If you have been looking for a book on biblical womanhood, I am pleased to commend to you Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s new book, Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together.
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
I’ve often approached these verses as if they were a “to-be” list of attitudes and actions I need to cultivate in my own life. However, throughout Adorned, Nancy does not use a scalpel to extract Titus 2 from the context of Scripture so that she can give women a “to-be” list of virtues to go home and work on or pass along to others. Rather, as she so rightly says:
“It all comes back to the gospel. Our purpose for pursuing Titus 2 character, relationships, and ministry is not merely to be better wives, moms, and ministry leaders, to have a better reputation, or to be able to sleep better at night. Our ultimate purpose is to make much of God. We do that as we experience, enjoy, and reflect the loveliness of Christ, making Him known to a world that is starved for true beauty.”
In writing this book, Nancy focuses specifically on the goal of this Titus 2 instruction: “So that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior (2:10).”
Nancy emphasizes that the Bible teaches that we learn to adorn the gospel within the community of both older and younger women. She encourages older women to live out the gospel by faith in Christ, training younger women to do the same. And she challenges younger women to recognize the value of older women in their lives and to be imitating the faith of the older women. As Nancy writes, “Women whose lives are adorned by the presence of Christ and who adorn His gospel…make it believable for the next generation by their humble, joyful obedience.”
I expected this book to be for young women in my “life stage” — married and in the midst of raising a family. But this book will be a blessing to ALL women who read it. Nancy writes from a beautifully unique perspective — she is an “older woman” who has been teaching women the Bible for years, yet only recently she was married for the first time. With winsome transparency, she shares about her wedding and first year of marriage, and she also writes from years of experience in women’s ministry, helping and encouraging women who long to be married or have children, who are experiencing challenging marriages and family situations, or who are “older women” with now-empty nests and full of experience.
Adorned is structured into three parts: a woman under God, a woman under control, and a woman under her roof. In her classic, refreshing style, Nancy teaches straight from Scripture, assuming her “older woman” role by teaching gospel-saturated doctrine with many practical, helpful examples and instruction. She hammers home the truth that doctrine is foundational to how we live, and she warns against pursuing spiritual adornment without grounding our lives in biblical truth: “Belief affects behavior… Sound doctrine changes us.”
As I read Nancy’s book, I so appreciated that she gives me something to sink my teeth into through the unadulterated truth of God’s word. She demonstrates from Scripture the what (sound Biblical doctrine as the foundation) for my now what (personal and practical application of that truth in my life). Since I am in a position to be the older woman at times (as Nancy reminds us that we all are!), she challenges me to give the younger women in my sphere of influence a solid biblical and theological foundation for Christian living, since that is what will mature each of us into godly women.
Adorned provides helpful, thought-provoking discussion questions at the end of each chapter, and it would work well to read by yourself or with a group of other women over the course of a few weeks. While it is a long book, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of the refreshing mentoring that Nancy provided. It was well worth the time to be able to take advantage of sitting at the feet of a godly older woman for the purpose of discipleship.
I know that young women will devour Nancy’s practical doctrine for womanhood, and I am excited that this book will encourage some of you older women, you mothers in the faith, how much we younger women need you. I recommend this book to any woman who desires to adorn the beauty of the gospel with her life. It is the most biblical, encouraging work I have read on Titus 2, and it is a resource on womanhood, motherhood, marriage, ministry, and Christian living that I will continue to treasure over the years. Adorned will be a great blessing to the Christian women of our generation, and I joyfully anticipate its coming impact on the church to the glory of God.
Amanda Criss is a wife, stay-at-home mom, and blogger at Bless Your Heart and Home. She writes to encourage the hearts of women through the good news of Jesus Christ. She and her husband, Jody, have two children and live in their home state of Mississippi