When we, at "Assembly Testimony",1 commenced the publication of books we never imagined it would develop and expand as it has done. The books are requested from many parts of the world and from Christians of diverse backgrounds and affiliations. We receive letters and comments of appreciation from a range of sources, many encouraging us to continue this series. We are not interested in publishing books that will just adorn a bookshelf. We want the books to be read and used in Bible study so that the readers, and especially young Christians, may learn the truths of Scripture and thus become more devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ.
In seeking to ascertain what subject should be addressed in a new book, we take into account suggestions from our readers. We have been mildly rebuked because the previously published books have had a bias towards the males. This is inevitable since the men are largely responsible and prominent in public testimony and of course, this is the Scriptural order. However, there are many good and godly women who are often the backbone of an assembly. These are unmarried sisters; those who are married but are without children; those who have been blessed with a family; and there are widows. While this book may have more to say to the third category, perhaps because they are the most common group and also the authors are married men, it would be a pity if all did not read and thus benefit from these chapters.
We can say without fear of contradiction that down through the ages women have played a major role in the advancement of Christian testimony. They have dedicated themselves to the service of Christ both at home and abroad; they have been martyred for Him; they have enriched our spiritual experiences with their poems and hymns; they have taught the younger sisters by their example; they have passed on words of encouragement to depressed saints, both orally and by letters; they have opened their homes to the saints – and in so many other ways. There are many men who could not serve the Lord as they do if they did not have the full-hearted support of their wives. There are wives who spend many lonely hours because their husbands are in the sanctuary and the study preparing both themselves and suitable messages to deliver to the saints of God. "The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth" Eccl.12.10. Then there is, of course, the great and noble task of raising their children for God. Single sisters can assist in this by getting the children of other family members to various meetings and Sunday Schools. The contributions of our dear sisters in Christ are invaluable and will be correctly assessed and righteously rewarded at the judgment seat of Christ.
There seems to be a gap, not only in the publications within this series, but also in Christian books generally, of suitable and spiritual material that is written for the encouragement of Christian women. We trust this modest book will be of benefit in addressing this perceived gap and will be a source of edification and stimulation to all who seek to serve the Lord in ways that are according to the Word of God. That, of course, does not mean that the males are excluded from reading this book. A brother in Christ will find here outlined the characteristics of a sister in the Lord who would make a good, spiritual wife. It may help other men to appreciate the good and godly wife they already have! Thus all are invited to read and, we trust, will benefit spiritually from these pages.
As in the former books, there will be an amount of repetition, but that is inevitable since each author does not read the contributions of the others. This is seen as an advantage rather than a defect as it allows important truth to be impressed on the minds of the readers.
It is a real joy to thank each author who has contributed to this publication. Only those who are involved are aware of the many hours spent in writing, reading, rewriting, editing until at last there is something worthy of being issued publicly. We know that every sacrifice made to advance the testimony will be fully rewarded when we stand at the bema. We also acknowledge the generous fellowship of the saints through which the continued publication of these books is made possible.
We have a dedicated ‘team’ of proofreaders who seek to ensure grammatical correctness and consistency of presentation. This takes hours of painstaking reading and concentration, to the extent of weariness. So we once more express our thanks to our brothers Roy Reynolds and Walter Boyd and to our sisters Ruth Nesbitt and Joanna Currie. They have ensured that we have a publication we can issue in the confidence that it will be a worthy addition to this series.
Brian Currie, N. Ireland, June 2013.
1. "Assembly Testimony" is a bi-monthly magazine which is available on request from John Gordon, ‘Elhanan’, 25 The Rowans, Banbridge, Co. Down, BT32 4DQ, N. Ireland. His email address is johngordon-at[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk