To my sisters in Christ —
Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, was a Christ-exalting woman in Scripture. She was a prophetess who knew Scripture, and sat at the temple, worshipping, fasting, and praying constantly. She was there when the Son of God arrived for His dedication, and she recognized her Redeemer, giving thanks for Him. She proclaimed the news of His coming with adoration to all who were waiting (see Luke 2:36-38).
Deborah, who was sought-after for her wise judgments, was a prophetess, military leader, and worshipper of Yahweh who led Israel into a period of rest for forty years. According to the theme of the book of Judges, Israel had success as they feared the Lord; Deborah faithfully led them into that success, fear of the Lord, and peace (see Judges 4-5).
Huldah was a prophetess during the reign of Josiah when the Book of the Law of God was rediscovered. She prophesied that God would bring disaster upon Israel for forsaking Him, and yet, that because the book of the law was found and heard with penitence, God would not bring this disaster within their lifetimes. She promoted and gave dynamic impetus to the spiritual revival of Israel during the kingship of Josiah with her truthful words (see 2 Kings 22-23).
Priscilla helped to instruct a new believer, Apollos, in the way of God more accurately. The Apostle Paul was one of her and her husband’s houseguests (see Acts 18:2-3; 24-26). Paul pointedly commended them for making personal sacrifices for the apostle as fellow servants of the Lord (see Romans 16:3-5).
Tabitha, a disciple in the early church, was full, or overflowing like a stream, of good works of mercy or charity in benevolence toward others—including making clothing. She was also given the honor by Peter of being raised from the dead to demonstrate the great power of God; many believed at this sign of the apostle to the authenticity of Christ (see Acts 9:36).
Anna was devoted, ready to recognize and proclaim her Redeemer when He arrived. Deborah was a sought-after woman of wisdom whose leadership of Israel ushered them into a time of peace and fear of God. Huldah inspired and promoted Israel’s return to the good law of God and to favor in His eyes. Priscilla was hospitable, self-sacrificial, and well-versed in Scriptural theology such that she could help teach the ways of God to a fellow brother. Tabitha was devoted to charitable works of service—they overflowed from her heart.
Each woman belonged to God as His child, under His Fatherly provision and direction (Matthew 7:11; Hebrews 12:3-11), devoted to Him and His righteous Word in the circumstances God brought. Each of their godly actions flowed from the Lord, each person beautiful in their own ways of reflecting Him while serving those around them—all together being used by God in His Word to teach us the truth. Yet, each one had markedly different circumstances, gifts, and roles in life.
It seems to me that you and I are also different in the same way Scripture’s women of history were different. Yet, we are also the same: we are children of the same Father who rely upon His Word for how to live, believe, worship, and serve, with the God-given honor of together representing Him in the pieces of His plan for this world we cherish as gifts and call our lives.
As women, we may be in various seasons, circumstances, and roles, and we may bring different gifts to what we commonly share. Yet, Anna’s delight was discovered in Scripture and fulfilled in Christ, Deborah’s wisdom and victory were attributed to her God, Huldah’s prophecy came from Him, Priscilla depended upon the ways of God in order to teach them and follow them, and Tabitha’s heart overflowed because she was a disciple of Christ. The beauty of each one’s service flowed from a humble love for the truth.
They were wonderfully different, while so very similar—like us.