Lessons from the Women of the Bible
The Bible richly affirms the dignity and value of women, and many of its characters provide us with spiritual insights and lessons through their lives.
- Genesis 1-3
- Equal responsibility and accountability before God. Created equal to the man, in God’s image. Both had the same responsibility of obedience to their Creator.
- A profound power to influence; the man succumbed along with her. The influential nature of women both for good and for ill.
- Genesis 3:20/Adam called named his wife Eve, meaning living or life. Her life is in us all. Dual capacities. Enjoyment of the creation and a natural bent to replace God’s will with her own. Ability to love and to wound. Need a realistic assessment here. We should put ourselves in her place; her guilt is our own.
- The intimation of God’s reconciliation and restoration; 3:15, 21.
- Genesis 11-23
- The difficulties of following Abram’s call by God. From the luxuries of a city to a semi-nomadic life. And a willingness to move on, not knowing where they would stop; the loss of a sense of permanence. An elasticity of spirit and mind.
- Abram’s mistake with Pharaoh in Genesis 12:10-20. God protected her.
- Manipulation: she ran ahead of God’s promise of offspring in the matter of Hagar (Gen. 16). Led to jealousy, vengeance, and blame-shifting (16:5). She influenced her husband to act against the promises of God.
- God’s promise that Sarah would become a mother of nations (17:15-19). Sarah laughs at the idea (18:9-15).
- Abraham repeats his mistake, this time with Abimelech (Gen. 20). Again God protects her.
- Isaac (“laughter”) is born (21:1-7). God kept His promise.
- Again turns on Abraham when Hagar mocks her son (21:9-11).
- Danger of worshiping Isaac more than God (Gen. 22).
- Hebrews 11:11
- Genesis 24-26
- Isaac does the same thing his father did (26:7-10).
- An intelligent, strong-willed woman. God’s promise in 25:23. She sought to bring it about. Her manipulation of Jacob (Gen. 27) ultimately backfires; she sends him to Haran and never sees him again. Her passion to have her own way turned her charm into cruelty.
- Joshua 2, 6
- Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25
- An open heart; commitment, faith, love.
- 1 Samuel 25
- A capable, intelligent woman; poise and wisdom.
- Married to a boor: Nabal was rough, loud, bad-tempered, foolish.
- She influenced David with wise words, and prevented him from a rash action that he would have regretted.
- A woman of courage, poise, wisdom. Called for a purpose.
- A Jewish orphan catapulted into a luxurious lifestyle, yet she didn’t forget her training; her personal boundaries didn’t collapse under the pressure of conforming to a standard of external beauty; she didn’t lose her identity.
- Took the risk of action.
VIII. Mary, Mother of Jesus
- Matthew 1-2, 26-28; Luke 1-2; John 2, 19-21; Acts 1-2
- Luke 1:28: Because of her consecration, devotion, and purity of life, she had found favor with God.
- Luke 1:38, 45: A commitment to God’s purposes, even when she didn’t understand. Not an installment-plan commitment; acted on what she knew about God. A single-mindedness and humility.
- Luke 2:19, 51: Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. Increasing perplexity.
- Luke 1:35: A sword that will pierce even your own soul—for her, the coming of this Life would sweep the wide arc from the first blinding joy when He was born to the last blinding grief as she watched Him die.
- John 2:4: He was now more than her son; He was her God and would be her Savior.
- John 19:26-27: He gave John and Mary to each other.
- Acts 1:14: There on Pentecost, she was filled with the Spirit; her unique mission was completed, and now she would be one of His followers.
IX. Mary and Martha
- Luke 10:38-42; John 11
- It was not customary for a woman to sit talking with the men, but Mary followed her heart, not custom, and her heart remained close to Him.
- Jesus did not say that Mary should not be helping her sister, but that if there is a choice, it is better to show concern for the feeding of one’s spirit than for the feeding of one’s stomach.
- John 11/Martha ran to meet Him; He called for Mary. Mary had a deeper understanding than Martha; she knew He is the resurrection and the life.
- Acts 18
- A woman who dared to use her mind, but did not misuse it by conceit or domination. A clarity of mind and purpose. A harmonious relationship with her husband, but she was evidently the outstanding one of the two.
- Acts 18:2-3, 18-19, 26
- Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19
Related Topics: Character Study