Deep Roots: Digging in to the Word of God
Name: Felicity Lorenz Age: 22
Location: Orange County, California
Occupation: Owner of Deep Roots Bible Studies
First, tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m a complete Bible nerd who finally found a way to put my nerdiness to good use! I am a graduate of Biola University in La Mirada, California, with a Bachelor’s in Communication Studies. My minor is in Biblical and Theological Studies. In a few months, I will begin my Master’s Degree at Talbot School of Theology in Bible Exposition. I currently reside in Orange County, California, with my amazing family and love of my life, Lavender (my cat). My “spirit animal” would have to be a combination of Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation and Honey Boo Boo.
You are the founder of Deep Roots. How did this venture begin?
While working at my old church, I started a Bible study curriculum for the “teens in ministry” program I coordinated. Seeing Junior Highers and High Schoolers get excited about studying the Word on their own made me realize I had found my passion. Meanwhile, I realized that my age bracket was not studying the Bible every day. If millennials do, they choose 5-minute devotionals that barely give any meat. I could not find anything on the market that targeted the challenges millennials specifically face in their education, work, and relationships. So I decided to put my passion to good use by starting Deep Roots. My vision is to create a space for people to learn more about God's Word in an authentic way. Including the exploration of issues that are not often up for discussion in the Christian community but still plague us all.
Tell us more about the Bible studies y’all offer!
We have several Bible studies: The first I wrote is our “Character of Ministry” Bible study, that looks directly at passages and verses in Scripture that relate to working in the church, going on missions trips, evangelism, and serving others. This is a great resource for anyone who is struggling in her ministry or just wants biblical encouragement for her ministry.
The second is our most popular study, “The Proverbs 31 Woman." I wrote this after becoming frustrated over the misogynistic and inaccurate portrayal of this incredible female archetype.
Our third is the “Promises of God,” which has the reader complete charts for almost every promise or covenant given in the Bible, in order to understand how the Lord speaks to His people and fulfills that word.
Finally, our latest studies are the Book of Acts series, which go verse-by-verse through the book of Acts. It has taken me a year to complete the series, so it is definitely thorough and juicy!
What is your favorite passage/verse/story from the Bible?
Every season of my life, I have a different answer for this. God utilizes different passages depending on what He has me going through, so inevitably the passage He’s impressing upon me at any given time becomes my “favorite” (I also love pretty much everything in the Bible, so it’s hard to choose just one!).
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. -1 Peter 3:9
Lately, I’ve been considering the verse 1 Peter 3:9, about giving a blessing, not insult. That is extremely hard to do with certain people, right?! Ugh. Sometimes I like to think about what I would say to this person or that person who has hurt me if I ever had the chance to see him/her again. So, 1 Peter 3:9 is a verse I have been trying to emulate, both in action and thoughts, albeit it is not always easy.
What does a set-apart young woman look like to you?
For many, the phrase “good Christian girl” comes to mind – the unrealistic expectation that a Christian woman should be practically perfect. A “good Christian girl” never cusses, always dresses modestly (with varying standards on how modest), doesn’t want sex, never asks a guy out, wears minimal makeup, doesn’t have her own opinions, etc. etc…. The basic idea is that a “good Christian girl” would never do these things because she would be aghast to even consider doing them. It comes with this virginal Mary archetype that women must be selfless, meek, quiet, and timid at all times; must be the girl who always needs to be saved. She is at the mercy of her husband or the charity of others. Her destiny is to be the “stay-at-home mom.”
Realistically, no woman could ever amount to these standards in every way. Especially as we women become older, we begin to cultivate our own perspectives and desires. Realize we have big dreams that we long to accomplish outside the scope of domestic life. This isn’t to suggest becoming a wife and mother is bad. Or that being a “stay-at-home mom” is something to be ashamed of. Instead, I mean that we women should be given more options on what we can be and pursue outside the scope of the “good Christian girl” standard.
So, I suggest a set-apart woman of God is someone who acknowledges her sinful nature, yet chooses to live a life pleasing to God even when it is difficult. It’s hard to stay pure before marriage. Hard to be nice all the time. Yet, we pursue purity and kindness, because we know that’s what the Lord longs for us. We allow God to move in our lives and open doors for us, so that we can be a wife, mother, career gal, student, etc.
This is why I love the Proverbs 31 passage, which is often times misunderstood and poorly taught. The Proverbs 31 woman has a man, but she doesn’t necessarily need a man. She runs her own business without her husband’s help. She’s a total #Girlboss!
What is your number one Bible study tip?
Find a study that excites you to read the Bible. I’ll give you an example: Back in High School, I hated the requirement of reading certain classic books like the Scarlet Letter, the Odyssey, etc. Those books have literary, and sometimes even cultural value, but they are not the most exciting books to actually sit down and read. Meanwhile, I loved reading the Hunger Games and Harry Potter series. I read the first Hunger Games book in 48 hours! I couldn’t put it down.
In this same way, we often try to read the Bible because we feel as if we have to. It doesn’t bring us any excitement, and we’re not dying to pick up the Bible to see what happens next! I believe there are a couple reasons for that:
- We don’t understand the biblical text since we’re reading it at face value. Remember, Scripture was written by Jewish men in Hebrew or Greek, and much of the Bible takes place in Israel. This means that in order to understand the Bible, you must also understand Jewish culture, the geography of Israel, the language, contemporary events and figures of their time, etc. When we read the Bible at face value, we lose the depth and essence of a passage, because we look at it from an Americanized perspective. This is especially true with any prophetic books, the Torah (Genesis – Deuteronomy), and Revelation.
- We are only concerned with how a text applies to us, rather than understand what the passage meant to its intended audience. It would be like me reading the Hunger Games while trying to figure out what Chapter 5 means for me personally. You wouldn’t read like that! Moreover, the Holy Spirit is the one who brings out the personal application, so we should never have to force it. He will bring it to light.
- If we are doing an actual Bible study workbook or devotional, we don’t find it very interesting. This is normal. I used to assume that if I found a Bible study boring, it was my fault. Now, I realize that the Bible is incredibly fascinating, but some Christian scholars make it dry and tedious. Finding a study curriculum for you is important. It doesn’t mean the Bible itself doesn’t fit you – it’s all about how the curriculum presents the text.
You authored a study on the Proverbs 31 woman targeted at today’s millennials. For those who haven’t yet gone through the study, what is the cliff notes version of what a Proverbs 31 woman in the modern world?
If you’re single, married, a student, career gal, divorced, widowed, childless, a mother, a grandmother, a stepmom, a foster mom, and/or an adoptive mom, you can be a virtuous woman, regardless. Virtue's basis is not on your relationship status or whether you have children. Your heart is the basis of virtue. Period.
If you are single, remember that Proverbs 31 is like “How to Find a Wife 101” (see Proverbs 31:1), meaning men should be looking for these qualities in ladies like you! Are you willing to wake up early to make food for friends and family if they need it like maybe they have a tough job interview at 8 am and you making them breakfast would be a big help? Are you willing to save your money, then use your earnings to make smart investments? Would you be a help, not a hindrance, to your future husband? Etc. Those are things for you to think about.
Speaking of the Proverbs 31 woman, what is your favorite characteristic in her and why?
She’s an independent, strong woman. She goes into the marketplace (without her husband) to haggle and sell her products. She makes clothing and sells them (on her own) (Verse 24). She invests her own money (not her husband’s) into buying property, then expands that property’s value tenfold by cultivating the land into an industrious vineyard (Verse 16). King Lemuel’s mother calls for people to “give her the product of her hands”(Verse 31).
This means you can have a career (or even your own business) while being a wife and mother. However, you don’t have to be career oriented if you don’t want to be. You can still exemplify these qualities by being industrious, financially responsible, and resourceful. There’s no specific way you have to pursue these characteristics – it’s however the Lord leads you.
How do the Deep Roots Bible studies supplement a young woman’s Bible study?
As I mentioned before, reading a biblical passage at face value loses the depth of the passage. A Deep Roots study leads you verse-by-verse through the study in 15 minutes or less. This also brings out all the “meat.” This includes any important linguistic, cultural, historical contexts, as well as cross-references. Oftentimes, one aspect of a passage relates to another. Many times, this means relating to the opposite Testament (i.e. something in the New Testament has its meaning from something in the Old Testament). I am passionate about Israel, Hebrew, and the Jewish people, so I ensure anything pertaining those things in the text are brought out. The booklets also contain quotations from the top theologians and pastors, so you get the scholarly perspective as well.
If someone is new to studying the Bible, do you have any advice on how and where in the Bible to start?
Start with either an Old Testament narrative (like Esther, Ruth, or Jonah), or one of the New Testament epistles (I suggest Colossians, Ephesians, or Jude). Those books are short and more straight-forward. What’s most important is that you are developing your relationship with the Lord and you are receptive to His leading.
What is something God is currently teaching you?
I appreciate how God used persecution to drive His church in Jerusalem to Antioch. How He then used it further into Turkey, Greece, and Italy. This fulfilled Jesus’ instruction to go forth and make disciples in Judea, Samaria, and the rest of the world. We always wonder why the Lord would ever allow us to suffer, especially at the hands of others. Yet, here we see that God allowed something horrible (e.g. Stephen becoming the first martyr) in order for His people to spread, taking the gospel with them.
The Lord allowed two people at my last church to spread vicious lies about me in the church. This eventually caused me to leave the church altogether. I also went through a difficult breakup a few years ago that left me devastated, even traumatized. I often asked, “Why? Why? Why?”
Yet, if I had never left that church, I would never have started Deep Roots. If I hadn’t started Deep Roots, I would never have seen more people getting into God’s Word. I also wouldn’t be doing this interview! Without that breakup, I would still be stuck in legalism. And I wouldn’t be an empathetic person to other people’s heartbreak. This inspired me to make Deep Roots not just a Bible study supplier, but also a place of grace and no judgment. So, the Lord allowed two experiences, which was oppressive and painful, in order that He could move me on to greater things.
If you could tell your 18-year-old self something, what would it be?
Don’t date that guy!!! Life will get better; one day, this fog will lift and you will feel happy again. Lean into the despair and be open to God’s work during this time. Stop blaming God for what happened. Life will turn out much different than you expect. Stop worrying about your weight and dieting – it’s causing you too much mental and emotional havoc. Everything that happens now leads to what’s to come. Everything will be OK.
This is a sponsored post. All images courtesy of Deep Roots Studies.