US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Good Girls, Bad Girls: Discussion Questions

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Good Girls, Bad Girls by T.J. Wray (Rowman and Littlefield, 2008)

General Questions for Each Chapter:


  1. What does this story teach me about myself?
  2. What does this story teach me about God?
  3. What does this story teach me about others?
  4. Discuss whether or not the woman presented is truly a "good girl" or a "bad girl."
  5. Aside from the enduring lessons presented at the end of each chapter, are there other lessons that this story might teach us today?

Chapter-specific Questions:

Life For Women during Biblical Times

  1. Discuss the way in which you were taught the story of Adam and Eve as a child. Contrast your childhood understanding of Eve with what the text truly says about her. How is this significant?
  2. What was life like for the average woman during biblical times? Compare and contrast life for women then and now.

Chapter 1: Rebekah

  1. How would you describe Rebekah's character?
  2. Discuss the significance of Rebekah's "birth oracle." How does it explain her actions?
  3. Discuss Rebekah and Isaac's parenting skills in terms of what we know about parenting today. How might their parenting styles be justified?

Chapter 2: Rahab

  1. Discuss the reasons why Rahab hides the spies. Are her motives religious, personal, or both? Why is this question significant?
  2. Why did the biblical authors object to foreign women?
  3. Rahab seems to undergo a conversion experience and accepts the God of Israel. Discuss the difficulties involved in her faith journey. How can Rahab's journey of faith be instructive to us today as we navigate our journeys of faith?

Chapter 3: Delilah

  1. Discuss Samson's conception, birth, and childhood and the ways in which they may have influenced his behavior.
  2. Discuss the four women in Samson's life: His mother, his wife, the prostitute form Gaza, and Delilah. How are they alike? How are they dissimilar?
  3. Focus on the relationship between Samson and Delilah. How was she able to betray him? How might their relationship be instructive for us today?

Chapter 4: Ruth

  1. Discuss the relationship between Ruth and Naomi. What makes it so unique? More specifically, compare their relationship with the typical mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship.
  2. At the opening of the story, Ruth and Naomi find themselves in a precarious situation. Discuss their situation in terms of women today.
  3. Discuss the themes of love and loss in this story.
  4. Compare and contrast the Rahab, Delilah, and Ruth-three foreign females-and discuss whether or not they deserve their reputations as "good girls" versus "bad girls."

Chapter 5: The Witch of Endor

  1. Why are the witch's practices outlawed? How is this ironic?
  2. Compare and contrast the Witch's response to Saul with Samuel's response.

Chapter 6: Jezebel

  1. Compare and contrast Jezebel and Elijah. Why is this significant?
  2. Why is Jezebel's foreignness an issue?
  3. Compare Jezebel with other foreign women in the Bible.

Chapter 7: The Widow Tamar

  1. Discuss the ways in which Tamar's father-in-law has wronged her.
  2. Discuss the Law of Levirate. Why do you think this was so important? Does it justify the actions of any of the characters in the story?
  3. Compare the Widow Tamar to Rebekah. How are they alike and how to they differ?

Chapter 8: Miriam

  1. Discuss Miriam's relationship with her brothers and how this relates to sibling relationships today.
  2. Why is Miriam such a respected figure in the Hebrew Bible?

Chapter 9: Bathsheba

  1. What are the ways in which Bathsheba is a victim?
  2. Why is 2 Samuel 11-12 told from David's perspective? Take some time and reconstruct the story, telling it from Bathsheba's perspective.
  3. Discuss Bathsheba's story in terms of abuse of power.
  4. How does Bathsheba's story inspire us today?

Chapter 10: Tamar Sister of Absalom

  1. Discuss the men in Tamar's life and the way in which their behavior leads to her misery.
  2. Compare and contrast Tamar and Bathsheba's stories.
  3. Compare and contrast the sibling relationships between Tamar and her brothers with Miriam and her brothers.

Chapter 11: The Shunammite Woman

  1. Discuss the relationship between the Shunammite woman and her husband.
  2. Discuss the relationship between the Shunammite and Elisha.
  3. Discuss the Shunammite Woman in terms of her power within the story. How does this shift?

Chapter 12: Susanna

  1. Discuss Susanna's relationship with her husband.
  2. Compare and contrast Susanna's plight with Tamar, sister of Absalom and Bathsheba.
  3. Discuss Susanna in terms of religious piety. What is the story trying to tell us about maintaining faith in God even when the situation seems hopeless?

Discuss this book at the U.S. Catholic Book Club Forum.