Matriarchs of the Messiah has become a popular choice for Book Clubs. Here are some questions you might like to use to get the discussion started:
- According to the book, God’s definition of woman in Hebrew is ezer kenegdo, which means “noble and benevolent helper” and “equal yet opposite” to the man. How does this definition affect your understanding of the role and value of women? In what way is each woman in this book an ezer? Who are the ezers in your life?
- Each of these women is remembered for moments when she faced a difficult dilemma and used unusual and creative means to solve the problem. What difficult decisions have you faced in your lifetime? How did you resolve them?
- Although Eve is traditionally portrayed as a weak woman who brought sin into the world, this book presents her as a heroic figure in the Garden of Eden. What is your opinion of Eve?
- Sarah experienced many hardships during her lifetime. She left a luxurious home in Ur to live as a nomad, suffered the sorrow of barrenness until her old age, managed their flocks and manufacturing while the men were away at war, and struggled with envy when her husband’s second wife became pregnant. What have you learned from Sarah’s story about faith, obedience and enduring trials?
- Hagar is often overlooked as a mere bondwoman in the story of Abraham and Sarah, yet she and her descendants play an important role in the narrative story found in Genesis. God included her son Ishmael in the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant. What do you find most significant about Hagar?
- What do we learn about prayer, revelation, and priesthood blessings from the story of Rebekah and Isaac?
- Leah ‘s wedding night switch with her younger sister Rachel led to great heartache. Her husband resented her, her sister taunted her, and her children went astray. Nevertheless, she found peace and comfort by nurturing her relationship with the Lord, and that helped her heal the rift within her family. How can the story of Leah help us strengthen our modern-day relationships?
- How do Old Testament attitudes toward surrogacy and adoption compare with modern surrogacy, adoption and motherhood?
- Tamar is perhaps the most overlooked and misunderstood woman in the Bible. Reviled for the way she made Judah keep his promise to her, she is nevertheless a true ezer who rescued Judah from apostasy and set him back on the right path. What do you think of Skousen’s interpretation of this story?
- The Israelites were told to make no pacts with the local residents as they entered the promised land and not to leave anyone alive in their battles. Yet they rescued the harlot Rahab in Jericho and allowed her to marry into the Israelite tribe. What do we learn about faith and obedience from her story?
- Ruth is remembered for her loyalty and love for her mother-in-law, Naomi. What can you do to improve your relationships with extended family?
- Many of the women in Jesus’ direct ancestry were outsiders rather than Israelites. Does this surprise you? What does it suggest about the inclusiveness of the Savior?
- The story of Bathsheba is one of indiscretion, repentance, transformation and queenly exaltation. How can we avoid temptation, and what can we do to restore virtue that has been lost? Is it right to blame the woman when a man is tempted? What was the prophet Nathan’s attitude toward Bathsheba?
- Mary knew how to nurture her son when He was a baby, guide Him when He was a teenager, and let go when it was time for Him to perform His ministry. She was with Him at the Cross. Parents have the responsibility to guide their children in the correct paths but also to step back when their children reach adulthood. How can we better prepare children for the responsibilities and mission set before them? What is the role of parents of adult children?
- The book makes two surprising suggestions about Mary Magdalene: First, that she is the same Mary who is the sister of Martha, and second, that she represents all of us as the bride, or church, of Christ. Discuss your impressions of this interpretation.
- The book asserts that the story of the Bible “begins with a woman in a Garden who falls and ends with a woman in a Garden who is redeemed.” What do you think of this statement?
- How has this book changed your understanding of the women in the Bible and your appreciation for the role of women everywhere?
Read more about the women who are direct ancestors of Jesus Christ in Matriarchs of the Messiah: Valiant Women in the Lineage of Jesus Christ, by Jo Ann Skousen. Available at amazon.com and selected bookstores. Autographed copies can be purchased through this website. Click on Contact Me to ask for details.