Book Review: Not Alone | CBE International

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Book Review: Not Alone

Not Alone

Not Alone contains stories about eleven widows in the Bible. Each chapter title begins with a character quality being focused on, followed by the name of the widow or an identifying descriptive phrase associated with an unnamed widow. For example, chapter four is titled “Faith-filled: The Widow and Her Pot of Oil.” Each chapter begins with an imaginative and touching retelling of the widow’s story. The widow who gave two coins is shown as a woman who was always generous, not just when Jesus saw her and commended her act of giving.

The Study Guide states the issue being focused on, and includes the Bible text behind the fictionalized story. There are three or four simple study questions. The chapter about the widow at Zarephath (1 Kings 17) is about dealing with emotions in times of anxiety and crisis, and the third study question gets very personal: “What emotions have you experienced during times of stress and loss?”

The Thinking it Over section focuses on the chosen issue, bringing in other Bible passages. The lesson about generosity mentions having a grateful heart, loving God rather than stuff, providing for your extended family, God’s ownership of everything, and financial planning.

The Personal Application section is brief, and may include thought questions or proposed actions. Naomi’s story has questions about strengths gained and new blessings, and ends with, “Accept new challenges, not as failures or setbacks, but as opportunities to change.”

This book is about widows, but some of the widows chosen are better known as mothers or because of their remarriages. It is written for widows, and for women in crisis. It quietly and simply speaks words of comfort, encouragement, and practical advice.

Egalitarian issues in regard to marriage are not addressed directly, but egalitarian values keep peeking through. For example, the prophetess Anna admired her father because he “taught me as if I were his son.”

Abigail was an industrious wife to foolish Nabal, and did what was best for him when she intervened in the crisis he stirred up with David. Sexual relationships based on lust are thoroughly condemned in the stories of Tamar and Bathsheba.

This book is useful for more than widows. Many of the issues focused on such as generosity, prayer, and faith are issues that have been important to me as a life-long single woman.

CBE reviews books on their own merit, whether or not an author has expressed agreement with CBE's values or mission elsewhere. A positive review does not constitute an endorsement of an author's entire body of work or of any institutions they represent. Likewise, a negative review is not a condemnation of an author's body of work or associated institutions.

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