One of the most frequent questions I got as a parish pastor was, “What kind of Bible should I buy myself/my mother/my daughter?”
This was hard to answer, because the version that I usually recommend is not cute. It’s not pink. It’s filled with great insight and commentary, and the translation is very close to the Greek.
But most of the commentary is written by dudes. Here’s where I put in the standard disclaimers, I like dudes, some of my best friends are dudes, etc. But anyone who has heard a woman preach can tell you that even if we’re not playing the woman card (ahem), we’re still looking at the text from a different perspective.
This Bible that I got in the mail from Abingdon Press (full disclosure: it was free in exchange for my honest review, which you are now reading) made me very, very happy, and this is why. It’s a Bible written for women, but also BY women! That shouldn’t be revolutionary, but it is! A quick glance at the editors and authors reveals that many are United Methodist clergy, as well as professors, pastors, and teachers from many other denominations. And they are all women.
However, this Women’s Study Bible is not filled with adorable anecdotes about washing kitchen towels and thinking about Jesus (not that there’s anything wrong with that, okay?). It’s filled with well-researched sidebars about the Biblical background and characters, occasionally inviting one to imagine the scene, occasionally telling more of the story. There’s nothing cute about it, and that’s a good thing. It has an “index of unnamed women,” among other unique indices, and I’ve never seen that before.
I will recommend this Bible, and I do recommend it if you want a Bible that will help you interpret the stories with the help of scholars who are also women. I would recommend it in companion with the excellent “Women’s Bible Commentary” (by Newsom, Ringe, and Lapsley) which gives a few more women-focused comments for each chapter, and that would be the only weakness that I see, if it is one. As the description says, it can be used for group Bible study, for women in the pews and in church leadership, and for individual study.
If you’re a Bible translation nerd like me, the CEB checks out. Words like “anthropos” are translated “humanity,” instead of the less accurate “man.” It’s still nice and poetic where it needs to be, but with more modern words. I’m a fan!
*It’s not straight up pink, but it sorta…hints at the color pink. And I’m okay with that.