This post is all about strong women in the Bible
Hey friends, I have been reflecting on Strong women in the Bible for the past few weeks. With the information I gathered, I hoped to share it with you to be inspired just the way I was!
You will notice that when I use the word “strong,” I don’t necessarily mean physically strong, but I reference being strong in regards to faith, character, personality, calling, purpose, etc.
P.S Right after this post, you will also find that there is a free YouTube Video embedded for you to remain inspired.
Ready? Let’s go…
Role of women in the Bible and the biblical importance of a woman
In many cultural, legalistic, and traditional societies, women have been seen as possessions and, at some point, have been suppressed from accomplishing their life’s purpose because of misinterpretation of the Bible or just chauvinistic tribal views.
I know this first hand because I come from a very traditional community in Kenya. I briefly spoke about my experience in the first chapter of my book: Made of Still.
In these societies, women often are relegated to only supportive roles and aren’t seen or deemed fit for political positions or leadership. I have noticed that some cultures emphasize the importance of suppressive submission (not to be confused with the biblical one) and that women are less than men.
As I was taking a deep dive into the role of the women in the Bible, it was refreshing. What I noticed was that Jesus showed love, compassion, and respect for women.
I also noticed that the stories of the seven women that I will share illustrated that women are called to various roles in the kingdom of God!
For purposes of my post, I will refrain from apologetics since that isn’t what I’m called to do. However, I will share these stories from a poetic, storytelling, and inquisitive eye to inspire you! If you know a new believer, they will enjoy this post!
Hopefully, as I share the stories, you will notice the thread that ties the fact that: women are important, and they have a role to play in the body of Christ!
Strong women in the Bible and the meaning of their names
As we start, I would like to share the meanings of each of these women. I think their names make for lovely baby names!
Mary- This name may have come from a root word meaning “beloved.”
Deborah- Deborah is from a Hebrew word meaning “bee.”
Esther- Esther in Persia means “star.” Esther also comes from a Hebrew root word that means “hide” or “conceal.”
Rahab- The name Rahab means: “Large; extended.”
Ruth- This name is from a Hebrew word that means “friend.”
Lydia- Is derived from a Greek word that means “beautiful one” or “noble one.”
Priscilla or Prisca– Prisca is a variant of Priscilla. Priscilla is mentioned both as Prisca and Priscilla in the Bible. The meaning of Prisca is “ancient” or “venerable.”
My list of 7 Strong Women in the Bible /Female Bible Heroes
Here is my list of 7 Strong Women in the Bible:
Mary was a humble woman raised in the Jewish Traditions. She and her husband Joseph lived in a small town known as Nazareth. If you recall, Nathanael had stated the following:
John 1:46 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
Well, it turns out that the savior of the world comes from the womb of “Mary the meek,” as she is often called, one who originated from Nazareth, a town that people looked down upon.
What a big calling Mary had on her life to care for the savior of the world. She was with Jesus up to when he was on the cross. This was a special role and something that happened once and will never happen again. For one to carry our Lord Jesus Christ.❤️
Another aspect that I love from her story is that Mary was analytical, inquisitive, yet full of faith. When Angel Gabriel approaches her with the news of carrying Jesus, she responds,
Luke 1:34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
Once she is given the response, she swiftly responds,
Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
I don’t know about you, but I think I would have probably asked so many questions. 🤣 However, Mary received the news with faith.
After reading Mary’s story, it reemphasizes the importance of surrounding yourself with good people who understand your assignment, not naysayers! Throughout Mary’s life, we see how she really took the time to absorb the situation and not hastily rush or anxiously respond to news or an issue. Even after hearing the news, I like that she went straight to her cousin Elizabeth who was of great comfort to her and received her news well. As you would recall, Elizabeth was also pregnant with John the Baptist, a forerunner of Jesus Christ.
Even when the wine ran out at the wedding in Canaan, we see that Mary was still calm as she told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:3–5).
Can you imagine the wine runs out, and that was her response? All I can say is, I’m taking notes! ✍️
Another thing that I love about Mary is the fact that we are told the following verse:
Luke 2:51 But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.
As a mom, this brought me so much warmth. It tells me to be receptive to digest what I am witnessing in the life of my children. I ask myself, what am I treasuring in my heart regarding my children. How can I partner with God to ensure that I follow the right path and adequately direct my children to fulfill their God-given destiny and purpose?
Mary indeed had a meek and humble character that was quite measured, and what I have learned from her is quite a lot.
This story totally warmed my heart. I have read about Deborah before, but I think I resonated even more with her because I am in a season in my life where God is challenging me to step into the leadership arena and pioneer in some fields. In addition to that, I am a poet, and Deborah too was a poet, and we see her poetic abilities in Judges 4 & 5.
Deborah served as a noble judge in Israel for forty years! She held an essential role as a politico-judicial authority. She was the only female judge appointed in a male-dominated society. She has been recorded as being honorable.
Let’s read what the scripture states about her:
Judges 4:5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided.
Deborah had a strong personality. Some text suggests that she was also called “woman of Lappidoth,” which may have loosely meant “woman of torches” or “fiery woman.” She is also referred to as a “worshipping warrior” and a prophet. Since she had a strong character and personality, I love that she was obedient to God. We are told that she prayed before proclaiming a ruling on a matter. She indeed served with great wisdom and knowledge.
Deborah also wore multiple hats because she was a judge, historian, warrior, poet, prophet, singer, etc. All her giftings were used well, and her prophetic gifts were used to govern. It’s important because people think that prophetic gifts are only to prophesy to the nations, but from what I read, your gifts can be instrumental in whatever role you have. It can be used for discernment and direction as you make important decisions!
Deborah is a great character to research if you know God is calling you to serve politically or even in a male-dominated field. We can take from her obedience and the way she served God.
Lastly, I loved that her name means “bee.” I always find bees are industrious and always “on the job.” I think it’s a befitting name for her because of her long noble tenure as a judge. It is also befitting because of the sting that she gave Israelite enemies.
Esther was a Jewish lady born when Israel was in captivity. She hid her Jewish identity by changing her name Hadassah to Esther. She is described to have been a very beautiful person. Even so, we see that her courage, character, and self-sacrifice radiated throughout the story.
Esther would be termed as a patriot in this modern day. She wasn’t embarrassed about her heritage and used her position to leverage the salvation of Israel.
She is also famous for the Purim feast in honor of her saving Israel from genocide, but she is also remembered for the Esther fast. If you would like to read more about fasting…please read this article I wrote titled 8 Tips on How to Fast and Pray for a Breakthrough. To date, it shows us the importance and value of cooperate prayer and fasting for a breakthrough.
When Mordecai hatches a plan for Esther to reveal her identity to the King, she bravely responds, “if I perish, I perish.”
Esther 4:16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the King, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
I like Esther’s book because it shows us a model of trust and hope. Also, it may seem God isn’t present in her story, but he is there! He works behind the scenes, offering providence, escape, and ultimate victory opportunities. This can bring great comfort to people in silent seasons or when they think God appears “absent.” God is setting the stage for your ultimate victory.
I also like the theme of how purpose and timing converge. We can see this in this quote “for such a time as this.” I am encouraged because God has a plan and purpose for me, but I also have to be obedient to execute it when it’s time.
Esther 4:14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
Rahab enters the scene when Joshua becomes the new leader of Israel. Joshua is appointed as the leader who would lead the Israelites to the promised land.
Joshua sends two spies to Jericho, and we are told that Rahab, a prostitute hides them in her home. Even so, we see the faith that Rahab by her statement that she said the Israel Spies,
“Joshua 2:9 … “I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you.”
Through a scarlet red thread, she and her family (parents, brothers, and sisters) were preserved when the walls of Jericho fell.
Through this, Rahab went on to redeem herself from a prostitute to one of the great heroes of faith. Well, it doesn’t stop there because she ends up in the genealogy of Jesus as she is mentioned as the mother of Boaz, making her a great-great-grandmother to David!
I like the fact that she was grafted into the family of God, just like we are grafted into the kingdom of God.
Hebrews 11:31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[a]
James 2:25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?
I love this because it shows that anyone can change their life and start serving the Lord. It shows the boundlessness of grace and Mercy of our Lord.
Isaiah 1:18. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
Ruth was a Moabite, a culture that was tied to idolatry. Although Ruth’s story begins with death, sadness, and tragedy, we quickly see a shift in her life.
The story of Ruth begins when her mother-in-law Naomi loses her husband and two sons. This means that Ruth lost her husband, Mahlon. Even so, Ruth exemplifies loyalty, love, and devotion by choosing to stick with her mother-in-law and leave her home in Moab and go back with Naomi. She states, “where you go, I will go….”
Ruth 1:16 KJV And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.
We see that although Ruth had 10 years of suffering, sorrow, and loss… in 3 months (during the harvest), the Lord redeems her.
Indeed, we should never despise humble beginnings; one moment, this Moabite widow was gleaning wheat, meaning collecting leftover crops that farmers have left on their fields. The next moment, she is sitting at the table with Boaz. (If she was gleaning wheat, she was an outcast and poor.)
Boaz, who became the kinsman redeemer, was Rahab’s child. So, this is a full-circle story where two women (Rahab and Ruth) who would be considered outcasts and from a culture of idolaters were brought into the genealogy that ultimately leads to the birth of Christ.
Biblical References: Acts 16:14-15
I have always been fond of the story of Lydia. We studied her in Sunday school, and the thought of a businesswoman selling purple cloth fascinated me. I remember reading the storybook the church gave to us about Lydia so many times as I would imagine what it would be like to sell purple cloth at that time. It was unique.
Lydia was Paul’s first convert in Europe. Given the circumstances back in the day, she must have been genuinely assertive, had good business acumen, and was intelligent enough to run her business and be successful.
I love that she was kind and hosted her home to traveling ministers and missionaries in the early church. It shows the importance of being a kingdom financier and using one’s skill and wealth to spread the Gospel further.
After revisiting Lydia’s story, I am now asking myself how I can adequately leverage my gifts to serve the kingdom.
7. Priscilla or Prisca
Priscilla was married to Aquila, and they were a Jewish couple. In the Bible, both are never mentioned apart. They are always mentioned as a unit.
It’s crucial to mention Aquila since both Priscilla and Aquila were tentmakers (Acts 18:3), and both seemed to be equally involved and invested in their business as well as ministry. Their tent business financed their activities.
I also love that Priscilla was involved in the mentorship and stewardship of Apollos, who went on to bear more fruit in his ministry!! (Read Acts 18:18-28)
Acts 18:26 “expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.”
This indeed shows me the importance of working together in a godly marriage to ensure that more fruit is born in the kingdom. It doesn’t matter your role; both can work together as a team to further the kingdom.
Priscilla and Aquila actively continued to plant churches and evangelize.
Romans 16:3 Greet Priscilla[c] and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
I know sometimes people debate whether women can be pastors or ministers. We see that in this story, nobody rebuked Priscilla (not even Paul!) for stewarding Apollos. We can deduce that women can indeed serve leadership roles in the church. It also shows how powerful the institution of marriage can be in furthering the kingdom of God.
And that’s it, folks, 7 stories of women in the Bible who are anointed women of God in the Bible!
I hope these stories of women in the Bible have blessed you abundantly!
For me, I am so glad that I did a deep dive into each story to learn from these strong women. This is super important for the season that I’m in. I have learned the importance of faith, courage, God’s saving grace, the power of redemption, and using the marketplace to serve God and further the kingdom agenda.
I feel energized to implement many of the lessons I have learned in my personal life. It has also shown me that, indeed, I can pursue my destiny without compromising my faith. Some women can be coerced or swayed to use shortcuts to succeed in today’s world. However, these women above boldly took a stand and made difficult decisions that led to a beautiful ending.
Here is an accompanying video (via my YouTube Channel) regarding this topic: