Best-selling author and motivational speaker Liz Curtis Higgs, of Louisville, Ky., is back with her list of notorious BGB — “Bad Girls of the Bible.”
Higgs is set to visit in the metro area to present a “Bad Girls”-themed Bible study and book signing on Tuesday as part of her “Thank-You Tour” — where she hopes to connect with people who have enjoyed her best-selling “Bad Girls” series of books. Higgs said she is visiting some of the Christian retailers who have supported her over the years. The tour is in conjunction with the rerelease of “Bad Girls of the Bible” (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group) and a new companion curriculum on DVD.
“Bad Girls of the Bible,” was first published in 1999. Higgs said she's heard from a wide range of people who said they enjoyed the book — from church youth groups, pastor's wives and ladies in nursing homes to exotic dancers and men.
“Only God could do that. I've written other books but for whatever reason, this is the one that struck a chord with the most readers and I'm grateful for that,” she said.
In a recent telephone interview, Higgs, 59, shared more thoughts about her most popular book:
Q: Why do you think this particular book resonated with women and people in general?
A: First, it contains the word of God and that's where our life is, getting fed the word of God and getting taught what's in the word. The other key part of it is I was really honest about my own “FBG” — former bad girl lifestyle. The key to the book is that it simply makes the point that God's forgiveness is wider, deeper, higher, longer than we can possibly imagine. His love, His grace, His forgiveness and His mercy is real and it's available even for those of us who feel like we've gone too far and we've done too much, that it's too late, we blew it, there's no hope. There are a lot of us out there. So I think that's another thing that resonated, this sense that “I am not alone.”
Q: Usually people study the virtuous women in the Bible. What did you think women could learn from the so-called bad girls?
A: I think we can learn everything from them — first of all what not to do. They are cautionary tales — “don't go down this road” — so they serve that purpose. But I think the ones we connect to the most are those that have happy endings and those are the redemptive women. They show what God can do with a “bad girl.” I think what people most ran away with in this book is the hope that they found there. We learn what God does for former bad girls. It's that grace, grace, grace message that comes through.
Q: You describe some women as “Bad to the Bone.” Can you talk about one of them?
A: Well, there are three of them, because people will wonder. They are Jezebel, of course, Delilah and Potiphar's wife. Potiphar's wife was married to the head of pharaoh's bodyguards. She had a wandering eye and it landed on a Hebrew slave named Joseph. Scholars say that the first words of a biblical character reveal who they are. Nothing could be closer to the truth than Potiphar's wife whose first words (to Joseph) are “Come to bed with me.” When Joseph refused her advances, she told her husband a false story on him and landed him in prison where God used him mightily. She's definitely “bad to the bone” and that category simply means that there is nothing redemptive said about them in the Bible. We get no good words about them.
Q: Another category you talk about is those women who are “bad for the moment.” What can these women teach us?
A: We love those women who were bad for the moment and probably one of my favorites is Lot's wife because it was a moment — just one bad mistake there that cost her literally everything. The angels that come to deliver Lot and his wife and the two little Lots out of Sodom and Gomorrah say one thing: don't stop and don't look back and Lot's wife's one line biography is “ ... but Lot's wife looked back.”
The act, that centuries later, Jesus says remember Lot's wife, don't look back — the fact that He brings her story forward — tells us first of all, they've been talking about her for hundreds of years. That was a story that resonated with people the same way it resonates with us.
We do look back. Jesus says to put your hand to the plow and go forward. Don't look back. So she is a cautionary tale because when she looks back, she turns into a pillar of salt.
Q: What's next for you?
A: I've just finished a book that will come out in September about three amazing role models in the Bible. The book is called “The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary and Anna.” You're thinking, the Christmas story — this has been done — but I came at it in my typical teaching style. We really take every verse apart, phrase by phrase, almost word by word. We really give historical background and context, so we get how amazing these stories are.
They're three amazing women, all of them different but all of them proclaiming the Lord. The book comes out Dec. 17.
IF YOU GO
Best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs will present a live Bible study of her book “Bad Girls of the Bible” on July 23 at Mardel in Edmond.