I come from a very small rural community in Texas and was blown away when our online women’s Bible study community grew to over 650 women in three months. (Update: we now have over 1,000 members!) I have seen change in the women in my circle that I am so thankful for. I hear women in the foyer of our church or in small groups asking one another “What commentary are you using?” and “I wonder how far it was from Galilee to Tyre and Sidon?” Often, another woman will know the answer. This is not the average topic of conversation for women, but what I am seeing is that they are clearly hungry. What exactly is it that these women are hungry for?
First and foremost, women are often busy and stretched thin—even more so if they have children in the home. They rarely have time alone, and when they do, sometimes they just need to sit and stare. This is why an online study on social media is attractive. The short, 15-minute lessons are great for any woman on the go. She can watch live while sitting in her pajamas before the children wake up, or she can watch later while getting dressed or even while sitting in the pick-up line at school. There are many elderly women who cannot make it to church or small group but are just a click away from Bible study on their phones. The convenience of having it available online makes it accessible by anyone anytime.
Another thing women are looking for is community. The Facebook Live feature allows members to communicate about the post during the lesson. They can ask questions, say hi to friends they know, or comment about what challenged them or moved them during the study. Since the lessons are taught within a group, page members can also post for prayer requests, share new commentaries or study materials they found, or ask questions related to the study. Women can find a thriving and supportive community online through this common interest.
Finally, as teachers of God’s Word, I think as a whole we have underestimated the hunger women (and, indeed, all Bible students) have for history, geography, and research. I will admit that there have been occasions in the past when I would read the name of a person or place and hear Charlie Brown’s teacher talking in my head—blah, blah, blah. But I needed to learn that every word in the text is meaningful and important. I too assumed that most women do not care about history or geography, but I am realizing they do care—the key is how it is presented to them. It must be taught in a way that is relatable. Women (and, again, most small group members) do not want theology, geography, and history presented to them by someone who makes it sound like a dissertation or a lecture—dry, stale, time-consuming, or boring. The teaching needs to be as laid back as a conversation over a cup of coffee but also full of content that is interesting and that makes Scripture easier to understand.
The best feedback I receive from women is often about the Jewish culture and background information that they have learned. This content is the key to connecting 21st-century American woman to first-century Jewish men. It not only gives clarity but also brings the text alive for these students, leaving them more in love with God’s Word and more in love with Jesus.
Carrie Hunt lives in Orange, Texas, with her husband, Newly, and two girls, Eden (5) and Salem (3). Serving as Small Group coordinator at her church, Bridge Point Fellowship, she focuses on equipping leaders with the practical skills of discipleship and encouraging parents to teach their children how to be followers of Christ in the home. Carrie’s Facebook Live Bible study for women, “Becoming a Bible Nerd,” can be found at facebook.com, and you can follow Carrie on Twitter at @carriebakerhunt.