Let's move from Old Testament to New Testament women, and start with
Grateful to those who taught her about Jesus, wealthy
Also, note that
A few chapters over from
Priscilla was a gutsy woman. She hosted a church in her home, and was open to adventure, traveling with her husband and Paul, and even risking her life for Paul at one point (Romans 16:3-5).
In her day, women were not considered worthy of teaching by Jewish religious leaders. As a trailblazer, Priscilla not only soaked up as much teaching as she could from Paul, but also taught what she learned to a man. If she had been a CNG, she would have allowed her culture to keep her totally quiet. Once, while in
Fortunately, Apollos did accept the truth Priscilla and Aquila taught him, and doing so enabled him to have a powerful ministry in Corinth (I Corinthians 3:6; 16:12). Priscilla helped both Apollos and Paul become even more effective in their ministries. Paul commended her and
From more recent history, you may be aware of the praise given to the late Mother Teresa, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. But did you know that she was dogged throughout her life by criticism? It's hard to believe that anyone would dare to criticize her, but criticism follows almost everyone who decides to be good instead of merely nice. Christopher Hitchens, rogue journalist, cynic, and harsh critic of faith in general, has called Mother Teresa the "ghoul of
To the slaves she helped rescue, Harriet Tubman, former slave, abolitionist, humanitarian, Union spy during the Civil War, and women's suffrage advocate, was a near mythological figure with almost superhuman strength, courage, and cunning. She was beaten and whipped as a little girl. Early in her life, she suffered a traumatic head wound when she was hit by a heavy metal weight thrown by an irate overseer. The injury caused disabling seizures and powerful visions. As a devout Christian, she ascribed her visions to God.
She believed that her difficult life experiences, along with her mother's Bible stories, were put in her life to help others gain their freedom. But in order to do so, she would have to discard sentimental spirituality and fight like a Good Christian Woman. On the verge of being sold into slavery once again, she decided to run away. "There was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other. For no man should take me alive. I should fight for my liberty as long as my strength lasted, and when the time came for me to go, the lord would let them take me." Tubman would later help hundreds obtain their own freedom from slavery.
Sojourner Truth was the self-given name of Isabella Baumfree, who was also an African-American abolitionist. She was born into slavery and sold around the age of 9 for $100 to a man who beat and raped her. Late in 1826, Truth escaped to freedom. She later became a devout Christian and traveled and preached against slavery and capital punishment and advocated for women's rights and prison reform. She was met with fierce opposition. During her speeches, people booed, interrupted, and tried to belittle her with the contemptuous accusation that she wasn't even a woman. The spirited, near six-foot tall woman proved her accused wrong by opening her blouse and revealing her breasts!
She worked to improve the conditions of African-Americans and met with President Lincoln. Critics and enemies mounted, but like all people who stop being nice and start being good, she gained supporters and influential friends including William Lloyd Garrison and Susan B. Anthony.
Several days before Truth died, a reporter interviewed her, "Her face was drawn and emaciated and she was apparently suffering great pain." Her last words to her interviewer were, "Be a follower of Jesus Christ."
Teresa, Tubman and Truth followed the real Jesus of the Bible, the 360-degree Savior who did more than bring us salvation. He also brought protection, rescue, and a real-world example of what love is, how we should really live, and what is worth living and dying for. Like their Savior, these women were gracious and firm, sweet and salty, and at times blessedly inappropriate. (We don't recommend opening your blouse to prove your gender. Best to keep them guessing.) And like Jesus—like all of God's Good Women—they changed the world around them.
Paul Coughlin is the author of numerous books, including Unleashing Courageous Faith, No More Christian Nice Guy and No More Jellyfish, Chickens or Wimps. He also co-authored a book for married couples with his wife Sandy, titled Married But Not Engaged. Paul is founder of The Protectors, the values-based and faith-based answer to adolescent bullying, which provides curriculum for public schools, private schools, retreats, and individuals who want to diminish child-based bullying.
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