Question: What does the Bible say about women preachers?
Answer: There are examples in both the Old and New Testaments of women preachers (prophets). There are no examples, however, of women pastors in the New Testament. Let’s look briefly at some of these wonderful women preachers in the Bible.
Why don’t we start in the Old Testament and work our way to the New Testament. The first woman mentioned in Scripture as a prophetess is Miriam. You can look up the references on her: Exodus 2:4-10; 15:20-21; Numbers 12:1-15; 201; 26:59; 1 Chronicles 6:3; Micah 6:4.
“Miriam helped save her younger brother’s life. He grew up to be the lawgiver, Moses. Miriam was a prophetess who sang praises to God when her brother successfully led their people out of Egyptian bondage and across the Red Sea. However, religious pride caused Miriam to join another brother, Aaron, in criticizing Moses. God struck Miriam with leprosy. She was healed upon Moses’ prayer.
“.We first hear of Miriam by name after Moses had led the Hebrews out of bondage and across the Red Sea. Aaron had acted as Moses’ spokesman in Egypt. All three siblings had escaped ahead of Pharaoh’s pursuing chariots. The Red Sea parted miraculously, and the Hebrews crossed safely over on the first leg of their journey toward the Promised Land.
“Miriam is introduced by name as ‘the prophetess, Aaron’s sister.’ She took a timbrel (a kind of tambourine) and led the women in a dance.” “Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them: ‘Sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!'” (Exodus 15:20-21)
“As a prophetess, she was the feminine equivalent of a divinely inspired foreteller, but more accurately ‘one who speaks for another,’ as the Hebrew word means.
“Miriam is the first prophetess mentioned in the Old Testament. She held a position of high spiritual leadership among her people. Less than half a dozen other prophetesses are mentioned by name in the Bible, although the New Testament indicates they were more numerous.” (Intimate portraits of WOMEN in the BIBLE by Lee Roddy)
Other Old Testament prophetesses (preachers) that are mentioned are:
Judges 4:4-5:31 Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth
2 Kings 22:14-20 the prophetess, the wife of Shallum
2 Chronicles 34:22-28 Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum
Nehemiah 6:14 the prophetess Noadiah (false prophetess)
Isaiah 8:3 Isaiah’s wife, she is not named but she is called ‘the prophetess.’ “Because a wife typically did not receive the honorary title of her husband’s profession but was simply referred to as his wife (see 2 Kings 4:1), it should be assumed that Isaiah married a prophetess.” (New Spirit Filled Life Bible)
New Testament prophetesses (preachers) you can study:
Anna Luke 2:36-38 “When Mary and Joseph brought the eight-day-old Jesus to the temple at Jerusalem to perform the requirements of the law, this prophetess approached the family. She gave thanks to God and spoke of Him to those who were looking for Jerusalem’s redemption.” (Intimate portraits of WOMEN in the BIBLE by Lee Roddy)
Elizabeth Luke 1:5-7, 13,24-25, 40-45, 56-80.
MARY, the mother of Jesus Matthew 1:18-25; 2:11-23; 13:55; Mark 3:31; 6:3; Luke 1:26-56; 2:5-19, 22-51; 8:19-21; John 2:1-12; 19:25-27; Acts 1:14.
Philip the evangelist’s daughters were prophetesses. “Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied Acts 21:9.
Jezebel Revelation 2:20 She was a false prophet, but she liked to call herself a prophetess. “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.”
I think the best way I can end this study would be to quote what God says about women preachers (not pastors or elders, but preachers). Peter preaching after the out pouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost says: “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.” (Acts 2:16-18)
Thank you for your questions,
Gary T. Panell
For more information email me at [email protected]