There are many spiritual giants and mentors that I have never read or learned from before and Cynthia Heald is one of them. So, when I received an opportunity to review the thirtieth anniversary edition of her class, Becoming a Woman of Excellence, I knew that it was a chance to experience an author that many people have learned from, and I found that to extremely exciting.
Becoming a Woman of Excellence is a Bible study book inspired by Ruth 3:11. In this verse, Boaz tells Ruth:
All my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.
Because I tend to read in the King James translation, I’ve always read that verse as a “virtuous woman.” A commentary that I’ve been reading through as I’ve read through my annual Bible reading plan this year reminded me, when I got to Ruth, that she’s the only woman in the Bible who is called a “virtuous woman” or a “woman of excellence.” What makes her called so, and what character qualities are we to show in our quest for excellence?
In this book, after studying the life of Ruth and some of character qualities that Ruth has, Heald has extrapolated those character qualities and created a Bible study of those qualities. This book is really a workbook of working through scripture passages and questions to learn and apply more Biblical wisdom to the ideas of excellence, God’s character, becoming like Christ, surrendering to God, obedience, discipline, discretion, a gentle and quiet spirit, purity and wisdom. Throughout, Heald has come back and written additional reflections from the perspective of an older woman, thirty years after the writing of the original Bible study.
This is really a beautifully done study, and is certainly worthy of the revision and updating they’ve done for its thirtieth anniversary. I’ve spent a little bit of time with it during my morning quiet time, and I’ve found that, as with all Bible studies, I get more out of it as I put more into it. However, whether in groups or individual study, this is a Bible study that all women could learn from as they pursue excellence and a more Christ-like life.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.