I picked up Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur mostly because of how much I enjoyed Twelve Ordinary Men.
This book gives insight into how God related with women in particular. He naturally discussed women like Ruth, Rahab, Mary (Jesus’s mother), Mary Magdalene, Eve, and Sarah.
I think Magdalene was of particular import. Leaving her out leaves a lot of women who saw their value in giving birth (Mary and Sarah to name the two I most readily recall). Magdalene is a particularly interesting person in history for me. She wasn’t a famous mother. She was a redeemed woman who had a Christian love for Christ. Where a number of women trusted in God, hoping that he would bless them with a child (Heck, me and my wife are doing that right this moment. This isn’t a bad thing to want.) Magdalene had a unique role.
The Samaritan woman was also discussed in this, and I found her chapter of particular interest as well.
I’ll honestly say this book didn’t have the same level of impact as Twelve Ordinary Men. I think the number twelve was taken because of the other study, but I was a bit worried that a theme would arise from this that MacArthur may not have intended. You’d expect Eve, Jesus’s mother and Sarah. I mentioned the Samaritan woman and Magdalene, and there are critical as well. Rahab makes sense to show how God can use a person’s sin for good and can even forgive those sins. (Rahab lied about knowing where Joshua’s spies were, which is a sin, but God used that to protect his people. He also forgave that sin and even blessed Rahab by including her in the lineage of both David and Christ.) I guess my concern is that some may feel the emphasis on woman having children and finding husbands (in Ruth’s case), will cause interpretive issues for someone unfamiliar with Dr. MacArthur’s work and (more importantly) scripture.
I still found it enlightening, and I still enjoyed it. Something I’ll add is that now that I’m simply reading MacArthur’s books because I find value in his theology and insight, I’m naturally not as drawn to these as previous ones. That’s not because these aren’t good or valuable books. Instead, I’m not reading to fill a need. I’m not reading to understand something I’m struggling with or learn about something I can’t quite figure out. I’m just reading because I like it. That’s going to shade my opinion of these books in comparison others I’ve read.
I’d recommend this book to women of faith who may be wondering more about how God choose to work in their lives.
Thanks for reading,