Do We Need a ‘Women’s Bible’? | Connecting with Culture
In the Times Magazine last weekend, Caitlin Moran wrote about the Bible. ‘It might be a bestseller’, the sub-heading says, ‘but we need a new version of the Bible – strictly for women.’
The piece considers how the Bible’s ‘greatest hits are now absolutely entwined with our idea of how to be an acceptable human being’, but then argues that maybe the Bible was not written for women: ‘The things the Bible presumes its reader struggles with – the things it provides counsel for – are generally the struggles of men, not women.’ Violence, love of money, and turning the other cheek, she suggests, aren’t really moral struggles for women.
‘What would a Bible written for women look like?’, she asks. ‘Women are just as awful and just as in need of betterment as men – it’s just that their flaws are different, and invisible to the Bible.’
It’s very easy for me to want to dismantle her arguments, to explain how to read the Bible well, how to consider the original culture and context, how to analyse the language.
But then I stop and listen to the question behind the question, the one that so many of us long to have answered:
‘Where is my guidance?’ she seems to be asking. ‘What am I supposed to do?!’
It’s then that I realise that Moran is no different from the rest of us. She doesn’t really need a theological deep-dive into why the Bible was revolutionary for women of its time and has been at the forefront of social justice issues for centuries. She doesn’t need a lesson in biblical interpretation – although the time for that may come later. She doesn’t need a Bible written especially for women, not really.
She needs the person of Jesus, the one who stands at the heart of the Bible, present on every page. She needs to understand the overarching story of salvation – one of a broken, lost humanity and a good, good God who pursues those he created and loves with a relentless passion, sacrificing his very self for them.
And I guess that’s all any of us need, isn’t it? A reminder that we are fully known and fully loved, despite it all. The damage that we have done – and has been done to us – is not irreversible.
It never was.
That’s the Bible women need. And it’s the Bible women – and men – have.