We can learn a lot from the people named in Scripture. We learn a lot about the results of not trusting God from Adam and Eve. Similarly, we learn about the faithfulness of God to his covenant through Abraham who became the father of many nations as God promised. David teaches us about what it means to be a human being “after God’s heart.”
Mary was a disciple of Christ who demonstrated exemplary devotion to God when she willingly chose to carry the Son of God in her womb. Peter was a follower of Jesus who failed many times but ended up going on to become a pillar in the Church. Last but not least, we know about Paul, the former Pharisee who surrendered to Christ and became a great apostle and minister of the gospel.
We see both the faithfulness and the shortcomings of people in the Bible.
It is often easier to remember the named people in the Bible and forget about the unnamed ones. However, their lives and situations tell us a lot about the God who deeply loved them.
I want to focus on three unnamed women in the Bible (specifically in the New Testament) whose stories can teach us a lot about Jesus and the Christian walk. We’ll look at the Syrophoenician Woman, the Woman with Two Copper Coins, and the Widow at Nain.
I hope that the stories of these unnamed women in the Bible can encourage you in your walk with Christ.
The Syrophoenician Woman
In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet.Mark 7:24 NIV
After leaving Jerusalem, Jesus went towards Tyre. He want anyone to know he was there. However, a Greek woman from Syrian Phoenicia heard about him and came and “fell at his feet.” She recognized that there was something about Jesus that made him worthy of honor and devotion. Her daughter was possessed by an evil spirit and she believed that Jesus could set her free.
Jesus responds by saying, “it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs (Mark 7:26).”
This gets a little complicated because even today, it’s an insult to be called a “dog.” However, this was the way that Jewish people at the time usually spoke of non-Jewish people. Jesus was speaking the common language of the day. The Greek woman would have known that but instead of taking offense, replies, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs (Mark 7:28).”
Jesus responded and told her that because of her response, she could go home with confidence that her daughter had been healed. Indeed, she found the evil spirit gone when she went home.
The account of this woman is incredibly short but it teaches us so much about faith. First, the fact that she was willing to approach Jesus, a Jewish man, and plead for her daughter’s deliverance, demonstrates faith. She knew that Jewish people did not socialize with Gentiles and men certainly didn’t socialize with women. However, she believed that Jesus was different and that he both had the power and the compassion to set her daughter free.
Next, when Jesus initially objects to her request, she humbly responds with the reasons why she believed Jesus should help her daughter. It’s almost as if she knew that Jesus’ mission, though to the Jews first, would eventually extend to the Gentiles. Perhaps she knew that although the Jews were God’s chosen people, he loved the Gentiles too.
Her faithful humility led to the freedom of her daughter.
From this unnamed woman in the Bible, we learn that God honors faithfulness and is compassionate towards those who come to him with their needs. Life isn’t perfect and we won’t always get what we ask for, but it is so important to trust that God loves you and is able to meet your needs.
The Woman with Two Copper Coins
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.Mark 12:41-42 NIV
In this story, Jesus is at the temple and sits down opposite of the treasury. As he watched the crowd putting their money into the treasury, he saw many rich people putting in large amounts. But then he noticed a poor widow. She came to the treasury and put in two small copper coins. They were worth very little.
Marveling at the widow’s actions, Jesus calls his disciples over and teaches them a lesson. He explained that her coins, though small in monetary value, were worth far more than what the others put in. This is because they gave out of their abundance and she, out of her poverty, gave everything she had.
We learn the value of sacrifice and devotion to God from this unnamed woman. She didn’t have much but she gave her all because she knew that God was worth it.
Her story can remind us that God isn’t looking for us to do extravagant things for him. He’s actually just looking for us to genuinely give our best to him in worship. For some, this frees us. Yet for others, the standard is now higher because we haven’t been truly giving our all to God.
Regardless, we have the privilege to emulate the unnamed widow and truly give all to God, holding back nothing.
Related: What Is the Cost of Following Jesus?
The Widow at Nain
Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.Luke 7:14-15 NIV
I admit that the widow at Nain is a woman in the Bible that I did not know about.
Jesus went to a town called Nain with his disciples and the crowds that followed to hear him teach. As he approaches the gate of the town, he notices that a man who recently died was being carried out. This must have been a sad sight to see. Luke tells us that this man was his mother’s only son. She was already a widow and now her son was dead.
During this time, a woman had provision and security if she had a husband or a son. As a widow with no living children, she would have suffered greatly.
When Jesus saw her, he was moved with compassion. He raised the man from the dead and gave him back to his mother.
This story reminds us that even when someone doesn’t physically ask, Jesus still cares and shows kindness to those in need. He saw her tears and knew that she was deeply saddened by her loss. He also knew that without her son, things would have been very difficult for her and he wanted to ease her pain.
If you are struggling, may this unnamed woman in the Bible remind you that Jesus cares and longs to show you kindness.
The Value of Telling the Stories of Women in the Bible
I hope that these stories were able to encourage you and teach you something about God. It is so important to avoid neglecting the stories of women in the Bible. We can learn so much from them. These stories can be especially meaningful to Christian women and can help us grow closer to Jesus.
If this article was encouraging, I highly recommend my book, The 12 Week Jesus Bible Study: Readings and Reflections for Women to Grow Closer to Christ as a next step. It covers topics such as faith, devotion, anxiety and doubt through the lens of Jesus’ interactions with women in the Bible. Learn more here.