Examples of Godly Women in the Bible


This is the final post I have planned in this blog series on men and women in ministry. We've explored almost all of the passages in the Bible that reveal what a godly relationship between men and women looks like. But there are a few passages relevant to this topic that we have yet to explore. These final passages contain amazing examples of godly women in the Bible. 

The passages we've explored thus far in the Bible reveal how God created the world with men and women unique and different, but equal in value. The problems with inequality began with the sin of Adam and Eve, and feminism is caused by the same underlying flaws. God redeemed society through Jesus, not by restoring equality, but teaching men and women to make each other greater than the other. The overreaching example of this is women humbly submitting to men, and men sacrificially loving women. The result is men and women having different roles in the church, family, and society.

But in these final biblical examples that we'll look at, the women seem to disregard the principles we've been building upon. They leave their roles behind, and step up to take the lead. Some of these women have even taken authority over men. Yet these are still excellent examples of godly women in the Bible. And there is a lot we can learn from them.

Take for example Deborah. She was a judge of Israel and led a man, Gideon, and the rest of his army to victory. In addition to Deborah, the Bible tells stories of three other prophetesses Miriam, Huldah, and Anna. In the New Testament, the Bible talks about a number of female disciples that followed Jesus including Mary, Joanna, Susanna, and others. Paul even mentions a female apostle, Junias. Hebrews mentions several women in his list of faithful leaders like Sarah, Rahab, and a general reference to women who received their dead. There are three very important lessons we can learn from these examples of godly women in the Bible.

Lesson one: Perspective

Firstly, it’s important to keep these examples of godly women in perspective. Out of the 19 judges mentioned throughout the Bible, only one of them, Deborah, was a woman. Out of the dozens upon dozens of prophets mentioned in the Bible, only Deborah and three others are known to have been women. Jesus had many females among his disciples, but the 12 apostles over them were all men. Out of the many other apostles mentioned after Jesus left, only one was a woman. Out of the long list of the faithful patriarchs in Hebrews, only two women are mentioned by name. 

We can't take a few exceptions out of context, pretend it's the norm, and hold it up as a biblical model for our life. Women taking leadership roles is not the standard, but the exception.

Lesson two: Exceptions

But we must also remember that God loves exceptions! For example, God used a man with a speech impediment to stand up to the most powerful ruler of the time and lead his people out of Egypt. God used a boy and a stone to defeat a giant and lead an army to victory. God saved the world with a carpenter, whose birth was viewed by society as of questionable legitimacy. This might not be the normal way of doing things, and it might not be the preferred way. But God loves to do the unexpected and go to plan B because it shows his power. Paul wrote, “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen.” Since women are weaker, it makes them the perfect tools to be used by God. This is why God has used many women throughout history to lead men and pioneer righteousness. 

Men who are called to be leaders shouldn't use this as an excuse to fail. But when those who are called to be leaders fail, God will raise up someone to get the job done.  Jesus said of his disciples, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” This doesn't mean that he wants to use the rocks to praise him. That privilege was meant for his disciples. God’s ability to use the weaker one does not allow men to squander the strength God has given them. Men need to step up to their calling and be on guard against laziness and passivity. 

Lesson three: Women are capable

Finally, these examples prove that women are more than capable of being strong when necessary and being leaders if called upon. When God gives a gift to someone, he expects it to be used. Jesus said, “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” If such is the punishment for someone not using his or her gifts, imagine the punishment for someone else hindering him or her from using them! Far too often, men and women are kept from using their gifts. 

If someone has gifts that are not typical of their gender, they would be wrong to not use them. If a woman has a gift for teaching in church, it is not a sin for her to teach! If she has a calling from God to go to work, she has not sinned. If a man has a talent for caring for children, he needs to use it for God or he will be guilty. God does not tell women that they cannot be leaders, nor does God tell men that they cannot be gentle and caring. 

But there is an even better way. The woman who is gifted in teaching is free to do it, but would do even better to seek a gifting in silence. A women who has a gifting to work is free to do it, but would do even better to seek a gifting in caring for her family at home. A man who is gifted in caring for children is free to do it, but would do even better to seek a gifting in leadership. I believe that as men and women use what God has given them, they will receive even more as Jesus promised, and that growth will be toward God's order. Godly men will grow in strength and love. Godly women will grow in humility and submission.

Every woman already has femininity in her. Every man has masculinity in him. This is how God created us. The world is trying to stifle these God-given characteristics by making judgements against men and women, saying our unique traits are less desirable. But this order between men and women is beautiful and godly. Paul wrote that "God is not a God of disorder but of peace". So then, order in creation is not a limitation to confine us, but an ideal for us to strive for. In Jesus, we are free to pursue masculinity and femininity, without judgments against men and women, to grow fully into who he wants us to be.

God loves us and values us for who he created us to be as men and women, not what society says we should be. This is not a limitation, but a freedom to enjoy the order in creation that we long for deep inside of us. God is inviting us to heal our wounds, be true to ourselves, fulfill our natural desires and to be fully who he created us to be. God is inviting men to have authority, to be strong and loving, and to be humble leaders. Likewise, God is inviting women to be helpers for men, beautiful, glorious, submissive, gentle, and caring. The natural order he put into creation is harmonious, powerful, beautiful, and functional. This is how we all reveal the image of God, both in the things we have in common, and in the ways we are unique. This order makes us unique bearers of God’s image as men and women. When men and women live this way, we have ended the curse against humanity through freedom in Jesus. 

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