If you want to have an in-depth reading and study of the bible you might want to divide your study areas into topics, chapters, or even books. What about looking at specific people and how God used them?
The bible is full of brave characters who risked everything to obey the voice of God. While many of these characters are men, we have brilliant and excellent women who took up the mantles of strength. Strong women are inspiring, whether it's little girls or adult mothers who use their voice and ability to do amazing things.
Whether it is the interceding Hannah to Deborah the warrior, the following collection recounts stories of strong inspirational women in the Bible.
1. Mary, Mother of Jesus
Her role as the mother of Jesus goes without saying as the most amazing thing a human being has ever done. When the angel Gabriel came to tell her that she had found favor before the eyes of God, her humility and response were brilliant. Mary did not question the word of God nor did she foolishly agree to some crazy scheme between the angel and herself. I mean she was already betrothed to someone else. Yet, she knew that it was God, the creator of heavens and earth, who was calling her and she stepped up to the mission boldly in faith. Her quiet reflection on the promises of God, faithfulness, and submission shows a godly woman after the heart of God.
Ruth the Moabite has a captivating story that challenges anyone who reads it to be a little more brave and serious in their walk with God. Her story reads like the life of a normal person, just like us. She was a widow in a country that was enemies with Israel with no prospects. Afterwards, she lived with her widowed mother in law who had lost her husband and her two sons.
As a result of this tragedy, her sister-in-law decided to travel back to Moab. In contrast, Ruth decided to follow her mother-in-law. She said, “Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me God—not even death itself is going to come between us!” Ruth 1:16-17 MSG. Ruth put her faith in God and followed her mother-in-law.
The book of Esther is one of the only two books named after women in the Bible (Ruth and Esther). It is the biblical account of an orphan who grew up to be a very powerful queen in Israel.
She rose to her glory in the palace of King Xerxes to bring the nation of Israel from complete annihilation. She achieved all this during a time when Israel was a minority in Persia, suffering a lot of racial hatred from its citizens.
God works through the ordinary life of Esther to teach us that we can respond to God from any circumstance. The story of Esther is an inspirational piece that will never lose its taste across the centuries.
4. Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene is probably the most misunderstood character in the bible but there is no denying she was close to Jesus. She experienced miraculous healing and deliverance through the hand of the Lord. This experience fueled a new kind of dedication to the ministry of Jesus. Jewish women at the time did not carry very important roles which in turn made her involvement in ministry more radical for the time she was living in. She became the first witness of the empty tomb and one of the eye-witnesses of the resurrection.
The inclusion of the story of Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist quantifies the significance of her ministry. She and her husband grew up as Levite priests. The two had been Faithful in their service to God but they had not experienced the joy of having a child of their own. In a society where giving birth was a duty, Elizabeth would have had a sad life full of trials and shame. Yet, they did not stop serving in the temple. God being so good, He visited them and blessed them with a son-John. The role of preparing the way for the Messiah is not only played by their son but by Elizabeth as well. We can all imagine how lonely it would have felt for Mary, mother of Jesus if there was no other older woman who could relate with her experience.
Rachel's beauty overwhelmed Jacob the first time they laid eyes on each other. Jacob was running from the wrath of his brother after cheating his brother out of his birthright. She waited patiently for the love of her life to marry her 14 years after her father Laban deceived him. And although she was childless at the beginning God faithfully fulfils his promise by giving them two sons, Joseph and Benjamin.
Can you imagine the torment that Hannah endured from Peninah every year when their husband Elkanah took his family to the temple? Desperate for answers she looked in the only place she knew she could be heard; God. She poured her heart into God for long periods. While wailing for God's help, the temple priest accused her of coming to the temple drunk. This woman made an oath to God that if she was able to conceive she would give back the child to God.
God answered her prayer and she kept her word. Her son ended up becoming one of the greatest prophets that Israel had ever seen.
8. The Slave Girl of Naaman
When we read the story of Naaman and the little slave girl from Israel, nobody expects this lady to be counted among the great exceptional women. Her unwavering faith in God even while in the land of the enemy is something we can all emulate.
This is an awe-inspiring figure who overturns the misconceptions we might have about the leadership, strength and bravery of women. Deborah lived in a time when Israel was led by judges. It was a season of war because the nation of Israel was still trying to find their identity in Canaan. Her husband was a quiet bright man. Deborah judged cases of people who travelled far and wide to come to her hearing at the shade of a palm tree. When Israel goes to fight the Canaanites Deborah advises and offers strategies of war that bring them victory.
The Bible introduces Priscilla and her husband Aquila as tentmakers. They go-ahead to start a church where they preached the gospel until late in Paul's ministry. From Paul's letters to the Church in Corinth we understand how corrupt and ungodly the society was. Nevertheless, her church thrived and grew in this society, showing her resilience and faithfulness. Priscilla teaches us that God can use the talents of anyone to accomplish great things during tough circumstances.