Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn from Themby Liz Curtis Higgs
Women everywhere marvel at those “good girls” in Scripture–Sarah, Mary, Esther–but on most days, that’s not who they see when they look in the mirror. Most women (if they’re honest) see the selfishness of Sapphira or the deception of Delilah. They catch of glimpse of Jezebel’s take-charge pride or Eve’s disastrous disobedience. Like Bathsheba, Herodias, and the rest, today’s modern woman is surrounded by temptations, exhausted by the demands of daily living, and burdened by her own desires.
So what’s a good girl to do? Learn from their lives, says beloved humor writer Liz Curtis Higgs, and by God’s grace, choose a better path. In Bad Girls of the Bible, Higgs offers a unique and clear-sighted approach to understanding those “other women” in Scripture, combining a contemporary retelling of their stories with a solid, verse-by-verse study of their mistakes and what lessons women today can learn from them.
Whether they were “Bad to the Bone,” “Bad for a Season, but Not Forever” or only “Bad for a Moment,” these infamous sisters show women how not to handle the challenges of life. With her trademark humor and encouragement, Liz Curtis Higgs teaches us how to avoid their tragic mistakes and joyfully embrace grace.
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Bad Girls of the BibleAnd What We Can Learn from Them
By Liz Curtis Higgs
Walker Large PrintCopyright © 2003 Liz Curtis Higgs
All right reserved.
ALL ABOUT EVIE
Man has his will--but woman has her way.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
When she was young--and she seemed always to be young--Evelyn Whitebloom was convinced her father's garden covered the whole earth. If there were boundaries, she couldn't see them. Only endless garden plots carved into a thick carpet of fescue so green that on a windwhipped day in Savannah, when the humidity lifted like a thick curtain, the intense hue of the lawn stung her pale blue eyes to the point of tears.
It was the only time she cried, and even then it wasn't truly weeping. Whatever for? Her life was too heavenly for anything but the brightest of smiles.
Her first memories were of walking with her father through row after row of mulberry trees covered with purplish black fruit. In no time she would be nose-to-chin purple, which delighted her father immensely. Although their home was one of the most venerable in the Historic District, where the wide expanse of Forsyth Park served as their front lawn, it was here in the garden, surrounded by her father's floral handiwork, that Evelyn spent most of her waking hours.
The Garden--he said it as if it were on the Register and needed capitalizing--was her father's pride and joy, eclipsed only by his love for his daughter. He demonstrated his love in infinite ways, not the least of which was his concern for her welfare.
"You may do this and this but not that," he often commanded. Evelyn teased her father that he treated her with such care one might deduce he'd made her by hand himself. If that were true, he'd assured her, then she was fashioned from pure ivory taken from the single finest animal in God's kingdom.
There were few things in life that mattered more to Evelyn than her father's love. In truth, she couldn't think of any others.
He'd designed his garden to please her, of that she was certain. Fragrant jasmine tickled her nose. Brilliant blue hydrangeas and saucy pink mandevillas tantalized her eyes. Trees heavy with pears and peaches, apricots and plums filled her mouth with their juicy, sweet fruit most months of the year. Stately ferns, taller than she, waved at her when the occasional soft breeze blew in from the Atlantic, eighteen miles to the east. Hosta skirted the borders of smaller garden squares, and wisteria spread its graceful tendrils along low brick walls, dividing the immense green space into manageable quarters, which converged at the centerpiece of the garden: the gazebo.
Not that she'd ever truly seen the gazebo. No one had. Ever. It was surrounded by a towering stand of live oaks, older than time and dripping with a heavy curtain of Spanish moss, smothering the whole gazebo in a gray-green shroud. Whatever the appeal had once been, the gazebo was to be avoided at all costs. Hadn't her father said so? Yes, indeed he had, numerous times. The only reason a young person would go there, he cautioned her, would be to look for trouble. The "trouble" was not described. He said only that she would be ruined. In fact, "dead to him" was how he'd phrased it, which made her shudder at the very thought.
"Because I've asked you not to" was the only explanation he ever offered. She loved him, adored him. Obeying him was effortless then. Only last week she'd overheard him making it clear to her beau, Adam Mann, that under no circumstances was he to step inside the gazebo--not alone, and especially not with his daughter, Evie.
Evie. Her father's favorite term of endearment for her.
Of late, Adam had tentatively begun to call her that too, which thrilled her. They were betrothed, were they not? Friends giggled at her old-fashioned name for it. "Where's the diamond?" they wanted to know, Not yet, not until they were officially engaged. That would come tonight at her debutante ball.
The ball! She jumped to her feet, startled. Here she'd sat, lollygagging on a stone bench in the garden, with her formal entrance into Savannah society mere hours away. Move, child! Hurrying across the spongy grass toward the enclosed porch that stretched the length of the house, she caught another glimpse of the moss-draped garden centerpiece, then quickly turned away.
Why would anyone want to venture inside the gazebo anyway? It had none of the lilting fragrances or eye-popping colors or luscious flavors that the rest of the garden offered in abundance. Silly old gazebo. If her father wanted her to keep her distance, she would do so. Adam, too.
Hours later, in her ivy-and-lilac-papered bedroom, her grass-stained chinos and sun-faded blouse had given way to the dress of her dreams. Not her wedding gown, not yet, but it might as well have been. Hooking the last tiny button at her neck, she held her breath and turned toward the full-length mirror.
Ohhh ... The dress was breathtaking.
It was white moire silk, the purest white her seamstress could find, to match Evelyn's pale, creamy skin and shoulder-length blond hair. Carefully tailored to her slender form, the simple gown would shimmer in the radiance of her father's chandeliers hanging like twin suns in the ballroom downstairs.
Other girls celebrated their debuts at museums and private clubs around the Historic District. Theirs were larger events with longer guest lists. Evelyn's would be a small but exclusive gathering. Savannah's finest in white tie and tails, gathered under the gabled roof of the wealthiest man for counties round--some said in all of Georgia. They'd dance properly and nibble divinely on low-country fare of exceeding good taste.
Absolutely none of that mattered one whit to Evelyn.
The man who was responsible for her very life would present her on his arm to the world at large and to one very special person in particular: Adam Mann. He was the brightest son Savannah had ever produced--an exceptional student, inundated with scholarships. Adam Mann, with his tall, athletic body and blond good looks, never failed to capture the eye of every woman in the room.
But he had eyes only for Evelyn Whitebloom. And she for him.
There was no one else and never had been since her very first glimpse of his manly face, bronzed from years spent in the sun producing prizewinning gardenias for the family nursery business. It was one of their shared interests that made them perfectly suited for each other.
Their mutual love for all things outdoors extended to the animal world as well. He was always naming her pets, which were legion. He knew all the best places to watch for creatures in their natural habitats, from woodland deer to box turtles. When they strolled hand in hand through the verdant squares of Savannah--Monterey and Liberty and Telfair and Oglethorpe--they both sensed a permanence about their relationship, mirrored in her father's approving eyes.
Adam was her best friend, the older brother she had never had, and her future husband--all rolled into one. In mere minutes she would see him in his white tails and fall in love with him all over again. He was everything good, everything pure, everything right.
And he was hers alone.
Smoothing her skirt for the umpteenth time, she stepped into a brand-new pair of silk dancing flats--white, again--grabbed a tiny purse that held nothing but her hopes for the future and one pink comb, and walked as serenely as she could down the long hall toward the staircase.
Her father waited at the top.
Adam waited at the bottom.
In the foyer the harpist waited for her father's signal that his daughter had arrived and the music could begin.
The chandeliers glowed. And she, Evelyn, glowed as well, inside and out. She could feel it, a sense of joy-bathed tranquillity, as she slipped her arm inside her father's. "Daddy," she whispered, not daring to say more. The look of love and pride shining in his eyes was too much to bear, it blessed her so.
They eased down the wide, curving steps in tandem, his large, black dress shoes next to her tiny white flats, while the harp music swirled around them and a roomful of friends and supporters lifted their sparkling glasses in her direction. The only thing she could take in, though, was Adam standing at the foot of the staircase, blue eyes locked with hers, straight white teeth in an ear-to-ear smile.
There was only one word for it all: Paradise.
Within moments her presentation to society was complete, their engagement was announced with a flourish from the harpist, and the evening's festivities had officially commenced.
Evelyn and Adam were ushered to the center of the ballroom floor, barely connecting at shoulder and waist as they whirled around the polished hardwood in graceful circles. Other couples were dancing as well, though they held each other more firmly and seemed to touch more, Evelyn noticed. Whatever that entailed, it was not for her, not for Adam.
She'd heard some of the words her friends called her when they thought she wasn't paying attention--"innocent" and "naive" and "virgin." Those words meant nothing to her.
In a very short time--because her father didn't believe in lengthy engagements--she was to be Adam's bride. She had in fact practiced writing her name that morning. Mrs. Mann. Mrs. Mann. How lovely it had looked in wispy letters drawn on heavy Crane stationery. Mrs. Adam Mann.
Her new name. It couldn't happen too quickly to suit her.
After several dances and many congratulations, what Evelyn needed--very quickly--was fresh air. The room had already grown stuffy with an abundance of guests and sterling silver warming trays filled with delicacies, not one of which she'd tasted.
Adam promised to join her momentarily, by way of the punch bowl. "May I bring you something to eat, Evie? Are you hungry?"
"Famished!" She flashed him a grateful smile, then wove her way through the crowded ballroom, carefully avoiding toes and elbows, her eyes trained on the tall French doors, her blessed means of escape.
Dear Adam. He'd bring her the perfect thing, knowing her appetite was as small as her waist. Fresh strawberries in light cream, no doubt. She opened both doors, then pulled them shut behind her, inhaling a deep breath of fragrant evening air as she surveyed the gardens yet again.
Twilight bathed the flowers with an ethereal glow, painting the sky with the same pale lavender as the impatiens clustered in the marble pots at her feet. Cautious to keep her pristine shoes safely on the flagstones and off the grass, now damp with evening dew, she tiptoed past a stretch of delicate white dogwood trees until she found her favorite stone bench, clean and dry, as if it had been readied just for her and her pure white gown.
She dropped onto it with a sigh of contentment.
Evelyn whirled around at the low-pitched hiss. "Adam?" It was pointless to say his name. Her fiance was too straightforward to play such games. And this was a game; she didn't spy a soul in the garden, even when her unseen visitor hissed again.
"Psst! Here, Evelyn."
At least he knew her name. She turned left, then right, then left again, only to find herself nose-to-boutonniere with a man dressed in the most elegant evening clothes imaginable. Not white tails though--black. A sleek black tuxedo with a silvery gray vest, cravat, and dress gloves, crowned with a black silk hat, silhouetted against the first twinkling stars of the evening.
She leaned back, either to get a better look at him or to put a bit of distance between them; she wasn't sure which. He sat down, rather too closely she thought, and let her have her look. It was hard to tell his age, though it appeared he'd been around for a season or two. Not young, but definitely not old. Thirty perhaps. His hair and eyes were as black as his attire, striking against the stark whiteness of his dress shirt and the pale hue of his complexion. Beneath the surface of his skin the shadowy hint of a beard accented his firm jaw line.
The only man she'd ever found handsome was Adam.
This man looked nothing like Adam.
Yet she could not deny he was arrestingly attractive.
"Who are you?" She blurted it out, without any evidence of her debutante manners, then dropped her chin, feeling her cheeks grow warm. "Sorry. This is ... well ... I live here, so--"
"So you thought you had a right to ask." He tipped her chin up with one long finger. "And you do." His smile reminded her of one she'd seen in a photograph of a quite large, quite ferocious Bengal tiger that had polished off its unsuspecting Indian trainer for dinner mere seconds earlier. Or so the caption had explained.
"So, your name is--"
"Devin." His voice was low and smooth, with no remnant of a hiss. "It's a Gaelic name, from the old country. It means serp--ah, that is, servant." He shrugged. "Or poet. Take your pick."
What she wanted to pick was a safe spot, like her father's arms, and run there. And where was Adam? She gulped, uncertain of her emotions for the first time in memory. "Are you ... from Savannah then, Devin?"
"Yes and no." The smile had returned. "You could say I'm from all over this part of the world. Tell me, Evie--you don't mind if I call you that, do you?--Evie, did your father really say you must never sit under any tree in the garden?"
She laughed, something like relief in her nervous trill. "No, silly! I may sit under any tree in the garden I care to. But Daddy did say I am not to sit under the live oak trees that circle the gazebo in the middle of the garden. He did say that." She diverted her eyes, an unaccustomed wave of shyness washing over her. "I'm not even to touch that gazebo," she added softly, "or I'll be ... ruined!"
Devin let out a less-than-gentlemanly snort. "Ruined?"
"Ruined." She nodded emphatically. "Cut off without a cent. At least, I ... well, I think that's what Daddy meant."
His laughter rolled across the lawn like tenpins on a bowling green. "Surely not! Your father loves you, child. He wouldn't dream of treating his only daughter in such a cruel manner."
He inched closer and slipped his arm behind her. When his gloved fingertips barely touched the small of her back, she flinched. They were inexplicably hot! If not for her gown, they might have singed her skin.
Excerpted from Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs Copyright © 2003 by Liz Curtis Higgs.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
An award-winning speaker, Liz Curtis Higgs has addressed audiences from more than 1400 platforms in all fifty
states, Germany, Ecuador, France, Canada, and Scotland, encouraging women to celebrate the joy of knowing Christ. She is the author of seventeen books, including two contemporary novels, Mixed Signals and Bookends, and her best-selling nonfiction titles, Bad Girls of the Bible and Really Bad Girls of the Bible.
Whether applying her storytelling talents to fiction or her unique style of “girlfriend theology” nonfiction, Liz touches the hearts of her readers with honest self-disclosure, real-life humor, and grace-filled encouragement.
Liz and her husband, Bill, live with their two children in Louisville, Kentucky.
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I admit that the 99 cents for this eBook was my main incentive, but after I started to read it, I ordered her other book Unveiling Mary Magdalene. Liz Higgs writes like she's sitting across the table from you and just talking girlfriend to girlfriend. Through several translations of the bible and history she puts these women in a context that I've never read about before! Not only does she bring them to life in the modern world, she explains the world that they lived in and it gave me an understanding I didn't have before. Whether you are just starting your journey of faith or have been a life-long Christian, this is a must read!
There are different types of women in the Bible, both good and bad. Liz Curtis Higgs has decided to focus this book on the "bad" women. This book focuses on Eve, Potiphar's wife, Delilah, Lot's wife, Michal, Sapphira, Jezebel, woman at the well, Rahab and the sinful woman. These women were each "bad" in their own ways. Bad Girls of the Bible explains each of these women and the discussion at the end of each chapter enables the reader to explore more. I thought this was an awesome book. I really enjoyed reading the modern story, the biblical story, and the short study section at the end of each chapter. My favorite part of each chapter was the study section. I know there is a little bit of a "bad" girl in me, so I knew it was important to use the lessons learned and questions to delve into my own life to make sure that I learned from these women of the past. I know I have learned from these women, so I can be a "good" girl. This is a book that all women should read, so they know that God is still there for them. Women can learn from the past to do better in the future. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the WaterBrook Multnomah "Blogging For Books" program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.
I'm enjoying this book for a number of reasons. The first is that the author has such a realistic approach to the Bible. We all aspire to be like Ruth and Deborah, but we feel more like we're in the ranks of Rahab and Jezebel. So, how do we work with our human nature? Another thing Liz Curtis Higgs does is starts each chapter with an 'updated' fictional story that is more relatable than the originals that took place years ago. She makes Eve into a modern-day Southern girl and Potiphar's wife the wife of a big businessman. Then (another strength of this book) she goes through the Bible line by line to discover the nuances of our bad girl behavior and what we can learn from it. Each chapter has closing questions which can be used for group discussions. Overall, the tone of the book is non-threatening for church-goers and 'bad girls' alike. And, it is an easy read - especially for a Bible study-type book.
I was walking around in the library and the title of this book caught my eye. I thought it'd be an interesting read, and it really was. I loved how the author opened each chapter with a modernized version of the stories in the bible. I thought it was brilliant, very creative. I also loved how she went through the scripture verses line by line. She helped me look at the stories, and the women in them, in a different point of view. She made me ask myself 'What made them do what they did? Who affected their lives in such a way that thousands of years later we'd still be talking about them, and the way they behaved?' I saw myself comparing myself with the women, especially the last one, the one who wept at Jesus' feet. Jesus looked past her past, and saw her, really saw her, not her sins. If He could see her, then I realized He could see me, even when I feel no one else in my life does. And it took this book for me to realize that. Let me tell you, I cried until I was drained, knowing that Jesus doesn't care about my past, but he cares about me. That filled me with incredible joy. So I guess it's safe to say I will be buying my own copy of this very inspirational book.
Each chapter deals with a particular "bad girl" of the Bible and why they're considered "bad girls". The chapters start off with a modern day story of these "bad girls" and then a discussion follows with Biblical references to their stories. I loved the "comical" and practical insights that follow because this book can double as a personal devotional.
In her first book on "Bad Girls of the Bible," Liz Curtis Higgs encourages her readers to take a new look at these women who had a problem with sin. It may have been for a moment, for a season, or they may have been "bad to the bone," but each has something to teach us. As each chapter opens, Ms. Higgs gives us a real time story based on the life of the woman she is discussing before introducing us to her. Tying the past to the present, each story shows how Satan continues to tempt in the same manner year after year. Each chapter also offers us hope and steps for change, along with questions to ponder alone or in a group. Come take a new look at Eve, Potipher's Wife, Lot's Wife, the Woman at the Well, Delilah, Sapphira, Rahab, Jezebel, Michal, and the Sinful Woman. Come glean wisdom from their lives. I found this book to be full of wonderful suggestions on how to combat the devil; how to win the daily struggle with sin. It gave me new insights into the lives of these women, and how I can grow from studying them. I now want to read the rest of her books!
All we hear is how bad women are in the Bible so often, but how often are we taught something from them due to their behaviors? How often do we compare our lives to those of the past, or just condemn all of 'those type' of people due to one action? This book shows us the stories of women that are bad in differeing amounts from the Bible, gives us a bit of a different look on their lives and actions, and differentiates between those that are not able to be redeemed due to hard hearts and those that made mistakes and turned from their poor ways.... and what they may look like if they were here today and living next door to us.....
Bad Girls is a collection of relatively short stories about women in the bible. You meet each one first through a modern day story which helps you relate to the character. Then Ms. Higgs begins to talk about the biblical character using scriptures and humor to support the lesson. In the book she helps us to understand the motivations of these women and where they came from. I've had this on my to read list for quite some time and I'm glad I finally read it. I treated as a devotional reading it a little bit each day for a six week period. I really got a lot out of this book! I loved the format of using the modern day story followed by the biblical story. The former was important to helping you relate to the women in these stories. While they were fictional, they really could be any woman that you meet on the street today. The biblical stories were supported by the scripture that told about these women. They brought out points that you wouldn't normally think about when reading these stories in the Bible. I really appreciated that! Overall, I thought the book was well written. It did drag out a bit at points but it wasn't too bad. The author's writing style is refreshing and educational at the same time! As a Christian woman, I am always looking for enriching devotionals and this definitely fit the bill. Why only 3 stars? I'm not sure. Although I enjoyed the book, it wasn't the absolute best devotional I've read. I did enjoy and would recommend it. This is a book from my personal collection.
Bad Girls of the Bible and What We Can Learn from Them is a book that affords a somewhat humorous and practical, in-your-face approach to Bible study. Written in a contemporary voice, the author shares her interesting views on women from the Bible such as Eve, Delilah and Michal. One thing’s for sure, you will either love this book and style of writing or… Phone Tree Rating: 3/5 Stars ***
I don’t know how I’ve managed to never read a book by Liz Curtis Higgs. She has had 26 books published, most of which have done very well…and yet this is my FIRST experience! Let me start by saying that it will definitely not be my last! “Bad Girls of the Bible And What We Can Learn From Them” is an extraordinary, well-written book that examines the famous (or infamous) women in the Bible who did famously bad things. But, more than just a recount of the story, the author provides a walk through Scripture for each character, a modern day piece of fiction to bring life to the story and help you to understand it culturally, and thoughtful questions to allow you to apply the lessons to your own life. There are definitely lessons to be learned from each account, and Liz has a way of writing that brings these women to life. Liz Curtis Higgs is an excellent writer. Absolutely wonderful. I honestly can’t say that any other author has so captured my attention. I did not want to stop reading because she drew me in with her personality, her wit, and her incredible writing style. Every chapter is well-researched and scripturally-sound. And, most importantly, each chapter brought me to a place of contemplation about my own life and how I can serve God more fully with my life. You can read chapter 1 by clicking this link. I highly recommend this book–and I can’t wait to get another one from this series! “I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.”
Liz has done it again. She brings the Bible to life and stays true to the scripture. All the while she brings her enthusiasm and humor to our group. She writes a short story at the beginning of each lesson which puts what we are going to be studying into a modern day situation. Then she takes us through the scripture a line at a time. Educational and fun all at the same time!
I got blocked out someone plz help!