While there are many inspiring female figures in Scripture and history to look to as examples of righteous walks with God and heroic deeds, only a small fraction of these women tend to get any attention in the Christian church. We have all heard of Esther, Ruth, and the Proverbs 31 Woman as models for what Christian women should be: loving and meek mothers, wives, and homemakers.
While these are wonderful aspirations for any woman, those are not the only traits or virtues that godly women can or should pursue. Overemphasis on certain role models provides an unfinished picture that limits the possibilities of what a godly woman can aspire to become.
Yes, women can glean life principles from Ruth’s journey of grief to healing. We can learn from Esther’s wisdom in standing up to prejudice and hatred in order to do what is right. And of course, the attributes of the virtuous woman can be applied to women of all backgrounds. But that’s not all the Bible shows us that women can do!
- Like the midwives of Israel, women can be activists refusing to acquiesce to the ungodly demands of a pagan culture and government (Exodus 1:15-19).
- Like Deborah, they can be judges and/or military leaders, guiding their nation (Judges 4-5).
- Like Miriam and Huldah, they can be prophetesses for their people (Exodus 15:20-21 & 2 Kings 22:14–20 & 2 Chronicles 34:22–28).
- Like the daughters of Zelophehad (Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah), women can petition their governing leader for their rightful land rights and inheritance (Numbers 36:10-12 & Joshua 17:3-6).
- Like Priscilla, they can preach the gospel from the pulpit (2 Timothy 4:19 & 1 Corinthians 16:19), and they can run ministries aimed at serving the poor, like Tabitha (Acts 9:36).
- Like Lydia, they can be successful entrepreneurs in their communities (Acts 16:14-15).
These are just a few of the unsung examples from the Bible that can help widen the characteristics of what a godly woman is. Throughout Scripture, we hear the voices of women from different ages, backgrounds, cultures, and eras, each of them unique and still necessary to this day.
It is important for women to understand that God made each of them uniquely for a purpose, and that they are chosen to fulfill the plans He has made for them. They cannot fit a mold they were never created to fill – general standards that do not fit every person’s talents, aspirations, and personalities can cause confusion, fear, and resentment. Like men, women should follow the call of the Lord wherever it leads and be uniquely themselves. And just as the women in the Bible strived to serve God to the best of their ability according their individual and unique giftings, so can we today.
To learn more about what the church has been equipped and called to accomplish, check out some of the online Bible studies at International School of the word. Consider starting with our course, Women in Ministry. Visit www.ISOW.org today to get started on an affordable online biblical education!
– Eszter Willard, Staff Writer