[Note that after a rambling beginning, that may sound a bit negative, I actually give the guide I will review 5 stars and recommend it to you!]
I’ve long been familiar with the “Coffee Cup Bible Studies” series for women by Sandra Glahn, yet never utilized one, for several reasons…
* I tend to avoid anything marketed for or written for women. Years ago I found too many of such Bible studies to be lacking in depth, keeping women at a superficial level, and/or written in a way that assumed every woman is a full time housewife. I’d complete such “a study” and not feel that I’d learned or gained much of anything spiritually.
* In recent years there have been improvements with studies for women, some with significantly more depth, yet even those don’t mesh with me well, typically because of the presentation style being…boisterous and entertaining…and I prefer a more serious and thoughtful style.
* In addition, I just prefer to study the Bible for myself. I don’t mean just me and my Bible, but I have an exceptional home library and to study through a certain book of the Bible I get out various resources and reference works such as Bible commentaries, Bible survey books, and Bible background books. I like to “dig” for myself and gain a grasp of the material.
But all that said, I had a good idea that any study written by Dr. Sandra Glahn would be different. This proved accurate, and I recently went through: Chai with Malachi. Below is a screenshot from Christian Book Distributors of the series:
I give Chai with Malachi 5 stars. It is geared toward the typical woman today being “on the go” but that does not mean lack of depth but just an arrangement of the material with that in mind: the entire text of Malachi is in the guide, it is spiral bound making it easy to work with, and the size makes it easy to take with you. All you need is this guide with you for an in-depth study of Malachi.
Dr. Glahn has done the “digging” to prepare and present this Bible study – and that does not mean the guide just spoon feeds you – rather it is like you have been handed the gift of curated content! It is like having the core content from a stack of Bible reference works brought together in one source, arranged and organized for your benefit. Dr. Sandra Glahn is a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, with the background to create trustworthy Bible studies.
Topics or issues are addressed that would typically be considered more academic and left out of many Bible studies for various unfortunate reasons, but Glahn skillfully covers such things. For example, since Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament and then there is a 400 year time frame before the New Testament begins, Glahn covers this intertestamental time period – even bringing in the apocryphal books. She carefully explains that when utilized in the right way (remembering that the apocrypha is not authoritative Scripture) that these books can provide helpful historical information to aid in our understanding of this time.
But don’t get nervous, Chai with Malachi flows and skillfully combines knowledge and understanding with content that relates to our lives today as Christians. Like most such studies, at places there are questions for you to answer that either assist you in understanding the content of Malachi or to apply it to your life.
At several places in the book Glahn gives a much needed “poke” or challenge to women to step up to the plate spiritually and in their service of God! While Glahn is complementarian,* she is known for writing and speaking about how modern day Christianity has limited and restricted women (and men) in ways that are not biblical but rather cultural. We need women (and men) to utilize their God-given abilities and gifts for the kingdom of God, rather than suppressing such gifts because they don’t match artificially constructed gender roles.
* Note: Dr. Glahn calls herself a comple-galitairan, not identifying fully with either camp.
An example from pages 27-29 in Chai with Malachi is when Malachi 2:7 is looked at and connected to how Christians (men and women) are called “priests” in the New Testament (1 Peter 2:9). Yes, we are all priests, and Glahn explains what this means and does not mean spiritually. She also brings in marriage, and points out how Scripture can be distorted to promote a “man in charge” paradigm while Scripture actually teaches partnership and shared authority between husband and wife. One partner being “in charge” is not biblical. In this paragraph you find her challenge:
“For some of us, it’s time to ‘woman up’ and take responsibility for our own spiritual lives. Sometimes a wife will shirk responsibility for her walk with Christ and blame it on her husband’s failure to initiate as a spiritual leader. Yes, he is a priest to her, but only in the same way she is a priest to him. Every woman who is ‘in Christ’ is a priest who will stand before God and give account for herself. And that idea is not coming out of feminism. It’s right out of the holy Word of God.” (page 29)
Based on Chai with Malachi, I would recommend the entire series of “Coffee Cup Bible Studies” to you. Thanks to Dr. Sandra Glahn for her efforts to help women go deeper in their faith and knowledge of God.
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