Let me tell you about 7 of my favorite women in the Bible. You may have different favorites for special reason and so we may not agree on these. These 7 women stand out for different reasons. We could include so many more women of faith in the Bible and you may favor different ones than I have listed here, but see why these 7 women of the Bible are my favorites.
Mary, Mother of Jesus
This woman was about the most humble and submissive servants of God mentioned in the Bible. Mary was betrothed or engaged to Joseph. An angel came to Mary saying that she was highly favored by the Lord and that the Lord was with her (Luke 1:28). Who among us would not be terrified at this? Mary was no exception (Luke 1:29) but the angel told her that she had found favor with God (Luke 1:30). Mary must have been an especially devout and godly women for we know that God “highly favored her,” that she had “found favor” with God. When Mary, who was a virgin, was told that she was to conceive the Son of God, Jesus, she knew enough to say, “how can this be so” since she had been with no man (Luke 1:34-36). What was Mary’s response? She said, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). The word for “servant” is literally bondservant or slave. Mary’s humility was astonishing and is a great example for all Christians and believers should aspire to be in all things as she was as she said, “let it be to me according to your word.”
Ruth, the Moabite
Ruth is another example of a humble, contrite woman of God. She is a type of all those who had been separated from God but received by God by grace alone. Boaz, whom she would later marry, was symbolic of Jesus Christ Who receives us, even though we are most certainly not worthy. Remember that the Moabites were a pagan people and were forbidden to enter into the land of Israel not to mention intermarry with the nation. Neither are we worthy to enter into a relationship with the Lord but that is why God’s grace is so amazing. Listen to the humility of Ruth who was entering into the nation of Israel with Naomi, “For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you” (Ruth 1:16-17). These words of Ruth so embody what being a follower of Christ should be. Those who are followers of Christ are disciples and disciples are to follow Jesus wherever He goes. Ruth’s humility fits nicely what is written by James that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6) and by Peter, that He “resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet 5:5).
Esther is another sterling example of faith but also one of courage. She was queen to King Ahasuerus because the king loved Esther more than any other woman (Esther 2:17). When her nation Israel was in jeopardy of being wiped out (Esther 3:13), Mordecai told Esther “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this” (Esther 4:13-14)? After the entire nation fasted, Esther said that “I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16b). Queen Esther risked her life when she went before King Ahasuerus because if he did not put out the scepter, then she would have surely died but we know that by Esther’s bravery, the Jews were saved.
Priscilla, Woman of God
Priscilla, wife of Aquila, was a pillar of the early church in Jerusalem. Aquila and Priscilla were both tentmakers as was Paul (Acts 18:1-3) and went on Paul’s missionary trip to Syria (Acts 18:18). Paul must have known that they would be useful in proclaiming the gospel with him and so they accompanied him. They knew the gospel well for when they heard Apollos of Alexandria teaching out of the Scriptures (the Old Testament) about Christ they informed him of more than just John’s baptism. Afterwards, he became an even greater evangelist for the early church (Acts 18:25-28). Paul clearly knew the value of these two believers as he called them, “my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life” (Rom 16:3). It’s one thing to proclaim the gospel, it is yet another to risk their lives for it, but they did not shrink back from this God-given commission. There is little doubt that they were co-laborers with Paul and were unafraid to point others to eternal life in Christ Jesus even if it meant death. That is why I included Priscilla among my 7 favorite women of the Bible.
Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist
Elizabeth name means “God’s promise” or “God is generous” and this woman must have been highly respected. For one thing, she was the wife of a Zechariah, a member of the priesthood at Jerusalem. Elizabeth was related to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and may have been first cousins, which would have made John the Baptist and Jesus second cousins. Jesus said of John that “among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist” (Matt 11:11). We can surmise that Zechariah and Elizabeth taught John the Baptist from an early age the ways of God from the Old Testament. That she was barren before conceiving John, echo many other famous women of the Bible who were in similar situations and without God’s intervention, may have remained childless. In the beginning of Luke’s gospel, we see that Elizabeth was descended from a long line of Jewish priests. When an angel of the Lord told Zechariah that his wife would conceive, he did not believe and was thus struck dumb but Elizabeth had no trouble believing. This seems to indicate that her trust in the Lord was greater than that of her husband, Zechariah.
Mary Magdalene was a prominent disciple and follower of Christ, even up to His death on the cross. Even after Christ had died, she still wanted to attend to Him at His grave. She was among a small, close group of women who were Christ’s devoted followers and was the first witness to His resurrection. Women were not even allowed to be witnesses in the Jewish culture and even the Roman’s had little regard for women, but Jesus elevated women’s status to its rightful status as being co-equals and co-heirs with men during His ministry. Mary Magdalene was more faithful during Christ’s time on earth, during His trial, during His crucifixion, and even afterwards than even the disciples were. Mary was a consistent follower of Christ’s (Luke 8:1-3), prepared His body before His death (Luke 23:55-56), did not abandon Him at the crucifixion (Mark 15:40-41), and as we wrote, was one of the witnesses of His resurrection (Mark 16:1-11). In the beginning, Mary appeared more devoted and believing than even Jesus’ disciples who had scattered and had thought, after Christ’s death, that all was lost.
Rahab the Brave
Rahab may have been as brave as Esther. She risked her life to hide the spies sent into Jericho by Joshua as “she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof” (Joshua 2:6). If these men had been discovered, it would have been certain death for Rahab but she had heard about Israel and something deep inside her must have realized that the God of Israel was a true God for she said that “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath” (Joshua 2:9-11). Rahab is one of the few heroines of the Bible mentioned in what is called the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 saying about her that is was “By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient” (Heb 11:31) and because of her faith, “Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho“(Joshua 6:25). So Rahab’s faith saved her and her father’s entire household. That is why she is among my 7 favorite women of the Bible.
You could have likely chosen different women of the Bible than I did but there may be fewer women who’s godliness would have been greater than Mary, mother of Jesus, or Ruth who forsook her own nation to become part of the royal lineage of Jesus Christ, or Queen Esther or Rahab who both had risked their lives to serve God, or Elizabeth, Mary Magdalene and even Priscilla…all loyal, devoted followers of Christ and His gospel. Make a comment and add one of your own favorite women of the Bible and tell us the reason why they are among your favorites. Perhaps it was Israel‘s only woman judge, Deborah. I would love to know more about these godly women of faith in the Bible. These women will shine for all eternity for their faithfulness and even today, there are many other heroines of the faith that I did not include that were outside of the pages of the Bible. Women like Mother Teresa, Corrie Ten Boon, Joni Eareckson Tada, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and so many others. Maybe there is even a woman you are married too, or is your mother, your grandmother, you aunt, that is among your favorite Christian women. Let us know by leaving a comment. We’d love to know which godly women of faith have forever impacted your life.
Jack Wellman is Senior Writer at What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible.