I recently read a most valuable book that gave me new tools for studying the Bible. The book, Women, Leadership, and the Bible (WLB), was written by my friend and fellow member of the Redbud Writers Guild, Natalie Eastman.
I’m excited to share the following interview about her book, Women, Leadership, and the Bible (WLB). Thoroughly researched and filled with tips, Natalie’s book offers a comprehensive guide to Biblical Interpretation. It would be a valuable addition to your bookshelf.
Question: What’s the purpose of your book, Women, Leadership, and the Bible: How Do I Know What to Believe?
Natalie: The term “empowerment,” it seems to me, is vastly overused these days. Yet, admittedly, that’s exactly what I’m doing through WLB and Biblical Breakthrough! Through equipping women with seminary-level tools by which they can study, understand and interpret the Bible; then, stuffing them full of confidence through constant encouragement that they can do this, I hope to empower them to change from an internal status of paralyzed and possibly ignorant (or simply the feeling that one doesn’t know much or enough) to confident, ready, and trained to engage and effectively apply God’s Word with theological reliability and biblical skill.
Of course I hope this empowers and encourages any Christian wanting to become more grounded in God’s Word, not women only; but my primary mission and calling is to and for women.
On an emotional level, I simply want to tell Christians, especially women, “You can do this.” This is not rocket science. Nor do these abilities rely on a special gifting of the Holy Spirit. These are learned skills. Anyone who puts their mind and effort toward the training can and will learn how to know what the Scriptures are saying, as well as what they’re not saying. They can learn how to filter through the many voices “out there” that interpret God’s Word; how to tell the difference between when someone’s giving their opinion about what God’s Word says and when they’re interpreting; and what to do with the many conflicting opinions and interpretations. It can be done. People do it every day. And you can do it with greater skill and effectiveness, while still being sensitive to and filled with God’s very presence throughout the process.
Question: What benefits does your book provide to women?
Natalie: Whether or not the subject of women in church leadership roles is an “issue” in your community, a thoughtful approach to understanding the issue can help a person feel secure in their practices and help them understand the interpretations of others. That type of studied, thoughtful understanding promotes good and helpful dialogue among Christians. The method taught in WLB benefits people wanting to get to the bottom of other issues, too; for, as we all know, many other theological issues have been or will become “issues” there at some point. WLB can benefit your church or ministry in numerous ways:
- Engages women with the Bible.
- Encourages women toward further biblical and theological development.
- Develops women as critical thinkers, so they can embrace their faith and service with groundedness and confidence.
- Urges independent thought within the context of Christian community, with unity being the ultimate goal.
- Equips women with seminary-level hermeneutical skills and tools on an introductory level and, hopefully, whets their appetites (or satisfies one!) for further and deeper biblical studies.
- Teaches women to recognize and face internal and external influences that impact their faith and practice.
- Encourages grace-filled dialogue and study about this and other “controversial” issues within a safe space.
- Provides a “virtual community” for women who really want to “get to the bottom of things,” biblically speaking.
Question: Do any other resources exist to help women take this material further?
Natalie: Yes! So glad you asked! This summer, I am launching the Biblical Breakthrough! An Online Coaching Program with Dr. Natalie Eastman (BB!). This internet-based training program takes people who want to work through their questions concerning women’s roles in church leadership step-by-step through weekly videos, all of which are free!
Two further levels of deeper training opportunities are also available at nominal monthly pricing on a subscription basis. In the future, “generic” courses of study as well as courses of study into specific theological questions (i.e. human sexuality, baptism, etc.) will also be offered that take people through the same method in the book, but they will be able to investigate whatever issue/topic on which they have questions and/or for which they need answers.
Also, I have a mailing list, through which people can receive The Verity Initiative’s monthly newsletter, “Dig Deep!” You can register at this link. When you join the list through this link, I will send you a fairly extensive excerpt of the book – a “sneak peek” – as a way of saying thank you for joining the list. This will be delivered directly to your email inbox of your registered email address. Feel free to share that registration link with anyone you believe may be interested in WLB, BB!, or connecting further with me.
DR. NATALIE R. WILSON EASTMAN (M.Div. ‘02, D.Min. ’05–Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is a freelance writer, editor, and member of the Redbud Writers Guild. She has served as a full-time youth minister to girls and women; Bible study teacher; worship leader and team developer; missionary to east Asia; and retreat and event teacher/speaker. She lives in Delaware, OH, with her husband and three young children.