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Warrior Women

There are many women mentioned in the Bible who have taken their places in God's army against the enemy of our souls in spiritual combat.
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Old Testament

Esther, Queen/Intercessor

Miriam, prophetess/leader

Deborah, judge, etc.

Huldah, prophetess

New Testament

Junias, apostle

Priscilla, pastor

Anna, prophetess

Four prophetesses

Phoebe, a deaconness

Elect Lady, pastor

Lydia, believer

Greek Women, disciples

Laborers

Claudia, believer

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Old Testament

Esther, Queen and Intercessor

Esther was chosen by God "for such a time as this" to save her whole nation by risking her life interceding for her people.

Esther 8:1-3 That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came in to the presence of the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. The king took off his signet ring, which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman's estate.

Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Hamn the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews.

Esther 9:29-32 So Queen Esther, daughter of Abihail, along with Mordecai the Jew, wrote with full authority to confirm this second letter concerning Purim. And Mordecai sent letters to all Jews in the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Xerxes - words of goodwill and assurance - to establish these days of Purim at their designated times as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had decreed for them…Esther's decree confirmed these regulations about Purim , and it was written down in the records.

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Miriam, prophetess and praise leader

Miriam, the sister of Moses, was identified as a prophetess in the book of Exodus, and also led the other women in praise.

Exodus 15:20 Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing.

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Deborah, prophetess, leader/judge of Israel; "general" of Israel's army

Deborah was judge of Israel after Ehud, and settled their disputes. She was also a prophetess and spoke for the Lord to Barak, who was commanded to lead Israel to victory over Sisera and the Canaanites. Because of his fear, it was Deborah who actually led the army of Israel to victory.

Judges 4:5-9 Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading [judging] 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 came to her to have their disputes decided.

She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, "The LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: `Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor. I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.'"

Barak said to her, "If you go with me, I will go; but if you don't go with me, I won't go."

"Very well," Deborah said, "I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will hand Sisera over to a woman."

To judge in Hebrew is shaphat {shaw-fat'} meaning to judge, govern, vindicate, punish; to act as law-giver or judge or governor (of God, man); to rule, govern, judge; to decide controversy (of God, man); to execute judgment, discriminating (of man), vindicating, and condemning and punishing.

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Huldah, prophetess

The Book of the Law had been found in the temple and given to King Josiah. When the law was read, he tore his robes and grieved, and then sent to inquire of the prophetess Huldah.

2 Kings 22:14 Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam, Acbor, Shaphan and Asaiah went to speak to the prophetess Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the Second District.

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New Testament

Junias, apostle

Junias is mentioned as being Paul's relative and outstanding among the apostles. There were more than the original 12 apostles mentioned in the New Testament, and the form of this name is female. She was imprisoned with Paul at one time and had become a believer before he did.

Romans 16:7 Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

An apostle in the Greek apostolos {ap-os'-tol-os} means 1) a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders, specifically applied to the twelve apostles of Christ, but in a broader sense applied to other eminent Christian teachers, such as Barnabas, Timothy and Silvanus (Silas).

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Priscilla, pastor

In Acts we are told about a couple known as Priscilla and Aquila, who were tent makers and co-laborers with Paul. They were from Pontus in Italy and had recently settled in Corinth when Paul met them. He stayed with them because they were also tentmakers. They accompanied Paul on a missionary journey to Syria, and stayed on at Ephesus as Paul continued his journey. They would give valuable aid upon Paul's return, providing advice as to where and how the work there could be started.

Acts 18:1-3, 18-19 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. .. Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchrea because of a vow he had taken. They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.

When Apollos came to Ephesus, he taught about Jesus accurately, although his knowledge was limited. Priscilla and Aquila brought them into their home and taught him.

Acts 18:26 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.

In Romans 16:3, Paul calls them "fellow workers in Christ Jesus". The Greek word for "fellow workers" or helpers is sunergos {soon-er-gos'} and means a companion in work, fellow worker. Not only were they fellow workers, but at some point risked their lives for Paul, a fact that was well known among the Gentile churches, but that incident was not recorded in the New Testament for us.

Romans 16:3-5a Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the church that meets at their house…

In Romans 5a and I Corinthians 16:19, we find that they co-pastor a church in their home back at Corinth.

1 Corinthians 16:19 The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house.

The word for "church" here is ekklesia {ek-klay-see'-ah}, an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting, a company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order's sake, and those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body.

In 2 Timothy 4:19, Paul asks Timothy to "Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus."

In almost every case where these co-pastors are mentioned, Priscilla is mentioned first, which indicates that she had the higher authority and position.

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Anna, prophetess

Anna was one of the first prophets, along with Simeon, to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. She was well known in the temple, and had spent day and night there for 84 years, fasting and praying and waiting for the Christ. She spoke publically in the temple to "all".

Luke 2:36-38 There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four [or for 84 years]. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 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.

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Four daughters of Philip, prophetesses

In Acts 21:9 we are told about the 4 daughters of Philip who prophesied.

Acts 21:8-9 Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.

Prophesy in the Greek propheteuo {prof-ate-yoo'-o} means to prophesy, to be a prophet, speak forth by divine inspirations; to predict with the idea of foretelling future events pertaining especially to the kingdom of God; to utter forth, declare, a thing which can only be known by divine revelation; to break forth under sudden impulse in lofty discourse or praise of the divine counsels; under like prompting, to teach, refute, reprove, admonish, comfort others; to act as a prophet, discharge the prophetic office.

Paul discusses women speaking prophetically in the church in 1 Corinthians 11:5:

And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head--it is just as though her head were shaved.

The controversy here is HOW a woman should prophesy, not WHETHER a woman should prophesy.

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Phoebe, a deaconness

Phoebe was a deaconness in Cenchrea, and came to help the believers at Rome with a recommendation from Paul. He may have met her on his missionary journey with Priscilla and Aquila, when he stopped at Cenchrea and took a vow and had his hair cut off. He asked the Roman believers to welcome her in the Lord, for she had been a great help to many, including Paul. She was possibly the carrier of this letter to Rome.

Romans 16:1-2 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant [deaconness] of the church in Cenchrea. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me.

The Greek word here translated "servant" in the NIV is diakonos {dee-ak'-on-os}, which means: a deacon, one who, by virtue of the office assigned to him by the church, cares for the poor and has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use.

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Elect Lady, pastor

John writes his second letter to an "elect" or chosen lady with her children, which may indicate that she was in a position of authority over them in her house spiritually. House churches were the norm in those days.

2 John1:1, 10 The elder, To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth--and not I only, but also all who know the truth--… If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him.

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Lydia, believer

Also in Acts, we are told about Lydia, a seller of purple cloth, a business woman, who came to believe in Jesus, and led her household into being baptized. (Acts 16:13-15).

On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.

One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message.

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.

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Prominent Greek Women, disciples

In Acts 17:11-12, we are told about prominent Greek women in Berea who became disciples.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.

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Laborers

Paul greets several women in Rome who were described as laborers in the Lord.

Romans 16:6 Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you.

Romans 16:12 Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord.

The Greek word for labor is kopiao {kop-ee-ah'-o} which means to grow weary, tired, exhausted (with toil or burdens or grief), to labour with wearisome effort, to toil, of bodily labour.

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Claudia, believer

Claudia was a believer imprisoned with Paul in Rome that sent greetings to Timothy through Paul in 2 Timothy 4:21.

Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers.

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Web Content 1998, Karleen E. Page

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Original lesson 9/4/98
Revised: May 06, 2001.

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