August 19, 2017

Twelve Extraordinary Women of the Bible

I’m getting to know God’s people better this year… specifically, some of the women mentioned in His Word. Take a moment to consider some of those women.

  • Eve, Sarah, Rahab…  struggled with their own sinfulness yet so faithfully anticipated God’s Messiah, and received the honor of being used by God in extraordinary ways.
  • Hannah, Ruth… chose to worship God in the midst of great disappointment, and received  miraculous blessings for their courage and confidence in Him.
  • Mary, Anna… cherished God’s words and believed Him wholeheartedly, and God allowed their lives to intersect with the Messiah’s birth in miraculous ways.
  • Mary Magdalene, the Samaritan woman, Lydia… faced great social difficulties (demons, immorality, pagan beliefs), yet overcame those challenges through Christ’s divine power, and faithfully proclaimed His salvation to those around them.
  • Mary and Martha… found different ways of loving Christ, yet both received the tremendous blessing of His personal friendship and the miraculous outpouring of His love.

All these women were ordinary women in man’s eyes. They had nothing on the Queen of Sheba, Jezebel, or Herod’s wife. They weren’t royalty, and they didn’t marry into money. They had no real social standing in their communities (except maybe for Eve). They didn’t do anything “great” or “heroic” in the eyes of the world.

Yet all these women were extraordinary in God’s eyes! God counted their faith as righteousness, and chose to bless them in miraculous ways.

He took pagan Gentiles and grafted them into the line of Christ. He gave children where there had been lifelong barrenness. He showed mercy to those who were ignorantly enslaved to sin, giving the gift of life to those who lived in death. He gave the gift of resurrection — and friendship — to those who walked with Him faithfully.

John MacArthur’s book, Twelve Extraordinary Women, shares the stories of these twelve women.

Twelve Extraordinary Women

But this book is so much more than just stories! MacArthur includes plenty of background information for each woman, key characters in their lives, and common attitudes of their time and culture, and how their lives intersected with Scripture and God’s plan for redemption.

For instance, did you realize…

  • the inclusion of many “outcasts” in Christ’s lineage foreshadows His willingness to surrender His reputation and be made an “outcast” for us!
  • women in pagan cultures were considered inferior and ignorant, yet many of these women were theologians with intimate knowledge of the Scriptures!
  • the first time Christ vocalized His identity as Messiah was to a pagan harlot, who belonged to a people who were sworn enemies of the Jews!
  • the first person to see the resurrected Christ was not only a woman… but a woman was formerly a demon-possessed social outcast!
  • pagan women were often considered mere possessions of their husbands, yet one of those women not only ran her own business and household (in the absence of a husband), her home also became a crucial stepping-stone to reaching Europe with the gospel!

If all you want is a few character sketches, which speculate about the mundane details of their days — what they ate, or what they wore, or how they slept at night — then Twelve Extraordinary Women probably isn’t the book for you.

But if you want to dig deep into God’s Word, then it is. If you want to understand how these women fit into God’s overarching plan of redemption, and why they were deemed worthy enough to find a place in Scripture, then I highly recommend it! {I also recommend having a pencil handy to take notes.}

What other women of the Bible do you consider extraordinary?

 

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Comments

  1. We went through this book with a teenage girls group and really enjoyed it. I have always been intrigued by Priscila.

  2. I really should read more about the women in the Bible. I could use some encouragement.

  3. I read this book years ago, but I think I need to take it off the shelf and dig in again. Thanks for sharing on the Thrive @ Home Thursday link-up!