Mark 10:45; Acts 9:36; Luke 2:36, 37; 2 Kings 4:8-10
Whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister.
Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds.
And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by , he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall come to pass that he shall in thither.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): “A great woman.” The Hebrew word is used in varied connections. In Genesis 1:16,21 and many other passages it refers to material or physical greatness. In Exodus 32:21―“great sin”―it has a moral force. In 2 Kings 5:1, Job 1:3, and Proverbs 25:6, it is associated with social eminence…This woman was one of substance or wealth, as is intimated by the servants her husband had, and their building and furnishing a room for the prophet.
JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Great in wealth, and great also in virtue.
ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Instead of “great woman,” the Chaldee has it, “a woman fearing sin;” the Arabic, “a woman eminent for piety before God.” This made her truly great.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The true hallmark of greatness is simplicity―simplicity is not incompatible with depth.
A. W. PINK: This Shunammite woman was also “great” spiritually. She was great in hospitality; in discernment, perceiving that Elisha was “a holy man of God;” in meekness, by owning her husband’s headship; in thoughtfulness for others, the care she took in providing for the prophet’s comfort; in contentedness, 2 Kings 4:13; in wisdom, realizing Elisha would desire retirement and quietness; and in faith, confidently counting upon God to show Himself strong on her behalf.
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): The world’s idea of greatness is to rule, but Christian greatness consists in serving.
JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Dorcas was constantly employed in doing good; her works were both many and good; she was very kind and beneficent to the poor, she wrought with her hands much for their sakes―made coats and garments for them, and clothed them, Acts 9:39.
MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Anna, who was a prophetess in the temple, “gave thanks to the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem,” Luke 2:38.
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Perhaps no more is meant [by a prophetess] than that she was one who had understanding in the scriptures above other women, and made it her business to instruct the younger women in the things of God, I Timothy 5:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:3-5…She was always in a praying frame, lived a life of prayer, gave herself to prayer, was frequent in ejaculations, large in solemn prayers, and very particular in her intercessions. And in these she served God; that was it that put a value upon them and an excellency into them.
JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): Women may, yea―ought to pray.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Here another great test of the Christian life and professions emerges…The Bible surely teaches us very plainly and very clearly that it’s true to say that the greater the saint, the greater the amount of prayer in his life.
JOHN GILL: The name Anna is the same with Hannah―and it signifies “grace;” or “gracious:” and as was her name, so was she, a gracious woman; one that had the grace of God herself, and was a publisher of the glad tidings of grace and redemption by Christ to others.
JOHN ANGELL JAMES (1785-1869): Every woman, whether rich or poor, married or single, has a circle of influence, within which, according to her character, she is exerting a certain amount of power for good or harm. Every woman, by her virtue or vice; by her folly or her wisdom; by her levity or her dignity, is adding something to our national elevation or degradation.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Women can be as powerful for evil as for good.
JOHN TRAPP: Nothing hath ever so enriched hell as the whorish woman.
MATTHEW POOLE: She “increaseth the transgressors among men,” Proverbs 23:28; she is the cause of innumerable sins against God, and against the marriage-bed, against the soul and body too, and by her wicked example and arts involveth many persons in the guilt of her sins.
C. H. SPURGEON: Seeing, then, that the devil employs women in his service, let those women whom God has called by his grace be doubly earnest in seeking to prevent or undo the mischief that others of their sex are working. If not called to public service, all have the home-sphere wherein they can shed forth the aroma of a godly life and testimony.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): If they have not authority, they have influence, which is far better and more deeply effective.
J. R. MILLER (1840-1912): Every woman wants to be beautiful. The secret of true beauty is stated in Proverbs 31:30: “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” Some women sacrifice everything to win favour, to become popular. This word tells us how worthless, how empty and vain is the world’s favour. Nothing is worth striving for in womanhood, but a pure, noble, lovely character. That is gotten only by being a Christian, by loving God and doing His will, and staying near Him all the time.
MATTHEW POOLE: Such a person is hardly to be found.
MATTHEW HENRY: Good women are very scarce, and many that seem to be so do not prove so…Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is above rubies, Proverbs 31:10. A virtuous woman; a “woman of strength”―so the Hebrew word is. Though the weaker vessel, yet [she is] made strong by wisdom and grace, and the fear of God.
JOHN TRAPP: A woman that feareth the Lord―That is indeed the crown of all commendation, as that which makes one “all glorious within,” amiable and admirable beyond belief.
CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): No treasure is comparable to her.