Book Review: The Fruitful Vine: a Celebration of Biblical Womanhood
By: Warren Henderson
“Books like this by a present day author are few and far between, written in a refreshingly clear way, and with a clear directive contrary to that in which the feminist movement has taken society. Because it is all too easy for believers to be swayed in their thinking by this movement and its prevalence in the western world, this treatise on womanhood as taught in the Scriptures is essential reading for today’s women and men.
The author skilfully explores the different roles of women, whether single (by choice or by circumstance) or married, mothers or grandmothers, widows young or old. Sound scriptural advice is given for each situation. Using the figure of the Fruitful Vine (Ps 128.3, with cognate verses from The Song of Solomon), the beauty and honour of marriage is described, from the industrious to the intimate, from the everyday things to the special occasions which family life contains. Whilst focused on the role of the wife, the role of the husband is constantly called into the foreground, for it is (correctly) argued that the one cannot be fulfilled without the other.
In the Preface, the position is taken that biblical manhood advocates biblical womanhood; or put in more everyday terms, “an ideal wife is any woman who has an ideal husband”. The treatment of this subject is both doctrinally sound and practically orientated. The permanence of the marriage bond, the truth of headship and its consequences in the home and in the assembly, the necessity for complete fidelity and confidentiality in marriage are each stressed.
Problem areas like marital satisfaction and how to promote it, disagreements and how to resolve them, love and how to keep it fresh, gossip and how to avoid it (the author calls it sin), are all explored in detail, as is some very practical advice about the smooth, economical, responsible running of the home which is where the woman’s best influence lies. Readers outside of the USA where the book originated may find some of the details less appropriate, but the overall message is very important and applies everywhere.
Sin has invaded every realm of society, marriage included, but its effects can be controlled by the application of the Word of God, which is what this book successfully attempts to do. If read and its message heeded, it will be an asset in every young believer’s marriage, and every older one’s too. The men as well as the women should read it.”
~ This book review originally published in Believer’s Magazine Feb 2007 , written by RWC