I always like to know a little something about an author before I sit down and open up his or her book. Today I’m excited to share about a new book from Keri Folmar, The Good Portion: The Doctrine of Scripture for Every Woman. It combines well-researched insights with warm writing that makes this book accessible, thought-provoking, and needed. Please read this book—it’s a treasure chest full of wisdom that will help you delight in the riches of God’s Word.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am the wife of John Folmar, who is the pastor of the United Christian Church of Dubai, and the mother of Ruth, a freshman in university, Chloe, a junior in high school, and Andrew, a freshman in high school. Between loads of laundry and getting dinner on the table, I disciple women and write, lead, and teach women’s Bible study. It’s my joy, as a pastor’s wife and as the leader of our women’s Bible studies, to have a front row seat, watching the word of God work the conversions of unbelievers and the sanctification of those of us who believe. We have the special privilege here in Dubai of seeing Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists and others come to know the Lord. Currently, I’m meeting with women from Tunisia, India, Palestine, the U.K., Saudi Arabia and the U.S.
Before Ruthie came along, I was a lawyer working for Congress. My specialty was constitutional law, and I was the staff writer of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. Going from handling the law to handling children was challenging (as a lawyer I could always find the answer to my questions!), but the joy of partnering with my husband and raising children far surpasses the excitement of getting a bill signed into law.
When did you first start writing? What do you enjoy about it?
I first started writing Bible studies out of necessity. At UCCD, we were looking for good inductive studies of books of the Bible but they were few and far between. I started with Philippians and wrote three categories of questions, asking what does the text say, what does it mean, and how does it apply to our lives today. Our women grew to love (and even demand) these kind of inductive studies so I wrote another on James and one on Ephesians. Cruciform Press eventually published them: Bible Studies for Women. Currently, I’m working on the Gospel of Mark.
When I started writing Bible studies for the women of UCCD, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Writing inductive studies was like my former legal career writing of questions for congressional hearings—except with much better subject matter: God’s Word! Writing causes me to think deeply about verses and apply them to my life as I consider how to lead others to understand and apply them to their lives.
Writing The Good Portion: The Doctrine of Scripture for Every Woman was hard work! I tend to agonize over every word and phrase as I write. However, I loved researching and reading on the topic of God’s word. What a privilege it was to learn from men and women who have written previously on knowing God through the Scriptures. The Good Portion was a labor of love. It definitely got more enjoyable as I got more used to writing on a topic (as opposed to expositing Scripture which I’m more used to doing.)
What led you to write The Good Portion: The Doctrine of Scripture for Every Woman?
I relished the opportunity to write this book because knowing more about the Bible has changed my life and increased my joy, and I have seen it do the same in so many women’s lives. It’s common for people to think of the Bible as a rulebook or a type of encyclopedia to look up answers for life. When we see the Bible this way, reading it becomes drudgery. We can only get excited when it meets a particular felt need in our lives. The Bible does have answers but it is so much more; it is God speaking to us, telling us about himself and drawing us into his story.
My hope for The Good Portion is for it to impact women’s hearts so they desire to be with God through the Scriptures. I want women to treasure the Bible and hunger for it because they see Jesus in and through it and hunger for more of him.
I’m also excited about future books in The Good Portion Series. Lord willing, the book on the doctrine of Scripture is the first in a series of books on Christian Doctrine written by women for women. The goal of these books is to guide women to a deeper knowledge of God and understand how theology intersects with life.
What’s the central message you hope readers will take away from your book?
The central message of The Good Portion: Scripture is that we can know God through the Bible and that in knowing God the Bible becomes “more to be desired … than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10).
How has writing this book affected your own life?
Writing this book has grown my confidence in the inerrancy, authority, and sufficiency of the Bible. I was talking with a dear friend the other night about her experience of reading the Bible. She’s from a Muslim background, was dissatisfied with her religion, and became an atheist. But she didn’t find satisfaction in that life either so she began looking into other religions, anything but Christianity. Then through a series of events she began to think through the two tenets of Christianity she had always been warned against: the Trinity and Jesus’s Divinity. She eventually started reading the Bible and was amazed by what she encountered—a God of holiness and justice who is also gracious and compassionate. She came to see that these seeming contradictions were reconciled at the cross. She concluded that no one but God could have written this book. As my friend reads her Bible now as a Christian, she has continued to be amazed by the harmony and beauty of it. As we talked, we rejoiced in the Scriptures, penned by many and diverse men over centuries and yet written by one Author.
For a sneak peak, here are some quotes from the book:
“If our Jesus is not the biblical Jesus, then he is a fictional Jesus of our imagination. We cannot know Him apart from the Scriptures, and we cannot be saved apart from knowing Him.”
“Without the Bible, figuring out God’s will for our lives is simply a game of smoke and mirrors. We may be convinced something is true, but that doesn’t make it so.”
“We don’t need a more personal message to feel closer to Jesus. He speaks directly to us in His Word. We don’t need secrets uncovered. God has revealed Himself in the Bible. God has given us everything we need in the Scriptures to know how to think and live in ways that please Him and give us joy.”
Here’s what others are saying:
As she’s studied and taught the Scriptures, Keri Folmar has witnessed their power to speak into the lives of women from all over the world. What better guide to encourage us to understand God’s Word, trust it, and share it with others. She brings together clearly reasoned explanations of what the Bible is and beautifully personal testimonies of how it works to change lives. The Good Portion truly accomplishes its goal: to shed light on the treasure and the sweetness of the sacred Scriptures—all for the glory of the Lord Jesus who shines through them from beginning to end. —Kathleen B. Nielson, Director of Women’s Initiatives, The Gospel Coalition
Even though we know that the scriptures restore our souls, we often fail to mine the riches that are there for us. Keri Folmar reminds us that the words of scripture bring and sustain life. Here we find faithful doctrine, captivating illustrations, and penetrating application to our lives. Folmar’s writing is inviting and clear, and what she has to say is crucial for the spiritual growth of women today. —Thomas and Diane Schreiner, Tom is Professor of New Testament, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
God wants women to know him. The trouble is, demanding jobs, messy homes, busy children, and just plain old unbelief keep us from looking to God’s Word. Keri Folmar points women (and men!) back to the remarkable power, authority, truthfulness, sufficiency, and clarity of God’s perfect Word. You’ll find yourself wondering how you ever let Scripture get crowded out. Hers is a faith-giving, soul-energizing study on God’s revelation of himself in the Bible. Buy two copies and read it with a friend. You’ll long for what’s most important. —Jonathan and Shannon Leeman, Jonathan is Editorial Director for 9Marks and author of several books
If you had an afternoon to do whatever you’d like, where would we find you?
You would find me at the pool with my family and a good biography. I think I’ll plan that for this Saturday!
Keri Folmar is the wife of John (pastor of the United Christian Church of Dubai) and the mother of three energetic and engaging teenagers. She loves discipling and teaching women, in addition to leading and writing Bible studies.