Bad Girls of the Bible: And What We Can Learn From Themby Liz Curtis Higgs
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“Popular storyteller Higgs takes a look at the vamps and tramps of the Bible, searching for the lessons these wicked women have to teach. Higgs retells these biblical stories with rollicking humor and deep insight as she teaches about the nature of sin and goodness.”
Ten of the Bible’s best-known femmes fatales parade across the pages of Bad Girls of the Bible with situations that sound oh-so-familiar.
Eve had food issues. Potiphar’s Wife and Delilah had man trouble. Lot’s Wife and Michal couldn’t let go of the past, Sapphira couldn’t let go of money, and Jezebel couldn’t let go of anything. Yet the Woman at the Well had her thirst quenched at last, while Rahab and the Sinful Woman left their sordid histories behind.
Let these Bad Girls show you why studying the Bible has never been more fun!
“When she was perfect, beautiful, and innocent, I found no toehold where I could connect with Eve. When she was tempted by her flesh, humbled by her sin, and redeemed by her God, I could sing out, ‘Oh, sister Eve! Can we talk?’”
—from Bad Girls of the Bible
Includes Discussion Questions and Study Guide
A Novel Approach to Bible Study
More than one million readers have already taken a walk on the wild side with Former Bad Girl Liz Curtis Higgs and her eye-opening blend of contemporary fiction and biblical commentary. Laced with humor, solid research, and heartfelt self-disclosure, Liz’s unique brand of girlfriend theology has helped women of all ages experience God’s grace anew.
- The Crown Publishing Group
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- Random House
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- 3 MB
Read an Excerpt
And when she was good
She was very, very good,
But when she was bad she was horrid.
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Ruthie never saw it coming. His fist flashed toward her so fast she couldn’t duck or turn away in time.
“Nooo!” Her cry echoed off the windshield of the Pontiac but went no further. Who would hear her in this parking lot anyway? With trash cans and alley cats for neighbors, she could hardly expect some hero in a white Ford Mustang to drive by and rescue her, not at this late hour. Hayden was leaning inside the open car window now, rubbing his
knuckles as if to say, “There’s more where that came from.” As if she hadn’t figured that out. As if she wasn’t watching his every move. Ruthie was nineteen, but she was nobody’s fool.
She stared at the dashboard, feeling her cheek swell as the pain inched around her eye, along her nose, toward her temple. In her whole life no one had ever deliberately hit her. Even as a child, she hadn’t been spanked at home or paddled in school.
She was a good girl. National Honor Society. State chorus. Editor in chief of her small-town high-school newspaper.
Nobody ever needed to hit Ruthie, for any reason.
So much for that claim to fame. She’d been hit now, and hard. Slowly, hoping Hayden wouldn’t notice, she moved her jaw back and forth, grateful it could move.
He snorted, obviously disgusted with her. “I didn’t break anything. But I could have. Now slide over or get out.”
Not much choice there.
The time for making choices was behind her—that was clear. Weeks ago she’d chosen to spend that Thursday night at the Village Nightclub, knowing the kind of men who went there. And the kind of women. Women like me. She’d chosen to drag Hayden home with her because he was the right size and the right age and in the right state of mind: drunk.
Too drunk to care whether or not she had a pretty face.
Her face wasn’t pretty now, of that Ruthie was certain.
And her choices were nil. If she got out of the car, he might hit her again. If she stayed in the car, he might drive like a maniac and wrap her new Pontiac around a telephone pole, with them in it.
Her new car. The one he routinely borrowed without asking. The one they’d been arguing about, right up until he parked his fist in her face. She moved across the seat toward the passenger side, sliding her keys out of the ignition as she did so, feeling her head begin to throb. Don’t let me pass out! Please…Somebody. Anybody. Resting her hand on the door handle, then carefully wrapping her fingers around it, she waited for her chance. As Hayden moved into the driver’s seat and dug in his pockets for his keys, she took a deep breath, then shoved the door open, nearly falling out on the gravel-strewn pavement.
“Get in the car, Ruthie!” Hayden’s bark was deadly.
She felt him grab for her and miss. “He-e-elp…” It was such a pitiful cry, like a kitten needing milk. Straightening awkwardly to her feet, Ruthie slammed the car door just as Hayden reached for her again. Judging by his curses, she’d unintentionally jammed his fingers in the process. Maybe not so unintentionally.
She had one goal now: to locate her apartment key among the dozen on the ring she held in her trembling hands. Stumbling toward her security door as she heard the car door open, she found the key at last and forced it in the lock. C’mon, c’mon!
When the deadbolt turned, she fell through the entrance with a sob of relief, then turned to bolt the door behind her. But she was too late. He’d already wedged his leg in the doorway and was muscling his way inside. Her heart sank through the linoleum floor, and the taste of dread filled her mouth.
Hayden was taller, wider, older, stronger. And meaner, so much meaner. Why hadn’t she seen that? Tasted it in his kisses that first night, discovered it in his eyes that first morning?
His hatred for her was a living thing, rolling off him in waves. “Don’t you understand?” His chest was heaving, but not from the effort—from the anger. “That Pontiac is mine. You’re mine. This apartment is mine. Nothing you do or say is gonna change that, Ruthie.”With one hand he slammed the door with a noisy bang.
With the other hand he reached in his jacket and pulled out a gun.
Her heart thudded to a stop at the sight of it.
His cold smile told her all she needed to know.
“Upstairs.” He waved the ugly black revolver at the staircase that led to her second-floor apartment. Her apartment. Hers! She’d scrimped and saved to have her own place. For what? So this…this…
It was no use. She started up the steps, doing her best not to trip, not to cry, not to let him see that he was tearing apart everything that made her Ruthie, step by awful step…
Define Bad . . .
Few of us made it our ambition in life to be a Bad Girl. Ruthie wasn’t bad; she was abused. But after several years of making bad choices—dating Hayden among them—she’d given up on ever being good.
Some of us stumbled through a rebellious youth or wandered into an addictive habit or walked down the aisle with the wrong guy for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps our sense of self was so skewed we decided we weren’t worthy of goodness or figured we’d gone too far to ever find the road home or concluded we enjoyed our favorite vice so much we weren’t about to give it up—no way, no how.
There are some women who even wear badness like a badge of courage.
As Tallulah Bankhead put it, “If I had to live my life over again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.”
What labels a woman as “bad” hasn’t changed since Eve. All the usual suspects are there: disobedience, lust, denial, greed, anger, lying, adultery, laziness, cruelty, selfishness, idolatry.
Badness—in other words, sin—doesn’t have to be that dramatic. It can be something on the sidelines: an unkind word, a whisper of gossip, a neglected request, an unrepentant attitude, an intentionally forgotten event.
It all boils down to a heart that’s hardened against God—however temporary the condition, however isolated the tough spot.
To that extent, we’ve all been Bad Girls.
And to a woman, we long to be Good Girls.
I have trouble learning, though, from women who get it all right. I spend my energy comparing, falling short, and asking myself, How do they do that? It’s discouraging, even maddening. It also doesn’t get me one step closer to God.
So, for a season, I thought we’d look at women who got a lot wrong. I must admit I went into these stories with a bit of pride between my teeth and soon found my jaw hanging slack at the similarities in these women and me. How is it possible, Lord? I love you, love your Word, love your people…How can I see so much of myself in these sleazy women?
Ah, sisters. Our sins may be a surprise to us, but they are no surprise to the Lord.
For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord,
and he examines all his paths. Proverbs 5:21
Come, then, and meet our counterparts—for good and for bad. My introduction to these ten Bad Girls of the Bible began many years ago when I prepared a series of messages about famous women in Scripture for a national Christian convention. For a girl who loves to have fun, I found it the “meatiest” stuff I’d ever tackled. I savored every juicy minute of time spent studying the Bible and reading various commentaries. Not to mention examining my own life in juxtaposition with theirs.
Oops. Big mistake there. Ruth was so faithful. Esther was so courageous. Mary was so innocent. I was so none-of-the-above.
Then I happened upon Jezebel, and something inside me clicked. I identified with her pushy personality, I understood her need for control, I empathized with her angry outbursts…and I was aghast when I got to her gruesome ending.
She was a Bad Girl, all right, but boy did she teach me what not to do in my marriage! It was then the seeds for this book were planted in my heart. These stories are in God’sWord for his good purpose—and for ours. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16
Where to begin? With the First Bad Girl: Eve. Of course. Badness had to start somewhere.
Next, I found three women who were Bad to the Bone: Potiphar’s wife, Delilah, and Jezebel. These were women of whom not a single kind word was recorded. Women who had a pattern of sinning, with no evidence of remorse or a desire to change, who sinned with gusto from bad beginning to bitter end. Because they were made in the image of God, as we were, these Bad Girls weren’t truly rotten to the core. They just behaved that way—and very convincingly!
Another three women were Bad for a Moment. Lot’s wife, Sapphira, and Michal were three good…uh…bad examples of women who made one colossal blooper—one big, life-changing mistake that was such a bell ringer it was recorded for posterity, chiming across the centuries. These three women were, by all appearances, believers in the one true God at the start, but when forced to make a choice, they each chose disastrously. Finally, my favorite women—those who were Bad for a Season, but Not Forever: Rahab, the Woman at the Well, and the Sinful Woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with her tears. Yes, they all had plenty of sin in their past, but they also were willing to change and be changed. What a joy to watch their encounters with God redeem them for eternity!
Because I love writing fiction, and because I wanted to make these women come alive for all of us, I’ve opened each chapter with a contemporary, fictional retelling of the biblical story that follows. The names have been changed to protect the guilty, but you’ll spot their stories right away. You might identify yourself in these narratives too…I certainly did.
The same weaknesses, the same temptations, the same choices, and some of the same sorry results. Thanks to the tale of Lila from Dallas, Delilah will never again be a mere flannelboard cutout figure to me. And Lottie from Spirit Lake made me look at my beloved farmhouse in a whole new light, bless her misguided heart—and mine.
May these fictional stories speak to you as well.
Without missing a beat, we’ll jump right into a verse-by-verse look at the real woman’s story as it appears in the New InternationalVersion of the Bible, with plenty of “Lizzie style” commentary to keep you smiling as you learn what made that particular Bad Girl tick. Don’t faint when you see footnotes—a research paper this isn’t! But I believe in handling theWord of God with great care, so I studied more than fifty commentaries from the last two hundred years, along with ten different translations of the Scriptures. Funny: The older scholars blamed the women for everything and painted
the men as heroes. The newer writers blamed the men for everything and described the women as victims and the men as jerks. The truth lies somewhere in the middle, so that’s what I aimed for: balance. And truth.
As writer Elisabeth Elliot phrased it, “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman.”1
Here’s something you may not know about me, even if you’ve read many of my books: My incredible husband, Bill, has a Ph.D. in Old Testament languages. The man not only reads the Biblia Hebraica, he understands it. He combed through my manuscript for errors—in translation, in interpretation, in application. You can breathe easier, girlfriend, knowing I’m not alone on this project!
You aren’t alone either. That’s the point of Bad Girls of the Bible. I want you to know, categorically and absolutely, that whatever your story is, you are not alone. There are lessons here for all of us; each chapter ends with four of them. In the back of the book you'll find a short list of Discussion Questions for book clubs and a longer StudyGuide formore in-depth, chapter-by-chapter Bible study.
I had four kinds of readers in mind while I wrote: (1) Former Bad Girls who have given up their old lives for new ones in Christ and are struggling to figure out how and where they “fit” in God’s family; (2) Temporary Bad Girls who grew up in the church, put aside their devotion to God at some point, and now fear they can’t ever be truly forgiven; (3) Veteran Good Girls who want to grow in understanding and compassion for the women around them who weren’t “cradle Christians”; and (4) Aspiring Good Girls who keep thinking there must be something more to life but aren’t sure where to look.
This is the place, dear ones. Join in.
Find out what a twenty-first-century woman who loves God can learn from an ancient Egyptian temptress who did not: plenty!
All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean…As it is with the good man, so with the sinner. Ecclesiastes 9:2
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that
each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in
the body, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10
In closing, a reminder that each chapter opens with fiction. Except this one. Ruthie is me. That’s a small slice of my own early life as a Bad Girl, and, yes, it was very hard to write.
It got so much worse before it got better. Only a few trusted souls on this earth know how bad. Jesus knows. He knows every inch of my heart. He knows how bad I was, am now, and will be, before I leave behind this transient shell and go on to undeserved glory.
Here’s the good news: He loves us anyway.
He loves us so much he will put people in our paths to lead us to him, just as he did for me—for Ruthie—decades ago. After years in the wilderness, I found myself at the end of my proverbial rope, so despondent I was willing to swing from that noose by my own stiff neck—anything to end the pain of disappointment and shame.
In my pursuit of earthly, fleshly pleasures—the whole sex, drugs, and rock-’n’-roll experience that many of us sampled—I discovered a sad truth: Fun and joy are not the same thing at all. Fun is temporary at best; it’s risky, even dangerous, at worst. Joy, on the other hand, was a mystery I couldn’t seem to decipher.
Oh, girlfriend!When I think of the shallow relationships, the misspent dollars, the wasted years, I can taste that bitter despair all over again. I was a woman without hope—a Bad Girl by choice and by circumstance—convinced that if I could just find the “right man,” he would save me from my sorrows.
One wintry day in 1982 I met that “right man”—a man of sorrows—who willingly had given his life to set me free. Me! Sinful, disobedient, rebellious Ruth Elizabeth. My friends Tim and Evelyn, who’d shared their hearts, their hugs, and their lives with me, now shared the truth with me: I was a sinner in need of a Savior.
Finally I understood the depth of my badness and the breadth of God’s goodness and so embraced his gift of grace with both hands. Yes, I was Bad for a Season, but Not Forever.
And my, oh my, have I found real joy!
With the courage of Rahab, the humility of the Sinful Woman, and the curiosity of the Woman at the Well, let’s press on, my sisters, and see what good news our Lord might have waiting for us within these pages. I promise I’ll be with you every step of the way.
Meet the Author
Liz Curtis Higgs is the author of more than thirty books, with 4.5 million copies in print. Also an award-winning speaker, Liz has addressed 1,700 audiences around the globe. Liz and her husband, Bill, live in 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.”
Really Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs Really Bad Girls of the Bible are: The Witch of Endor, also known as the Medium of Endor, Jael is a woman, who killed Sisera to deliver Israel from the troops of King Jabin, The adulteress in John 7:53-8:11, Athaliah, was queen consort of Judah as the wife of King Jehoram. Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah the Hittite and later of David. Herodias used her own daughter to inflame Herod’s passions. She was willing to sacrifice her child’s modesty in order to bend Herod to her will. Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute. The bleeding woman (or "woman with an issue of blood.") These women are recounted as compared to the women of today. Pick up a copy today and see how much in common some woman have with the women of the bible. It will really surprise you. Good Reading!!! I received a complimentary from Blogging For Books 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!
BAD GIRLS OF THE BIBLE AND WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THEM by Liz Curtis Hughes is a Christian/Women/Bible Study. A humorous look at the Bad Girls of the Bible,Eve, Potiphar's Wife,Delilah,Lot's Wife,Michal,Sapphira,Jezebel,Woman at the Well, Rahab and the Sinful Woman. A powerful story of ten women,bad girls of the Bible are showcased with a bit of fiction added. We all have sinned and fell short. Each and every one of us,including these women. Some of the women of the Bible, had no names, or we never hear of them, such the Women at the Well, the Sinful Woman,Lot's Wife, Potiphar's Wife, how humiliating that must have been, to be only called as whoever's wife,sister and such. Powerful and filled with humor,what not to love. A wonderful look into these women's lives, as well as a little fictional story included. There is even a bit about the author and her own trials and tribulations. Oh and a bible study is included. Once again, Ms. Hughes is a powerful storyteller,her characters,those we know and love,those who are fictional, and those we don't like so much are powerful,charming and realistic. If you would like a look at the tramps of the Bible, although, some are not tramps,pick up "Bad Girls of the Bible" you will be glad you did. I loved it! It is humorous,it is tearful,and you will find you have learned something of the Bible you didn't know or understand before. What a novel approach to a Bible Study! I would recommend it for anyone who loves to read humorous stories with a touch of fiction,a touch of truth and a great read. Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4.5 HEAT RATING: SWEET REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
I got blocked out someone plz help!