Five Women From the Early Church You Should Know (Who Aren’t Named Mary)*

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Today, when we read Paul’s letters and declarations to brothers, saying all are sons of God, we often add mental notes “and sisters,” “and daughters.” But in a patriarchal society where inheritance went to the first male relative of descent, Christianity bore a unique position: all were sons, all were inheritors, or as Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Jesus demonstrated that while men and women may have different roles in their service to God, neither one is more valuable than the other.

And it’s with this in mind that we want to highlight some great Christian women that get left out of Sunday morning Bible studies and our understandings of history.

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Priscilla

Variously accorded the position of teacher of the early church, Priscilla was a partner in missionary work with her husband Aquila as well as Paul the Apostle. One of the great early evangelist, Apollos, was instructed by Priscilla and Aquila, and some even think Priscilla was the author of the anonymous book of Hebrews. In biblical Greek, the emphasis of a sentence and its order denotes importance: important things and persons come first, taking precedence. Of the six times Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned, Priscilla’s name appears first three times – equal to her husband, and of equal esteem by Paul and the other writers.

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Michael Harrell is a former staff member and current volunteer at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Federal Way, Washington. A blogger by hobby and social media manager by trade, he continues to teach the faith to ninth graders when he's not busy watching movies or theatre. He loves the Seattle Mariners, and his wife wants you to know he's married. You can follow him on Twitter.