When I discover something I really enjoy, I can hardly wait to tell people about it. I recently had a sandwich with lemon aioli on it, and that sauce was the best thing I’ve had in a while. Except for a tomato out of a friends garden. We should all be growing our own tomatoes, for now, I’m grateful he is. And, when we experience something on a better than average level, we should share it. Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is a book to be shared, over and over again.
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth might be better known to you as Nancy Leigh DeMoss, writer of Lies Women Believe, Choosing Forgiveness, and the Revive Our Hearts series, among others. I admit that it is hard for me to be objective about a new book by her, because she has been perhaps the most influential woman teacher of the Word in my Christian life. So I opened Adorned with high expectations, and it did not disappoint. Titus 2:10 says the purpose of the instructions in the chapter are “so that in everything they (those that learn them) may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” Wolgemuth describes “adorn” in the opening chapter as a showcase of the loveliness of Christ. As we are adorned by His love and the beauty of the gospel, we reveal it to a world that desperately needs to embrace both. How do we become adorned?
Careful exposition of Titus 2 combined with gracious application make for a solidly biblical look at a passage that women of every age need to consider in a serious way right now. Confusion and contention reigns far too much among women who say they love God but can’t seem to get along with each other, let alone build each other up. Adorned explores why women need each other, the way we can and should build these relationships and what happens when women of different generations minister to each other.
Part of the sweetness of this book is the authors own discoveries of being an older woman, in her late fifties, as a first time bride. The opening story of the late Vonette Bright, sharing as a momma with the about to be wed Nancy on her wedding day shows how we are all older, and younger, than someone else in the Lord. Her transparency of her own continued growth in the Lord throughout the book make these encouraging and relatable lessons.
This is a book about doing more than women’s Bible study together, it’s about the need and the biblical command to do life together. Adorned contains three sections: A Woman Under God, A Woman Under Control (some of the best writing about self-control I’ve read in a long time) and A Woman Under Her Roof.
In the first section, the chapter titled “Doctrine, You and Titus 2” is worth the price of the book. Starting with Paul’s opening verse in Titus 2, to “teach what accords with sound doctrine”, she makes this statement “But the fact is, every one of us and every situation we encounter in life is fueled by some kind of doctrine. It is the ground we stand on as we build our lives.” Everybody, even the atheist, lives by a doctrine, a teaching. Before Paul, (and this book) get into the practice of one-anothering, the foundation of right teaching (doctrine) has to be in place in our lives. I was challenged by this statement she makes-“I have come to believe that every failure and flaw in our lives flows out of some sort of doctrinal deficiency.” When I struggle, or fail, what teaching is influencing me? Biblical doctrine is critical.
Don’t let my personal love of the nuts and bolts of scripture scare you off, this isn’t a dry and scholarly read. In fact, as she progresses into the more practical aspects of what the Titus 2 model looks like in real life, there is an easy flow of encouragement and exhortation that lead you to consider prayerfully how it applies to you. If you’re a bit weary (or a lot weary, like me) of the mommy wars, social media feed spamming alarmist posts of women telling us how we’re getting it wrong, this book will be a sweet breeze of reason and inspiration for you.
Every chapter applies to both the woman in the younger woman season as well as the older woman, and ends with reflection questions for each group. To the younger women Wolgemuth says throughout that the type of older woman you will be begins with the choices you make today. Look for the women ahead of you who have spiritual lives that reflect the joy, peace and purpose of the gospel and find out how they got that way. Older women, what would you tell your 20 or 30-something year old self, in encouraging biblical terms, that you wished you knew then? Find those women and help them navigate this season with some of the wisdom the Lord has taught you. This book will help each age group on the path to fulfilling their respective Titus 2 roles, as we learn what it is to be Adorned.
Read well, friends
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. A free book could never make me tell you to read it if it wasn’t worthy.