Beyond the Book with Dr. Higgins: “Empowered and Equipped”
Chad Burchett | October 14, 2022
In the Great Commission, Jesus commands his followers to make disciples of all nations, which includes teaching them to observe all that Jesus has commanded. Learning to teach God’s word, then, is not an optional or ancillary task in the Christian life; it is integral to our role in God’s mission in the world.
Training women to faithfully teach God’s word, “Empowered and Equipped: Bible Exposition for Women Who Teach the Scriptures” combines the best of instruction on Bible exposition with practical counsel for women with a heart for teaching God’s word. “Empowered and Equipped” is written by Julia Higgins, Assistant Professor of Ministry to Women and Associate Dean of Graduate Program Administration at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Few biblically and doctrinally reliable resources have been uniquely tailored to help women teach the Scriptures, which makes “Empowered and Equipped” such a timely and significant book. In this Q&A, Higgins takes the time to answer a few questions about her new book:
What is the book about?
“Empowered and Equipped” is a book about the Bible — its origin, its story, and the genres that it contains. With that foundation in mind, the reader will come to understand that women have been empowered by the Spirit to teach the Bible and will find strategies to discern the meaning of Bible texts and teach those texts to women in the Church.
Women have been empowered by the Spirit to teach the Bible.
Who is the target audience?
This book was written with women in the Church and with seminary students in mind. Yet, this work is also one that can be read by men, and my hopes are that pastors will read the book so they might be inspired to lead women to study and teach God’s word in women’s ministries within the local church.
What motivated you to write the book?
I teach a course at Southeastern entitled, Bible Exposition for Ministry to Women, and often the textbooks I use for that class were written with pastors in mind. Those texts are excellent resources, but I desired to provide a book that would meet the specific needs of my students: women who are serving the local church in various ways. A secondary motivation was to highlight the need in the church for women to be equipped to teach and be given a space to exercise the spiritual gift of teaching.
How is the book uniquely tailored to women who teach?
The book highlights examples of women teaching and prepares women to understand that if both genders are recipients of the particular spiritual gift of teaching, then they should take steps to be better equipped to rightly handle God’s word. It also pushes them to imagine what it would look like for each local church to rely more upon the women in that particular body to teach at women’s ministry events rather than relying heavily upon outside curriculum from women with large platforms. Additionally, teaching God’s word is a serious task, and so it prepares women to understand not only key aspects of Bible exposition but also what it means to teach within the bounds of orthodox doctrine.
It prepares women to understand not only key aspects of Bible exposition but also what it means to teach within the bounds of orthodox doctrine.
Why is maintaining one’s spiritual health an essential aspect of biblical interpretation?
Human beings can accomplish many things in their own power. Yet, there is nothing in this world like sitting under someone teaching the word of God by the power of the Spirit. That is where true transformation takes place. We could try to serve and teach when our spiritual health is lacking, but true blessing comes for both the teacher and the listener when the members of the body walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Thus, I devoted a chapter to the life of the teacher and the spiritual disciplines that are non-negotiables.
True blessing comes for both the teacher and the listener when the members of the body walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
How does the book equip readers to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission?
We have to remember that Jesus gave us a particular pattern for our going and making of disciples: baptism in the name of our triune God and teaching disciples to observe all that Jesus commanded. How can women go and properly make disciples unless they are equipped to understand God’s word and teach others what Jesus commanded? This book aids in that task and can be studied with groups of women in the local church, so that women might begin to better fulfill the calling of Titus 2 — that they might “teach what is good.”
How has researching and writing the book shaped you spiritually?
The chapter on doctrinal teaching caused me to glory in the Trinity more and pushed me to study that topic more deeply. It really increased my own desire to not only teach a text Christocentrically but also look for the Father, the Son, and the Spirit in the entirety of God’s word. Since writing that chapter, I have gone on to study the Trinity in other works, and the Lord has used that effort to grow my love and adoration for God who is three in one.
Empowered and Equipped: Bible Exposition for Women Who Teach the Scriptures
“Jesus commissioned disciples to teach the nations, and women of the church must take his call seriously.”
Men and women alike are given the spiritual gift of teaching, yet few resources are designed specifically for women who exposit the Scriptures. In “Empowered and Equipped,” Julia Higgins steers women through the steps needed to faithfully interpret, apply, and teach a passage of Scripture. By examining both the principles and practices of teaching of Bible exposition, Higgins seeks to prepare women in the local church to make and mold disciples.
November 1, 2022
Paperback, 224 pages