Shannon Bream, host of “Fox News at Night with Shannon Bream,” has written a new book focusing on the incredible stories of women throughout the Bible. Scheduled for release on March 30, the book, entitled “Women of the Bible Speak: The Wisdom of 16 Women and Their Lessons for Today,” shares about the lives of these women and the lessons that we can learn and take with us today.
Recently, Bream spoke with The Daily Citizen about the book and how her faith informs her life and role on Fox News.
“You know, it was actually Fox that came to me and said they were working on some ideas for their first round of books to come out under the Fox label (at HarperCollins),” Bream shared. “They approached me about this idea, and it was an immediate, ‘Yes!’”
“I love this idea of highlighting the women of the Bible and their stories because some of them I think people know, they’re familiar. They may have heard about Mary the mother of Jesus and Queen Esther, but there are so many stories that people don’t know or, like me, they even grew up studying in church but there’s so much more to the story. I think people who are intimidated by religion, not interested or have this impression that women are sort of second-class citizens in the Bible, they just don’t know. They’ve got it all wrong,” Bream said.
“So, I’m happy to tell these stories and show how God used these women.”
The book is filled with detailed research that Bream did, not only to bring these stories to life but to share some of the historical and cultural situations that could seem somewhat foreign to modern audiences.
“The days and hours that I was able to focus on the book was such a blessing to me because it renewed my faith and it showed me things I hadn’t seen before,” Bream explained. She was also able to lean on theologians she knew who were able to explain the meaning of particular words in Greek and the customs of the time.
“I definitely had angels along the process who helped me with the research and diving in and learning more,” Bream said. “You just always wish you had more time.”
This last year was an exceptionally busy news cycle for Bream, with a presidential election, COVID, rioting and Supreme Court confirmation hearings dominating the headlines. (In addition to her role on “Fox @ Night,” Bream is also the network’s chief legal correspondent.) But Fox is supportive of its staff and doesn’t shy away from recognizing the role of faith in the lives of people it employs.
“It’s a huge blessing (to work at Fox) because I’ve always been open about my faith, and several of us at work are,” Bream said. “Some people are more private and just have a different way of expressing it or talking about it, so I love that there’s room for all of us and for people who don’t have a religious faith at all. There’s a seat at the table for everyone, so it’s nice just to have that mutual respect.
“I feel like many of my coworkers will come to me in times of crisis and say, ‘You know, I don’t even understand how all of this works, but I know that you pray or that you believe in prayer. Will you put me on your list and pray for me?’ To me, that’s the biggest gift, the biggest blessing in the world that I can be open about my faith and be there to comfort and encourage other people when they need it. It’s really a gift.”
Each section of “Women of the Bible Speak” is generally divided into two chapters, focusing on a different woman. For example, the first section shares the stories of Sarah and Hagar, and the next, Rachel and Leah.
“We were looking at where we could find parallels between the women in their lives and some of them knew each other and they have direct relationships and some of them are complicated,” Bream shared. “There’s sibling rivalry and that kind of thing. But there were other women that we thought had common themes. “
Throughout the book, what’s incredibly evident is how God works in the lives of broken women to redeem and forge ahead with his divine plan. In fact, the Bible is one of the most detailed historical accounts of the lives of individual women in the ancient world, marking the scriptures as an exceptionally unique source.
“What that shows are how valued women were and are to God,” Bream said. “Because, as I said, there are people who were prominent. We have Deborah who was a leader of the Israelites. She was in charge and led them into a battle that nobody would have thought on paper they could win. And yet, because she trusted God and His faithfulness, she acted on it. She convinced her military leader to go along and to follow this plan, and they had this enormous victory. That was just completely out of the blue to those who didn’t know and believe in God’s power in his faithfulness.”
Moving on to the New Testament, Bream continued, “Back then, Jesus was an esteemed religious teacher or rabbi, it wouldn’t be normal for women to be traveling with him and studying at his feet. He really had relationships with women that were friendships. They were respectful, and they were part of his close inner circle. He also went to the women who were outcasts of society.”
Bream included the story of how Jesus reached out with compassion and not condemnation to a woman who was convicted of having committed adultery.
“I think that’s a great message for all of us that our lives don’t have to be perfect and cleaned up and holy, to go to God. He’s always waiting for us and whatever place that we’re in in life. He is there for us,” Bream said.
One of the greatest quotes in the book comes in those initial first chapters. Bream wrote, “But like the men of the Bible, the women of the Bible are complicated. They are, on the whole, neither fully good nor completely bad people, but simply people, in all their messy and uncomfortable humanity. And it’s when we can see them in their full humanity that God can teach us something about ourselves.”
In the interview, Bream shared, “I want people to see that God worked even through the messes and the things that got really off track. These women, who had some of the toughest stories, are in the lineage of Jesus Christ Himself. So, I think He can work in all of our messes. If we talk about the men, the one who was most beloved and after His own heart, David, did some terrible things, and God loved him and redeemed him when he threw himself on God’s mercy for forgiveness, and we can all do that.”
At the conclusion of each section, Bream lays out some questions for the readers to consider and help them dig into scripture.
“I hope that the study questions we included will encourage readers to personalize what they’ve read about,” Bream explained. “To think a little bit deeper, see what can apply to their own lives and what they can use for encouragement and inspiration moving forward.”
After this last year, so many people need encouragement. From COVID to the various riots that consumed the country, 2020 hasn’t been easy for many and 2021 is already off to a bit of a rough start. Being involved in the news, Bream has been on the front lines and has found that her faith is critical to keeping herself centered.
“The job I have is one that I love so much, and it can be all-consuming,” Bream said. “So, my faith really kind of resets my compass and keeps me pointed to what’s most important and to what is eternal. Starting the day in the Word and prayer and journaling. Just getting my focus where it needs to be to help me to manage the demands, which are sometimes emotional. I think my faith gives me perspective on what’s most important.”
Bream’s book, “The Women of the Bible Speak: The Wisdom of 16 Women and Their Lessons for Today,” will be available in bookstores across the country on Tuesday, March 30.
Photo from Amazon