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Strong Women in the Bible

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Ruth, Esther, and Deborah are rockstars but did you know there are other strong women in the Bible whose acts of bravery are rarely mentioned? I wanted to bring these women to the forefront to honor their courage, but also to serve as examples for us modern women. Their stories may be part of Bible history, but their acts of courage are as applicable today as they were several thousand years ago. Join me in unpacking the lessons learned from each of them.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Romans 15:4

(A quick note for my readers. I am in the process of migrating the articles from my website Fruitfully Living to Fruitfully Women. Therefore, some of the links will take you back to Fruitfully Living. I thank you for your patience as I bring all the articles to this website).

Strong Women in the Bible: Old Testament

The Old Testament is filled with strong women. We will cover some of the more well-known ones, but we will also dig into the stories of great biblical heroes not well known. Although God certainly meant to include their accounts in His story, as readers we often gloss over their names because other powerhouses in the surrounding story overshadow them. Abigail and the wise woman of Abel of Beth-Macaah are sandwiched into the stories of King David. Exodus mentions Shiphrah and Puah at the beginning of a story where Moses will take center stage. Ruthless kings and queens overshadow the story of Jehosheba.

Below you will find a summary of each woman’s story, but for most, you can click on the link to learn more about them. The linked articles provide in-depth analysis and background information. Some even have accompanying Bible studies.

The True Queen Esther Story

Queen Esther is no doubt one of the Bible greats, but her story is often romanticized because we interpret her story from a modern, Western perspective. In her story, we will learn that this Queen sacrificed her well-being for the sake of her people. And although she was beautiful and kind, she was also fierce.

The True Queen Esther Story

Deborah, the Judge

Deborah was the leader of Israel during a time when Israel had no king and God hand-picked her for that role. She did more than just judge a nation. She led them to a military victory against her enemies with unwavering faith.

Jael, the Assassin

Jael’s story is linked with Deborah’s but she is fierce in her own right. When Israel’s military had defeated her enemy, its general Sisera fled for his life. He thought he was among friends when Jael took matters into her own hands. After making him comfortable and while he was asleep, she drove a tent peg right through his skull. Ouch! You don’t get much stronger than that.

Jael in the Bible, A Female Assasin

The Wise Woman of Abel of Beth-Maacah

This Old Testament hero managed to subdue one of the most ruthless generals of her time and save her city using nothing but superb negotiation skills. Think that negotiation skills are just for professionals? Think again. All women can learn from the methods used by this wise woman in everyday scenarios.

The Courageous Woman of Abel of Beth-Maacah

Shiphrah and Puah

This pair of midwives saved innocent baby boys from a racist Pharaoh. They did so by bravely defying his order and paved the way for Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt. These women teach us about the fear of God, civil disobedience, and what it means to be “ezer” women.

Shiphrah and Puah: The Women Who Defied a Pharaoh


Abigail is often seen as the beautiful woman who showed kindness to King David and in return, he married her. However, there is a lot more to Abigail’s story than meets the eye. Through her account, we learn what it means to be “wise as serpents, innocent as doves,” the instructions that Jesus gave his disciples and therefore to us.

Abigail: Wise as Serpents, Innocent as Doves


If you read too fast, you may miss the great impact Jehosheba had on preserving the Davidic line. She appears only in a couple of verses but her actions are nothing short of courageous and heroic. Risking her own life, she saved the life of a future king under the reign of one of the Bible’s most notorious queens, Athaliah. Move over Disney princesses, because this Bible princess is truly someone our daughters can look up to.

Jehosheba: The Princess Hero

The Daughters of Zelophehad

These five amazing women, Malah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah, show us that sometimes you just need to speak up to ask for what is just. As Israel was preparing itself to enter into the promised land, these ladies realized that because of their unique situation they would be missing out. So they marched right up to the male leadership and asked for what they felt was rightly theirs–and God backed them up.

Daughters of Zelophehad: Wise Women of Faith

Tamar in the Bible: An Unintentional Hero

Tamar’s story has often been buried and untold. Her tale is just a bit too scandalous to bring up in sermons or Bible stories. She is the woman who fooled her father-in-law into sleeping with her to force him to fulfill his godly obligations. It is the story of a woman who was a survivor. Her story, as odd as it may seem, is full of rich lessons and it shows us the heart of God.

Tamar in the Bible: An Unintentional Hero


Zipporah was the wife of Moses. If you read Exodus too quickly you may miss out on the impact that she had on the nation of Israel by saving the life of her husband. But only a strong woman could do what she needed to do to make sure Moses was right before God.

Zipporah in the Bible: The Untold Story

Strong Women in the Bible: New Testament

When highlighting the strong women in the Bible, we cannot ignore New Testament heroes. The New Testament is a lot shorter than the Old Testament so we don’t have quite as big a list as we do in the Old Testament. But these New Testament women are powerhouses.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus

Imagine being asked by God to do something that would make you “the talk of the town.” Mary’s courage to faithfully say yes to God, but also to endure the humiliation of being pregnant outside of marriage is nothing short of humbling. But that is not all. Mary also had to endure watching her son being crucified. She is a strong woman in the Bible who endured a lifetime of agony.

The Woman with the Issue of Blood

We are never told her name, but her story has been immortalized in the Gospels. This woman suffered from a humiliating health condition that essentially cut her off from society and did not allow her to touch other people. And yet, in faith, she found the courage to wade through a crowd and touch the garment of a Rabbi she knew could heal her.

The Woman with the Issue of Blood

The Woman at the Well

We may not see the woman at the well as a strong woman because of her questionable past, but upon meeting the Messiah, she did what others had not yet done–she told everyone about Him. She braved the people who had shunned her and made her an outcast so that they too could meet Messiah.

The Woman at the Well

Mary of Bethany

We often see her as the woman Jesus defended against her sister Martha, but we don’t often think about the courage it took to take her place at the feet of her Rabbi. That was a privilege reserved for men at that time and in that culture. But Mary took Jesus’ invitation to heart and set her mind to learn despite what others thought.

Lydia, the Seller of Purple

Lydia lived in a world where both religion and commerce were dominated by men. And yet, Lydia became a seller of purple, a highly lucrative business. She became a believer after listening to Paul and generously wanted to be hospitable to Paul and his travel companions.

Priscilla, A Teacher of the Word

Priscilla is usually mentioned along with her husband, but most references mention her name first. Scholars believe that that is because she was the primary teacher. Priscilla had the courage (along with her husband) to take the great orator Apollos aside and show him the way of God more accurately.

Strong Women Because They Trust in a Strong God

The common thread found among all these women is their trust in God or trust in His ways. They were able to stand up to men in power or go against the grain of their society or culture because they put His ways above their ways. Their strength flowed from God or His truth. Many were outcasts, downtrodden, the kind of women no one would pay attention to. But the God they served, saw them and chose to immortalize their stories in His word. These women teach us that true courage comes from leaning on the everlasting arms of the God who made us in His image.

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