This post is adapted from the new Lifeway Women Bible Study Devoted: 30 Days with Women of the Bible.
Despite what you’ve heard, the perfect life isn’t about the way you look, how hard you work, parenting style, number of followers, or number of grandkids. It’s about following Jesus—living a life of devotion to Him and extending His love to others (Matt. 22:37-39).
In the new Lifeway Women Bible study, Devoted: 30 Days with Women of the Bible, we walk through Scripture and examine the stories of women included in God’s Word. None of the women were flawless. Some are remembered for their high points, others are remembered for their lows, and for all of them, we are left with only the briefest of snapshots from their complicated lives. But when you string these pictures together, one thing is clear: Every one of these women played a role in God’s story, a role He deemed worthy of remembering.
Here are a few examples of the stories you’ll discover in this 6-week Bible study:
Rahab: Testimony of God’s Power
Rahab’s story is found in Joshua 2 and Joshua 6. She is best known for being a prostitute in Jericho and sheltering two Israelite spies. Rahab is also mentioned in Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; and James 2:25.
Rahab was described as a prostitute who lived in Jericho. We know she had a family that included parents, brothers, and sisters, that she lived in a house, and that she believed what she had heard about the power of Yahweh, Israel’s God. Beyond that, we don’t know about her personal life or family history.
The writer of Hebrews included Rahab in his list of people of exemplary faith for her belief in God and protection of His people. Based on God’s power and protection of His people, Rahab believed in Him. She chose to protect God’s men, believing that righteousness would prevail.
Rahab played a prominent place in the history of God’s people and is included in the earthly lineage of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. She became the mother of Boaz (the kinsman redeemer from the book of Ruth). This means she was also a great-grandmother in the lineage of King David, and therefore Jesus.
God’s Word documents for us His redemptive and restorative plan through the messiness of humanity. Remember the story of Rahab’s faith. No matter what has happened in your past, there is repentance, grace, and purpose for each one of us as God’s children in Christ.
Naomi & Ruth: Reflections of God’s Love
Naomi’s story is found in Ruth 1–4. She is best known for being Ruth’s mother-in-law and renaming herself “Bitter” because of the tragedy in her life.
Ruth’s story is found in Ruth 1–4. She is best known for her faithfulness to Naomi and Naomi’s God and her relationship with Boaz. She is also mentioned in Matthew 1:5.
Naomi was the mother-in-law of Ruth, and they both became widows when their husbands died. Naomi decided to travel back home to Bethlehem, and Ruth was determined to remain with her.
Ruth 2:1–4:17 record the events that happened to Naomi and Ruth once they settled in Bethlehem. To survive, Ruth went into the fields and gathered some grain for herself and Naomi. As grace would have it, Ruth gleaned in a field owned by a wealthy man named Boaz, a relative of Naomi’s late husband, Elimelech (2:3).
Boaz saw Ruth and inquired about her. When he found out she was Naomi’s daughter-in-law, he commanded that she be provided for and protected in the fields (2:5-13). Boaz was impressed by her devotion to Naomi and her willingness to give up her home and follow her mother-in-law’s customs and religion.
Boaz eventually married Ruth and fathered a child provided by the Lord—Obed. Jesus’s genealogy (Matt. 1) once again connects to the stories of Old Testament women. Once again, God used an unexpected woman—here a Moabite widow—to play an important part in His story. Ruth’s son Obed became the father of Jesse, and Jesse became the father of King David. And David’s lineage led the way to the Messiah and the salvation available to all people.
Anna: The Worshipful Heart
Anna’s story is found in Luke 2:36-38. She is best known for being a prophetess who met the Christ child in the temple.
Anna was an eyewitness to Jesus at the temple. She is described as a prophetess, and her father’s name and her tribe are provided in Luke 2. Her husband died after seven short years of marriage, and then she lived the rest of her life on earth as a widow.
Anna was an unexpected widow, but she also was an expectant worshiper. She spent her days in the Jewish temple, praying and fasting faithfully. This reflects humility and seeking God’s favor and rescue, which communicates repentance. Anna sought God intently as He was at work in preparing His people.
The story of Anna culminates in a proclamation about the Lord Jesus Christ. Having been at the temple day and night waiting for the coming Messiah, she heard Simeon’s prayer and his words to Joseph and Mary concerning Jesus in Luke 2:29-34. Anna’s response was to bless God in thanksgiving (v. 38).
We have to wonder how many people heard Anna as she connected Jesus to the longing for redemption expressed in verse 38. The prayers and hopes of Israel were answered in the baby born in Bethlehem, now being presented at the temple.
After the unexpected circumstances of life, Anna was an expectant worshiper of God who earnestly witnessed about Jesus—the One who would offer His life, not just for Israel but for all.
Priscilla: A Partner in Ministry
Priscilla’s story is found in Acts 18. She is best known for being Aquila’s wife and a fellow tentmaker with Paul and partnering with him in ministry. Priscilla is also mentioned in Romans 16:3-5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; and 2 Timothy 4:19.
Priscilla and her husband, Aquila, were tentmakers, and they moved from place to place. In the midst of upheaval and transition, Priscilla lived faithfully in the present.
The apostle Paul lived and worked for a time with Priscilla and her husband. Thanks in part to Priscilla and Aquila’s hospitality in the gospel and with the arrival of Silas and Timothy, Paul was able to stop tentmaking for a time and focus completely on his teaching ministry. The couple played a vital role in the advancement of the gospel in Corinth.
Priscilla and her husband then accompanied Paul to Ephesus. When Priscilla and Aquila heard that a man named Apollos was teaching an incomplete gospel, “They took him aside,” which literally means “they received him.” Perhaps they received him in their home for this time of important explanation. They graciously took the time to teach Apollos a more complete picture of the gospel.
Priscilla devoted her life to Christ in the temporary place. She invested her heart and mind to grow and learn, then instructed others in the truth of the gospel.
Sisters, daughters, friends. Queens, missionaries, mothers. From Eve in Genesis 3 to Eunice in 2 Timothy 1, the Bible mentions countless women who bear witness to the faithfulness and love of God. While each woman is unique, they all have one thing in common—a life interwoven with God’s story of redemption.
In Devoted: 30 Days with Women of the Bible, a 6-session Bible study from Lifeway Women, you’ll study more than thirty women in Scripture whose lives have inspired generations of women in their faith and devotion to God. Their stories are a reminder that you, too, are made in the image of God, and you have an important part to play in God’s story.