In Practical Theology for Women, Wendy Alsup wants to show women that not only is it good that they learn theology, it has practical application for their daily lives. We should not leave the study of God and his ways to pastors and seminarians, but all people should strive to know him better.
Wendy begins her book with her own story. The early years of her marriage were filled with health crises and financial difficulties, but each trial showed her more of God and his ways. She learned to lean on the church body, and she grew to understand that God is there even in the dark times. Theological knowledge became more than abstract ideas in a dusty book, but real help in times of crisis. She doesn’t want women just to be “smarter,” but to know him more deeply.
The rest of the book is divided into three parts: “What is Theology?”, “Who is Our God?”, and “Communicating with God” “What is Theology?” further clarifies what theology is and why we should care. “Who is Our God?”, which is the bulk of the book, talks about God’s attributes, how he saves us, and how he makes us holy. “Communicating with God” discusses prayer, using the Lord’s Prayer as a pattern.
Wendy explains each point clearly and uses Scripture and her guide. I appreciated how she balanced explaining things in an understandable way without being simplistic or pandering. She also defined many words in the sidebar, which served the reader without breaking the flow of the chapters. These sidebar definitions were not just reserved for the big, difficult words, but many the words we think we know but maybe haven’t thought much about, like “glorify” and “discipline.” She ended many chapters with a suggested reading list for deeper study.
This book is written for the woman who is intimidated by the study of theology or thinks it will be dry and boring. At 150 pages, it’s not meant to be an exhaustive systematic theology, but a basic introduction that will whet your appetite for more. I would recommend it to any woman who would like know more about theology and doesn’t know where to start. I would also urge any woman who isn’t interested in theology to give this book a try.