Amazing Female Leaders and Disciples in the New Testament

Mary Meets Elizabeth

The New Testament features many prominent and widely known male leaders and disciples.

Their names are even used to name some New Testament books.

But did you know there were amazing female leaders in the New Testament who did great things for the kingdom of God?

They may not have had any bible books named after them. But these New Testament women were well known, highly regarded, and very influential in their time.

Let’s explore some of them and their Godly leadership qualities.

Here are some other popular articles about prominent female believers: Incredible Female Heroes, Warriors and Villains in the Bible and Who was Jesus’ Wife in the Bible?

Elizabeth – Mother of John the Baptist.

Elizabeth’s husband was Zechariah – a priest at the Temple. They were an older couple who had no children.

Elizabeth, who was past childbearing age, was barren.

The story is found in chapter 1 of the book of Luke.

  • Elizabeth was faithful

Elizabeth bore the burden of barrenness for years -and the stigma of reproach that came with it in a society where a woman was highly valued for her ability to bear children.  

Yet, Elizabeth and her husband remained faithful to God in obeying all his commands and decrees.

In His sight, they were righteous and blameless.

Elizabeth had a lot of joy to share with Mary on her miraculous pregnancy in her later years
Elizabeth and Mary had two big things in common. Miraculous pregnancies -and Angelic pronouncements. Though they were cousins, Elizabeth was a Levite and Mary was from the tribe of Judah. Image credit:
  • She had an attitude of gratitude

When she conceived, she was quick to glorify and thank God, saying, “The Lord has done this for me.

In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

  • She had the Gift of Discernment

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.

She also received the gift of discernment, because she was able to perceive that the virgin Mary was carrying was the Savior.

She said, “But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

-thereby becoming a witness for Jesus before his birth and ministry.

  • She was hospitable

When Mary went to visit her, Elizabeth welcomed her with humility and excitement.

Despite being heavily pregnant and in her final trimester, she hosted Mary for about 3 months.

  • She was obedient and firm

After she’d given birth, her neighbors and relatives shared in her joy and went to circumcise the child on the 8th day.

They wanted to name him after his father Zechariah, but Elizabeth firmly declared that his name was John, as God had already instructed.

They insisted on their name of choice and even tried to recruit her husband to back them up.

But Zechariah –who’d been unable to speak since the Angel’s pronouncement- wrote to them and said the child was named John.

[View the full article on John the Baptist -including the Amazing True Back Story you probably never knew]

The couple didn’t bow to societal/peer pressure to go against God’s instruction.

Zechariah was able to speak again right after following God’s command to name his son John.

Virgin Mary – Mother of Jesus.

 [Luke 1: 26-56]

Mary was a virgin teenager when the Angel Gabriel first appeared to her with the news that she’d give birth to the messiah.

The Angel Appears to Mary, giving her amazing news! Image Credit:
  • She was wise and mature.

Despite being greatly troubled at first, she displayed great maturity and wisdom in her response.

  • She had Faith.

Believing that what the Angel had said would be, Mary sought clarification on how it would be.

  • She was quick to align with God’s will.

She confirmed that she was a willing, available and ready vessel to be used by God, saying..

“I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”

There’s a key difference between Mary’s and Zachariah’s responses to Angel Gabriel’s prophecy about their children.

Mary believed, Zechariah doubted, asking, “How can I be sure of this?”

He exalted his own understanding above God’s word – the truth.

Many people think that the definition of an untruth (lie) is incorrect information. According to the dictionary, it’s an intentionally false statement.

But in God’s economy, an untruth is anything contrary to God’s word.

We know that God’s word is the truth. Therefore, anything He hasn’t said, even when it’s correct information, is still an untruth. 

Zechariah’s sentiments about his circumstances were correct. Biologically, he and his wife were past childbearing age.

However, that information was an untruth because it contradicted God’s word that they’d have a son named John.

  • She was prayerful.

After Angel Gabriel disclosed Mary’s purpose to her, she incubated it prayerfully as seen in her Magnificat prayer [Luke 1:46-55].

  • She kept good company and submitted to mentorship.

Mary was careful to keep the right company during her season of incubating purpose.

She visited and stayed with Elizabeth for 3 months until Elizabeth gave birth to John.

She was equally yoked with Elizabeth in that they were both pregnant with children who had great prophetic destinies regarding the salvation of humanity.

Elizabeth shared and affirmed her faith, saying, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill her promises to her.” [Luke 1:45]

With humility, Mary submitted herself under Elizabeth’s mentorship, knowing she’d gone before her in age, spiritual growth, and prophetic destiny.

  • She was a submissive wife.

Any wise woman knows to respect and submit to her husband. Throughout scripture, we see Mary playing this role perfectly. She let Joseph be the head of the family and guide them through life.

  • She gracefully endured difficulty.

When they couldn’t find a guest room in Bethlehem where they’d traveled to register for the census, Mary gave birth to Jesus and laid him in a manger with no complaints.

  • She was a good steward over her children.

Mary, who went ahead to have more kids with Joseph – 4 more boys and an unspecified number of girls – was a good mom.

At the temple, when Jesus was 12 and remained behind while his family left, Mary is recorded as being upset and distressed while looking for him.

During the wedding at Cana in Galilee, we see her faith in Jesus’ spiritual gifts and divine assignment in full display.

She requested his help and intervention when the wine ran out.

This tells us that she’d played her part in nurturing his purpose and was confident in his ability to perform well. The result? Jesus’ first miracle!

  • She recognized Jesus as the son of God.

Even as she found favor with God, Mary was an ordinary woman in need of a Savior.

Recognizing Jesus as the son of God, she treasured her experiences with him in her heart, as is stated twice, in Luke 2: 19 & 51.

She was present to witness some of his works and was among the Apostles in the Upper Room after Jesus was resurrected.

So many people are asking these days. Was Jesus White?

The Samaritan Woman at the Well.

[John 4]

  • Before Meeting Jesus…

This woman was a social outcast. She was a Samaritan who’d had 5 failed marriages and was cohabiting with her lover at the time.

In those days, women went to the well to fetch water early in the morning or late in the evening.

But for fear of being scorned and ridiculed, the Samaritan woman endured the scorching midday sun to fetch water while most people were resting, to avoid them.

We can already pick some lessons from her at this point, despite her unfavorable circumstances.

  • She was inherently valuable and was bringing something of value to the table.

Let’s face it, a man can bed you and leave you at will, but 5 different men had wed her one after the other. She must have had something more valuable than sex to offer.

  • She was resourceful and didn’t give up easily.

Despite suffering a ruined reputation and heavy societal stigma, she didn’t let that keep her from getting her water – she found a way around her problem.

  • She was observant.

When Jesus, a Jew, came to the well and asked her for a drink, she was quick to point out that it was taboo for him to speak to her at all, let alone ask her for a drink.

The Samaritan Woman went to the well for water and came back with Living Water. Image Credit:
  • While Meeting Jesus…

She boldly asked him why he would do that.

She was also keen to notice he didn’t appear to have a vessel with which to draw water from the well. Unbeknownst to her, she was about to become his vessel.

  • She was inherently honest.

When Jesus told her to go call her husband and come back, she said, “I have no husband.” Jesus was a stranger and she didn’t owe him the truth about her life’s intimate details, but she didn’t lie.

  • She was Discerning and  Self-aware.

When Jesus told her he could give her living water that would permanently quench her thirst, she was quick to accept his offer.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10, ESV

Coming from 5 failed marriages, her life was riddled with pain, heartache, brokenness, stigma, and shame.

She recognized that all her efforts to fill the void within her had failed, and she needed help from a more powerful source.

Discerning that Jesus was a prophet, she didn’t waste the opportunity when it presented itself. Instead, she thought on her feet, quickly analyzing the offer and making the decision to accept it immediately.

  • She had emotional intelligence.

When Jesus revealed the dark details of her life, she wasn’t offended. She maintained decorum and continued the conversation, addressing him just as respectfully as before.

She probably figured that the first step to getting help is admitting you have a problem and opening yourself up to possible solutions.

  • After Meeting Jesus…

Following her interaction with Jesus, the Samaritan woman was never the same. Encountering Jesus leaves you healed and whole, at the very least.

  • She was bold and assertive.

After Jesus revealed himself to her as the Messiah, she left her pail at the well and went into town to testify.

Ignoring her social stigma, she excitedly told anyone who cared to listen, about the events that had just taken place.

She shifted her focus from men to God – instead of fearing the scorn of men, she worked for the Glory of God. The results were immediate.

  • She became an effective evangelist.

Because of her testimony, many Samaritans in that town believed in Jesus.

She must have been an effective communicator because she was able to mobilize people to go to Jesus and hear him in person:

“We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:42, ESV

  • She fulfilled her prophetic destiny.

Because of her societal stigma and reputation, she already had a ready audience eager to hear what she had to say (for herself).

This worked in her favor and people came to Christ through her.

Truly, all things do work out for good to they that love the Lord and to they that are called according to His purpose.

Mary Magdalene.

Hailing from the village of Magdala, her second name is telling of her roots, as was the customary naming process in those days before surnames became a thing.

Mary Magdalene became a disciple of Jesus after he’d delivered her by casting 7 demons out of her.

Some mistaken commentators have alleged her to be the wife of Jesus, as discussed in detail in this article. However, there’s absolutely no scriptural or historical backing for these claims.

Mary Magdalene did become the first of many among the bride of Christ – the church – when she became the first to bear witness to his resurrection.

  • She was a humble and active servant of Jesus.

[Mark 15: 40-41]

She was among a few other women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him and caring for his needs as he headed to the cross.

After he was crucified, Mary Magdalene and two other women still sought to serve Christ by anointing his body with spices.

  • She was brave, caring and portrayed the character of the bride of Christ.

Just as a faithful disciple, Mary was always staying close to Jesus, her Savior.

While most of the male disciples opted out of watching Jesus die on the cross, Mary Magdalene stayed close by his side throughout that difficult ordeal.

Many people want to know the Meaning of INRI on the Cross of Jesus and the deeper meaning revealed from the Old Testament scriptures. Learn more about about it at this post.

After his death, she still stayed close, sitting opposite the tomb while he was being buried.

Afterward, she went back to the tomb to check on and anoint his body.

It was because of this that she became the first person to discover his empty tomb and to see him right after his resurrection.

Jesus appearing to her was a prophetic foreshadowing of his second coming to meet his true bride, the church.

Having said this, she [Mary Magdalene] turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Photo credit:

That she was the first to see him post-resurrection was prophetic in that he wanted his bride, the church, to witness that he had risen.

  • She had trained her spiritual senses.

After Peter and John left her crying at the tomb, she leaned in to look inside and saw two angels sitting on either side of where his body had been laid.

They went on to have a conversation, after which Jesus also appeared to and conversed with her. This shows her spiritual senses were sharp enough to discern spirits.

  • She was obedient.

John 20:18

When Jesus appeared to her and asked her not to touch him because He hadn’t yet ascended to God, His father, He instructed her to go and share what she’d seen with the disciples and she obeyed.

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord…” She, thereby, became the first eyewitness to see the resurrected Christ.

  • She was among the women who were baptized by the fire of the Holy Spirit.

[Acts 1: 14]

All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Mary Magdalene was among those women in the Upper Room who were filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of tongues after Jesus had ascended into heaven.

Want to learn more about the Lordship of Jesus? You can see “Jesus is the Only Way to Heaven Bible Verses” here.

Each of these amazing women portrayed admirable leadership qualities and values we can all adopt and benefit from in our lives.

While they each have unique characters and personalities, they all share one thing in common – an intimate, personal relationship with God.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from them is that our relationship with God is the most important aspect of life.

Is your Faith Founded on Fact? 

Have you committed to follow Jesus?

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