Book Review: "Get Out of That Pit" by Beth Moore

Who has not experienced living life and suddenly feeling beat down by one’s circumstances? The feeling that your feet are stuck in miry clay, and, no matter what your effort you never break free. You feel as if you have fallen into a pit and cannot get out. There is no comfort in the pit; rather the continual reminder that you are stuck.

Into this common reality, Beth Moore’s Get Out of That Pit breaks through with alacrity that is certain to resonate with the sullenest pit dwellers. Her message is one of both hope and deliverance – a way to break free of the pit.  Relying upon a recent event of deliverance in the Psalmist’s life, Moore culls her thesis from Psalm 40 [NET]:
1I relied completely on the Lord, and he turned toward me and heard my cry for help. 2 He lifted me out of the watery pit, out of the slimy mud. He placed my feet on a rock and gave me secure footing. 3 He gave me reason to sing a new song, praising our God.

From a biblical expositional point of view, it would be hard to not catch the “simple meaning” of this text. As we were frequently reminded in seminary, “Wherever possible, the plain meaning is the meaning of the text.” Herein Moore deliciously shares personal examples that illustrate her own recollections of being stuck in life. Her style is witty and one gets the impression that it should be read in rapid staccato fashion.

Having only been peripherally aware of Moore’s ministry and writings, my middle daughter helped clarify my reaction to this book. She informed me that Beth Moore’s ministry is primarily discipleship of women and that she writes just like she speaks. [Having Googled her presentations for review, I concur: she writes just as she speaks.] My daughter gleefully exclaimed, “She writes in such a way that connects with women. They read it and exclaim, ‘Yes, I fully get where you’re coming from.’”

Some will find that style distracting – listening to rapidly paced speaking is one thing but maneuvering through that type of writing can leave you disenchanted. Frequently I felt as if Ms. Moore struggled for fodder to prove her point and resorted to a type of repetitive rambling to flesh out the chapters. She also has a penchant for beginning sentences with “Beloved,” which felt artificially maternal.

Perhaps the most poignant chapter is entitled, “The Three Steps Out of Your Pit.”  Therein Moore proposes a three-step solution to coming out of the pit:

  • Cry Out
  • Confess
  • Consent

Ostensibly this becomes, Cry out to God; Confess your belief in his ability; and Consent to his will. Moore scores a home run here as this simple mantra does seem to be at the core of a proper relationship with God.

I doubt the reader will disagree with anything she has written.  However, those desiring deeper exegetical study will be slightly disappointed as Ms. Moore employs a favorite strategy of topical preaching: pick a version of Scripture whose wording agrees with your point. In that way, you can attribute an artificial biblical authority to your own point. Far better to stick with one primary version of Scripture and then appeal to other translations to illustrate difference. Methinks a good writer could tie the two together and strengthen the thesis desired.

Whether you have created your own pit, jumped in intentionally, or life has forced you in, you will find solace in Get Out of That Pit.  Conceivably, this writing makes for good devotional reading.  For those desiring to adapt it to group study plentiful chapter-based discussion questions can be found in the Discovery Guide at the end.

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