While new Women's Study Bible is the handiwork of evangelical women from many denominations and cultures, its editor and many of its contributors are Southern Baptist. "The only thing I was interested in was a really unique product that would draw women into the Word of God," says the study Bible's Editor Dorothy Patterson, who, as well as being a professor at Southeastern, is also wife to the seminary's president, Paige Patterson. Janice Meier, Old Testament professor at New Orleans Seminary and a consulting editor for the study Bible, says, "While it contains a wealth of general information in the annotations and its descriptive portraits of biblical women, the study Bible is rich in its far-ranging topical notes on subjects such as femininity, the biblical concept of womanhood, battered wives, parenting and the like."
Managing Editor Rhonda Kelley, also a professor at New Orleans and the wife of that seminary's new president, says, "These character sketches of the major and minor women in the Bible are visually set apart with cross references to other study helps and texts in the Bible. Contemporary women can identify with these women in the Bible and how God spoke to them."
Most commentary work over the centuries has been done by men, notes Sharon Gritz, professor of Greek and New Testament at Southwestern Seminary, and a contributor to the study Bible. "Now that isn't necessarily bad," Gritz adds. "It's just that women might want to know more about a particular Scripture verse that a man is not necessarily interested in exploring in depth." And the research shows that 85% of all Bibles are purchased by women.
Marsha Ellis Smith, associate vice president for academic administration at Southern Seminary, says, "While those involved in the project were from diverse backgrounds, a common link was their high view of Scripture." While The Women's Study Bible has been prepared for a feminine audience, it is not a feminist work, says its editor, Patterson. "It is not a volume that was written to be a political volume; nor was it written to polarize women, but rather to pull them into the Word of God," she says.
Among the more than 80 women who contributed to this volume were Dale Evans Rogers; German theologian Etta Linnemann; Joni Eareckson Tada; Gigi Graham Tchividijian, daughter of evangelist Billy Graham; Beverly LaHaye; Kristina Hemphill, daughter of Ken Hemphill; Jill Briscoe; Edith Schaeffer, widow of the late Francis Schaeffer; and Elisabeth Elliot. The Women's Study Bible is published by Thomas Nelson.