Sisters In The Bible

According to scholars, the Bible is a collection of books by as many as forty different authors. The ninety-five female authors mentioned in the Bible are from every walk of life; from kings and queens, to handmaidens, farm girls, and even daughters of ship captains — all with different beliefs.

The Bible provides no special labels for these women. They are simply called “sisters” or “women,” which likely put them in the same category as others who made a difference in the lives of these biblical figures. While most of us tend to think of sisters solely as people we grew up with and shared memories with, God mentions sisters in his Word quite frequently. Their influence is far-reaching and often inspirational.

The bible is the central sacred text of the Abrahamic religions and is a primary source of theology and morality. The books of the bible were written at different times by different authors in different locations and contexts. Some Hebrew scriptures were written over thousands of years. Authors often drew from other traditions and stories to help shape their new work. This created some inconsistencies among scriptures which developed into an early challenge for believers as they projected systematic theology onto the texts. The issues related to prophetic literature lead scholars to formulate a set of rules called an ‘implicit canon’ that attempts to avoid contradictions using literary methods. In this study, we will concentrate on the lives of the sisters in the bible by examining their role during the period that began with Moses until Christ’s coming, while comparing events and stories in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy with New Testament texts in relation to their development as women described in biblical scripture.

There are many accounts of women in the bible. Hundreds, even thousands of women that are mentioned throughout the many books that make up the Holy Bible. It is invigorating then to find a few where we can examine an account of two sisters. In this article we will look at the stories of Leah and her sister Rachel, Naomi and her daughters-in-law Ruth and Orpah and Rebekah and her sister.

Sisters In The Bible

Siblings are mentioned often throughout the Old and New Testaments. Some of the most famous siblings we find are Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1–8); Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:19–27); Joseph and his eleven brothers (Genesis 37); Moses, Aaron, and Miriam (Numbers 26:59); Peter and Andrew (Matthew 4:18); and Martha, Mary, and Lazarus (John 11:1).

Love among siblings should be a natural thing, and the Bible uses such phileo love as an illustration of love among believers. The Bible commands us to love one another in the family of God as we would love a brother or sister: “Love one another with brotherly affection” (Romans 12:10, ESV). Paul expressed his love for the saints in Philippi this way: “My brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown” (Philippians 4:1).

Unfortunately, not all siblings express love for one another. Many of the famous sibling groups previously mentioned are known for their interpersonal conflict and even hatred for each other. Cain killed Abel out of jealousy, thereby committing the first murder (Genesis 4:3–8). Jacob and Esau were at odds from the time they were in the womb and into adulthood (Genesis 25:23; 27). Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt (Genesis 37:12–28). Even Martha and Mary’s story contains a disagreement between the sisters (Luke 10:38–42).

Jesus Himself had siblings—brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, and an unknown number of sisters (Matthew 12:46; 13:55, 56). Jesus once used His family as a picture of His relationship with His followers: “While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’ He replied to him, ‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ Pointing to his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother’” (Matthew 12:46–50).

In saying this, Jesus was not disrespecting His family or saying they were not important. Rather, He was likening a close family relationship to the bond He shares with everyone who believes in Him. In fact, Jesus’ bond with believers is even stronger, since it is not marred by jealousy, anger, frustration, or disagreements.

So what can we learn from the biblical examples of brothers and sisters? It’s important to understand that conflict between siblings is not part of God’s plan for the family. Although God ultimately used each situation to bring about His will, the conflict between some of these siblings caused murderous jealousy, grief, wars, and broken families.

There are a few principles that can be applied to any relationship. First, we are to love others in a way that reflects the agape love of Christ: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:7–8).

Second, we are to show kindness to each other, treating those around us the way we want to be treated (Ephesians 4:32; Luke 6:31). This means that we should not only respond gracefully in the face our siblings’ anger or accusations, but also go out of the way to serve them (John 13:12–14).

Finally, Paul instructed believers to “live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18), avoiding arguments and conflict and playing the role of peacemaker when disagreements arise within our families.

Sisters In The Bible

Proverbs 3:15 ESV / 301 helpful votes 

She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Proverbs 7:4 ESV / 179 helpful votes 

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call insight your intimate friend,

Proverbs 3:17 ESV / 150 helpful votes 

Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

Genesis 12:13 ESV / 146 helpful votes 

Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.”

1 Timothy 5:8 ESV / 110 helpful votes 

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ESV / 75 helpful votes 

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!

James 5:16 ESV / 62 helpful votes 

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Matthew 12:50 ESV / 55 helpful votes 

For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Matthew 5:22 ESV / 53 helpful votes 

But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

Matthew 18:35 ESV / 39 helpful votes 

So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Romans 12:10 ESV / 37 helpful votes 

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Ephesians 4:32 ESV / 33 helpful votes 

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Titus 2:4 ESV / 31 helpful votes 

And so train the young women to love their husbands and children,

Psalm 23:1-6 ESV / 29 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful

A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. …

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