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Biblical People

Biblical People: Phoebe

Paul wraps up his letter to the Romans by mentioning a string of people, several of them women. First up is Phoebe, a church deacon whom Paul commends and sends to Rome as a missionary. He tells the people there to assist her in every way possible. Paul ends by affirming that she has helped many other people, including himself.

For those who think women can’t serve in church leadership or as a lone missionary, Phoebe’s example shows us it wasn’t always this way, especially in the beginning. Paul’s affirmation of her confirms he doesn’t place restrictions on how a woman can serve God.

Through the example of Phoebe, the Bible shows us that women can serve as deacons, as well as missionaries. Some churches cling to the belief that women can’t be deacons (or elders), and some missionary agencies won’t send a single woman into the field. But they ignore the precedent set by Phoebe in the Bible.

Furthermore, Paul tells the church in Rome to accept her and the work she’s doing. Paul lauds Phoebe as a deacon, a missionary, and a huge help to the church of Jesus. Her gender doesn’t matter.

How can Phoebe’s example encourage us? Do we need to change our opinions about how women can serve God and his church?

[Discover more about Phoebe in Romans 16:1–2.]


Read about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Read about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.