In Bible times, Jewish women were treated as second-class citizens.
And under Roman law, women weren’t even considered citizens or given legal rights. Popular Greek philosophers—who dominated thought in Jewish culture—marginalized women, with some even calling them dangerous.
Men could commit adultery while others turned a blind eye, while women who did such could be punished by death. Women were typically viewed more as possessions and child bearers than individuals.
But is that how God really views women, too?
Let’s look at five ways God valued women in the Bible:
1. He created women in His image.
While God created man first, He realized it wasn’t good for man to be alone. Even though man and woman were created distinctly different, God made sure to create both in His likeness—and instructed them both to rule the earth (Genesis 1:28).
“The Bible makes it clear that at the very beginning of the human race both women and men were created by God, and He stamped His image equally upon them both,” Billy Graham once said.
God gives women as much of an opportunity to know Him as He does men—not only in creation, but also in relationship with Him.
God is far from an oppressor. He is a holy and heavenly Father who loves men and women equally.
“Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.” —Genesis 5:2
2. God cares about the hearts of women.
He hears their cries—and answers their prayers.
When a woman named Hagar felt mistreated, an angel of the Lord met her in the wilderness to encourage her (Genesis 16). She then claimed, “You are a God of seeing.”
Another woman, Leah, felt rejected and unloved, and God listened and gave her sons (Genesis 29:30-35).
God also blessed Hannah with a son after she fought through depression over infertility (1 Samuel 1:1-20).
Any of those situations sound familiar to women you know? He’s the same God today—who fills the same needs He met in the Bible.
3. God uses women to carry out His divine plan.
You can see this throughout Scripture. Here are just a few examples:
- A sister, Miriam, helped protect her baby brother (Moses) after Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, ordered all Hebrew baby boys to be thrown into the Nile River. Years later, she faithfully worked by her brother’s side to help free the Israelites from slavery.
- A prostitute, Rahab, courageously protected Israelites who were spying on Jericho in accordance with God’s plan. She was part of the lineage of Jesus.
- Deborah was a prophetess and judge over Israel for four decades. God gave her discernment and direction on how to lead the nation.
- The virgin Mary, who had an ordinary life, was favored by God and chosen to bear His Son, who would change the whole world.
4. Jesus always uplifted the oppressed—and validated women.
Jesus repeatedly showed how God is sensitive to the hearts of women and their hurts and fears, and He comforts and loves them wholeheartedly.
He spent time with two sisters, Mary and Martha, and praised Mary, who didn’t busy herself just fulfilling tasks, but actually fellowshipped with Him (Luke 10:39). He didn’t care as much about what women could do for Him as who they were.
Jesus again showed this during His honest conversation with a woman at the well. His disciples “marveled that He was talking to a woman” (John 4:27) because Jewish law said men were forbidden to speak to women they weren’t married to.
But Jesus, who has power over any historic law, chose to tell the woman who had married five men that He was the Messiah. She recognized His identity and believed. She immediately told her town about Him, saying “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ” (John 4:29)
Another time in Scripture, Jesus pointed out the widow who gave two small copper coins in the temple treasury’s offering—all she had to give—when He could’ve easily made note of the rich people’s large donations.
He continuously showed His high regard for women by understanding their concerns (John 2:1-9), meeting their deepest needs (John 4; Mark 7:24-30), healing them (Luke 4:38-39, Matthew 9:20-22), raising their dead (Luke 7:11-15, John 11), offering them forgiveness and restoration (Luke 7:36-50, John 8:3-11), and defending their acts of service (Matthew 26:6-13).
“Jesus honored women and made them an important part of His ministry (in contrast to the society of His day). In general, women are most oppressed in societies that are untouched by the Gospel.” —Billy Graham
Jesus did not act as someone who expected women to serve Him hand and foot. Instead, His hands and feet would be pierced out of His great love for them.
Following His resurrection, Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene before any of His disciples. He had previously freed her from severe satanic bondage (John 20:10-18).
5. Women are to be respected in the modern-day church.
In Acts 2, men and women were gathered together in one of the first meetings of the early church—and the Holy Spirit fell among them both. It marked the first time women were actually heard in church, and Peter reminded the people that this was a prophecy fulfilled.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek [nationality, race], slave nor free [status], male nor female [gender], for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” —Galatians 3:28