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Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible, and What He Wants to Do with You

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,276 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
Theywere ordinary, common, and in some cases shockingly low-caste, yet each was made extraordinary by her life-changing encounter with God.

Readers will be challenged and motivated by Twelve Extraordinary Women, a poignant and personal look into the lives of some of the Bible's most faithful women. Their struggles and temptations are the same trials faced by all believers a
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 5th 2008 by Thomas Nelson (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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An interesting idea... MacArthur seems to esteems meekness, humility, and submission above all other traits. He glossed over the sins of the women he covered, making their mistakes appear to be hicks-up and tried to show that even when someone did not trust God, what she really was doing was showing her ultimate faithfulness to Him by being patient.

It didn't work in a lot of ways, and I found myself wanting to reach for Bad Girls of The Bible (a very excellent read p.s.) and I don't think that
Sep 14, 2015 Rebekah rated it it was ok
Before the rest of my review, I would like to defend motherhood as the highest calling. Raising another person and guiding their early steps are the most important thing that anyone could do whether man or woman. It's a universal truth that if there's anything you screw up, you do NOT want parenting to be on the list. ON THE OTHER HAND, I think MACARTHUR's meaning is that it's the ultimate job that a woman should aspire to and THAT is incorrect. And in that sense, I agree with the other ladies w ...more
Feb 10, 2015 Schuyler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some people might question the legitimacy of a women's Bible study written by a man. Can he make it relatable to women? I don't know about every case, but this book certainly was. As I read MacArthur's thoughts, I found it to be a very healing and refreshing experience. It's one thing for a female author to say that women are important to God. But it's an incredibly more powerful thing for a male author to say that women are precious and beloved. Women are built with the need of affirmation from ...more
Feb 20, 2011 Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book we used in Sunday school. It was a close look at Eve, Sarah, Rahab, Ruth, Hannah, Mary, Anne, The Samaritan Woman, Mary and Martha, Mary Magdalene, and Lydia. You gotta watch MacArthur on Lordship salvation, but he's a very good story-teller. There was quite a bit of new information for me about women I thought I knew well. Here are some 'new' facts: Abraham and Sarah came from an urban environment, so life on the road was something Sarah had to learn to embrace; Rahab is not a lesson ...more
Nov 17, 2009 Lois rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Using this book as a guide for our Wednesday morning Bible study has blessed my soul. To think that God used women who were living in sin,
women who previously rejected Him as well as women of prayer and women who sought his Holy Name as vessels to glorify the name of Jesus! To any woman who is downtrodden or pondering their faith, I recommend this book. To any woman who wants to know more about how God used women in a positive way, I recommend this book. I learned that Eve was a counterweight, n
MacArthur spends the first chapter using the story of Eve to formulate his theological ideals for women, many of which I do not agree with. Throughout the books it was evident that he saw quietness, submission, and motherhood the highest traits for women to aspire to (all good, biblical traits, but not necessarily the ONLY, or even most important ones), and wove these ideals in and out of his storytelling.

His personal voice was evident. For instance, in the chapter about Anna, he describes her
I think the author chose some great women for this book. Maybe not the ones I would have chosen, but I was really surprised by some of the chapters. I know to take Bible opinion-as-truth with a grain of salt, but I feel the author did a fantastic job of telling these women's stories. It made me dig into the Bible more than I normally would for info on Eve or Sarah, which are ones most people feel they know a lot about. I appreciate that.

I enjoyed how the author made no attempt to cover up any of
I guess it's really more like 1.5. This book was lent to me by a girl at church so I kinda feel bad for not liking it but I just couldn't get behind this man's interpretation of these amazing women. For some of the women he focused more on their bad qualities (Rahab) and just barely mentioned the good. Or he tries to lower the position of some of them to make their position in life seem lesser than they really were. He twists their stories to fit his own agenda and that irked me. I will probably ...more
I read this book as research on how general Protestantism views certain women in the Bible. In some places it is insightful, and in others it is a bit shallow. Unfortunately, every now and then his bias against women shows through despite his effort to demonstrate "how God shaped women in the Bible and what He wants to do with you", especially during his two and a half page tangent trying to justify his own view that women never realized the gift of prophecy despite numerous women named as proph ...more
Aug 04, 2008 Maura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maura by: My church, through a Women's Bible Study
I didn't love this book. It took too much license for me. It made many assumptions to make points. I don't like that, especially with Biblical issues. On the other hand, it offered good context for some of the "characters" lives and "stories." I also recognize that I don't give the author enough credit for perhaps being really in-tune with God when writing; perhaps these assumptions are inspired.....I'm not an easily trusting person. A wise, dear friend tells me I may want to pray for a more tea ...more
May 30, 2010 Leatha rated it it was amazing
My husband Scott gave this book to me for mother's day. He had read John MacArthur's book Twelve Ordinary Men and really enjoyed it and thought I would enjoy this book about Twelve Extraordinary Women in the Bible and he was right! I love the way that John MacArthur sites where in the Bible he is referencing when he writes. My goal is to go through this book again paragraph by paragraph and read the Bible references after reading each chapter. I also think that this would be a wonderful book stu ...more
Sep 20, 2009 Ruth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: partly-read
First, I will admit that I did not read the entire book. But, still, when the author is saying that his opinion is fact, that can't be a good start. If it would have been more historical, I could have enjoyed it better. But I don't need to read about this guy's religious views to remind me that I can be an instrument in God's hands.

There wasn't even a chapter on Ruth! Furthermore, in the first chapter on Eve, he basically pounds it into the reader's head that Eve was a big sinner and she messed
My first by MacArthur and I was impressed. It was apparent early on that he has a profound knowledge of Scripture. He is extremely articulate and demonstrated an extensive vocabulary. I found myself enlightened with the historical backgrounds he provided in each of the women's stories. I will be reading Twelve Extraordinary Men.
Jan 18, 2011 Kindra rated it it was amazing
Wonderful picture painted of these Biblical women. While the lessons began to overlap towards the end of the study, it was still a very easy read, and very inspiring and informative at the same time. I went through it with girls I was leading in a Bible study, and we all were very satisfied with the study. Could easily meditate on and immitate 1 character a week, as we did.
Nov 18, 2012 Kimmie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This author takes many liberties and stretches his beliefs beyond what the Bible states. His "facts" are not always facts. Better editing could have been done with this book also. I will steer clear of this author.
Jun 26, 2015 Regina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Regina by: WIC Bible Study
Since most of the low Goodreads reviews of this book are low because the reviewers don't agree with MacArthur's theology, I felt I should clarify and defend my two star rating.

Some of the reviews I read state that MacArthur feels motherhood is the highest achievement women can attain. First of all, is that not true? What's wrong with that statement? But more importantly, I did not find motherhood as a recurring theme in this book. I think MacArthur sums up his thesis clearly in the Epilogue with
Ashley Thompson
Jul 31, 2014 Ashley Thompson rated it really liked it
It's kind of complicated reviewing a book like this. As I read a lot of other reviews, the opinions are extreme. It's apparent that when people review a book written by an author like John MacArthur that it's hard to attach a rating to just the book and not the author. In reading the reviews it is obvious to me that most people who gave this book a low review were looking for some way to possibly "rate" MacArthur's views, theology, etc. And the people who gave high ratings generally like John Ma ...more
Apr 10, 2014 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read and 'studied' this as part of my church's weekly women's group.

I went from really enjoying this book to dreading it and back to enjoying it again. Overall, it's an encouraging read. As other people have said, parts of it seemed too presumptuous. It's not that things MacArthur mentioned weren't plausible, it's just hard to draw such conclusions from so little information. Nevertheless, as one woman in my church noted, the fact these women were even noted in Scripture is enough, in the con
Tesa Fiona
Aug 17, 2014 Tesa Fiona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
An eye-opening. It was written based on biblical perception and cultural facts at the time each women lived. The words the author shared penetrated deeply into my spirit, for clearly it was obtained by his deep meditation in the words of God.
What I learn the most about these women of God are their quality of their steadfast faith, perseverance hope, deep love, humility and hospitality. Though each of them are not the same; some were drama queen, some were innocent, some were even prostitutes; bu
Dec 17, 2009 junia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone and anyone
Shelves: fires-of-sancti
I was skeptical at first seeing how I loooooved Twelve Ordinary Men and couldn't see how Twelve Extraordinary Women could possibly compare. To me, TOW was simply a way to appease women by giving them one too.

Firstly, i Love John Macarthur's character studies and writing style. To me, he balances information with dry wit and an invitation for awe. He also seamlessly ties in the Gospel message and how everything points back to Christ and God's glory without pounding the reader over the head with s
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Nov 02, 2015 Hosanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
This is the only book that I have read by John MacArthur thus far. I enjoyed how he went through the women of the Bible, expanding on each one. He chose 12 of the most influential women who shaped history and whose stories of faith and hope are known even today. I did not learn a lot from this book, as I have already taken a college level class in Women of the Bible, but it was an interesting read and good for someone who wants to learn more about their favorite female Bible characters.
Mar 10, 2014 Trish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this one based on how much I loved “Twelve Ordinary Men”. Once again, I enjoyed the writing style and ease of reading, yet the thorough content that John MacArthur brought to each chapter and each character. It drives home how God is using ordinary people, and as in the case of Rahab, those whose sinful lifestyle is not acceptable, but because they believe and chose to follow God, they become an important part of God's unfolding plan. The author makes clear when he makes assumptions and b ...more
May 06, 2015 Randy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: church
It was an interesting book, quick read in MacArthur style. I would recommend it...although I am certainly not in full agreement with his theology. The main point of the book, from my perspective, is that God chooses many different people through whom to do His work, and we shouldn't predetermine who that is based on prejudice that we may have.
Madi Gilmore
May 11, 2015 Madi Gilmore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is so inspiring and helpful, especially to a young teenage girl like me. It gives us many different outlooks on the "popular" stories in the Bible and even the not-so popular books. Overall, a very good book. A strong recommendation to anyone and everyone that is interested in reading it!
I really don't dig books where authors assume certain things and quotes them as truth! There was several spots that left a bad taste in my mouth but this one was the kicker:

First off, I do NOT agree fully with his take on women. The "She Was A Prophetess" section on Anne ticked me off. The whole idea that Anna was a not "real" prophetess but just some lady who served God. I don't think MacArthur fully thinks its ok for a woman to hold an office "The idea that "prophetess" was a technical term fo
Dec 30, 2014 Laura rated it it was ok
Don't feel like this adds much insight to the biblical account. Does a lot of guessing "probably" and "perhaps". Not much research into what was going on in the world at the time that would have influenced these ladies with practical application to today. Just not what I expected.
Elizabeth Johnson
MacArthur includes plenty of background information for each woman, including any major characters in their lives and common practices of their time and culture. For example, the chapter about Sarah also included content about Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael, an overview of Abraham & Sarah's journeys, and typical attitudes regarding women during that time period.

If you want simple character sketches, this book probably isn't for you. But if you want to see how each of these women fit within the w
Oct 22, 2015 Jennah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book talks about Eve, Sarah, Rahab, Ruth, Hannah, Mary, Anna, the Samaritan woman, Martha and Mary, and Lydia. John MacArthur talks about each of these women and their history, and how God shaped these extraordinary women. It was truly amazing to see how God used each of them and what He wants us to learn from their life experiences.


1. Eve: Mother of All Living

2. Sarah: Hoping Against Hope

3. Rahab: A Horrible Life Redeemed

4. Ruth: Loyalty and Love

5. Hannah: A Portrait of Feminine
Sep 12, 2015 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've owned this book for several years and finally decided to read it. Although I did not agree with all of the statements in this book, I found it an interesting and informative study of twelve extraordinary women found in the Bible.
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John F. MacArthur, Jr. is a United States Calvinistic evangelical writer and minister, noted for his radio program entitled Grace to You and as the editor of the Gold Medallion Book Award winning MacArthur Study Bible. MacArthur is a fifth-generation pastor, a popular author and conference speaker and has served as pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California since 1969, and ...more
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“Contrary to popular opinion, the most important characteristic of a godly mother is not her relationship with her children. It is her love for her husband. The love between husband and wife is the real key to a thriving family. A healthy home environment cannot be built exclusively on the parents' love for their children. The properly situated family has marriage at the center; families shouldn't revolve around the children.” 18 likes
“Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me. (Ruth 1:16–17 NKJV)” 0 likes
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