Word-Based Ministry to Women

2012 The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference

In this 57-minute session from the 2012 TGC Women’s Conference, Nancy Guthrie describes the five marks of a Word-based women’s ministry. Nancy Guthrie teaches the Bible at her home church, at conferences around the world, and through her study series titled Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament. She also offers companionship and biblical insight for parents grieving the death of a child through retreats, videos, and books.  

Hebrews 4:12-13 (ESV)

12For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.13And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Using this Hebrews passage, Nancy described five marks of a Word-based ministry to women:

  1. Recognizes the singular authority of the Word (v. 12)
  2. Expects the Word to do its work (v. 12)
  3. Allows the Word to cut both ways (v. 12)
  4. Challenges shallow beliefs and hidden agendas (v. 12)
  5. Prepares women for the ultimate exposure before God (v. 13)

Describe a time when the Word of God spoke to you. How were you encouraged, convicted, challenged, or instructed?
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In your ministry to women, how do you/could you create an atmosphere where women recognize and respect the “singular authority” of God speaking through His Word? How also could you instill an expectation that the Bible is relevant and at work in their lives?
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Nancy described what “two-edged sword” means: “It cuts both ways, meaning the Word speaks salvation and also warns of judgement. It bestows blessing, but also inflicts curses. It speaks comfort, but also conviction. It promises reward, but also punishment.” 

In your personal reading of the Word, how have you experienced the Word of God cut both ways? How have the uncomfortable parts humbled you and taught you more about the character of God?
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Nancy said, “When we are in the Word, it shines the light of truth and conviction on all of our petty jealousies, cherished resentments, and deep-seated desires. The Word of God forces us to see all of the ways in which we have been hoping to use God rather than love God. It breaks through the surface of religiosity and Bible knowledge to reveal the inner reality of the state of our souls and incongruity of our behavior.” 

Describe how the Word has shined a light on jealousies, resentments, and desires you never knew you had. What did that feel like, and how did God use it to bring healing and growth in your life and relationship with Him?
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Nancy concluded with these words of wisdom, “We do not want to teach the word fully, effectively, faithfully without feeding on it personally, without welcoming the Word of God to do its active, discerning, cutting, correcting, exposing work in our own lives.”  

To learn more about The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference and how you can attend the next event, click here