Women in Ministry in the New Testament

Interestingly, we also find a woman being called of God as prophetesses in the New Testament. When Jesus was just a few days old, Anna recognized Him and began proclaiming His messiahship:

And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with a husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. And she never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. And at that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:36-38; emphasis added).

Note that Anna spoke of Jesus to all those ‘who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” That would of course include men. Thus Anna could be said to have been teaching men about Christ.

There are other women in the New Testament whom God used in the gift of prophecy. Jesus’ mother Mary is certainly in that group (see Luke 1:46-55). Every time Mary’s prophetic words are read in a church service, it could be said that a woman is teaching the church. (And God unquestionably honored womanhood by sending His Son into the world by means of a woman, something He could have done by many other means.)

The list continues. God foretold by the mouth of the prophet Joel that when God poured out His Spirit, both sons and daughters in Israel would prophesy (see Joel 2:28). Peter confirmed that Joel’s prophecy was certainly applicable to the new covenant dispensation (see Acts 2:17).

We are told in Acts 21:8-9 that Philip the evangelist had four daughters who were prophetesses.

Paul wrote of women prophesying in the church gatherings (see 1 Cor. 11:5). It is clear from the context that men were present.

With all of the scriptural examples of women being used by God as prophetesses and to prophecy, we certainly have no good reason to be closed to the idea that God might use women in such ministries! Moreover, there is nothing that would lead us to think that women can’t prophesy to men on God’s behalf.