Heroes of the Bible.
When you hear this phrase, who comes to mind?
- David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).
- Joshua, a leader who brought God’s people to the promised land (Joshua 1-5).
- Peter, the one on whom Jesus built his first church (Matthew 16:18).
- Paul, an Apostle to the Gentiles (Ephesians 3:1-12).
All of these are incredible people who, by God’s grace, knew God and made Him known in powerful ways. We learn from them. We are inspired by them. We, in many ways, want to be more like them.
But, who might we be missing?
Some other heroes of faith often take longer to come to mind.
- Ruth, a widow self-sacrificing, kind, and devoted (Ruth 1).
- Deborah, a catalyst courageously speaking truth (Judges 4-5).
- Anna, a prophet dedicated to fasting and praying (Luke 2:36-38).
- Lydia, a hard-worker worshipfully showing hospitality (Acts 16:11-15).
These are just the beginning of women of faith who, by God’s grace, also knew Him and made Him known through their lives.
Why study biblical women?
In our small groups and Sunday schools, we have strong reason to not overlook the sometimes shorter or less emphasized stories of the Bible, including the stories that highlight women.
In fact, we miss out when we do not study these.
- We all need the example
Amid a culture of women’s rights and feminism, and within the church’s subculture of egalitarianism and complementarianism, what it means to be men or women and the ways we handle biblical manhood and womanhood are intensely debated. We can look to what’s happening around us and our experiences within us to try to make sense of it all. But, why not the Bible?.
Just as we look to people in the Bible to learn how to deal with suffering, to learn what fruit of the Spirit we should have, or to explore what it means to trust God, we can look to the Bible to see what it means to be women who follow God. Whether we need this advice or whether we need to encourage women in our life toward seeking God, we can learn from what women (just as we can learn from men) did, what they said, how they prayed and praised.
- They show unique expressions of faith
As we dig into their stories, we will learn from their lives. First, we can see their relationships with the Lord. We can see the ways they talked about Him. We can look for the way the knowledge of God shaped how they spent their days. We can see the expressions their faith took: worship, prayer, fasting.
We can also see how this relationship and fear of the Lord impacted their relationships with people. We can see the ways they were loyal, courageous, truth speakers, justice seekers. We can learn from their actions about how to lead lives that model God’s truth and grace.
What and how can everyone learn from biblical women?
Women in the Bible can show us far more than we might imagine.
They can show us about relationship with the Lord. They can show us about relationship with others. They can encourage our faith. They can shed light into the sometimes difficult and often deeply personal discussions of manhood and womanhood.
Yet, just as any story in the Bible, they can bring us further into the heart of God and spur us forward into a life compelled by God’s love (2 Corinthians 5:14).
What can we learn from biblical women? Much more than we might imagine.
How can you get started? Try studying, walking through the very texts of Scripture where these women are chronicled. It starts with scripture. Seeking out the stories of women and diving in.
But we don’t want to leave you alone in your search. We can help you and help you lead others on this study. Lifeway’s Women’s Ministry Specialist, Kelly D. King, walks us through six stories of biblical women in Bible Studies for Life: Living by Faith – Women who Trusted God. She’ll lead you into the stories of Rahab, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, the poor widow, and the Samaritan Woman.
What you’ll find? Hope, strength, perspective, wisdom, and so much more. Find out more here.
Deborah Spooner is a Minnesota-born analytical creative serving as a Marketing Strategist for Lifeway’s Groups Ministry. As a pastor’s daughter with a background in Digital Communications and Media and Biblical & Theological Studies, you can find her at her local church, in deep conversation, or with a book or pen in hand as she seeks to know Christ more and make Him known.