5 Female Friendships in the Bible


Throughout the Bible, we see beautiful examples of female friendships that encourage, strengthen, and inspire us. In a world that often pits women against each other, it’s refreshing to see women supporting one another in God’s Word. From Ruth and Naomi to Mary and Elizabeth, the Bible shows women walking together in solidarity, unity, and selfless love.

In this post, we’ll explore some of the most notable female friendships in Scripture. We’ll look at how these women upheld and cared for one another, while also pointing each other toward God. Their examples have much to teach us about the kind of sisterhood that honors the Lord.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ruth and Naomi shared an uncommon bond that went beyond obligation.
  • Mary and Elizabeth offered each other timely encouragement and rejoicing.
  • Priscilla and her husband Aquila ministered alongside Paul with one heart and mind.
  • Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome supported Jesus and one another.
  • Lydia opened her home to Paul and Silas, beginning a fellowship of sisters in Christ.

Now, let’s dive deeper into these and other biblical models of godly female friendship.

5 Female Friendships in the Bible

Ruth and Naomi

One of the most well-known female friendships in Scripture is that between Ruth and Naomi. After both losing their husbands, these two women came together in remarkable loyalty and devotion.

Though Ruth was from Moab and Naomi from Bethlehem, that did not stop Ruth from clinging to Naomi after her father-in-law’s death. When Naomi decided to return to Judah, Ruth insisted on going with her, saying: “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16).

This statement reveals the depth of Ruth’s commitment to Naomi. She was willing to leave behind her homeland and false gods to remain with her beloved mother-in-law. Even in Naomi’s impoverished and bitter state, Ruth sought to stand by her side.

Ruth served Naomi in many practical ways. She diligently gathered grain in Boaz’s field to provide food for them both. She honored and obeyed Naomi’s wisdom. When Naomi urged Ruth to seek marriage with their kinsman Boaz, Ruth trusted her judgment.

This pairing between Ruth and Naomi demonstrates the beauty of friendship that goes beyond mere obligation. Though Ruth could have easily parted ways with Naomi to seek better prospects, she stuck with her to the end. Naomi, in turn, wanted God’s blessings over Ruth and guided her like a mother. Their remarkable bond highlights how genuine friendship endures through hardship and grief.

Mary and Elizabeth

Another set of friends in the Bible is Mary and Elizabeth, whose timely fellowship strengthened each other in miraculous seasons of life. When the angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to Jesus, Mary traveled to Judah to stay with Elizabeth, who was six months pregnant with John the Baptist.

Both women were carrying children destined for greatness in God’s plan of salvation. The Lord knew they needed companionship and confirmation as they walked these unusual paths. Mary and Elizabeth’s friendship offered just that – sisterhood grounded in the wonder of God’s glory revealed in their wombs.

When Mary arrived, Elizabeth declared by the Spirit:

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy” (Luke 1:42-44).

Imagine the encouragement this was for Mary in the early days of her confusing pregnancy. Through Elizabeth, God affirmed the angel’s message and Mary’s unique role in the Savior’s coming.

Mary responded by praising God with the iconic Magnificat prayer and staying with Elizabeth about three months. Their time together allowed both women to process their miraculous pregnancies and brace for the road ahead. They built each other up spiritually by rejoicing in God’s goodness.

Elizabeth and Mary’s friendship reminds us how precious it is to have sisters in Christ who wholly believe in God’s work in our lives. They bless us through their words, prayers, understanding, and accompaniment on our faith journeys.

Priscilla and Aquila

One biblical friendship between a husband and wife was also marked by spiritual mentoring between sisters. Priscilla and Aquila were a powerhouse couple in the early church, traveling alongside Paul as “fellow workers in Christ Jesus” (Romans 16:3).

This Spirit-filled pair discipled believers in Ephesus and Rome, even laying down their necks for the sake of the gospel (Romans 16:4). Notably, Priscilla seemed to take an active teaching role alongside her husband. When the preacher Apollos came to Ephesus with an incomplete understanding of the gospel, Luke writes:

“When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately” (Acts 18:26).

Why is Priscilla named first here, rather than Aquila as may have been expected? Many Bible scholars believe it signals Priscilla’s prominent position in instructing Apollos. Her grasp of Scripture and ability to teach (probably among women in particular) was an incredible asset to the early church.

Priscilla’s example reminds us that women have an indispensable role in Christian fellowship and growth. We all gain wisdom and strength when women openly exercise their spiritual gifts for God’s glory. Priscilla likely depended on her sisters in Christ to help anchor the faith. And through her ministry, she multiplied that same blessing.

Mary Magdalene, Mary, and Salome

The gospels also highlight a cohort of female followers who accompanied Jesus in His earthly ministry. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome consistently witnessed Jesus’ preaching, healings, and miracles firsthand. They remained faithful even through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.

These women supported Jesus’ ministry in tangible ways. Luke 8 notes that Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, “and many others provided for [Jesus and His disciples] out of their own means.” They financially contributed to His earthly work, no doubt also serving the team behind the scenes.

Mary Magdalene, Mary, and Salome then remained by Jesus at the cross while the disciples fled. Matthew 27:56 describes the gut-wrenching scene:

“Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.”

The gospels also specifically name Mary Magdalene as among the women who visited Jesus’ tomb to anoint His body. There, they became the very first witnesses of the resurrected Christ.

These loyal and courageous women bore witness to Jesus both in His earthly suffering and heavenly glory. Imagine the conversations they must have had processing these wonders together! They built steadfast community despite terrifying circumstances. And their sisterhood now testifies to the veracity of the Savior they loved and served.

Lydia’s Household

Finally, Scripture gives us Lydia’s example of a woman who opened her home in support of others in God’s family. Lydia was a successful businesswoman in the trade of expensive purple cloth. When the apostle Paul came to Philippi to preach the gospel, the Lord opened Lydia’s heart to respond in faith (Acts 16:14).

After Lydia and her household were baptized, she insisted on offering hospitality to Paul and Silas. Acts 16 notes:

She persuaded us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us. (v.15)

Though Lydia seemed to be a single woman, she stepped out to welcome two male preachers into her home. This courage set the stage for a vibrant church to develop in Philippi centered on Lydia’s home. Acts 16:40 mentions “the brothers and sisters” gathered there to encourage Paul and Silas before their departure.

Lydia demonstrated trust, generosity, and initiative that might have been countercultural at the time. Her strength inspired the growth of a faith family in Philippi that impacted generations. She is proof of the incredible influence even one steadfast woman of God can have.

Lydia’s story reminds us to look beyond comfort and convention to support fellow believers. When we open our lives wholeheartedly, even at personal cost, we become conduits of God’s kingdom work. Lydia’s household became a base for discipleship because she acted upon her conviction that the gospel is worth sharing.

Applying Biblical Principles

As we have seen through these examples, female friendship in the Bible often uplifts these key qualities:

  • Loyalty and sacrifice
  • Courage and strength
  • Generosity and hospitality
  • Spiritual nurturing
  • Shared experience and intimacy

When women are united in loving God and loving each other, incredible fruit is borne that advances His purposes on earth. That is why it is so important we foster these same traits in our own friendships.

Here are a few ways we can apply biblical principles of female friendship:

  • Pray for and encourage sisters in Christ regularly. Check in on them, send Scripture verses, and tell them you are cheering them on in their walks with God.
  • Show up in practical ways when friends are in need. Meals, childcare, rides to appointments, help around the house, or simply presence and listening go a long way.
  • Have hard conversations in the spirit of truth and grace. Don’t shy away from exhorting each other, when necessary, on how to live more like Christ.
  • Share joys, hopes, and needs openly. Vulnerability fosters intimacy that leads to prayer, compassion, and understanding.
  • Point each other back to Jesus constantly. Remind each other of the gospel, the Word, and God’s promises when life gets overwhelming.
  • Make fellowship a priority. Meet consistently to study the Word, chat over coffee, or break bread together. Our souls need time with sisters.

Let’s honor the legacy of bold, faithful women who have gone before us by forging strong bonds in Christ. May we bear each other’s burdens, partner in ministry, and bring glory to our Lord together. Our Lord can use sisterhood that shines His light beautifully into a lonely world that needs Him.


The Bible contains so many examples of godly female friendship that encouraged women to walk faithfully with God and one another. Ruth and Naomi chose loyalty through devastating grief. Mary and Elizabeth rejoiced over God’s miraculous work in their wombs. Priscilla helped instruct Apollos and other new believers. Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Salome supported Christ’s ministry financially and stood by His cross. Lydia opened her home to Paul and Silas in Philippi, launching a regional church.

These women faced immense struggles, uncertainties, and challenges. But joining together in the Lord, they found courage, comfort, and power to advance God’s purposes. The same is true for female friends today who ground their bond in loving Jesus above all else.

As Christian women, we have a rich legacy of biblical sisterhood to inspire us. May we personally reflect the love of Christ as we nurture godly friendships. And may our own circles of sisters become safe havens where we bear each other’s burdens, rejoice together, grow spiritually, and shine the light of Christ through our lives. To God be the glory.

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