it really means to be a Biblical woman. The project begins as she contemplates the mixed messages she has received about Biblical Womanhood through church, the media, and friends and family. What follows is a combination of hilarious efforts to follow literal commands (such as pitching a tent and sleeping outside during, ahem, that time of the month), and serious grappling with what the Bible says about women and how Christians have interpreted it throughout the ages. 

Evans approaches her year of Biblical Womanhood by devoting each month to a different value that has been traditionally attributed to Biblical Womanhood (i.e. Gentleness, Domesticity, Grace). For example, in the month of March, she explores modesty by wearing a head covering and plain clothing, no jewelry, and spending time visiting and interviewing an Amish woman. In August, she focuses on silence, refraining from speaking and teaching in church, visiting a Quaker service, and attending a silent retreat at a monastery. 

Her exploration takes her on many adventures, from an interview of a polygamist, to a yearlong correspondence with an Orthodox Jewish woman to a World Vision trip to Bolivia. She tells the story of women who have received death threats for preaching in church, and the stories of women in the Bible who have often been overlooked. 

Each chapter ends with a spotlight on a specific woman in the Bible.

Through her journey, she learns to listen to people of many faiths and backgrounds, to root herself more deeply in Christ, and she learns about the importance of women supporting one another in all walks of life. She redefines the way Biblical womanhood has been viewed in the past, bringing this concept into the present in a way that is relatable. She commits to 10 specific ways to continue engaging what she has learned throughout the project, including celebrating ancient as well as present-day women of valor. She did a fascinating series called Women of Valor on her blog.

As a female who has struggled with what the Bible says about women and has been exposed to many different views, I appreciated Rachel’s humorous, yet genuine exploration of the topic. By end of the book, I felt like I had enjoyed an extended conversation with a good friend, and had journeyed with her throughout her process. She is personable in her writing and not above discussing her weaknesses and failures, as well as sharing her joys and passion. While Rachel generally comes from a Christian feminist perspective, she seems to speak from a place that is accessible to women of different views and beliefs. 

I recommend this book to women (and men!) who are interested in exploring different views of Biblical womanhood, while enjoying a good laugh…and an occasional good cry. And right now, Rachel is offering a FREE Discussion Guide for A Year of Biblical Womanhood.

Micalagh is giving away 2 copies of Rachel's A Year of Biblical Womanhood.

Enter to win but leaving a COMMENT below and let us know what you think biblical womanhood looks like. You can also TWEET about the giveaway - Just be share to include @circlesoffaith in your tweet. 


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Micalagh Beckwith Moritz is a social worker, writer, wife, sister, daughter, community member, continually learning how to do a better job at each of these roles. She is always contemplating how to love others better and to enjoy the small things of life; to see God in everything and everyone. She loves cheese, speaking French, and experiencing different cultures. Micalagh blogs at Only Small Things

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