So this Bible study focused on re-examining these Biblical texts.
The idea behind doing a Bible study series on “Bad Girls of the Bible” came from the newest church member, Rev. Melbalenia Evans, who holds a doctorate from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and who’s thesis was entitled “Preaching into Belovedness: The Role of the Sermon in Disrupting and Dismantling Racism.”
For the series, Evans chose Barbara Essex’s “Bad Girls of the Bible: Exploring Women of Questionable Virtue." Associate Minister Amy Rixx, a graduate of Chicago Theological Seminary, led the series on Thursday afternoons and evenings.
Each week, the group looked at a handful of women: named and unnamed, married and unmarried, Israelite and foreign to Israel, rich and poor.
For some of the women we studied, turning the rock over exposed a plethora of new information, motives, and interpretive possibilities. However, a few women’s stories were simply too bare for more than a few bites. We discovered the text said very little about who they were and what motivated them.
The group discovered that, while it is true that women are present throughout the Bible and a few even have their own books (see Ruth and Esther), most women in the Bible appear as secondary characters.
Their stories often revolve around men: their husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, or even current sitting King. Stories about men and their deeds are highlighted more often than stories of women and their deeds.
Consider the Bible’s greatest heroes: Jesus, King David, Abraham, Noah, Moses, and Job. All are stories about men: men’s triumphs (and failures) and men’s encounters with the Divine. Women are very rarely the protagonist or even heroines. Frequently, they are antagonists.
(Pictured from left are several of the attendees Sue Davis, Ginny Noble and Eileen Diercks).