‘God never viewed women as second-class citizens,’ Fox News anchor Shannon Bream declares

https://www.christianpost.com/books/shannon-bream-god-never-viewed-women-as-second-class-citizens.html

Fox News anchor Shannon Bream released her new book, Women of the Bible Speak, just in time for Easter and shared how God empowered many inspiring women of the Bible whose testimonies are still relevant to women today. 

“The problems they had centuries ago are still the same ones many women face today: chronic illness, family squabbles, infertility, widowhood, feeling forgotten,” Bream told The Christian Post about her book, which is already ranked No. 5 on Amazon’s Best Sellers list and ranked No. 1 in Christian Women’s Issues.

The book delves into the lives of 16 biblical women. She arranges them into pairs and compares and contrasts their journeys while pulling out the overarching theme of each woman’s individual story.

“By looking at these stories, we see God has never viewed women as second-class citizens or bit players. They are respected and included,” she said.

The book was released Tuesday by FOX News Books in collaboration with HarperCollins Publishers. The popular anchor hosted a one-hour Fox News special Sunday — a five-part series that can be seen on the streaming platform, Fox Nation. The series included Kathie Lee Gifford, Sara Evans, Alveda King, and others. 

The Florida native wants readers to see “that God was working through” each of our lives just as He did with those highlighted in the Bible.

The following is an edited transcript of Bream’s interview with The Christian Post, where she shared which woman of the Bible she identifies with most due to her own personal struggles. The former beauty-pageant winner also detailed her personal faith journey and what she hopes readers gain from reading her book.

CP:  What inspired you to write Women of the Bible Speak?

Bream: The Bible is full of incredible stories about all kinds of women. Some were highly esteemed, others were outcasts — but all of them were important to God. I was encouraged and inspired by all of them and challenged in different ways with regard to my own faith. 

I’ve known these stories my whole life, but by studying them in a more in-depth way, I saw them with fresh eyes. My hope is that by going along on their journeys, flaws and all, readers will see that God was working through each of their lives, just as He is in ours today.  

CP: Can you briefly share your own story of coming to faith in Christ?

Bream: From a young age, I was surrounded by faith — at home, at school and at church — which was the center of our lives. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I truly got that my relationship with Christ needed to be a personal one, that I needed to make my own commitment to Him and accept what He did on the cross as the way to salvation.

I have been a work in progress ever since, had questions and struggles along the way, but God has been faithful. I pray each day I’ll have the wisdom and discernment I need to follow His plan, and have the grace and courage to say, “Your will, not mine.”

CP: How did you determine the women you decided to highlight in the book?

Bream: We decided to pair them up, to look for common lessons and truths. Some of them were easy to include because they knew each other, like Rachel and Leah or Mary and Martha. Others may have lived in completely different times and circumstances, but we found a common thread, like Queen Esther and Rahab. Both were divinely guided to be exactly where God wanted them to be in a position to give the Jewish people a great victory.  

I also wanted to make sure to include women who made mistakes, got off track and made a mess of things. We’ve all done that, and I wanted to highlight how the Lord can redeem all of that. I also decided to do the final chapter on Jesus and several additional women to show His compassion for them, regardless of their circumstances or lack of status. Some of them were faithful from the beginning, others had to find their strength and courage in the Lord. In every case, I came away from these stories feeling inspired and encouraged.

CP: Why is it important for the Church to highlight the women of the Bible as well as the men? 

Bream: What I love is that Christ broke a lot of norms of the day through His relationships with women. By looking at these stories, we see God has never viewed women as second-class citizens or bit players. They are respected and included.  

Deborah is a wonderful example of leadership in the Old Testament, revered for her knowledge and wisdom as a judge, she also fearlessly followed God’s direction. She also defies the notion that women weren’t leaders in Scripture. Some of the stories show us the heart of women in areas that are incredibly tender, like Hannah’s tearful prayers over her infertility. Others, like Martha and Mary, give us insights into how we should view service and our personal relationship with Christ.  

What I love about the book is the opportunity to look at challenges from a woman’s perspective.

CP: Although these women were from Bible times, you said they share relevant topics for 2021. Can you share some examples?

Bream: The problems they had centuries ago are still the same ones many women face today: chronic illness, family squabbles, infertility, widowhood, feeling forgotten. I think those things are universal. The times and customs were certainly different, but not the sense of being overwhelmed or met with moments that demanded great courage or faithfulness.  

CP: Which woman featured in the book is your favorite?

Bream: My answer will depend on the day you ask because they all feel like such treasures to me!  

I love the leadership and courage of Deborah, but I most identify with the woman who had the issue of bleeding for 12 years. I lived with chronic illness and pain for several years, so I’ve always felt some connection to her. She had gone from doctor to doctor, spent all she had and was left without hope or a cure. She had so much faith that she thought if she could just get to Jesus and touch the hem of His garment she would be healed. 

What I learned in studying her story is that she probably would have been considered unclean in those days, meaning she wouldn’t be allowed in the temple or market or in a crowd. She must have felt so isolated, yet she risked everything to get to Christ. The Scriptures tell us she was immediately healed by touching His garment. He knew what had happened and turned around asking who had touched Him. There’s no doubt He knew. 

The Bible tells us she fell down before Him trembling, but He didn’t condemn her. Instead, he called her “Daughter” and told her her faith had made her whole. I love everything about that story, what it says about the power of faith and about Christ’s compassion for us.

CP: If there was a message from these women to us now, what do you think that would be?

Bream: God is faithful, whether we are or not. He is always working in every circumstance, and He hears our prayers. He is the same God now as He was centuries ago when He guided these women through their trials.   

CP: Are there modern-day heroes you look to today?

Bream: My mom is a true prayer warrior. She is selfless and lives out the command to “love your neighbor as yourself” better than anyone else I know. She has faced some frightening trials but is so grounded in her faith that she doesn’t waver.  

CP: Is there something else you would like to share with us?

Bream: We included study questions at the end of each chapter so that readers can dig in and find the personal applications for their own lives. I love study questions! They’re set up to do alone or as part of a group, and I’m excited so many people have told me they plan to go through the book as a group Bible study. 

Women of the Bible Speak is now available everywhere books are sold.

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