Gospel of Ruth Bible Study Week 3

By September 18, 2011Ruth- Gospel of

We’ve just finished our third week of online bible study, reading chapters three and four in The Gospel of Ruth by Carolyn Custis James. This week Carolyn exposed her own infertility and identified with Ruth’s barrenness in scripture. She then presented examples of women in scripture who endured barren lives. We learned that children are miracles and no birth should be assumed as human-made. In the story of Ruth, “two childless widows become lead figures in a biblical book,” writes Carolyn. We see examples of Jesus’ love for women in the New Testament and learn that God has a different view of women than many cultures do. If you want to know what is happening around to women and Christians around the world, visit Voice of the Martyrs and read their monthly newsletter. In our study of Ruth we see God work through the challenges of widowhood, infertility, grief, depression, poverty and loss. In the story we find God is Master of our past, present and future. “Despair and hope are traveling side by side,” writes Carolyn, and in this story of two women and a redeemer, we see God’s overshadowing love.

Ruth steps up and does what needs to be done. She’s in survival mode as she depends on God to provide food for herself and Naomi. She’s in faith mode when she leaves her pagan gods behind her and seeks intimacy with Naomi’s God. Most likely she faced fear, depression and discouragement- yet she carries on. She breaks the rules of the establishment and keeps her faith and her courage. She makes a name for herself and receives a blessing from Boaz. Our story continues next week.

Prayer Requests

Please visit our Prayer Wall and post a prayer request or praise report. Take time this week to lift others up with your prayers.

Carolyn Custis James Quotes

  • Suffering is a sacred meeting place between God and His child, where faith is fighting to survive and God’s goodness comes into question.
  • The barren woman acknowledges God to be the Lord of the womb.
  • Every child born into God’s family is a miracle.

For Next Week

Group Discussion- Answer one question or as many as you like

  1. What does the barren woman teach us about God and ourselves?
  2. Why was Ruth’s courage important to this story?
  3. Is there an area of your life where you need to be bolder for God’s kingdom?
  4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.

Author Christine Abraham

Founder and Ministry Director of the Womens Bible Cafe™ since 2009, Christine has led 60+ online Bible Studies for women. She completed a Graduate of Biblical Studies from Liberty University. She's an inspired writer, Amazon Top Reviewer and Blogger Follow on Facebook

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Join the discussion 16 Comments

  • Laura says:

    1.What does the barren woman teach us about God and ourselves? It teaches us that we don’t have all the facts. We can only see from our limited perspective, but God sees from an eternal perspective. His hand is on whatver circumstances He allows in our lives. He is not obligated to explain Himself to us when we don’t understand, or when we are desperately longing for an answer to a prayer that seems to be unfulfilled year after year. We all are barren in some aspect of our lives, some longing for children and others barren in other ways. The lesson is that no matter where we find ourselves empty and longing, God ministers to us in that place of pain and He can fill us to overflowing with His lavish love if we turn to Him for satisfaction in the longing places.
    2.Why was Ruth’s courage important to this story? In that setting, Naomi and Ruth were both empty and without a man to come under the covering of leaving them vulnerable and with limited options to feed themseslves. Ruth had to step outside her comfort zone to provide, and what this teaches us about God is that courage is easier when we have trust in God, we still have to walk out in faith and do our part, then He provides.
    3.Is there an area of your life where you need to be bolder for God’s kingdom? I have been asking God to give me more of a heart for the lost and more boldness to declare Jesus to unbelievers in my sphere of influence.
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study. I love that throughout her story, Ruth continually steps out of her comfort zone and reflects a passion and purpose to be more like God. Page 97 says, “throughout her story, she consistently exhibits an all or nothing faith in Yahweh.” Lord, empower me to live my life in such a way that this is characteristic of my life.

    • Christine says:

      Thank you for repreating this, I needed to hear it today! God is using your words 🙂

      “We can only see from our limited perspective, but God sees from an eternal perspective. His hand is on whatever circumstances He allows in our lives.”

  • Michelle says:

    Ruths bold initiative has allowed women to be looked at from a different perspective. Boaz saw that Ruth had converted and was trying to honor her mother-in-law and take care of her no matter what the cost was to her, Boaz saw that she gave herself to God and allowed God to guide her. Boaz saw Ruth for her goodness and her complete faith and trust in God. She may not have been from the right family line but she proved to boaz that that did not matter. She is who she is and she is worth helping .

  • Joni says:

    1.What does the barren woman teach us about God and ourselves?
    2.Why was Ruth’s courage important to this story?
    3.Is there an area of your life where you need to be bolder for God’s kingdom?
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.

    1. I am a little behind as I just got my book, but I feel that a barren woman teaches us mostly that God is in control

    2. Ruth’s courage is important to the story because, first she accepted Naomi’s God, “Your God will be my God,” and then she went on with courage in faith, no matter what she had to face.

    3. I don’t know the areas in which I need to be bolder. I am waiting for God to show me that. It is a fine line to have faith and confidence in God, and to step out in courage. Sometimes I cannot distingush that..

    4. I guess my favorite part was about infertililty. Dealing with that myself, and also knowing that others go through the same was encouraging. I had exactly the same experience as the author, when I came upon women talking about their birthing experience. One woman said, “Well if you never had a baby, you don’t know what it feels like.” I smiled and said thank you to myself. Thank you to the woman who gave my baby life and then gave her to me.


  • Penny says:

    1.What does the barren woman teach us about God and ourselves? No matter how barren we may feel, God can use us.
    2.Why was Ruth’s courage important to this story? It was important for Ruth to be courageous. She had a lot of things going on and she needed to be able to step out in courage and faith.
    3.Is there an area of your life where you need to be bolder for God’s kingdom? Probably with my family. I could be a much better testimony .
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study There were so many areas in this weeks study. I think I liked it when she learned when to take herself away from a situation, such as when they were talking about childbirth. It is good to know we can and need to sometimes remove ourselves from situations.

  • Lisa says:

    I am reading 1000 Gifts along with our Ruth study, and the two together have paralleled each other. In 1000 Gifts, Voskamp ponders how to live hard eucharisteo. Eucharisteo = thanksgiving, Charis = grace, Chara = joy. Living hard eucharisteo is being thankful even in the moments you want to quit living. To, “… give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:20, NIV.)

    How to have thanksgiving in an empty womb, one that longs for life to bud? How to experience joy in widowhood, life taken suddenly, sharply? How to feel grace in hunger, emptiness, depression. How to live hard eucharisteo?

    Ruth gives us that hope, the example of how to live hard eucharisteo. James wrote, “Faith may want answers but somehow it is able to survive without them.” That is living hard eucharisteo, knowing that you want answers but putting one foot in front of the other trusting and having faith in a God that does not explain Himself. Carolyn Curtis James reminds us “we are not the master of our domain, and that the effort of our ability is ALWAYS in God’s hands.” If our efforts are in God’s hands, then even in those Naomi moments, life shattering moments, God has us in His hands, to trust in that is joy and grace.

    • Christine says:

      One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp is cone of my favorite books- I gave my mom a copy for Mothers day.

      • Lisa says:

        I love it too! I have had it for months and only just got around to reading it. I find it amusing how much our Ruth book and Voskamp’s book have intertwined with each other, not on the same levels they are very different. However, for me, the two books have spoken to me through each other. Just a God thing that’s all, I love that! I was thinking One Thousand Gifts would make some great Christmas gifts 😀

  • Sherrie says:

    What does the barren woman teach us about God and ourselves?

    This really struck me this week – the discussion of barren women. How often do many of us take for granted that we have a child/children that we love, but may not always appreciate to the fullest extent of the fact that they are truly a miracle in our lives.
    I struggled with getting pregnant for 5 years and although we didn’t go to the extent of infertility treatments, I know how upsetting and lonely it can be to feel the need for a child. It truly was by the grace of God that we had our son and reflecting on this part of the book has made me realize how much I often take him for granted.
    I think the barren woman teaches us that no matter what plan we may have for ourselves or our lives, God is always in control and will meet us at the point when we are ready to accept his grace. We have to be open enough to let God work in our lives and willing to accept the answer he gives whether it is yes or no, or just wait.

    I am really enjoying this book and reading it at this slow pace is perfect for being able to reflect and meditate on it’s message.

  • Teresa says:

    What does the barren woman teach us about God and ourselves?
    We are all barren without Christ. “for without Me you can do nothing” John 15:5
    The world wants to tell us that children make us complete, but we are only complete in Christ.
    Why was Ruth’s courage important to this story?
    Her courage is a demonstration of her inner hope. Hope that God will meet her out there in the world, and bless her effort, and protect her, and guide her, and feed her. God blesses that which we offer him, so her courage is her offering to Him. It’s a perfect picture of what God wants from all of us. “Be strong and of good courage..” Josh 1:9 “Do not let your heart be troubled.” John14:1
    Is there an area of your life where you need to be bolder for God’s kingdom?
    In believing Him. “for without faith, it is impossible to please Him” Heb 11:6 and “he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also” John 14:12
    Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    I like the contrast between Naomi’s emptiness and Boaz’ fullness, and the parallel with us and our emptiness and God and his fullness. And his willingness to give us more than we request, over and above what we expect! Praise His Goodness and Mercy!
    God bless all of you. It is wonderful to be able to share this study of Ruth with you all instead of marveling at God and His Word just on my own. This site is such a blessing Christine.

  • Susan says:

    1.What does the barren woman teach us about God and ourselves? Our suffering leads us to God and our relationship becomes stronger.
    2.Why was Ruth’s courage important to this story? She was fighting to save Jesus’ ancestors. It shows what is possible when you love God and are helping others.
    3.Is there an area of your life where you need to be bolder for God’s kingdom? In reaching those less fortunate.
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    Pg 87 – “We are all impotent and in need of God’s help when conceiving new life or tackling life or tackling some difficult task.” Ruth exposed the difference between “Let them glean” and “Feed them”.

  • Sue Alice says:

    1. I think God can use for any reason if we have child or barren, we learn from Him to supply us with what we need…….be it more faith, love or understanding. He is an awesome God.

    2. Had Ruth not been so bold…….where would she be? She put others before herself and saw to there needs.

    3. I would try and teach teens what it is like to be so rebellious as I was, and hope and pray they would learn something from my past.

  • Rhonda says:

    1. I think the barren woman analogy helps us to understand that God can use any of us for His purposes, even though of us who society views as useless. God can make the impossible possilbe if it works to His glory.
    2. Had not Ruth been so bold, her life would not have unfolded as it did. She is a perfect example of how putting others before self can actually help us as much you as much as it does the other person.
    3. I think I need to use the training and life experiences I have to help other parents deal with the overwhelming emotions having a child with a disability brings. I remember how alone I felt when my son was first diagnosed and I need to be bolder about sharing what I have learned to younger parents who are staring on this journey.
    4. I love the statement “Every child born into God’s family is a miracle.” This is so very true and if only everyone could relaize this howmuchkinder and loving our world would be. Variety is the spice of life and differently abled people have so much to give everyone that we would never learn and know otherwise.

    • Christine says:

      Every child is a miracle! I’ve known children born with cancer, autism, juvenile diabetes, down syndrome, congenital heart disease..and children born without physical afflictions. Each child is precious in God’s sight and a miracle here on earth. Praise Him for gifting us with children to love. Some children are gifted through birth, some are gifted through adoption, some are gifted through relationship and community. They are all God’s children.

      Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10 NIV

  • Melody McCullough says:

    I think my aha moment about the barren woman was God is in control of the womb. Being an older, single female and longing for the “traditional family,” this brought peace to my inmost being. I can relate with Ruth, Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth, not to mention Carolyn Custis James; however, through my emotional pains and despair, I pray I will take comfort in knowing my Triune God will and wants to meet with me! 🙂 I love the statement Mrs. James wrote, “…his[Boaz] fullness was the counterpart to Naomi’s emptiness.” After reading that sentence, it was as if God was saying, “I am your (Melody) fullness [I make you whole, complete] in your (Melody) emptiness.” (feel free to insert your name :))

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