Learning to thrive in the new life Jesus offers us – 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

Bible Women with Spiritual Authority

This article is also available in Spanish here.

Bible Women with Spiritual Authority

Miriam, a prophetess who led Israel with her brothers Moses and Aaron (Micah 6:4).
Extract from a painting by Anselm Friedrich Feuerbach

Spiritual authority is a difficult concept to define comprehensively;[1] however it is closely linked with hearing from God and being commissioned by God for ministry and service. Hierarchical Complementarians are Christians who believe that it is only men, and not women, who have been given spiritual authority by God in the church and in the family.[2]

Complementarians believe that as the spiritual authorities, it is the men who need to seek God’s will and guidance on behalf of the church community. They believe that it is only male ministers who have the spiritual authority to hear from God in order to minister from “the Word” in a public church meeting. Complementarians believe that in the family, it is the husband who has direct authority from God, and it is the husband who has the final word on any decisions. They see the husband as the mediator of God’s will to the wife and children.

In contrast to what Complementarians believe, the Bible contains several accounts where God bypassed husbands and male guardians and spoke to women directly with messages of vital significance. Where God did not speak personally, he sent angels. This article will look at a few of these women whom God entrusted with spiritual authority – Bible women who acted without the permission or protection of men.

OLD TESTAMENT WOMEN

Samson’s Mother (Judges chapter 13)

In Judges chapter 13 there is a narrative where the Angel of the LORD[3] reveals God’s plan for Israel’s deliverance to an unnamed woman. This unnamed woman was married to man named Manoah, and yet the Angel entrusted God’s plans and instructions to the woman. The Angel told the woman that she would bear a special son, and her son would deliver Israel from the Philistines. The Angel gave the woman instructions about her diet and he told her never to cut her son’s hair.

The woman told her husband about her encounter. Manoah, the husband, wanted to hear the instructions for himself, so he asked God to send the man of God again. He wanted to know how to bring up the child (Judg. 13:8). God answered his prayer but, again, the Angel appeared to the woman.  The woman ran to get her husband. When Manoah met the Angel, the Angel repeated what he had said previously to the woman:

Your wife must do all that I have told her. She must not eat . . . . She must do everything I have told her.” (13:13-14, my underlines.)

God fully trusted the woman to obey and follow these instructions without her husband’s permission or help.

The woman recognised from the beginning that the messenger “looked like an angel of God, very awesome” (Judg. 13:6). Manoah, on the other hand, did not realise that the messenger was an angel until he offered a burnt sacrifice and the Angel of the Lord ascended in the flames and disappeared (Judg. 13:17). Terrified, he said to his wife, “We are doomed to die, we have seen the Lord.” The woman prudently replied, “If the Lord had meant to kill us he would not have accepted the burnt offering.” Throughout this narrative the woman shows herself to be discerning and sensible.

Deborah (Judges chapters 4-5)

No list of women with spiritual authority would be complete without Deborah who was the leader of Israel at some point in their history. Judges chapters 4 and 5 records Deborah’s leadership and does not mention that there was anything peculiar about her being both a leader and a woman.  In fact, her gender does not seem to have been an issue at all. Deborah was married, but the Bible mentions nothing at all about her husband, apart from his name: Lappidoth (Judg. 4:4).

In Judges chapter 5 we read that prior to Deborah’s leadership: “village life in Israel had ceased” (Judg. 5:7), “the roads were abandoned” (Judg. 5:6) and Israel had chosen false gods (Judg. 5:8). The clear implication is that Israeli society became more civilized, safer and more god-fearing because of Deborah’s leadership.

Deborah was an excellent and versatile leader. She was a prophetess (Judg. 4:4, 14), a judge (Judg. 4:5) and a military leader (Judg. 4:6-10). Deborah’s prophetic insight was accurate and she showed decisive leadership in military matters.

Complementarians have unfairly speculated that Deborah became a leader because there were no men capable of the task. However the Scriptures are clear that Israel was not without male leaders at that time. Judges chapter 5 mentions leaders (Judg. 5:2-3), nobles (Judg. 5:13), princes (Judg. 5:2, 9, 15) and warriors. Moreover it is evident that Deborah encouraged other leaders in Israel, and that these leaders had great confidence in her leadership. [More about Deborah and the “no available men” argument here.]

In comparison with the other judges mentioned in the book of Judges, who were all men and mostly flawed, there is not one negative word said about Deborah; yet Complementarians still assert that leadership and spiritual authority is for men only. Rather than seeing Deborah as a scriptural precedent for women in leadership ministry, they dismiss Deborah as an anomaly. This stance of the Complementarians is myopic and unjust.  Deborah was clearly an outstanding and respected female leader blessed by God.

Other Old Testament Women

The Wise Woman of Abel Beth Maacah: The woman was clearly a person of influence, possibly even the leader of the fortified town of Abel Beth Maacah in Israel.  As a civil leader in Israel, this women, like Deborah, would also have had a degree of spiritual authority. Through her wise use of authority and peaceful persuasion she rescued her town from being destroyed by Joab,[4] the commander of King David’s army. (See 2 Sam. 20:14ff esp v22).

Joab and David had no problem with heeding the good advice of women. Joab knew that David listened to women,[5] so when he was unsuccessful in persuading David about a certain cause of action he asked the Wise Woman of Tekoa to help him (2 Sam 14ff). The Wise Woman of Tekoa and the Wise Woman of Abel Beth Maacah are not the same person. “Wise Woman” may in fact be a leadership title and not just a descriptor. Wise women may have functioned as living repositories of wisdom and lore passed on orally.

King Lemuel’s Mother: Proverbs 31:1-9 contains the words of an oracle (prophecy) of King Lemuel’s mother. This woman taught her son – a grown man and a king – this oracle. Her inspired words have been recorded in Scripture for other kings to learn from. [More on King Lemuel’s mother here.]

Huldah: When Josiah, King of Judah, wanted to learn more about how to worship God, he sent a delegation to a woman – to the prophetess Huldah (2 Chron 34:19-33).

Linda L. Belleville (2004:113) writes:

The size and prestige of the embassy that sought her counsel indicates something about not only the seriousness of the situation but also Huldah’s professional stature: the High Priest (Hilkiah), the father of the future governor (Ahikam), the secretary of state (Shaphan) and the king’s officer (Asaiah). Huldah’s counsel was immediately heeded, and sweeping religious reforms resulted (2 Kings 22:8-20; 23:1-25).

The Wailing Women: During the dark days of Judah’s apostasy, when deception was rife (Jer 9:4-6), the only people who listened to God and the prophet Jeremiah were some women. God gave the skilled wailing women a message and he authorised them to proclaim this message in his name. (See Jeremiah 9:17-22.) [More on Wailing Women here.]

A Shunamite woman came up with the inspired idea of building a small room to accommodate the prophet Elisha. Her perception, initiative and generosity brought great blessing to her, to her husband and to her son. When reading her story in 2 Kings 4:8-37 we can see that this woman had spiritual insight and fortitude. The Shunamite woman, and not her husband (4:23a), displayed and used authority for the benefit of her family.

Hannah is clearly the main protagonist in the narrative of 1 Samuel chapter 1 where she prays for a child, vows to give that child back to God to be employed in Tabernacle service, and then fulfills her vow. Hannah’s husband, Elkanah, is portrayed as loving and supportive.  Elkanah trusted in his wife’s decisions and actions, and complied with them. Apart from 1 Samuel 1:19b, it appears that Elkanah did not mediate or intervene in the situation at all. Furthermore, Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1-10 is part of Holy Scripture, and has the spiritual authority of Scripture.

NEW TESTAMENT WOMEN

Mary the Mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38)

Most Bible scholars believe that Mary was a young teenager when she was visited by the angel Gabriel. Despite her age and her gender, God sent the angel directly to Mary with the message that she had been chosen for the wonderful role of being the mother of the Messiah.  Mary would have been under the protection of a guardian, who was very likely male, and she was betrothed to a man named Joseph, yet the angel Gabriel took God’s word directly to this teenage girl.[6]

If the Complementarian concept of male authority is valid, one would assume that Gabriel would have visited the patriarch of Mary’s family with the news, especially considering the ramifications of the remarkable, and potentially scandalous, situation Mary would soon find herself in.

Mary’s humble compliance with God’s extraordinary calling on her life is exemplary.[7] Moreover Luke recorded Mary’s faith-filled song of praise, often called the Magnificat, in his gospel (Luke 1:46-55). These words of Mary have the authority of Holy Scripture.[8]

Mary Magdalene (Mat 28:9-10; Mark 16:9-11; John 20:17-18)

It is difficult to overestimate the significance of the fact that the first person to see Jesus alive after his crucifixion was a woman. Did Mary just happen to be at the right place at the right time for this monumentally momentous meeting with the newly risen Jesus, or was it a divinely appointed encounter?

I believe that it is no coincidence that the first person Jesus saw after his resurrection – at the dawning of the New Covenant – was a woman. Jesus’ act of redemption and his inauguration of the New Covenant brought equality for all people, regardless of gender; and with equality, the real possibility of affinity and harmony between the sexes – reversing the divisive effects of sin.

At their meeting, Jesus authorises and entrusts Mary with certain messages for his disciples who, as yet, still believed that their Lord and friend, along with their hopes, was dead.

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her” (John 20:18).

Jesus had no problem authorising and entrusting his marvellous message, that he was alive, to a woman. Jesus’ commission has led the Eastern Orthodox Church to call Mary Magdalene “the apostle to the apostles”. [More on Mary Magdalene here.]

Martha (John chapter 11)

Martha has been unfairly maligned by some because of just one incident (Luke 10:38-42); however Martha made two very astute statements of faith concerning Jesus and eternal life recorded in John chapter 11.

Martha answered, “I know he [her deceased brother Lazarus] will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  John 11:24
“Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ,the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” John 11:27

This second statement is very similar to Peter’s recorded in Matthew 16:15-17:

“But what about you?” he [Jesus] asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”

Jesus states that Peter could not have known that he was the Christ, the Son of God, unless God the Father had revealed it to him. Likewise, Martha’s faith statements could only have come by divine inspiration.

Martha and her sister Mary of Bethany were devoted disciples of Jesus.  Jesus allowed Mary to anoint him and prepare him for burial (John 11:2). We hear nothing about their brother Lazarus’s faith in the Scriptures even though, “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (John 11:5). Here Martha’s name appears first.  Martha was a woman of great faith and spiritual acuity. [More on Martha and Mary of Bethany here.]

Other New Testament Women

Since Pentecost, God has communicated personally with his people more freely, primarily through the agency of the Holy Spirit. When Peter quoted Joel’s prophecy on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, he made it clear that spiritual abilities, in particular prophecy, were now freely available to both men and women, to the young and to the old (Acts 2:17-18).

The Holy Spirit gives his gifts and abilities without apparent regard to gender (1 Cor 12:4-11); this includes the gifts of leading and teaching (Rom 12:6-8). Even Complementarian Mary Kassian (1990:168) observes, “There is no evidence in the Bible that gifts are assigned by gender. While it is true that [male] elders may possess gifts of teaching, administration, and pastoring, it is equally true that women possess these identical gifts.”

In fact, several women are mentioned by name in the New Testament who functioned as church leaders and ministers: Philip’s daughters, Priscilla (with Aquila), Nympha, Phoebe, Junia (with Andronicus), Euodia and Syntyche, etc. [For more about these women see the links below.]

Conclusion

Mary Kassian, and other Complementarians, have recognised that women tend to hear from God more than men, and yet they maintain that it is the men who have the spiritual authority in the church and home.[9] When I read the arguments of Complementarians, I get the sense that they do not have confidence in the abilities of women. They seem worried that society will crumble if women take more initiative or move outside of certain restrictive roles which they erroneously claim have been instituted by God. It seems that Complementarians have overlooked the Biblical examples where God used and blessed courageous women for his purposes, often in vitally important situations which had widespread ramifications.

From the Scriptures, we can clearly see that God does not speak solely to men and husbands, even in matters that directly affect them and their families. God can and does entrust his word – with the authority it entails – directly to women and wives. God can and does speak to women without using husbands and male church leaders as mediators. All believers have direct access to God through Jesus and his Holy Spirit, and vice versa.

“There is one mediator between God and people (or humankind), the person (or human being) Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5, literal translation.)


Endnotes

[1] Complementarian Mary Kassian (1990:32-33) attempts to define “authority” purely in terms of hierarchical structures.

[2] Complementarians interpret the two instances (Eph 5:23; 1 Cor 11:3) where Paul says that “the husband is the ‘head’ (Greek-kephalē) of the wife” as meaning that the husband has authority, including spiritual authority, over the wife.  This interpretation assumes that the English (metaphorical) meaning for “head” is the same as the Greek (metaphorical) meaning for “head”.  In English, “head” can mean “chief” or “leader”, etc, however in Hellenistic Greek, of which New Testament Greek is a subset, “head” rarely means “chief” or “authority”.  Moreover Complementarians elaborate on the supposed spiritual authority of the husband over the wife in ways that are not in any way supported by Scripture.  [My article on Kephalē and “Male Headship” in Paul’s Letters here.]

The authority which the Holy Spirit gives is a functional authority to engage effectively in certain ministries.  It is not an authority over a person or group of people.

[3] Many theologians believe that the Angel of the Lord may have been a Theophany or Christophany: a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ.

[4] Joab and his brothers Abishai and Asahel, who were all great warriors in David’s army, are frequently mentioned as being the offspring of their mother Zeruiah.  Their father’s name is never mentioned. One cannot help wondering what sort woman Zeruiah was, and what sort of influence she may have had on her sons.  (1 Sam 26:6; 2 Sam 2:13,18; 3:39; 8:16; 14:1; 16:9-10; 17:25; 18: 2; 19:21-23; 21:17; 23:18, 37; 1 Kings 1:7; 2:5, 22; 1 Chron 2:16; 11:6, 39; 18:12, 15; 26:28; 27: 24.)  Zeruiah was one of David’s sisters (1 Chron 2:13-16).

[5] David listened to Abigail (1 Sam 25:23-35) and Bathsheba (1 Kings 1:11-31), etc.

[6] Only later did the angel tell Joseph about God’s plan for Mary.

[7] Mary’s humble and obedient response to the angelic message is a contrast to the disbelief of  Zechariah, the priest (Luke 1:19-20).

[8] The inspired songs, prayers, praises and teachings of Miriam (Ex 15:20-21), Deborah (Judges 5:1ff), Hannah (1 Sam 2:1ff), Abigail (1 Sam 25:28-31), King Lemuel’s Mother (Prov 31:1-9), Mary (Luke 1:46ff) and Elizabeth (Luke 1:41ff) are considered prophetic and are included in Scripture.  According to the stance of many churches, these women would not be permitted to teach men, or preach, about their own words, even though their words have the authority of Scripture.

[9] Mary Kassian (1990:111) has written, “. . . both psychology and history lend credible support to the biblical recognition of innate differences between men and women, with a major difference being a heightened spiritual perceptiveness in women.” Sadly, Kassian sees this heightened spiritual perceptiveness as including a general propensity towards spiritual deception among women. (The Bible never states that women are more easily deceived than men.) Despite believing that women are prone to deception, Mary Kassian has a public ministry as a Christian speaker and writer.


Bibliography

Holy Bible, New International Version®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Kassian, Mary A., Women, Creation and the Fall, Westchester, Il: Crossway Books, 1990.

Belleville, Linda L., “Women Leaders in the Bible” in Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity without Hierarchy, Ronald W. Pierce and Rebecca Merrill Groothous (ed), Leicester:InterVaristy Press, 2004.

Merril Groothius, Rebecca, “Equal in Being, Unequal in Role: Exploring the Logic of Woman’s Subordination”, in Discovering Biblical Equality: Complementarity without Hierarchy, Ronald W. Pierce and Rebecca Merrill Groothous (ed), Leicester:InterVaristy Press, 2004.

© 12th of October, 2010; Margaret Mowczko


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Posted October 12th, 2010 . Categories/Tags: Bible Women, Equality and Gender Issues, Equality in Marriage, Equality in Ministry, Women in Ministry, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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50 comments on “Bible Women with Spiritual Authority

  1. KR Wordgazer says:

    This is excellent! Your study is very comprehensive. I learned a lot!

  2. Mabel Yin says:

    May I also add Luke 2:36: “There was also a prophetess, Anna…38: Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”

    As far as I can tell (let me know if I’m wrong), this is the first prophet in the NT to foretell about who baby Jesus was. Simon was the 1st one to prophesy about baby Jesus, but the NT did not identify him as a prophet, and he didn’t go out and spread the word either. Anna was identified as a prophet, she prophesied about Jesus, and went out to tell everyone. Could it be possible that Anna was the 1st prophet to bring a message from God to the people after 400 years of silence between the old and new testament?
    She spoke to “all” in Jerusalem about the Messiah. “All” I assume include men and women. Who says women has no spiritual authority?

  3. Marg says:

    @ KR Wordgazer Thanks! 🙂

    @ Mabel I would say that the “all” includes men and women. 🙂 Certainly God used angels to tell people about Jesus’ conception and birth. Perhaps Anna was the first person to prophecy that the baby Jesus was the Messiah. However the angels had already told lots of people: the shepherds knew, Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph all knew. The Holy Spirit had told Simeon. And even the magi, (still on their way from the east) sort of knew, because of the “star”.

    As you’ve pointed out prophecy was alive and well before Jesus’ birth. Simeon had already received a message from and God, and he is described as having the Holy Spirit upon him; and Anna is recognised as a prophetess, and may well have been a prophetess for much of her widowed life. When Zechariah had an angelic encounter (Luke 1:22), the people waiting for him realised that he’d seen a vision; but there is no indication that they thought that there was anything unusual about seeing a vision.

    In both the Old and New Testaments, prophecy was not an ability or a role restricted to men. Miriam (Ex 15:20-21; Micah 6:4), Deborah (Judges 4:4), Huldah (Kings 22:14), Isaiah’s wife (Isaiah 8:3) and Anna (Luke 2:36) are mentioned in the Bible as being prophetesses. Other Bible women are also mentioned as prophesying: Rachel (Gen 30:24), Hannah (1 Sam 2:1-10), Elisabeth (Luke 1:41-45), Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:46-55), and Philip’s four daughters (Acts 21:8-9). And as I’ve mentioned in the article, some of the women’s prophecies have been recorded as scripture.

    The prophetic messages of these women were not just spoken to women.

    Also, the New Testament leadership role of prophet is mentioned before the role of teacher in Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Cor 12:28-29.

    Here is one of my favourite verses: . . . your sons and your daughters will prophesy; . . . Even on both my male servants (ministers) and female servants (ministers), in those days, I will pour out my Spirit and they will prophecy.” Acts 2:17-18

  4. […] Deborah is just one of several notable women leaders mentioned in the Bible.  At some point in Israel’s history, Deborah was their leader.  Judges chapters 4 and 5 records Deborah’s leadership and does not mention that there was anything peculiar about her being a leader and a woman.  In fact, her gender does not seem to have been an issue at all.  Deborah was an excellent leader.  She was a prophetess, a judge and a military leader.  In comparison with other leaders (judges) mentioned in the book of Judges, there are no negative words about Deborah; yet Complementarians still assert that leadership is for men only. (There is no hint in Judges that Deborah became a leader because there were no men capable of the task.)  […]

  5. […] [3] More about Deborah, Huldah and Samson’s mother here.   […]

  6. […] Bible Women with Spiritual Authority […]

  7. […] This may also interest you: Bible Women with Spiritual Authority […]

  8. […] Bible Women with Spiritual Authority Beauty […]

  9. […] “For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife” (1 Cor 7:14a). How do Christians who believe that only men and husbands have spiritual authority explain this? […]

  10. […] Bible Women with Spiritual Authority […]

  11. Thanks again for a great article, Marg!

  12. […] Bible Women with Spiritual Authority Beauty […]

  13. […] Bible Women with Spiritual Authority […]

  14. […] Bible Women with Spiritual Authority […]

  15. […] Bible Women with Spiritual Authority […]

  16. […] Scripture portrays Hannah and Jochabed as proactive women, not as passive, resigned women. […]

  17. angela says:

    Here is food for thought, “Authorship of the Pauline epistles” can be found on http://www.wikipedia.org
    In this the author tells us that of the books that are attributed to Paul only five of them are not in dispute. Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and the Philippians.
    The other books attributed to Paul are ether Deutero-Pauline or Pseudepigraphical.
    The Pseudepigraphical would be the Pastoral Epistles, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. Which means if Paul didn’t write 1 Timothy , he didn’t write that women shouldn’t teach or have authority over men. Which would make the arguement that women should be less than a man null and void.
    I have other issues with 1Timothy It contradicts other books of the Bible.
    Where it states that Adam was first and Eve was second, and she was decieved but he wasn’t. Acording to Gen they both sinned and were punished by God. Hebrews 10:26 Tells us that if we know the truth and chose to sin anyway we are in more trouble than someone who was tricked into sin. It was the fall that put a husband over his wife. If you look at Gen 1:27 God created men and women in his own image. So to say a woman is bad or less than a man is to say that the image of God is flawed. Second, when God created Eve he created her from Adam’s rib, not his foot, not his tail bone, His Rib. That is for her to stand beside him in equality. Even Adam says(Gen2:24) that the two become one, that means Equal. So before the fall God intended that men and women be equal partners. Gen 1:28 God blesses “them” and tells “them” to be masters of the earth. God gave them equal power. And helper (Gen2:18) helper is a team mate, someone who helps doesn’t do all the work and they aren’t sub level to you, they help you 50/50.
    I may give more on this later.

  18. Marg says:

    Hi Angela,

    Most scholars also accept 1 Thessalonians and Philemon as having been authored by Paul.

    The Pastoral letters are included in the Canon of Scripture. I regard these letters, and all the books of the Bible, as uniquely authoritative and uniquely inspired by God.

    The Genesis account doesn’t mention that Adam was deceived. While we know Eve’s excuse for eating the forbidden fruit (she was deceived), we simply don’t know what Adam’s excuse was, but clearly, both Adam and Eve sinned.

    I agree that Genesis 1 and 2 shows that men and women, husband and wife, are equal. I have written a few articles about the created order and about what “a suitable helper” means.

  19. […] Bible Women with Spiritual Authority […]

  20. […] Jesus states that Peter could not have known that he was the Christ, the Son of God, unless God the Father had revealed it to him.  Likewise, Martha’s faith statements could only have come by divine inspiration. […]

  21. Lami Joan says:

    So refreshing. I enjoyed this, thanks a lot.

  22. […] Jesus states that Peter could not have known that he was the Christ, the Son of God, unless God the Father had revealed it to him.  Likewise, Martha’s faith statements could only have come by divine inspiration. (From Bible Women with Spiritual Authority here.) […]

  23. […] Bible Women with Spiritual Authority […]

  24. […] Deborah was an excellent and versatile leader.  She was a prophetess, a judge and a military leader (Judges 4-5).  Deborah’s prophetic insight was accurate and she showed decisive leadership in military matters.  Her words have been preserved in Scripture and thus have the authority of Scripture.  More about Deborah here and here. […]

  25. […] Bible Women with Spiritual Authority […]

  26. […] Women exercised leadership in the Old Testament with God’s blessing, despite the patriarchal systems that developed after “the Fall”. (bible women who had spiritual authority) […]

  27. […] Bible Women with Spiritual Authority […]

  28. […] Bible Women with Spiritual Authority […]

  29. […] 8. Bible Women with Spiritual Authority […]

  30. […] Huldah (2 Kings 22:14-20; 2 Chronicles 34:22-28) is another prophetess who also exercised authority in her ministry. This is what John Dickson says about her in his book “Hearing her Voice”:

    Huldah is “a particularly curious example of spiritual leadership. Not only did she deliver an authoritative message to King Josiah concerning all Judah, but she also validated the authority of the newly rediscovered “Book of the Law of the LORD”. One contemporary scholar has remarked that Huldah’s endorsement of the document “stands as the first recognizable act in the long process of canon formation.”[…]

  31. […] Huldah is another prophetess who also exercised authority in her ministry. This is what John Dickson says about her in his book “Hearing her Voice”: Huldah is “a particularly curious example of spiritual leadership. Not only did she deliver an authoritative message to King Josiah concerning all Judah, but she also validated the authority of the newly rediscovered ‘Book of the Law of the LORD’. One contemporary scholar has remarked that Huldah’s endorsement of the document ‘stands as the first recognizable act in the long process of canon formation.’”[1] (2 Kings 22:14-20; 2 Chronicles 34:22-28.) […]

  32. […]  One thing is certain. The woman did know about the command, one way or the other.  The Bible has several stories where God, or his angel, spoke directly to a woman, so it should be hardly surprising to think that God spoke to the first woman on several occasions just as he did with the first man, and that he mostly spoke to them as a couple. […]

  33. Jeri Carter says:

    Wonderful information –

  34. Amy Dumas says:

    I was reading Genesis 25 recently and was struck by the fact that while Isaac entreated the Lord for Rebekah and she conceived, she personally went to the Lord to ask about the struggle in her womb and God spoke to her about it and gave her the prophecy that the elder would serve the younger. Isaac later ignored that prophecy and tried to circumvent it by giving his blessing to Esau anyway, but Rebekah intervened and Jacob was blessed.

    • Marg says:

      Yes, God had no problem with telling Rebekah, a woman, how things would pan out.

      It’s such an interesting story. It intrigues me that there is no hint of censure about Rebekah’s actions in the Bible even thought she totally tricked her husband into doing something he clearly didn’t want to do.

  35. […] Bible Women with Spiritual Authority […]

  36. […] Bible Women with Spiritual Authority […]

  37. […] There are too many “exceptions” in the Bible of women stepping out, leading, or exercising authority for women to be limited in this way. Interesting posts here: Bible Women with Spiritual Authority and here: The (im)Propriety of Bible Women with Authority.[…]

  38. […] In Genesis 1 we read that God spoke to both men and the women and gave them commands (Gen. 1:28). In Genesis 3 we read that God spoke to the man (Gen. 3:9-12, 17-19) and to the woman individually (Gen. 3:13, 16). Throughout scripture we see that God continued to speak to men and to women, sometimes together, and sometimes individually. So there is no reason to suppose that God did not give his command directly to Eve, especially as her statement to the serpent indicates that God gave his command first to the man, and then later to the couple. […]

  39. Scholastic 1 says:

    “Mary Kassian, and other Complementarians, have recognised that women tend to hear from God more than men”

    That is an interesting statement. Are you saying that statement is biblically based? I would be interested to know what you are basing that statement on. Thank you , Blessings

    John 3:30

    • Marg says:

      If you look at the endnote attached to the statement, you will see that it is not just based on the Bible.

      [9] Mary Kassian (1990:111) has written, “. . . both psychology and history lend credible support to the biblical recognition of innate differences between men and women, with a major difference being a heightened spiritual perceptiveness in women.”

      I am not saying Mary Kassian’s statement is necessarily correct. My point is that many complementarians acknowledge giftedness, but deny gifted women the opportunity to use certain gifts.

  40. K.G. Adams says:

    This is very interesting. I believe in order for society to function at its fullest, we need both men and women of Christian Faith in every walk of life, we need both men and women in STEM fields, we need both men and women at the front lines of the film and music industry (an industry that’s increasingly important Christians enter), we need both men and women in ministry (including ALL leadership positions), we need both men and women in the arts, we need both men and women in education, we need both men and women in our military, we need both men and women in the criminal justice field, and we need both stay-at-home moms and stay-at-home dads.

    • Marg says:

      I agree entirely. It is a person’s capability that determines what he or she should do. Not there gender. Men and women working together brings a great synergy to just about every project and role.

  41. […] According to the Megillah (one of the tractates of the Talmud), the rabbis regard Abigail as one of seven prophetesses who prophesied to Israel. The other six female prophets are: Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Huldah, and Esther. (See Megillah 14a and 14b.) […]

  42. Beauty Uzochukwu says:

    Great article. I have learnt a lot. Thanks

  43. […] Bible Women with Spiritual Authority […]

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