Godly Women in the Bible

April – May, 2006

Tod Kennedy

A godly woman is a woman who lives like God wants her to live as revealed in the Bible.


  1. Dependable, Faithful (Ruth 1:16-17)
  2. Hardworking (Ruth 2:7, 17)
  3. Helpful and generous (Ruth 2:18)
  4. Teachable  (Ruth 3:5)
  5. Loyal love or kindness or devotion and this brings about patience (3:10) Hebrew word is hesed Ruth 1:8, 2:20, and 3:10). This word is elated to the word godly or kindness in the OT. Hasid related to hesed.
  6.   Excellence (3:11). The word is chayil and is the same word in Proverbs 31:10.
  7. Loving (Ruth 4:15) Ahab


  1. Humble, wise, teachable, [Obedient] (Esther 2:10, 20)
  2. Teachable, humble, not pushy [She listens] (Esther 2:15)
  3. Caring for others (Esther 4:4)
  4. Wise and careful (Esther 4:11)
  5. Brave (Esther 4:11; 5:1-2)
  6. Thoughtful, wise, and understands timing (Esther 4:15-16)
  7. Thoughtful, plans, patient, right timing [Wise] (Esther 5:3-4, 7-8)
  8. Good manners, not pushy (Esther 7:3-4)
  9. Thoughtful and plans, wise, careful on dealing with people (Esther 8:5)
  10. Responsible and caring (Esther 8:6)
  11. Humble and understands protocol and man’s leadership (Esther 8:7-8)
  12. Humble, understands authority and her own leadership place (Esther 9:29, 32; 10 in which she is not even mentioned.

1 Corinthians 11 and the Woman as a Follower and Reflector

  1. Comments on 1 Corinthians 11. Woman reflects man’s glory and so demonstrates femininity and followership. Concentration on inner beauty.
  2. The man is the leader and reflects Christ’s glory. The woman follows and reflects the man’s glory as he reflects Christ’s glory. This is that inner beauty or feminineness. So, both man and woman reflect the character of the Father and the Son. Here this ties into the godly woman idea. Femininity seems to be very important for the woman, as leadership is for the man. I do not think this means bossy or dictatorship in the man.
  3. What I would like to do first, is not worry about veils or hair, but what is this trying to demonstrate. I am thinking of verse 3 and 7 and 15. Headship or leadership (under the big category of authority) seems to me to be prominent. As Christ reflects God the Father’s glory (or real character), so the man reflects Christ’s glory (or character) and the woman reflects the man’s glory which is Christ’ reflected glory (or character).
  4. This passage seems then to be teaching the understanding of image of God, authority, man’s leadership, woman’s followership, being feminine. This is especially important in marriage. Sara and inner beauty also teach this in 1 Peter 3.


  1. Priscilla history (Acts 18:2, 26; Rom. 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 4:19).
    • Married to Aquila. Fled Italy to Corinth because of Claudius decree to ban Jews from Rome. Priscilla and Aquila were prominent believers in Corinth and Ephesus. Priscilla and Aquila had a church assembly in their house when in Corinth. They later left Corinth with Paul and sailed to Ephesus. Paul soon sailed to Antioch, but Pricilla and Aquila remained at Ephesus. Not too long after that Apollos, a Jew from Alexandria arrived in Ephesus. He was an OT believer in Jesus and not yet informed about church doctrine. Priscilla and Aquila privately instructed him in the doctrine of Christ and church age doctrine.
    • Aquila is her leader, but Priscilla is so knowledgeable in doctrine and well related to her husband, that she had a great part in explaining the Scriptures and men did not feel threatened by her. Note that her name is mentioned first. What is implied about Priscilla? She his humble, learned, accepted Aquila’s headship and authority, not a pushy woman, wise enough to help Apollos privately so as not to embarrass him or make an issue of her abilities and knowledge, and took up challenges of Christian service.
  2. What do we learn about Priscilla?
    • Strong and accurate knowledge of Bible doctrine.
    • She had to be teachable in order to be so respected, trusted, and used in ministry.
    • She accepts Aquila’s headship and authority and because of that she is very useable in ministry.
    • Good relationship with her husband marked by no competitiveness and a devotion to him and his ministry.
    • She is a humble person.
    • She is not pushy or bossy.
    • She is wise and balanced in her ministry.
    • She knows how to help and teach others without embarrassing them.


  1. Rahab is mentioned in Joshua 2:1, 3; 6:17, 23, 25; Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25.
  2. Rahab’s history.
    • Rahab was a Gentile and a prostitute.
    • She had no family tradition of faith in the Lord that we know of.
    • The Lord’s fame went on ahead of the Israelites and she believed in the God of Israel.
      • She had heard the news of Israel’s escape from Egypt and of the Lord’s deliverance, protection, and guidance (Joshua 2:9-11)
      • She hid the spies and did not reveal their hiding place (Joshua 2:1, 4-6).
      • She accepted the reality of Israel’s God; she believed in his existence and also believed in his graciousness and justice (Joshua 2:11-12).
      • She was also wise enough to ask the Israelites to spare her family (Joshua 2:12:13). Joshua did spare her and her family (Joshua 6:16-18, 22-25).
    • Rahab said yes at the point of hearing about Israel’s God.
    • Rahab believed in Israel’s God.
    • Rahab then put her faith into action by hiding the spies and asking for the safety of her family.
    • Rahab married Salmon, an Israelite. They had a son named Boaz who married Ruth (Ruth 4:20-21; Luke 3:32). Rahab was a great, great, and more greats grandmother of Jesus.
    • Rahab is recorded as a faith hero in Hebrews 11:31. By faith indicates that she trusted Israel’s God and he became her own God.
    • James records that Rahab also exercised day to day faith (we in the church would say Christian life faith) after her faith (we would say eternal life faith) in Israel’s God by her taking in the spies, hiding them, and sending them safely back. She had first believed in Israel’s God and then because she believed in him, she also protected his people at great risk to herself.
  3. What characteristics do we see in Rahab?
    • Alert and thinking about life around her and its consequences.
    • Believing in Israel’s God at the eternal life justification point and also at daily life points. She took the news—this is the one and only true God—thought about it, and applied it by faith. She apparently had become a believer in Israel’s God before the spies even came to her.
    • Faith living shown by the way she trusted God when the spies came.
    • Courageous and showed initiative in receiving, hiding, and sending the spies.
    • Trustworthy in that she, even under pressure, did not reveal the hiding of the spies to the authorities.
    • Wise in being able to hide the spies and then getting them out of the city with the information they needed, and wise in seeking assurances that her family would be delivered with her.


  1. History of Sarah.
    • Sarai is her original name. It is found in 13 verses between Genesis 11:30-17:15. This name means princess. Changed to Sarah in Genesis 17:15 and means noble woman (1 Peter 3:1-7).
    • Genesis 11 and 12 have the story about Sarai leaving Ur with Abram’s family and traveling to Canaan. She had no children. She left family and all things familiar to go with her husband and his relatives. She demonstrates her loyalty to Abram and her followership.
    • In Genesis 12, Abram has Sarai claim to be his sister. Abram was acting in unbelief, yet Sarai put up with him and did as he asked. This showed devotion to Abram.
    • Genesis 16 has the story of Hagar. Though Sarai followed the custom of the times in helping to ensure Abram an heir, she also was exhibiting unbelief in God’s promise that he would provide an heir.
    • In Genesis 17 God stated in more detail the promised covenant that he began in Genesis 12 and 15. He instituted circumcision as the sign of the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 17:11). God changed Sarai’s name to Sarah (Genesis 17:15), and promised that the line of descendents would go from Sarah (17:16).
    • In Genesis 18 God said that Sarah would have a son in her old age. She laughed at this and then denied that she laughed. Unbelief has again shown itself. In Genesis 18:12 and 13, the verb, to laugh, is tsachaq. The name Isaac will be related to this. God has a way of making jokes with us.
    • In Genesis 20 Abraham and Sarah say that Sarah is Abraham’s sister. Abimelech was the most righteousness of the group.
    • Genesis 21 is the story of Sarah and the birth of her son Isaac. Her sorrow and sense of failure were turned into laughter (tsechoq, laughter). Isaac is the Hebrew word yitschaq, he laughs. Her faith and hope bear fruit. Yet, she also has a bad attitude toward Hagar and Ishmael and tells Abraham to drive them out of the household.
    • Genesis 22 recounts the story of Abraham taking Isaac, the long awaited heir, to a mountain in Moriah to offer him as a burnt offering. Sarah probably did not know what was in his mind, since neither did Isaac know. But her obedience, or better yet her devotion to Abraham, caused her to offer no objection.
    • Sarah dies in Genesis 23 at the age of 127.
  2. What do we learn about Sarah that can help us?
    • She was devoted to Abraham and therefore loyal and submissive (1 Peter 3:1, 5). She showed this by leaving her family and all that was familiar and traveling to Canaan and then to Egypt. She further demonstrated devotion by agreeing to say she was Abraham’s sister to both the Pharaoh and to King Abimelech. Peter comments on Sarah when he speaks of her quiet submission and inner beauty in 1 Peter 3.1.
    • She believed God’s promises in spite of circumstances (Hebrew 11:11). She believed that she would, though barren, have the promised son. This would be very hard for a woman to believe. She also trusted God when they left for Canaan, and again when Abraham let her be taken in harems. Faith must have characterized her life.
    • Sarah also possessed inner beauty—the gentle and quiet spirit that so becomes a lady (1 Peter 3:4-5).
    • Times of failure are common to all believers. Like us, she had times of unbelief, jealousy, and bitterness. Bitterness comes when faith leaves because there is no confidence and nothing to depend upon. Remember her attitude toward Hagar.

Mary the Mother of Jesus

  1. History of Mary
    • Mary was in the royal line of David through Nathan and David in Luke 3:23-31. Joseph was the son-in-law of Eli (Mary’s father) and Luke gives Mary’s genealogy, while Matthew gives the lineage of Joseph, the legal line through the man back to Solomon and David. This was an honored line.
    • She was a virgin, and was probably under 20 years old (Matthew 1:23, 25; Luke 1:27, 34).
    • Mary was engaged to Joseph (Matthew 1:18 and Luke 1:27; 2:5).
    • The angel Gabriel visited Mary while she was engaged to Joseph and living in Nazareth. He told her that God had favored her to be the mother of the Messiah. She soon gave birth to him just as the angel said (Matthew 1:18-25; 2:11;  Luke 1:[31] 26-37; 2:16).
    • Mary showed her desire to serve and please the Lord by answering, “I am the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
    • Soon after, Mary visited Elizabeth. Elizabeth confirmed that Mary was to be the mother of the Lord (Luke 1:41-44). At this time we see Mary’s faith in God’s word that the angel spoke to her (Luke 2:45)
    • When Mary heard Elizabeth confirm God’s grace, she praised the Lord for using her to bring the Messiah into the world (Luke 1:4-55). This is called the Magnificat.
    • Mary and Joseph obeyed the Lord, the Mosaic Law, and the Roman law (Matthew 1:24-25; 2:12-14, 19-23; Luke 2:1-5, 21-24, 39-42; and others).
    • Notice that Mary, though highly honored by the Lord and the heroine, followed Joseph’s leadership at every point he made a decision. For example, when he told her they must quickly flee to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-14) and then again when Joseph took her and Jesus back to Nazareth when the danger was over (Luke 2:19-23). This would be quite a disruption for a new mother.
    • Mary accepted Jesus’ destiny. She observed him speaking and doing miracles (John 2:1-12). Mary saw the terrible treatment he received from the Jews and then the crucifixion (John 19:25-27).
    • Mary had other children after Jesus was born. James, Joseph, Judas, Simon (Matthew 12:46-47; 13:55; Mark 6:3; 15:40; Luke 8:19-20).
    • Mary was among the 120 people gathered in the upper room awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 1:12-14).
  2. How does Mary help women—wives, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and others?
    • She was a woman of God and a woman of the word. Mary had a close relationship with God and she knew the Old Testament. We know this from her responses to Gabriel, to Elizabeth, to Joseph, and her hymn of praise. And along with this she also seemed to take initiative in her own spiritual life and that of her family. She walked with the Lord through the pregnancy, life, ministry, suffering and death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.
    • Mary was humble. She did not expect this great honor or did she brag about it, or become sinfully proud. She never exhibited a tendency to be bossy or pushy or arrogant, which someone greatly honored by God and people are tempted to become.
    • Mary placed herself at God’s disposal (bond slave in Luke 1:38). She said yes, to God’ will; and she did not know what lay ahead, but she wanted God’s will in her life.
    • She followed Joseph, her fiancée and then husband. She did not attempt to control or boss Joseph, even though she was the main player in this historic drama. Why? Because she was strong in the Lord, strong in herself, and strong in her role as a woman.
    • She did not interfere with Jesus’ ministry, though she must have had great pain because of his treatment by others, and then the final terrible days of the arrest, trials, and crucifixion. What mother could take this injustice?
    • She remained a close follower of Jesus. She was in the upper room on the day of Pentecost with the other 119 people waiting for the promised Holy Spirit.
  3. How do you rate Mary? Was she a godly woman? Was she a godly mother? What can you learn from her?