The bible speaks very highly of those with faith. There is an entire chapter in the book of Hebrews that identifies heroes of faith. I talk a lot about people of faith in this blog. Most of the people mentioned in the bible, and in this blog, when talking about faith are men. That certainly doesn’t mean that men have more faith than women or men’s faith somehow is more powerful than that of women. A quick look at church attendance, and who gets things done in our churches will tell you that’s not the case. In fact it may even be the other way around. I’m just kidding of course but there are many women of faith who can be great examples for us. We can learn a lot from studying them and their stories.
Women who are identified as heroes of faith
Everybody has heard of Sarah, Abraham’s wife she’s mentioned in Hebrews 11 along with the heroes of faith;
Hebrews 11:11 (HCSB) By faith even Sarah herself, when she was unable to have children, received power to conceive offspring, even though she was past the age, since she considered that the One who had promised was faithful.
Rahab is the only other woman mentioned by name in Hebrews 11.
Hebrews 11:30-31 (HCSB) 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after being encircled ⌊by the Israelites⌋ for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute received the spies in peace and didn’t perish with those who disobeyed.
Unnamed women of faith
Women who received their dead to life again
Hebrews 11:35 (HCSB) 35 Women received their dead—they were raised to life again. Some men were tortured, not accepting release, so that they might gain a better resurrection,
I don’t know if the writer of Hebrews had these women in mind but they fit the description of women whose children and other family members rose to life again. A testament to their faith, hope, and love.
The widow of Zarephath
This is the widow who Elijah asked for a some bread during a famine. She told him that she only had a little bit of flour and oil and she was going to bake some bread for her and her son to eat and then they would die. Elijah told her to not be afraid and go ahead and make the bread for him and afterward she would always have flour and oil until the famine was over. She did and she had food to eat throughout the famine. Later her son got sick and died.
1 Kings 17:17-18, 21-24 (HCSB) 17 After this, the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. His illness became very severe until no breath remained in him. 18 She said to Elijah, “Man of God, what do we have in common? Have you come to remind me of my guilt and to kill my son?” 21 Then he stretched himself out over the boy three times. He cried out to the LORD and said, “My LORD God, please let this boy’s life return to him!”22 So the LORD listened to Elijah’s voice, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived.23 Then Elijah took the boy, brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. Elijah said, “Look, your son is alive.”24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know you are a man of God and the LORD’s word from your mouth is true.”
The woman of Shunem
She and her husband provided a room for the prophet Elisha when he was in their town. Elisha was told that she had been unable to conceive and he told her that she would be blessed by God and would have a child, and she bore a son. Some years later her son died. She went and got Elisha and brought him back to her house.
2 Kings 4:32-37 (HCSB)32 When Elisha got to the house, he discovered the boy lying dead on his bed.33 So he went in, closed the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the LORD.34 Then he went up and lay on the boy: he put mouth to mouth, eye to eye, hand to hand. While he bent down over him, the boy’s flesh became warm.35 Elisha got up, went into the house, and paced back and forth. Then he went up and bent down over him again. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes. 36 Elisha called Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite woman.” He called her and she came. Then Elisha said, “Pick up your son.” 37 She came, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; she picked up her son and left.
Mother in Nain
This lady, a widow, lost her only son. Jesus was moved with compassion and, for her sake, resurrected her son.
Luke 7:13-15 (HCSB) 13 When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said, “Don’t cry.” 14 Then He came up and touched the open coffin, and the pallbearers stopped. And He said, “Young man, I tell you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Mary and Martha
These women and their brother were friends of Jesus and Lazarus got sick, they got word to Jesus but Jesus delayed in going and Lazarus died. When Jesus did finally get there He performed the great miracle and raised their brother.
John 11:32, 43-44 (HCSB) 32 When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet and told Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died!” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!"44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go."
Other women of faith, hope and love
Hannah was the mother of the great prophet Samuel, who anointed Saul Israel’s first king, and David, perhaps it’s greatest king. Hannah would go to Shiloh year after year, with her husband, Elkanah, and his other wife, to worship and sacrifice. Every year Elkanah’s second wife, Peninnah, would ridicule her because she couldn’t have children, especially a son. Hannah didn’t give up though. She continued to pray and ask God for a son. In her prayer she told God that if He would give her a son that she would give him back to serve Him. God did bless her, she conceived and had a son, Samuel.
1 Samuel 1:19-20, 27-28 (HCSB) 19 The next morning Elkanah and Hannah got up early to bow in worship before the LORD. Afterward, they returned home to Ramah. Then Elkanah was intimate with his wife Hannah, and the LORD remembered her. 20 After some time, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, because ⌊she said⌋, “I requested him from the LORD.” 27 I prayed for this boy, and since the LORD gave me what I asked Him for, 28 I now give the boy to the LORD. For as long as he lives, he is given to the LORD.” Then he bowed in worship to the LORD there.
Hannah honored her promise and as a result she had five more children, including three more sons.
1 Samuel 2:21 (HCSB) The LORD paid attention to Hannah’s ⌊need⌋, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the LORD.
Esther was the young Hebrew woman who became a queen to Ahasuerus the king of the Medes when the Hebrews were in exile. During this time there was a plot to annihilate the Hebrews through genocide. She decided at the urging of her cousin Mordecai, to approach Ahasuerus with a plan that would stop the plot. She decided to go to the king even though he had not summoned her, which could have cost her life.
Esther 4:11, 16 (HCSB)11 “All the royal officials and the people of the royal provinces know that one law applies to every man or woman who approaches the king in the inner courtyard and who has not been summoned--⌊the⌋ death ⌊penalty⌋. Only if the king extends the gold scepter will that person live. I have not been summoned to appear before the king for the last 30 days.” 16 “Go and assemble all the Jews who can be found in Susa and fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, day or night. I and my female servants will also fast in the same way. After that, I will go to the king even if it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.”
She did go in faith and the result was that her people were able to defend themselves;
Esther 8:8, 11 (HCSB) 8 You may write in the king’s name whatever pleases you concerning the Jews, and seal it with the royal signet ring. A document written in the king’s name and sealed with the royal signet ring cannot be revoked.” ; 11 The king’s edict gave the Jews in each and every city the right to assemble and defend themselves, to destroy, kill, and annihilate every ethnic and provincial army hostile to them, including women and children, and to take their possessions as spoils of war.
Ruth left everything she had for something far more greater than anything she’d ever imagined.
Ruth 1:16 (HCSB) But Ruth replied: Do not persuade me to leave you or go back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
What happened as a result of Ruth’s faith, hope and love?
Ruth 4:13, 17 (HCSB)13 Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he was intimate with her, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 17 The neighbor women said, “A son has been born to Naomi,” and they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
She was an ancestor of King David and consequently an earthly ancestor of Jesus Christ.
Elizabeth was John the Baptist’s mother. Again this was a woman who was barren and old. .” By the way Elizabeth’s cousin was a young girl named Mary.
Luke 1:24-25 (HCSB) 24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived and kept herself in seclusion for five months. She said, 25 “The Lord has done this for me. He has looked with favor in these days to take away my disgrace among the people
Mary the mother of Jesus
Mary the mother of Jesus is the most honored mother in the bible and of all time. Mary was very young, some say as young as 12 or 13 years old. She was also a peasant which means that she was very poor.
Mary, although troubled, didn’t hesitate or question the angel Gabriel when he told her that she had found favor with God and that she was going to have a son who she was to name Jesus, all this without having any intimate relationships with a man
Luke 1:38 (HCSB) “I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her. Well we know the rest of the story Mary did give birth to our Lord and Savior Jesus only to see Him crucified on a cross for her salvation and ours.
These are just a few examples of women of faith in bible. So the next time that you are tempted to think that men are more important in God’s plan for mankind …..think again.
Who are some other women of faith throughout history?
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.