11 Influential Women of the New Testament

When I think about influential leaders in the Bible naturally my brain goes to Jesus Christ Himself. Or maybe I think about the Apostles, Paul always comes to mind, etc. You know, the obvious choices. Very rarely when I ask about leaders in the Bible, do I think of women of the New Testament.

But, it’s time to give credit where credit is due and recognize the influential female leaders in the New Testament. It’s 2023 after all, time to recognize how God placed some incredible women leaders in the Bible for us to learn from. We don’t need all male disciples any more ladies. We have a place in Kingdom leadership and these women of the New Testament are living proof of that.

Mary Magdalene – witnessed Christ’s resurrection and was one of his first messengers

Talk about being an Influential woman.

Mary Magdalene is one of my favorite women in the New Testament. I am actually writing a book about what we can learn from her. Mary is an inspiring example of trusting in God and she was one of the first to witness Christ’s resurrection.

She is known as the Apostle to the Apostles (a female apostle!) because she was sent to share news of Jesus’ return with them. She also is cited in scripture as being with Jesus throughout His ministry. At a time when women’s words were not trusted in the courts nor could they study scripture, it was a woman who was meant to tell the world about Christ’s return. That feels like a pretty big deal to me.

I love seeing one of the most female disciples in the New Testament coming out fully. I remember growing up and being told that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute but the Catholic Church retracted that statement in the 1960s however the idea permeated culture for generations. I’m thankful to see the correction because there is much to learn from this woman.

Phoebe – a deacon of the church at Cenchrea, sent to Rome as a messenger

Phoebe is another great example of a female church leader in the New Testament. She was a deacon of the church at Cenchrea and she was sent to Rome as an official messenger from her community. This sends a powerful message that women were trusted to serve in positions of leadership, even in ancient times. Her influence would have stretched beyond her church, as she was carrying important messages to other parts of the world. This shows how much power and faith God had in her and how even 2,000 years ago women were respected and trusted to lead.

Priscilla – helped Apollos to understand the gospel better, with her husband Aquila

I didn’t know a ton about Priscilla until I was working on my podcast and studying female leadership more intensely. Priscilla was married to Aquila and together they helped Apollos understand the gospel better and spread it throughout the Roman Empire. Priscilla’s faith and intelligence were so renowned that she and her husband were celebrated by not only the early church, but by the Apostle Paul as well.

Check out Acts 18, 2 Timothy 4:19, and 1 Corinthians 16:19 to study more about Priscilla and the long-lasting ministry she was involved in.

Junia – identified by Paul as an apostle

Junia is one of the most debated women in scripture due to the nonspecific gender of the name Junia however upon reading the Greek, it leans feminine so most modern scholars conclude that Junia was female. Junia was identified as an apostle by Paul in his letter to the Romans.

Paul mentions she was a Christian before he was which is remarkable given that Paul was a convert within 3 years of the Resurrection (Romans 16:7). That’s an impressive timeline for someone to be considered a leader in the early church. What I love about Junia is that Paul mentions Junia is a fellow prisoner with him meaning that she too was persecuted because of her faith.

I feel like we can take a lot from this one line in Romans about what it means to be a believer. Junia’s example is a reminder of how we should never let persecution stand in the way of our faith and that God can use us to influence others no matter the circumstance.

Dorcas (Tabitha) – Acts 9:36-41 recounts her acts of mercy and generosity

First and foremost let’s address the Dorcas/Tabitha name. Dorcas is the Greek version and Tabitha is the Hebrew. I know when someone has two names but is the same person it can get really confusing. Anyways, I love the story of Dorcas/Tabitha because it reminds us of the importance of showing mercy and living generously.

In Acts 9:36-41 we read about how she was known for her good works and how she used her time and resources to help others in need. It is through her generosity that a miracle is performed and she is brought back to life.

Dorcas/Tabitha shows us that our faith should be alive and active, being seen by the good works we do for others. In a time when women’s worth was wrapped up in their ability to bear children, Dorcas/Tabitha reminds us of the power of showing mercy and generosity to those in need – regardless of gender.

Lydia – Acts 16:14-15 tells us how she hosted the early Christians in her home

Lydia is another inspiring figure in the New Testament. She was a wealthy merchant and was the first known convert to Christianity from Philippi (Acts 16:14-15). What I love about Lydia is that she opened her house to the early Christians and hosted prayer meetings and bible studies. She was a leader amongst her peers, inspiring others to come to faith in Jesus.

Lydia’s example is really touching to me because she used her home and resources to reach out and extend hospitality to the early Christians. Her actions show us how we can use our homes, no matter what size or location it may be, as a place that welcomes people in need. It is that same spirit of hospitality and leadership that we can learn from Lydia today

.I also love that Lydia owned a business. The scriptures tell us that Lydia sold purple cloth. This is significant because purple was a very expensive color in those days and was often only accessible to the wealthy.

Lydia’s business displays her ambition and resourcefulness. Even though she lived during a time when the role of women was limited, Lydia was still able to be an entrepreneur and find success. This is an example that we can all learn from. Lydia’s story is an inspiring glimpse into the power of faith and how it can bring us together, no matter our background or gender. Be sure to check out a podcast episode I did on Lydia and other women mentioned here today.

Rhoda – Acts 12:12-16 gives us an example of courageous faith when she recognized Peter at the door

Rhoda is another inspiring figure in the New Testament. We first meet Rhoda in Acts 12:12-16 when Peter was released from prison after an angel helped him escape. What I love about Rhoda is her faith and courage. When Peter knocked on the door, Rhoda recognized his voice despite the fact that he had been arrested and she was sure he had been executed. She ran back inside to tell everyone about Peter, but when the others were skeptical of her story, Rhoda stood her ground and was adamant that it was Peter at the door.

Rhoda’s example is a reminder of how our faith should be strong and courageous in the face of opposition. No matter what other people may say, we must trust in our faith and be willing to stand up for the truth. Rhoda’s story is a beautiful example of how God can use us to influence others no matter the circumstance.

Lois and Eunice – described in 2 Timothy 1:5 as women who influenced Timothy into understanding Christianity from a young age

I love the story of Lois and Eunice. Just a quick line about them but what a profound impact they had.  We first meet Lois and Eunice in 2 Timothy 1:5. They were the mother and grandmother of Timothy and it was their influence that led him to understand Christianity from a young age.

Lois and Eunice’s story is so inspiring because they show us the power of passing down faith through generations. Not only did they teach Timothy the foundations of Christianity, but they also showed him how to live it out in his everyday life. They provided an example for Timothy that would follow him into adulthood and allow him to be a leader in the church.

I love how their leadership in their faith impacted the world for generations. They remind us of the importance of teaching our faith to our children and grandchildren. We can all learn from Lois and Eunice’s story and seek to pass down a legacy of faith that will impact future generations.

Martha & Mary of Bethany – Luke 10:38-42 describes their relationship with Jesus

Martha and Mary of Bethany have always been a role models for me. We first meet Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42 when Jesus visits their home. Even though both sisters were close to Jesus, their personalities were vastly different.

Martha was known for her hospitality, often busy preparing meals for Jesus and His disciples, while Mary was content to sit and listen to Jesus’ teachings.I admire Martha and Mary for different reasons.

Martha teaches us the importance of hospitality and welcoming people into our homes with open arms. She reminds us that we should always strive to make others feel comfortable in any setting.

On the other hand, Mary’s story teaches us the power of taking time to listen. In a world where we are constantly distracted and on the go, Mary’s example reminds us that it is important to take time out of our day to spend with God and be still in His presence. Martha and Mary’s story serves as an example that we don’t have to be the same in order to work together.

They show us that we can come from different backgrounds and still work together, just as Jesus Christ did with them. This is an important lesson for all of us no matter how different we might be, we can find our common ground in Jesus and use it to bring us closer together.

No matter how different we may be, we can all learn from these incredible Biblical women of faith. I pray you see the leadership role available to you as a woman. From Rhoda’s courage and faith to Lois and Eunice’s legacy of passing down the faith to Martha and Mary’s example of working together, these stories remind us that God can use anyone to carry out His plans.

These women’s stories are timeless reminders of the power of faith and how it can change our lives. We too can be inspired to live out a life of faith just like these amazing Biblical women. My goodness, we have female apostles and women priests listed in the Bible and no one has wanted to discuss that recent history until now. The first Christians were more accepting than we give them credit for and it’s because of Jesus.

May we all be inspired by the examples set by these incredible Biblical women of faith. May their stories be a reminder to us all that no matter what, we can trust in our faith and use it for God’s glory! May we lean into our spiritual gifts and spiritual authority and be women in ministry who impact the body of Christ.

I pray these women encourage you to lean into the leadership and influence you have as a daughter of God. May their stories inspire you to pass down the faith and live out a life of faith just like they did. May they encourage you to step out with courage.

May God continue to use these women of faith as an example for all of us today, and may we seek to live out a life of faith just like they did. May their stories be a reminder that no matter what our circumstances may be, we can trust in the Lord’s plan and use our faith to bring Him glory. I would encourage you to find a New Testament Women’s Bible Study to further study these amazing women.

Find leadership positions within your Church or come start your own thing. If you’re ready to lean into what God is trying to do in and through you, let’s connect. I have a Certified 16 Week Biblical Leadership Program made for women by women. No more are we going to exclude women from the leadership table. Female leaders are ready to rise up, are you one of them?

Ready to rise up as a leader? get in touch with me and I’ll send you the info.

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