Everything changes, from the weather to the political climate, from the ebb and flow of friendships to the rise and fall of the stock market. When catastrophe strikes, we realize how little—if any—control we have over our circumstances.
In the midst of change, the search for permanence “might be universal,” says Raechel Myers, cofounder and CEO of She Reads Truth, an organization dedicated to encouraging women to read the word of God every day. “We obsess about finances, about keeping our families safe, and we look for ways to keep life from changing,” she says. “As we fight to hang on, it seems like things are constantly slipping away.”
For Myers, the first experience of loss came at age 7, when her parents divorced. Since then, she says, “I came to learn that what comforts us as believers is Jesus’ assurance
of something permanent.”
“At a believer’s funeral, we grieve with hope because that’s not the end of a story,” Myers says. “As we age and our relationships look different from year to year, we look at those losses differently than someone who hasn’t yet found that permanence. God is uniquely eternal, as is his word.”
Starting with Scripture
In 2012 Myers and a small group of women began encouraging each other to read God’s word every day. They shared their daily Bible readings on Twitter using the hashtag #SheReadsTruth.
In the years since, #SheReadsTruth has garnered more than half a million followers and expanded into a ministry that includes a website with daily devotionals; an app with reading plan subscriptions for men as well as women; and soon, the She Reads Truth Bible from B&H Publishing Group. Myers and Amanda Bible Williams, the ministry’s chief content officer, recently published their own stories in a memoir, She Reads Truth: Holding Tight to Permanent in a World That’s Passing Away. The book chronicles their spiritual journeys and points to promises in the pages of Scripture.
“We never had a plan for the hashtag to be anything more than a way to keep track of our reading assignments,” Myers recalls. “But as we started sharing, it seemed like everyone picked it up. It became this sea of women who had all come with a hunger for daily manna from God’s word.”
When the founding women of She Reads Truth finished their first reading plan together, they looked for another one—and they weren’t satisfied with the offerings they found online. They decided instead to open God’s word and respond to it themselves.
“We started in Proverbs, and every day we took turns writing,” Myers says, “and in this way we stumbled into writing devotionally.”
When Myers and her cofounders began contributing devotional content to the readings, they saw themselves as “going first, as lead students.”
Although much of the ministry staff’s time and effort goes into the devotionals, Myers and Williams see that work as secondary to their mission of encouraging women to read the Bible every day.
“If you only have a certain amount of time in a given day to spend with the Lord in his word, we ask that it be not our words you read, but God’s word. That is where everything begins for us,” Myers says. “The devotionals we write are a way of modeling interaction with the Bible.”
Williams stresses that “God’s word has always been primary. Our mission—to be women in the word every day—drives us to work to understand the whole story of Scripture.
Scripture interpreting Scripture
Devotional reading plans from She Reads Truth are structured so that supplemental Bible verses shed light on the assigned passage.
“We believe that Scripture is complete and that everything we need to know—everything the Lord can reveal to us—is here, and it’s a matter of reading it and seeking him,” Williams says.
Myers illustrates this point with an example from a recent study of 1–3 John. “In that first letter, John begins by talking about ‘that which was in the beginning.’ So we assign our readers the first chapter of the Gospel of John, and we look at Genesis 1,” she explains. “We could read First John in a vacuum, but if we did that, we’d be missing out on understanding that Jesus Christ was present in the beginning. John is reminding us that the one who created flesh also took on flesh. We’re seeking to gain a greater understanding of the whole of Scripture through that first chapter of First John.”
“As we read in the Gospels about Jesus, we examine which Old Testament prophecies are being fulfilled and why they matter,” Myers says. “Is it because God wanted to give comfort and hope to his people as they waited? So that they could confirm Jesus was the Son of God? In this way we invite Scripture to speak about Scripture before we reach for outside sources.”
Christ in the center
Williams and Myers keep God’s word central in their memoir, as well. “In the book, we attempt to remember God’s greater truth that doesn’t end and won’t pass away,” Williams says. “And our own stories of things that pass away—relationships, family, situations—we hope will help other women see that all they need is God’s word.”
Williams refers to a passage from 1 Corinthians 13: “Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away” (1 Cor 13:8–10 ESV). “Raechel and I were each sitting in our hotel rooms with that passage open on our laps with the Lord speaking to us through his word. He had a message for the ‘shes’ who read truth, and we are so thankful to be the bearers of that message.”
Williams also highlights Colossians 1, which describes creation being held together in Christ. She shares about a time when her life was falling apart: “My dad was dying and I couldn’t stop it. My three children were small, and I was struggling to be a good mom. Our finances were a mess. Everything seemed to be spiraling out of my control.”
Feeling obligated to be the “fixer” in her life, Williams approached the problem through both counseling and Scripture. Understanding that “Jesus is the holder-together did not change those hard facts in my life, but it did change me,” she says. “I couldn’t trust Jesus at the same time I was frantically trying to keep my life together on my own. Focusing on my own efforts meant that he was reduced to a distraction. But focusing on Jesus brought a peace I could never accomplish on my own.”
God's word endures
She Reads Truth recently spun up a companion ministry, He Reads Truth, and has plans to launch a children’s version, Kids Read Truth, with resources for parents to guide children through readings synced with their own reading plans.
In April, the ministry is releasing the devotional Bible. Myers laughs as she describes the project. “We said no for a year, because it’s such a weighty thing,” she says. “We take seriously rightly handling God’s word. Putting the ministry name on a Bible felt like an opportunity that needed a very slow ‘yes.’ Sharing our devotional writing alongside Scripture felt so big that we asked that our words not share the same page as God’s words, because we would never want for that to be confusing.”
The readings are designed to draw people into the biblical story. “Every devotional purposefully asks not ‘What does this mean for me?’ but ‘What does this passage mean? Where can I find the gospel in this?’” Myers explains. “We also selected a key verse that communicates the message of each book, so that if you memorize all 66 verses, you’ll be able to recite the arc of Scripture.”
It’s a fitting project for a group whose mission is to be “women in the word of God every day.”
As for the pursuit of permanence in our changing world, Williams notes that even the connections they’ve built around the Bible are only temporary. “She Reads Truth has been an amazing ministry opportunity and community, but even that will pass away. But we know that the gospel and God himself—those will last.”