Episode 161 – Ruth Pt 1: Acknowledging Our Famines

Key Passage(s): Ruth 1:1-5; Judges 21:25

One of the most beautiful and moving stories in the Bible is found in the book of Ruth. But it doesn’t start that way. Set in the dark and precarious times of the Judges, the story of Ruth begins in a place of famine and death. As we’ll see, the first five verses are loaded with contextual information that lay a foundation for the rest of the book. Before we can appreciate the beauty of the story, we have to deal with the disappointment and understand why it’s so important to acknowledge our famines so they don’t define us.

Discussion Questions

  • What was your biggest takeaway from the teaching? 
  • What connection do you see between “The days when the Judges ruled” and what culture and society are like today? 
  • In Hebrew, a name reveals a person’s identity. If Ruth means “friend” or “companion,” what do you think your life reveals about what your name means? 
  • Reflect and Respond to this statement: What we don’t acknowledge defines us. 
  • What are some of the famines you’ve needed to acknowledge in your life?   
  • How will you begin living out the truths of this teaching this week?  

For Further Study

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  1. Donald B. Johnson January 10, 2023 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Are you planning on at least mentioning that in the Tanakh ordering of the books of Scripture, Ruth is in the Writings section as one scrolls of the Megillot?

    • Brad Nelson January 13, 2023 at 11:33 am - Reply

      Hi Donald,

      You’re beating us to the punchline! But, yes, it’s coming.

  2. Erin May 2, 2023 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    My first visit to “Walking the Text”, and I am thankful to catch the series of Ruth since I am experiencing a famine in full time ministry to Chinese students at a university

    • Brad Nelson May 16, 2023 at 9:13 am - Reply

      Thanks for visiting Erin. So very sorry to hear about the challenge you’re facing. May God give you feet for the path He has you walking.

    • Sylvia July 17, 2023 at 8:26 am - Reply

      This is my first time here. Thank you so much for this explanation of the foundation of the Book of Ruth. It has given me so much more than I really have understood about this book.

  3. Ruth Thompson June 11, 2023 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    GLORY to King JESUS 🙌 🙏 🤴 I 1st of all want to THANK you for CONFIRMING my PROPHETIC WORD from the lord, that my King Boaz is on the way in JESUS name. ANGELIC ASSISTANCE RELEASE FAVOR FAVOR FAVOR in every AREA of my life. The name Ruth is my PROPHETIC calling from the lord,as I too left my country London England 🇬🇧 to come into the land America 🇺🇸. I Cane by FAITH 31 yrs ago and God has been very FAITHFUL ..INSPITE of 😢 🙏 🤲 God BLESS you Sir. This also is my fav book! Ruth. The movie For The ❤️ Of Ruth..I’ve watched a 100 times 😆 such comfort to my SOUL 👍

  4. carol sperzel June 13, 2023 at 6:32 am - Reply

    Thank you for this teaching I am in a bible study about ruth, and this is helping me even more!

    • Brad Nelson July 6, 2023 at 8:39 am - Reply

      You are most welcome Carol. Hope your study is energizing!

  5. Joy Hendrix July 5, 2023 at 11:28 pm - Reply

    I always thought I knew a lot about the book of Ruth. I have, however, learned so much from his teaching on just the first 5 verses. I’m going to enjoy this series on Ruth very much.

    • Brad Nelson July 6, 2023 at 8:38 am - Reply

      So glad you’re following along with us Joy.

  6. Sylvia July 17, 2023 at 8:26 am - Reply

    This is my first time here. Thank you so much for this explanation of the foundation of the Book of Ruth. It has given me so much more than I really have understood about this book.

  7. Charlotte July 18, 2023 at 11:38 am - Reply

    I need closed caption to enjoy learning about Ruth.

    • Brad Nelson October 9, 2023 at 8:37 am - Reply

      Hi Charlotte,

      At the bottom of the YouTube screen, you’ll see a small icon that says CC. If you click there, you’ll see the closed captions appear on the screen.

    • Betsy Howard March 8, 2024 at 11:24 am - Reply

      I wish l could purchase this on DVD for our ladies group. It is so educational. Not just story telling. Love it. Thank you.

  8. Ruth DaSilva July 23, 2023 at 8:53 am - Reply

    God is so faithful to have me come across your website this very morning, as I have been sitting with the Lord this morning and acknowledging for the first time my famine and literally telling Him that I don’t want to sweep it under the rug and ignore it as I would normally do, or try to be falsely grateful to try and make it like “it’s all good” but I want to trust Him through it and believe that even as I’m going through it, I know He is working in my life.
    Finding this study was NO coincidence.
    Thank you!

    • Brad Nelson October 9, 2023 at 8:34 am - Reply

      So very glad this is meeting you where you are Ruth!

  9. Jack August 27, 2023 at 10:32 am - Reply

    Thank you.

  10. Sandra Hartlieb November 2, 2023 at 9:30 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for this series. Just watched session 1. I am ready to lean into this beautiful teaching! I found it while looking for something to help me prepare for a Valentine retreat for widows. In my ministry, I portray Naomi in first-person drama. I want to bring joy to women who probably suffer during the lovefest of Valentine’s Day. I know I have found the right place to discover my message. Looking forward to the next session!

    • Brad Nelson November 28, 2023 at 8:59 am - Reply


      I’m so encouraged to hear this series is resonating with you.

  11. Patricia November 30, 2023 at 9:06 am - Reply

    I believe God chose this study for me. I’m anxiously waiting his answers to the famine in my life.

    • Brad Nelson December 6, 2023 at 10:34 am - Reply

      Patricia, We’re so sorry to hear about the trying space you’re in. I hope you will find not only the encouragement and understanding you’re searching for, but, more than anything, His Presence.

  12. Debbie Rehl February 22, 2024 at 11:11 am - Reply

    Thanks for your teaching! I learned a lot in just this first lesson! Looking forward to the next one! Praising God is with us in our famines and in our good times,too! God is good all the time no matter what’s going on!!

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