Women Leaders of the Bible

For most of the history of the church, women have been denied the privilege of serving as leaders; however, several women are mentioned in the Bible who were involved in leadership.  Although these women are mentioned briefly, they definitely serve as valid scriptural precedents. The precedents which call into question the notion that says church leaders can only be males. These women, whom the scriptures are alluding to, served in the five fold ministries.



Let us take a closer look at these women:

Paul speaks warmly about Junia and Andronicus (Possibly Junia’s husband). Junia and Andronicus were leading the church in Rome. In the book of Romans 16:7 Paul sends his greetings to them and appreciate the fact that they had become Christians before he did. Junia and Andronicus also suffered persecutions. At some point, they were fellow prisoners with Paul. I have noted with interest that in Romans 16:7 Paul speaks of them as outstanding Apostles among apostles. Paul commended them for doing an apostolic ministry in an excellent manner. Note that this is a wonderful commend coming from the mouth of a man who is actually an outstanding Apostle himself. So this scripture is an indication that Junia served as an Apostle and yet she was a woman.

Note that the Bible mentions Junia First. This means to me that she was the prominent one in this office. When I travel with my husband to do ministry and we are introduced, my husband will always be mentioned first and I will be mentioned second.  Although I am a Pastor in my own right, some introduces me as his beautiful wife and nothing else.  I noticed that, even though we are both ministers of the word, He is more likely the most prominent one and of course the head. The same applies to Junia and Andronicus. Junia was the most prominent in the apostolic ministry. That is why some scholars debate that Junia was a man as she appeared to be more prominent.

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In Acts 21:9 we are told that Philip had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. Prophets were people who spoke for God.  Their speech was inspired by the Holy Spirit. In the early church, prophets provided guidance; see Acts 13:3-4 and Acts 16:6. Once again, we see women in the New Testament who responded to their call and operated in one of the offices in the fivefold.

We also meet women Evangelists, Euodia and Syntyche. These were women who were warmly regarded and respected as fellow-workers by Paul.  He said that they “contended at my side for the cause of the gospel.”  Philippians 4:2-3. Phoebe was another female minister who was highly esteemed by Paul.  He commends Phoebe to the church at Rome .In Romans 16:1-2. Paul described Phoebe as both a diakonos and a prostatis.

Prostatis means president, Patron, Protector or leader.  Diakonos is always used by Paul to refer to a minister. Phoebe was a minister and a leader in the church at Cenchrea. Phoebe was famous. She was known to the Greeks, Romans and Barbarians.

Minister Phoebe travelled widely and brought the gospel to foreign lands.  She ministered as an apostle and evangelist with courage and very effectively.

Several women in the New Testament functioned as pastors and teachers.  Priscilla was one of them. Pricilla and her husband Aquila taught the already learned and eloquent Apollos about Jesus more accurately. See Acts 18:24-26 we see Priscilla’s name appearing first in four of the six mentions of this couple (Pricilla and Aquila). This denotes that Priscilla’s ministry was more likely prominent than her husband’s. They hosted a church in their home at Ephesus.

Women Leaders of the Bible


Here is a list of some of the women leaders mentioned in the New Testament:

  •  Philip’s daughters - Acts 21:9

  •  Priscilla -Acts 18:26; Romans 16:3-5)

  •  Phoebe- Romans 16:7

  • Chloe - 1 Corinthians 1:11

  • Nympha - Colosians4:15

  • Apphia -Phillipians 2

  •  Euodia and Syntyche -Phillipians  4:2-3

  •  Lydia  - Acts16:40


Just as there have been good and bad male leaders, there were good and bad female leaders.  We notice that in Revelations 2: 20-24 the church in Thyatira was being corrupted by the teachings and false prophecies of a wicked and immoral female leader. The church in Ephesus also had the same challenge.

Today’s church should realize that it is not unscriptural for a woman to be a church leader. We see in the New Testament that there were female apostles, female prophets, female evangelists, female pastors and teachers. These women were respected and valued by people such as an outstanding apostle, Apostle Paul.

The ministries within the church can be more enhanced if male and female ministers work together as members of the team. Skills of female ministers and male ministers should be utilized effectively by today’s church to complement each others‘s skills and abilities.

LET MEN AND WOMEN UNITE FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL SO THAT THROUGH THE GOSPEL, WE CAN BUILD THE BODY OF CHRIST AND EQUIP THE SAINTS TO CONNECT THE LOST TO CHRIST!

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Dr Mabel Baloyi is a Life Coach|Mentor| Skills development specialist|Project Management specialist|Facilitator|Freelance writer| Pastor|Inspirational Speaker


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