Memorial: The Mystery of Mary of Bethany
I’ll be honest, when deciding whether to read this book I had to go beyond the title and read everything I could that was written about it and the author since the title in itself just didn’t bring it home for me. I even visited her blog. In essence it didn’t hook me in. But, after reading one paragraph into the introduction, I was hooked, fish line and all.
Dolores Kimball is an excellent writer. It doesn’t take long before we quickly see how she makes the point of carefully delivering home the mystery behind the story of Mary of Bethany to us. She does so in a comprehensive fashion that is clear, precise and biblical. We clearly see that much research was done along with many serious hours of studying in order for us to be blessed and edified while reading. Her study is based mainly on these three passages in the Gospels that describe this incident about Mary of Bethany in; Matthew 26: 6-13, Mark 14: 3-9, and John 12: 2-8 each having different details and nuances.
She doesn’t deliver this to us in a messy tangle sort of way of course. Everything is just perfectly unified and thoughtfully planned out. She has thought out all her avenues before hand and graciously makes our reading plan easy. Thus making it smooth for us to understand the mystery. Every detail is important and revealed just at the right moment. The way she helps us to understand it and points us to them is wonderful. It puts everything into perspective. Of course I don’t plan on revealing all these things to you … the ideas is to read her book, which is awesome and worth the few dollars it cost! You’ll love it. This book is solid in biblical theology and very encouraging.
I have read other books that talk of Mary of Bethany along with her dear sister Martha, and have enjoyed them greatly. Yet I must admit that this one has put many new things into perspective because of all the different aspects that were being brought into light. Kimball’s arguments are strong and mad me re think on many things that I thought I knew and believed. I love it when an author is able to do that with the Word of God, not her words. That’s powerful and changes my view because of the Word, not because of what she says!!!
What I also loved from the author is that she applies it to us as women today.
What and how can Mary’s actions inspire us today?
I mean really that is wonderful because isn’t that what we need as women, being practical in our lives. Learning from the women of the Bible. I don’t have expensive oil that I can spread on the feet of Jesus Christ and then whip it with my hair.
But yet, how can I in my life be or act like Mary of Bethany?
Can I really be like her somehow, and is that even possible?
Those are practical questions she looks at and I think that it’s something we are all really asking ourselves deep down.
I love this quote from her book “She understood that poverty of spirit means we come to Jesus with nothing of worth to offer him, needing everything from him.”
I greatly appreciated her Epilogue also because I fundamentally found encouragement to go back to the Word of God. As she says herself, read the passages and let the Bible interpret the Bible.
One word of caution in reading, I found that the author permitted herself at times to interpret on how Mary or Martha might have felt during certain moments, and even other characters. I find this delicate to do when writing since it is not in the text, but I understand that her point is to highlight a situation at hand. Although to give the author credit, she does specify it every time she does this that these are speculations on her part and are nowhere in the text. I believe this is very authentic of her, yet it still could be misleading for some readers.
A small remark that I did found somewhat annoying because it came up quite often was that she often repeated this phrase; “we will explore this in dept in a later chapter” or something like this. This got tiresome when reading because I was always waiting or wondering if she got to it finally. Maybe it’s just the writer in me!
Over all it’s an good book and you just might learn a couple of new things about a biblical character you thought you new very well but really didn’t know that well after all… who knows!
Ann L Beaulieu
*I have received a free copy Memorial: The Mystery of Mary of Bethany of by Cross Focus Media. However I am under no obligation to write a positive review. These are entirely my own personal opinions and thoughts expressed according to my own discernment.