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SEBTS women’s ministry leaders hold women’s Bible conference in West Africa

WEST AFRICA (BP) – As Christianity in French-speaking West Africa has spread over the past few decades, Baptist women in the region desire theological education and further access to resources for biblical interpretation as they resist the influence of the prosperity gospel.

In an effort to follow Jesus’ command in Matthew 28 to make disciples of all nations and to teach them, a group of women from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary led a Bible conference in Togo last month to equip Baptist women leaders as faithful disciple makers.

More than 70 French-speaking Baptist women from Togo, Benin and Cameroon attended the conference, which focused on biblical hermeneutics and exposition and resourcing attendees to train the next generation of women in West African churches.

The three-day conference was made possible through the work of Ecole Supérieure Baptiste de Théologie de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (a seminary in Lome), missionaries with the International Mission Board in Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeastern’s Global Theological Initiatives (GTI). GTI seeks to employ the resources of Southeastern to benefit theological education around the world through strategic partnerships.

Opening the conference, Julia Higgins, assistant professor of ministry to women at Southeastern, told a story about two groups of women in the Church: church mothers who know God’s Word and can teach it and immature women who follow after false teaching because they do not know God’s Word. Equipping attendees to know and teach the Bible, Higgins explained five reproducible steps for biblical interpretation.

Anna Daub, assistant professor of missions at Southeastern, taught on the four major movements in the storyline of Scripture, and together, she and Higgins challenged the women to write and pass on songs about the four parts of the biblical story and the five steps of biblical interpretation.

Teaching about interpreting biblical genres, Ali McCall, a current ministry to women student at Southeastern, walked attendees through principles for interpreting epistles and then modeled biblical exposition by teaching through Colossians 3. At the culmination of the week, the women worked through the interpretive process in a biblical narrative and an epistle, presenting their observations and insights with the group.

After the conference, Daub received several encouraging reports from attendees about the impact of the conference.

“I desire that the women of West Africa would know the Word of God,” one woman shared with Daub. “But so many times, we have these conferences and they do not actually teach us the Word of God. You have given us a conference in which we spent three full days in the Bible, learning how to read it well.”

“Thank you for your teaching,” a former leader of Baptist Women in Africa told Daub. “We knew pieces, but you have helped us see the big picture of the Bible and helped us understand so much more!”

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