The Women of the Bible Speak Book Summary - The Women of the Bible Speak Book explained in key points

The Women of the Bible Speak summary

Shannon Bream

The Wisdom of 16 Women and Their Lessons for Today

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What is The Women of the Bible Speak about?

The Women of the Bible Speak (2021) tells the story of the women of the Bible, describing their lives in all of their richness. Some of their stories are tragic, some are empowering, some are just very human. But they are all central to the Christian story, and come with their own special lessons and wisdom. The Women of the Bible Speak shows us that even within the rigid hierarchies of the ancient world, women were instrumental.

About the Author

Shannon Bream is an author and FOX News anchor. Bream is also Chief Legal Correspondent for the network and host of Livin’ the Bream, a podcast on FOX News Radio, where she shares inspirational stories and an insider's perspective on the Supreme Court.

Table of Contents
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    The story of Sarah and Hagar teaches us to be understanding.

    Early in the Bible we encounter two women – Sarah and Hagar. One a free woman, the other enslaved, each played an instrumental role against the patriarchal backdrop of the ancient world. Their own relationship, sadly, was a fraught and bitter one – and yet their story offers a useful lesson, one at the heart of Christian teachings.

    This is the key message: The story of Sarah and Hagar teaches us to be understanding.

    Let’s begin with a quick sketch of their tale. Sarah was wife to the patriarch, Abraham, and Hagar was their Egyptian slave. Initially, the two women seem to have lived side-by-side in harmony – so much so that when Sarah was unable to conceive a child of her own, she told Abraham that he should raise an heir with Hagar. Abraham went along with the plan.

    But when Hagar conceived, the relationship between the two women soured. Sarah became deeply jealous, while Hagar flaunted and revelled openly in her pregnancy. Then Sarah badly mistreated the pregnant slave – just before she gave birth to Abraham’s son, Ishmael.

    God then appeared to Abraham and told him that he would have another child, but this time by Sarah. At this point of the story, Abraham is 100 and Sarah 90 years old! But, just as God says, Sarah gave birth to a child – a son, called Isaac. These two half-brothers were named as the ancestors of the two great peoples of the Near East: Ishmael, the Arabs, and Isaac, the Jews.

    Rather than calming Sarah, however, the birth of Isaac only inflamed her animosity toward Hagar. She believed the very existence of Hagar’s son Ishmael threatened the future security of her own child. One day, Sarah saw Ishmael laughing at Isaac. In her outrage, Sarah asked Abraham to banish Hagar and Ishmael to the wilderness. It was a cruel end, as Hagar and Ishmael were forced into the desert. 

    But it could’ve been so different. If Sarah had shown kindness to Hagar, rather than pride and jealousy, the younger woman might not have taunted Sarah with her pregnancy. And if Hagar had shown compassion towards Sarah’s inability to bear children, then perhaps Sarah wouldn’t have treated her so horrifically. 

    If both women had demonstrated the understanding that is such an intrinsic part of Christianity, their relationship might not have come to such a tragic, wasteful end. 

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    Who should read The Women of the Bible Speak

    • Christians
    • Anyone interested in the history of the Bible
    • Those looking for inspiration and wisdom from the ancient world

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