From powerful queens to humble handmaidens, many women of the Bible can be a continual source of inspiration for us in our own lives.
Whether you’re looking for courage and strength or faithfulness and loyalty, these 19 important women from Scripture are sure to leave a lasting impression on you. They demonstrate what it looks like to walk in obedience to God while fully embracing your purpose in life. Let’s study these stories of great women in the Bible!
Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
Table of contents
- 19 Biblical Women You Need to Know
- 1. Eve – The First Woman
- 2. Sarah – Abraham’s Wife
- 3. Rebekah – Wife of Isaac and Mother of Jacob
- 4. Leah – Wife of Jacob
- 5. Rachel
- 6. Miriam, Moses and Aaron’s Sister
- 7. Rahab
- 8. Deborah
- 9. Ruth
- 10. Esther
- 11. Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ
- 12. Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist
- 13. Anna the Prophetess
- 14. Mary Magdalene, Follower of Jesus
- 15. Martha, Sister of Mary and Lazarus
- 16. Mary, Sister of Martha and Lazarus
- 17. Priscilla, Wife of Aquila
- 18. Lydia of Thyatira
- 19. Lois and Eunice, Timothy’s Grandmother and Mother
- Bible Heroines to Remember
19 Biblical Women You Need to Know
According to one study, a survey of the Bible produced a total of 3000–3100 names. Out of this number, 170 of the total were women.
However, once they removed possible duplicates, the results were a total of 1700 distinct personal names in the Bible. And a total number of 137 women. From Moses’ Sister Miriam in the Old Testament to Mary Magdalene in the New Testament, these women of the Bible span a range of generations and locations.
Although we don’t necessarily have details for every one of these women, their lives provide valuable lessons for us today. Let’s dive into stories of 19 great women in the Bible.
1. Eve – The First Woman
Eve was the first woman created by God and the second human being after Adam. God created her for a purpose and to fulfill a need: it was not good for man to be alone. God saw that Adam needed a “helpmate.”
Although she lived a beautiful life in the garden of Eden, Eve listened to the serpent’s lies and deception. When Eve and Adam ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the consequence of disobeying God was that sin and death entered the world.
We should all be aware of the price of sin and value discernment – to know the difference between the enemy’s lies and God’s truth.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 1:18)
2. Sarah – Abraham’s Wife
Sarah was married to Abraham, known as the Father of the Jewish nation. Despite being unable to conceive a child, God fulfilled a promise to her in her old age. She gave birth to Isaac at age 90.
Sarah’s story reminds us that God always keeps his promises no matter how long it takes.
Sarah also had missteps along the way. Because the possibility of conceiving seemed so unlikely, she took matters into her own hands and gave her maid Hagar to Abraham. This ultimately caused a great deal of strife for Sarah, Abraham, and Hagar.
From this situation, we learn that God is faithful to His plans even when our lack of faith gets in the way. We are also reminded not to take matters into our own hands but to wait patiently on the Lord’s timing instead. Sarah gave birth to a son and saw God’s promises fulfilled in her life.
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” (Genesis 21:6-7)
3. Rebekah – Wife of Isaac and Mother of Jacob
Rebekah was chosen to become the wife of Isaac, Abraham’s son. Isaac prayed for a wife and Rebekah was chosen to be his bride. Although she had difficulties conceiving a child, she eventually gave birth to twins Esau and Jacob.
Rebekah favored Jacob, who was the younger twin. She eventually helped him obtain the blessing that was intended for Esau since he was the oldest.
This deception and trickery caused strife and led to a split in the family and Jacob had to flee.
Rebekah’s story is a reminder that our decisions have consequences.
Jacob went on to become the father of the 12 tribes of Israel and Rebekah is remembered as the mother who loved her favorite son.
And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the cities of their enemies.” (Genesis 24:60)
4. Leah – Wife of Jacob
When Jacob fled the circumstance mentioned above, he went to work for Laban, Rebekah’s brother. Jacob agreed to work for seven years to marry Rachel – the woman he loved.
However, Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah (Rachel’s older sister) by her father Laban. And he made him work another seven years to get Rachel too.
As Jacob’s first wife, Leah bore six sons and one daughter yet struggled with being overlooked.
Still, God saw Leah. Leah’s story reminds us that amid difficult situations, we can still trust God.
Judah was Leah’s fourth son, and from him came the line of Jesus Christ.
When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. (Genesis 29:31)
Rachel was the beloved younger sister of Leah. Even though Laban tricked him, Jacob served an additional seven years to get Rachel as a bride. He loved her so much, the Bible says those seven years felt like a few days.
Sadly, Rachel was barren for many years and eventually became jealous of Leah’s children.
In the end, it was Rachel who gave birth to Joseph, one of Jacob’s 12 sons who would ultimately become a ruler of Egypt and save his family during a famine.
Rachel’s story reminds us that God doesn’t forget us and can turn even our deepest sorrows into joy.
So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. (Genesis 29:20).
6. Miriam, Moses and Aaron’s Sister
Miriam was one of Moses’ siblings and a prophetess. She’s mentioned in several places throughout the Old Testament, most notably when God parted the Red Sea.
It was Miriam who sang praise to God after they crossed over on dry land. Her story shows us the unique leadership influence certain women in the Bible had at this time.
Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. (Exodus 15:20)
Rahab was a prostitute who lived in the city of Jericho. In the book of Joshua chapter two, she hid two spies Joshua sent to scout the city. Rahab hid them and helped them escape.
In return, they promised that when they conquered Jericho, her family would be saved from destruction. Sure enough, according to Joshua 6:17, Rahab displayed a scarlet cord and her family was spared.
The story of Rahab isn’t just an isolated incident. Rahab is part of Jesus’ family line mentioned in Matthew 1:5 – she was the mother of Boaz, the father of Obed, the father of Jesse who was the father of King David.
The Lord will use anyone who puts their faith in Him, and Rahab is included in the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith.”
By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. (Hebrews 11:31)
Deborah was a judge in ancient Israel and the only female judge mentioned in the Bible. In Judges 4, she led Israel to victory against their enemy and sang the praise of God’s greatness after their win.
Her story shows us that women can lead with excellence. She not only gave wise counsel to the people of Israel, but she was also a warrior and a worshiper.
“Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided.” (Deborah 4:4-5)
Ruth was a Moabite who chose to stay with Naomi, her mother-in-law after both of their husbands died. This faithful daugther in law promised to stay in Naomi’s homeland and serve her people even though she was a foreigner.
Her story is one of faithfulness, loyalty and redemption. In the book of Ruth, Boaz bought back all of Naomi’s inheritance and Ruth became his wife. From their union, came Obed – the father of Jesse who was the father of King David.
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. (Ruth 1:16)
Esther was a Jewish woman who became the Queen of Persia. She is one of the most beloved women of the Bible. Esther was the wife of Persian King Ahasuerus. After Haman plotted to kill all the Jews within the kingdom, Queen Esther risked her own life and asked the King to spare Jews living in the land.
Although she was afraid, she was determined to take advantage of her God-given position. Her story is one of courage, faith, and trust in God that despite all odds, He will be the one to save us. The bravery of the Jewish queen not only saved her people from destruction, but also revealed Haman’s evil plot, which led to his execution instead.
For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
11. Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ
Mary was the mother of Jesus and was chosen by God to bring His own son into the world. She is one example of submission, obedience, and humility in a society where women were regulated to second-class citizens. However, God’s blessing and protection rested on her.
In Luke 1:26-38, the Bible tells the story of how Mary surrendered to God’s will for her life without hesitation, despite the fact she was just a teenager and would face consequences for becoming pregnant before marriage. She gave her life to serve the one true God and bear His son.
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. (Luke 1:38)
12. Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist
Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist and cousin to Mary, Mother of Jesus.
Although she was barren and considered too old to have children, God gave Elizabeth a child in her old age. And this was Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist.
After the angel Gabriel visited Mary and gave her news of the baby, Mary traveled to see Elizabeth. Elizabeth and the baby in her womb immediately recognized the presence of the Lord. And then she was inspired by the Holy Spirit and proceeded to praise the Lord.
In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” (Luke 1:42)
13. Anna the Prophetess
Anna was a prophetess and one of the few women mentioned in the Bible who served God in the temple. She was married for seven years before becoming a widow.
Anna spent most of her life in the temple fasting and praying,
When Jesus was brought to the temple as a baby, it was Anna who recognized Him for who He truly was – the Messiah!
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. (Luke 2:38)
14. Mary Magdalene, Follower of Jesus
Mary Magdalene, one of the most well-known women in the Bible, was a devoted follower of Jesus. She was initially from a town called Magdala, and Jesus healed and delivered her from seven demons.
Throughout His ministry, Mary Magdalene followed Jesus wherever He went and ministered to Him. It is believed that she also financially supported the disciples’ mission.
After Jesus was crucified and resurrected, Mary Magdalene was the first to see the empty tomb. And Jesus appeared to her before anyone else – showing her not only respect as a woman but also honor for being a devoted disciple.
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)
15. Martha, Sister of Mary and Lazarus
Martha was the sister of Mary and Lazarus, who hosted Jesus frequently during His time on earth. When Jesus visited the siblings in Bethany, it was Martha who served Him eagerly while her sister sat at His feet.
Martha is often portrayed negatively. When she complained to Jesus about her sister, He gently corrected her and told her that Mary had chosen the better part. Yet Martha also displayed generous hospitality. Their home was a chosen respite for the Lord. She also showed a unique faith and understanding of who Jesus was and the power he had following the death of her brother Lazarus.
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:27)
16. Mary, Sister of Martha and Lazarus
Mary was the sister of Martha and Lazarus. In the famous story of the two sisters, Mary sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to His teachings while her sister Martha was preoccupied with serving. And even though it may not have been in line with cultural norms, Jesus commended her.
It is a testament to her faith that she chose the better part in listening to Jesus. She knew that the words of Christ were worth more than any task or service she could provide Him. Mary of Behany also displayed extravagant worship when she anointed Jesus with perfume.
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (John 12:3)
17. Priscilla, Wife of Aquila
Priscilla, along with her husband Aquila, were among the earliest converts of Christianity in Corinth. The two were tentmakers by trade and had a ministry as scholars and teachers of the gospel. Priscilla is also an example of a strong woman in leadership, as she ministered alongside Paul and her husband. They taught and mentored other followers of The Way. Priscilla is a great example of women in the Bible who led well.
He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately. (Acts 18:26)
18. Lydia of Thyatira
Lydia was a businesswoman from Thyatira in Asia Minor who dealt with purple cloth. So, she was apparently fairly well-to-do. Lydia opened her heart and home to Paul when he visited Philippi. The Bible depicts Lydia as a worshiper of God. And it’s believed she was a supporter of the Jewish people in her area. She was a long-time supporter of the ministry and is considered a saint in some denominations.
When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. (Acts 16:15)
19. Lois and Eunice, Timothy’s Grandmother and Mother
Although they’re mentioned in just one verse of the Bible, we end our list with Lois and Eunice. Like the majority of people in our world, they are not noted for any great exploit. However, they lived a life of strong faith and raised up a great leader: Timothy.
When Paul writes to encourage Timothy he mentions his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice. He says they were women of faith who taught Timothy about the Scriptures from an early age. These strong women are a reminder that how we impact the lives of others, even when behind the scenes, has a tremendous impact on the kingdom of God.
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. (2 Timothy 1:5)
Bible Heroines to Remember
Our list of women of the Bible is limited to just 17. Please remember there are many other women named and unnamed–like the Hebrew midwives in Egypt who spared the newborn Hebrew boys rather than have them killed as Pharaoh ordered–who could have been included on this list.
God granted favor and protection to these great women. Some faced seemingly impossible situations. But we can rest assured God hears our prayers and is always faithful. These women of the Bible give us many examples of inspiration to draw from.
Who is your favorite woman in the Bible? Let us know in the comments below.