The Prominence of Women in the New Testament
While there are many models of women of faith in the Old Testament
(Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, Meriam, Deborah, Abigail, Rahab, Ruth
and Naomi, Abigail, etc.), I want to concentrate on the New Testament.
Anna (Luke 2:36-38)--she was a widow who lived in the Temple for more than 60 years fasting and praying. When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple, Anna prophesied that he was the deliverer they had long awaited.
Elizabeth (Luke 2:5-7, 57-60)--she was the mother of John the Baptist,
whose work paved the way for Jesus; she also named John. She also blessed Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:42-45)
Mary (Luke 1:26-31)--mother of Jesus and blessed among all women.
Jesus flouted the conventions of his day by including women among his disciples (Mk. 15:40-41; Lk. 24:10; Jn. 19:25) His traveling band included a number of women. Joanna was the wife of the chief steward in Herod's court; Salome was the mother of James and John. Mary, the
wife of Clopas, was the mother of James the Less and of Joses. And
Mary Magdalene was the first witness of the Resurrection.
Mary and Martha (see Jn. 11 and Lk. 10:38-42) did not travel with Jesus but were among his closest friends. Their home in Bethany, a few miles southeast of Jerusalem, was a favorite refuge and resting
place for Jesus.
Several of Jesus' healings involved women: Simon Peter's mother in law of fever (Luke 4:38-39); a twelve year old girl (Luke 8:41-42, 49-56). He healed a woman with a 12 year infirmity (verses 43-48). And he healed a woman who had been crippled 18 years (Luke 13:10-17)
Jesus in his parables used women as good examples. The woman who found the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10); the widow who kept going to a judge to obtain justice (Luke 18:1-5); the poor widow who gave two small coins to the temple (Luke 21:1-4)
Women were there at Pentecost (Acts 1:14) and continued to play a central role in the life of the Christian congregation. Dorcas
(see Acts 9:36-42) was a seamstress and philanthropist in the city of Joppa. She had a ministry of almsgiving and good deeds.
Lydia (see Acts 16:14-40) was a tradeswoman in Philippi, a woman of wealth and influence. She was a "dealer in purple color"--a merchant of one of the region's most valuable commodities. She was Paul's first convert at Philippi. She brought her whole household into the new faith and opened her home to Paul and Silas, providing them a place to teach and celebrate the Lord's Supper.
Paul also converted some reputable Greek women (Acts 17:12; one named Damaris in vs. 34).
Priscilla shared with her husband Aquila) the office of instruction (Acts 18:26)
Nympha (Colossians 3:15)--a congregation meets in her house
Lois and Eunice are responsibile for handing down the faith to
Timothy (2 Tim. 1:5). At the end of 2 Tim. greetings sent include one to Claudia. Philemon 2 mentions Apphia.
Romans 16 includes several women: Phoebe, who is a minister of he congregation that is in Cenchreae. Priscilla and Aquila are fellow workers in Christ, with a congregation meeting in their house.
Greet Mary 9 ( vs. 6), who has performed many labors for you. Greet
Tryphaena and Tryphosa,(vs. 12) women who have worked hard in the Lord. Greet Persis our beloved one, for she performed many labors in the Lord. See also verses 13 and 15.
So rather than being insignificant in the New Testament, we see
that women played a major role.