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....a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment.....

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Lost Women of the Bible book cover
Lost Women of the Bible offers character studies of some of the lessor known women of the Bible, featuring women such as Noah's wife and Hagar. Carolyn Custis James uses more of a devotional meditative style to explore the characters. In all honesty, that style just didn't work for me, probably due to my own preference for less abstract Bible study. I've had the book for sometime, struggled to finish it. That said, Custis James brings up many excellent points and offers new insight into some of the biblical women.

Custis James approached the study from the point of view of a woman who doesn't fit stereotypes of the Christian woman. As she says, "The pattern for women handed down to us in the church simply doesn't fit all sizes and shapes that women come in these days." Singles, for instance do not fit that mold. "However, many of us---more than ever before---are alone, not simply through the death of a spouse but often because we never married or are divorced. Many are single parents. (cont'd)

In Bethany, a woman brought a great treasure to Jesus. She carried an alabaster jar filled with ointment. Before the shocked eyes of the disciples, she emptied the expensive perfumed over Jesus' head. The disciples cried out in dismay. "Why this waste? For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor." They understood charity. They understood giving to the poor, yet they could not understand this woman's actions. Jesus, however, responded, "Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me." He saw this woman's actions as service, as serving. More, she demonstrated an awareness of the coming death of Christ. Jesus said, "By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial." The service the disciples would have rejected, the Master accepted and commended.

Through out history other women have faced similar struggles, in fact, that struggle continues today. Too often they are told, as this woman was, that the service they offer for the body of Christ is unwelcome or spiritually wrong. Jesus offered encouragement, however. He said, "Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her." We need to remember the brave woman with a jar of oil and all the other women in the Bible and in our history.

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“The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A, and are used by permission. All rights reserved.” cross divider

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