I read this book when I was 16 years old. We read it as part of a girls' Bible study for my youth group and met in a meeting room at our local ice cream shop. While in some ways I have fond memories from this study, I also have some negative memories, including seeing where some of the girls that were in the study with me ended up as far as their purity journey and how some laughter happened at my expense when I was too innocent to know what some of the words meant. I do believe this book was a significant part of my personal journey because of what I learned about sexual purity, I see some weaknesses in their arguments that may have negatively impacted my views on sexual purity. So I want to take another opportunity to evaluate a popular book of the purity movement to weigh its pros and cons, so we know how to better serve the next generation when it comes to teaching them sexual purity ~ Bethel
In the book, Every Young Woman’s Battle, Shannon Ethridge (and Stephen Arterburn) helps young women learn how to guard their hearts, minds, and bodies while living in a world that is saturated with unbiblical expressions of sexuality. It starts out by helping young women understand that the battle for sexual purity begins in our hearts and minds by affirming God’s design and explaining what it means to build lives of “sexual integrity” while also avoiding the pitfalls of the way the culture openly defines sexuality. It equips young women with tools that will help them guard their hearts, minds, and bodies, as well as navigate their way to adulthood and possibly future marriage all while drawing closer to God. This book doesn’t shy away from the hard-to-discuss issues, even going so far as to define most sexual terms in the footnotes and having an appendix for young women who may be struggling with same-sex attraction. The most recent editions of this book also include a workbook that can be used for group or individual study. In some ways, I appreciate how straightforward this book was in defining or explaining concepts I didn’t understand or wanted to ask out loud at that age. I also appreciated how it acknowledged that sexual purity and lust are not exclusively guy problems, so they wrote materials to address those struggles from a female point of view. Overall, this was one the best books overall that I read during the purity movement and I think there is still a lot of useful information in it.
However, there are a few problems I see in their methods or reasoning. First, the idea that the reason we should avoid dressing immodestly or inappropriate flirting is to keep our brothers from stumbling is more hurtful than helpful. While avoiding immodest dress or sexual flirting is helpful for our brothers in Christ, it should not be our primary motivation. Our motivation is to obey and honor Christ in our words and actions. Modesty is simply an attitude of humility in the way that you present yourself that defers attention away from yourself and your body and instead brings attention to God or to serve others. We need to make sure that young women understand that they are only responsible for their actions unless they intentionally draw someone else into sin by their actions. We also need to remember that immodesty isn’t just a girl's problem, much in the same way as lust isn’t just a guy's problem. Guys and girls both have the same responsibilities: to avoid creating temptation while also avoiding falling into temptation.
Second, this book gets pretty heavy into rule-setting, which sets up the legalistic mentality of “how far is too far” becoming the standard, all the while making those who have struggled with sexual sin feel like they are a lost cause because of the high emphasis on virginity. While a husband and wife being virgins and sexually pure on their wedding night is the most optimal way for God’s design to be enjoyed, we need to make sure that young women (and young men) understand that losing your virginity before marriage is not an unforgivable sin, nor is any other form of sexual immorality. God can redeem anything in His time for His glory, including our sexual sins, if we live in genuine repentance from those sins. We need to make sure that young people understand the significance of repentance and accepting God’s grace so they are truly able to move on when they mess up.
Lastly, while I know their intentions were genuine, I am somewhat critical of the appendix for young women struggling with attraction toward the same sex. This is because I had a friend who read the information while struggling but was not helped by it. While I do believe the biblical premise is solid, you have to make sure they are committed to Christ for that logic to work. Without the saving grace of Christ to motivate them, God’s design or intentions for our sexuality will not matter to them. After they have committed to Christ, they need to have a godly sorrow that leads to repentance rather than a worldly sorrow that makes them confess their struggle out of guilt. That repentance then will lead to a spirit of self-discipline that will lead to a mental transformation that can redirect those desires. While the “confess your sins and get a mentor” method could be a part of this equation (as it could be for almost any other sin), I think that an overreliance on this method for overcoming sins can tend to diminish the crucial elements of genuine repentance, God’s redemptive grace at work, and the spirit of self-discipline that God has given each one of us to aid in the transformation.
While these elements of the book are not helpful, I still think this book was one of the most useful books of the purity movement and could be a great starting point for conversations about sexual purity. I would recommend it for those 15 or older.
Pre-Teen Rating. This book does a great job of tackling the difficult aspects of sexuality. However, the terminology in the book is very blunt. While the authors took the stance that most girls probably already know most of those terms from school or the media, it could still destroy innocence for a pre-teen who doesn’t already know them. It could also go right over some pre-teens' heads. I would recommend that a girl be at least 15 or in high school before she reads it. Any parents or youth leaders should consider reviewing it themselves before using it, especially the terms defined in the footnotes.
Personal Rating. While I see this book from a more critical point of view from the first time I read it, this book did help me set my heart and mind on the right path toward purity. While there may be some more contemporary resources out there, I still think it was one of the best resources produced by the purity movement
I had to read this book for Health class in high school. This might sound kind of strange, but it’s not when you understand that I attended a Christian school. They chose to split up the boys and the girls to talk about purity, as was common with youth groups at the time. I remember enjoying the study at the time since I was doing it the girls in my class. As I look back, I realize that there were good things I learned from this study and some things that had a negative impact on my perspective of purity and relationships. As was common of many Christian purity books and studies, there were many things that were taught during the purity movement that were not helpful or biblical grounded, while there were also other helpful that have been overshadowed by the negative impressions of this movement. As I look as this book and other books like it, I hope to identify the positive and negative elements to discern what still be useful for parents and youth leaders to teach students today ~ Bethel
In her book And the Bride Wore White, Dannah Gresh helps teen girls break down lies that many of us believe about sexuality and reveals seven “secrets” for living a life of sexuality purity. Through understanding these lies and presenting these keys to pursuing purity, Gresh is able to offer foundation truths about the way that God designed sex. The updated edition includes additional information on understanding purity, “celebration stories” of young women successes or redeemed failures in their pursuit of purity, and some letters directly at readers with specific struggles. While this book does have some great content and biblical truth, it falls into some of the pit falls of many of the teachings of the purity movement of the 90’s/2000’s. This book does a great job of helping readers understand that sex is a beautiful gift from God that we should wait until the right time and place to use. It also does a great job at addressing lies many of us believe about sex and offering practical tips to help readers live in purity. One of my favorite parts is its emphasis on purity embracing the wise guidance of parents, grandparents, and mentors, since that is something that many young people struggle to do. Overall, it has some great insights to help young women pursue sexual purity.
However, this book does have some issues. One of the “secrets” she suggest to achieve purity is to envision a godly husband, even suggesting that you should write down in a journal a description of your future husband. While I believe a young woman should figure out the qualities he wants in a future husband, the way that she suggests doing the exercise implies that you should even write down exactly how you expect him to look. Doing this exercise as a teen fueled different lies than addressed in the book. First, God often surprises us by doing things in His time and His way. It often doesn’t match up with what we picture for ourselves, especially when we get caught up in trivial details like his eye color or favorite movie. We aren’t even guaranteed a husband. We should instead be teaching young women to look at young men for their godly characteristics, like how responsible they are with money or how they treat their family.
This book also tends to struggle with leaving those who have failed in their pursuit of purity feeling like unforgivable because of the high emphasis on virginity. We need to make sure that young women understand that premarital sex, other types of sexual immorality, and abortion are not unforgiveable sins that make you “damaged goods.” Instead, if you do the work of repentance in those areas, they can can become scars that God can redeem for His glory and even turn into your greatest ministry to help others. One of the reasons young women struggle with confessing sexual sin is because there is so much shame associated with other people know their struggles. They will be more likely to open up about their struggles if we help them understand that redemption is their sexual past is possible.
I am grateful for what I learned from this book as a teen, and believe that even though some of the content has flaws, it could still have value for teens today, especially as a way to introduce purity to older pre-teen girls. Get your copy today.
When I heard about this book, I was excited. Although I hadn’t read a book by Sara yet, I had read some endorsements from other authors I respect and appreciated her work to help teens live passionately for Christ. So I jumped at the opportunity to join the launch team for this book. In the end, I was not disappointed. This book is a great apologetics resource for teens as well as anyone who works with them. I love Sara's courage to stand for the truth but also the compassion she clearly has for those who have struggled or suffered because of the fallen world we live in. I look forward to utilizing this resource for youth ministry and looking into more resources by Sara in the future. If you work with teens, I recommend you do the same ~ Bethel
When it comes to peer pressure, teens in today’s culture deal with more than any generation before them. The culture around them tries to force them to accept the most mainstream views of hot-button topics with the goal of convincing them to believe their version of the story. They are taught that truth is subjective to each person and that they can believe or do whatever they want with absolutely no consequences for themselves or those around them. Christian teens have a more difficult time than ever before trying to figure out how to live in a way that honors the Lord in a culture that tries to convince them that they should honor themselves. It makes us ask the question: is there a way to learn how to stand strong for Christ in today’s culture?
In her book Stand Up, Stand Strong, author Sara Barratt walks Christian teens through how to rethink popular issues in our culture today through a Christian worldview in hopes that they will learn how to stand strong in their convictions. After explaining the concept of a worldview and the consequences of living in a “post-truth” world, Barratt breaks down many areas where the post-truth mentality has taken hold, and explains how the mainstream perspectives hold up against a biblical worldview. With a voice of strength and courage, teens that read this book will be inspired to not only understand why they believe what they believe, but also how to defend it with grace-filled truth. Barratt speaks with both conviction and compassion on many important issues in our culture today, from sexual identity and orientation to injustice and abortion. With discussion questions and recommended readings for each topic addressed, this book is a great resource for high school students who want to build a biblical worldview or adults who want to help youth do the same. Get your copy today!
* I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review
Teen Friendly Rating. This book is an excellent resource for teens on apologetics and developing a biblical worldview. But there are some sensitive issues discussed, including specific types of sexual sin, abortion, suicide, and assisted suicide. Based on the sensitivity of these topics and some of the abstract concepts related to understanding worldviews, I would recommend this book for teens 15 or older. If your child is younger, I strongly recommend you review the book to make sure your child is mature enough to handle the content.
After reviewing Ruth, I was so excited to hear that Dannah was continuing this series. Her Bible studies are always well done, and this was no exception. I appreciate all the work that her ministry True Girl does to help tween girls navigate their journey to adulthood in a God-honoring way. While I do have one disagreement with one of the teachings in the book, I do still feel that this book is a great Bible study resource for tween girls ~ Bethel
Courage is a word that we say often but many of us struggle to understand. While many of us want it, we also are unsure of exactly what it is and how we obtain it. This can be especially true for pre-teen girls on the road to becoming young women. They often find themselves facing fears they don’t know how to overcome and feel they can never face them head-on. It makes them ask the question: how can I learn to be a courageous girl?
In the Bible study Miriam: Becoming a Girl of Courage, author Dannah Gresh breaks down and walks through the life of Miriam and her brother Moses to help tween girls see how they can become courageous young women in our world today. Through this five-week study, pre-teen girls will take a look at how stories from the life of Miriam illustrate aspects of courage. Within the content of the clever use of graphics, fill-in-the-blanks, space for underlining Scripture, puzzles, and relevant illustrations, girls will be drawn into the story of Miriam, since it is presented in a way that is palatable to their age. Through it all, they will learn that the true mark for courage is not the absence of fear, but instead is choosing to do the right thing even when it’s hard.
However, there was one minor biblical discrepancy. When discussing Hebrews 11:25, which states that Moses “chose to be mistreated with the people of God,” (NIV), Dannah concluded that Moses must have chosen to give up his royalty to become a slave, and that it was while he was a slave himself that he killed the Egyptian. But there is nothing in either the Old or New Testament that supports this interpretation. In fact, Exodus 2:11 states that it was while Moses was watching his people in their hard labor that he noticed the Egyptian beating on the Hebrew. While I can see how someone could jump to the same conclusion as Dannah by reading that verse out of context, a simple examination of the original narrative in Exodus quickly disproves this interpretation.
Aside from this biblical discrepancy, I still think that this is a great Bible study for pre-teen girls. Get your copy today
* I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review
Three years ago, I went to a meeting that terrified me but completely changed my life. This is the story of how I learn to "run toward the roar" in the wake of my dad losing his ministry and nearly losing mine too. I was challenged to forgive, I found a new calling, and I gained loyal friends to support me. I hope this video inspires you to run toward the roar.
Lion's Eyes Reviews is a blog dedicated to reviews of Christian books, most of which are non-fiction, but may also occasionally review movies and musicals. It will also feature the work Bethel does to help launch and promote the works of Christian authors.
The name is derived from one of Bethel's favorite books, Through the Eyes of a Lion by Levi Lusko. Through these reviews, Bethel hope to give Christians the tools they need to look at the world "through the eyes of a lion" so they can find the courage to "run toward the roar".
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Bethel Grove is a Christian young woman who loves to read and write, eat Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzards, and disciple teen girls as a youth leader. What started as a hobby of writing book reviews and doing deep biblical studies eventually led her down the path of self-publishing and helping other Christian authors launch their books. She hopes to someday be a vocational youth minister and well-known author.
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