One of my passions over the last twenty-five years has been studying and teaching the women of the Bible. Did you know there are 180 women named in the Bible and 200+ other women referred to as someone’s wife, daughter, etc.? I have had the privilege of speaking to women’s groups and Bible studies, as well as writing devotionals and magazine articles about these women. I never stop learning from them or being amazed by them.
Interesting facts about Women in the Bible:
- Breakdown of un-named women
# of times mentioned # of women discussed
almost 400 28
Women in the Old Testament were worth 3/5 the value of a man (Leviticus 27:1-8).
Equality for women came through Jesus Christ (Galations 3:26-28, Joel 2:28-29).
People usually read the book of Acts to learn about the first century church, the spread of the gospel, or Paul’s missionary journeys. I wrote a scholarly article almost ten years ago following the women through the book of Acts and discovered how instrumental they were to the growth of the Christian movement. So for your edification, I decided to break that study down, and create a ten-part series over the “Women of Acts.” I hope this will whet your appetite for further investigation.
Luke wrote the New Testament book of Acts to document the details of the apostles’ ministries and how the Church grew and spread during the century after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. His account is a chronological report of what happened, when, and where. Included in Luke’s account are stories of women of all backgrounds: servants, new believers, business women, wives, demon-possessed, and community leaders. Each of these women had a purpose and a contribution to the spreading of the gospel.
One of the key words in Acts is “prayer.” Believers prayed. Visions occurred during prayer. New believers were added as the apostles and disciples looked for places to pray. Most importantly, prayers were answered. Throughout the Bible, we are commanded to pray. I Samuel 12:23 even states that not praying for someone is a “sin against the Lord.” Jesus taught his disciples to pray and expected them to do so. Believers in the first century church also obeyed Jesus’ teaching and commands to pray.
Acts 1:14 states, “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” Women were not the only prayer warriors, but neither were they segregated or given lesser status. “They all joined together,” they all shared the concern and burden for Christ’s return and for the disciple’s safety, and that is an example of how we should pray today.
The book of Acts covers an amazing account of travel, evangelism, and people in its record of the growth of the first century church. In each of these activities, women were involved in prayer, ministry and support of the gospel. What an example for women who wonder how they can be used to further the gospel in today’s world! I hope you will follow this series and share what you learn from these women.