Reader's Guide to TGC's National Women's Conference
Next month, thousands of women will be gathering together in Orlando to learn more of how the character of God is revealed in Scripture. Many of these women can point to particular books that have played an important role in developing their understanding of God's Word. These books opened up an aspect of Scripture that once seemed so vague, or completely changed how to read the Bible.
So I'm pleased to tell you about two things book lovers will enjoy about The Gospel Coalition's national women's conference, June 22 to 24. First, TGC editorial director Collin Hansen will host a discussion with Gloria Furman and Lydia Brownback on "Women Writing: Perspectives on the World of Publishing---Online and Off." This new Focus Gathering will be held Friday, June 22, at 9 p.m. So if you're interested in blogging or even writing books, we hope you'll join us.
Second, just like every other TGC conference, we're preparing a bookstore filled with conference-discounted titles, up to 40 percent off. However, walking into a conference bookstore can be a daunting experience due to volume and unfamiliarity. Where do you start, and how do you choose which books to buy?
To answer questions, I asked Kathleen Nielson, TGC's director of women's initiatives, to identify some of the best titles in four categories: books that help us put together the storyline of the Bible, study God's Word, evangelize, and understand issues pertaining particularly to women. All these books will be featured at discount in our conference bookstore.
Storyline of the Bible
The theme of the conference is big: God's revelation of himself in his Word. Reading or reviewing a book about the overarching storyline of the Bible would be a great way to prepare for the plenary sessions. Perhaps the most accessible would be Vaughan Roberts's God's Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible. Graeme Goldsworthy's The Goldsworthy Trilogy accomplishes a similar end, with a bit more complexity. One of our speakers, Nancy Guthrie, is writing a series of studies in this vein, the most recent of which is The Wisdom of God: Seeing Jesus in the Psalms and Wisdom Books.
Studying the Word
Opening Up the Bible, by David Jackman, is a clear, readable introduction to the Scriptures. Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart have issued a third edition of How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. If you're looking for a deep, substantive theology of the Scriptures, dig into The Doctrine of the Word of God by John M. Frame.
The conference will focus not just on personal growth in the Scriptures but also on reaching out with the good news of the Scriptures. A book like Operation World (seventh edition) offers succinct insight into the growth of the gospel and the various needs in individual countries across the globe. It might be helpful to read a bit about some of the countries represented by various conference speakers (the United Arab Emirates and South Korea, for example). On the home front, if you're interested in a book that offers clear direction in how to study the Bible with a seeking friend, there's good, practical help to be found in David Helm's One-to-One Bible Reading.
By Women About Women
This conference does not focus on gender issues in particular; it focuses on women in relation to the gospel and the Word. But several conference participants have published books related to what the Bible says about men and women. Recently, TGC has mentioned four substantial new books: by Carrie Sandom (Different by Design: God's Blueprint for Men and Women); Claire Smith (God's Good Design: What the Bible Really Says about Men and Women); Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh DeMoss (True Woman 101: Divine Design); and Diana Lynn Severance (Feminine Threads: Women in the Tapestry of Christian History). If you read through our "Speakers" page, you can learn about all kinds of treasures published by a remarkable array of women; perhaps you'd like to get to know one or two of them better before June.