First Came the Bible
I wasn't far along in my Christian journey when I first came across the works of Beth Moore. When I completed a Beth Moore Bible study at age 21, I was no more than two months into my new faith, a former atheist with a long history of living however I pleased. Moore's study had me searching the Scriptures at least five times a week. Her enthusiasm for God's Word convinced me that the seemingly stiff, impenetrable book had legs—that its insights could actually make a difference in my everyday life.
In 1984, Moore began teaching an aerobics and Bible study class for women. Aerobics was eventually dropped, and women began asking her for homework "like all the other classes have." In response to their request, Moore wrote what would later become her first published Bible study, A Woman's Heart, God's Dwelling Place, which focuses on the construction of the Old Testament tabernacle.
Since then, Moore has become a prolific writer, composing more than 20 best-selling books and Bible studies ranging from profiles of heroic biblical figures to topical studies such as Breaking Free, Believing God, Living Beyond Yourself, and When Godly People Do Ungodly Things. In addition to her Bible studies, Moore has written poetry and about topics such as motherhood, insecurity, how to pray God's Word, and finding freedom from oppressive situations.
Four fundamental themes are threaded throughout Moore's various writing genres: biblicism, spiritual warfare, mysticism, and, more recently, popular psychology.
Moore is truly a Bible teacher. Her teaching is rooted in her strong affinity for Scripture. She does not show much interest in theology or tradition, distrusting the way the academy has, at times, handled the Bible. "Godless philosophies have not been my temptation," Moore comments. "In my life experience, the most dangerously influential opinions have been those held by intellectuals and scholars who profess Christianity but deny the veracity and present power of Scripture." Although Moore believes that seminaries are necessary despite the "stunning arrogance" and "theological snobbery" that reside in them, she argues, "Psalm 131 reminds us that [the Scriptures] are not primarily for seminaries, dissertations, and theological treatments. They are primarily for everyday living on the third rock from the sun."
Moore is primarily self-taught. She uses commentaries and concordances when writing her studies, but she relies primarily on her own intuition when interpreting and applying Scripture.In Believing God, she writes, "In my personal research, I get a little worried when I can't get Scripture to teach Scripture. If I can find no other scriptural back-up, I tend to think I am better off accepting by faith what I cannot explain by reason and leaving it to God. I do not pretend to understand everything in the Bible, but many precepts are affirmed often enough to warrant deep roots in our belief systems."
Moore's strict adherence to biblicism echoes the question Tertullian posed two centuries after the birth of Christ: "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What communion is there between the academy and the church?" Because of this, Moore is not able to draw, as much as she might, on the solid biblical and theological scholarship that emanates from trustworthy seminaries and universities, teaching that actually guards us against heresy and reminds us of the hard lessons of history. Then again, in a culture of disbelief, in a time when many seminaries and universities are indeed questioning the authority, infallibility, and inspiration of the Bible, Moore's passionate defense of God's Word is surely compelling.