The #MeToo movement has sparked some good conversations about the value and significance of women, a conversation that has moved into the church in helpful ways (#ChurchToo).
A friend’s tweet got me thinking about the significant role women play in the Bible’s storyline of redemption.
So, for my own benefit, I started jotting an off-the-cuff list of notable places women show up. I stopped at twenty.
I ended up posting it to Twitter as “Twenty observations of women in the storyline of redemptive history from Genesis to Revelation.” (I’ve updated this list to twenty-one observations. The new #4 was just too good to leave off!)
A friend suggested I post it on the blog. So, here it is! (Printable PDF)
Update 1: The Gospel Coalition invited me to turn this into an article for their site, available here.
Update 2: Front Porch with the Fitzes invited me to discuss this post on their podcast. Listen to our discussion on Episode 214.
Update 3: This list inspired a book, a song, and a podcast.
Twenty-one observations of women in the storyline of redemptive history from Genesis to Revelation:
- A woman’s absence is the first thing to be declared “not good” in creation (Genesis 2:18).
- The woman is specifically named as having enmity with the serpent (Genesis 3:15).
- A woman will give birth to the serpent-crushing seed—the Messiah (Genesis 3:15).
- A woman is the first and only character—male or female—in the Old Testament to confer on God a name (Genesis 16:13).
- Women—often brave, vulnerable, and oppressed—often act at decisive moments in redemptive history to preserve the endangered line of the seed (e.g. Tamar, Genesis 38; the Hebrew midwives, Ex 1:15-21; Rahab, Joshua 2; Ruth; Esther; et al).
- Women were the first to believe the announcement that Jesus and his forerunner (John) soon would be conceived (Luke 1:5-38). Likewise, they were the first to speak aloud of it.
- A woman and her (in utero) child are the first recorded people to recognize the arrival of the Messiah on earth (Luke 1:39-45).
- A woman is the first recorded to verbally declare the Messiah’s presence on earth (Luke 1:39-45).
- A woman voices the first song/poem of the New Testament, praising God for the arrival of the Messiah (Luke 1:46-55).
- A woman is the first to expect and request a miraculous sign (John 2:1-11).
- A woman is the first recorded “non-Jewish” person (a Samaritan) to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. She is also the first to go tell a community of others about him (John 4:4-42).
- Women are the only people mentioned to give general, regular financial provision (out of their own means) to Jesus and the Twelve (Luke 8:3). We are told elsewhere that the disciples had a common moneybag to pay for their needs; this is the only insight into the underwriting of their itinerant ministry.
- A woman is never recorded (in any of the Gospels) as acting against Jesus. His recorded enemies were exclusively men.
- Women were the last to be noted to stay with Jesus at the cross (along with one disciple, John) (John 19:25).
- A woman is the last to be directly ministered to by Jesus before his death (John 19:26-27).
- Women were the first tasked with proclaiming the news of the resurrection (Matt 28:7).
- A woman is the first to see the resurrected Lord Jesus and also the first to touch his resurrected body (Mt 28:9; John 20:14).
- A woman is the first to hear the resurrected Lord’s voice—and a woman’s name is the first name uttered by the risen Jesus (John 20:14-18).
- Women (mistreated and overlooked) were the impetus for the appointing of the first deacons (Acts 6:1)—one of which, Stephen, became the first martyr (Acts 7).
- A woman’s name is the first listed in three of the four times that Paul greets people by name (Romans 16:1, 3; Colossians 4:15; 2 Timothy 4:19). In the fourth instance, the first mention is a couple, with her name coming second (1 Corinthians 16:10, “Aquila and Prisca”). These are the only greetings in the Epistles to feature specific names.
- A “woman’s” voice (aside from John as the author of Revelation) is the last to be quoted in the Bible (Rev 22:17).