The Feminine Voice of God: Women as Prophets in the Bible -- By: Ronald W. Pierce

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 21:1 (Winter 2007)
Article: The Feminine Voice of God: Women as Prophets in the Bible
Author: Ronald W. Pierce


The Feminine Voice of God:
Women as Prophets in the Bible

Ronald W. Pierce

DR. RON PIERCE is Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology at
Biola University in La Mirada, Calif., and an ordained minister with the Baptist General Conference. He served as General Editor and contributor, along with Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, for Discovering Biblical Equality (InterVarsity, 2005), and has been an advocate of an inclusive theology of gender in his writing and teaching since 1990.

Introduction

When God speaks in the Bible, it is with authority—and this is no less the case when God speaks through women. Sometimes it is privately through ordinary women like the matriarch Rebekah (Gen. 25:25) or the young woman Mary of Nazareth (Luke 1:26-38). Elsewhere, women serve as public heralds of Israel’s deliverance (Ps. 68:11, Isa. 40:9), and later of Christ’s resurrection (Matt. 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 24:1-12). In the book of Proverbs, the very wisdom of God is personified as a woman who calls the foolish to repentance and the wise to obedience. She also provides an idealized model for a person of wisdom as the “woman of valor” in the poem that King Lemuel’s mother taught him (Prov. 31). And throughout biblical history, the official “thus saith the Lord” of the prophets is heard through courageous women like Miriam in the exodus from Egypt (Exod. 15:20-21, Mic. 6:4), Deborah during the era of the judges (Judg. 4-5), Huldah at the time of the kingdom’s fall (2 Kings 22:14-20, 2 Chron. 34:22-28), as well as the New Testament examples of Anna (Luke 2:36), Philip’s daughters (Acts 21:9), the unnamed women who prayed and prophesied at Corinth (1 Cor. 11), and the prophesying daughters of Israel in the last days announced by the prophet Joel (Joel 2) and celebrated by the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17).

This article focuses on representatives of the women who served God, and the people of God, in the important leadership role of prophet.1 But, before looking at their examples, one clarification needs to be made. Thoug...

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