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

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,490 ratings  ·  109 reviews
Celebrated for their courage, vision, hospitality, and spiritual giftedness, it's no wonder women were so important to God's plan revealed in the Old and New Testaments. It wasn't their natural qualities that made these women extraordinary but the power of the one true God whom they worshipped and served.

In "Twelve Extraordinary Women," you'll learn more than fascinating i...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Thomas Nelson Publishers (first published 2005)
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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...more
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
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
Aug 04, 2008 Maura rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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.
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.
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...more
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...more
Tesa Fiona
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...more
Dec 17, 2009 junia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
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
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...more
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...more
As a woman, I've recently begun to think carefully about the accounts of women in the Bible. I wanted to understand more of what they went through and what made their lives worth recording. After all, biblical accounts often move quickly through events and our culture doesn't give us the background to understand their day to day lives very well. This book explains much of that without fantasizing too much about what might have gone on. The author acknowledges that though none of these women were...more
Tamara Blickhan
I've not finished this, but what I have read of it is quite good. I don't agree with MacArthur's theology (except most of his soteriolgy), so I am hesitant to read him because there are so many other great books to read, but this book helped me to see women more as God sees them. The flaws, the temperaments, the good things we can offer the world.

Just very good about women in the Bible. When I was struggling with "who am I" as a woman, that is. As a daughter of God, this book gave answers like n...more
Katy Rallens
I read this more for the historical facts rather than as an "how-to", which seemed more true to his intent. For this I found the book a valuable resource.
publisher's description:

"Celebrated for their courage, vision, hospitality, and spiritual giftedness, it’s no wonder women were so important to God’s plan revealed in the Old and New Testaments. It wasn’t their natural qualities that made these women extraordinary but the power of the one true God whom they worshipped and served.

In Twelve Extraordinary Women, you’ll learn more than fascinating information about these women, you’ll discover-perhaps for the first time-the unmistakable chronology o...more
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...more
My small group did this bible study, the chapters led to some very interesting discussions. I do think this book could've been a lot more simpler. Some chapters where very well written and others felt kind of flat. I think our favorite was the story of Mary and Martha. I did as an ex-catholic find the story of the Virgin Mary very interesting and it was very interesting to hear the Protestant side of the tale. I find the biblical women fascinating and hope we continue to do women centered studie...more
This was a book club book--and something by John MacArthur isn't really what I would have chosen on my own. Not because I don't like him, per se, but because I have seen too many people just be blown away by him and I have aversions to that kind of thing. This book was interesting, to be sure. It gave me some things to think about, but there was also a lot of assumptions made based on very little actual Biblical material. Didn't love it, didn't hate it. Think the discussion should be interesting...more
I saw this book last summer and kept a watch at half price books, then I put it on self, then loaned to a friend, and finally as these things happen started it last week at just the right time in my life! I have been personally struggling for past week and this book put a lot of things into perspective! By seeing the women that God used in the bible it and how he used them I see my problems in a whole new light. Most importantly I don't have to be perfect and God has a plan for everything!
My friends and I used this book as a guide for a weekly Bible study. We enjoyed discussing the lives of these women each week...I was challenged in a different way from the life of each of these women and encouraged to see how God used them, imperfect vessels. I enjoyed and was most challenged by the challenged from the chapters on Hannah and Mary/Martha. Its neat to see Gods sovereign hand in the life of each one. Ultimately, it is God who is truly the extraordinary one!
I thought John MacArthur did a good job of outlining the stories of the 12 women he chose to highlight in this book. The character studies opened my eyes to viewing these women in ways I had never thought of, or was taught about before. John MacArthur is a no holds bar biblical scholar and teacher/pastor. His work is very thorough and detailed. I'm glad that he chose to focus attention on a group of characters that sometimes don't get as much attention as their male counterparts.
Rose Chin
This book was very well written and showed the women as strong but yet submissive and that submissiveness is not a bad thing. It also showed that God does things in his time and his way to show His glory. I found that this book was very useful in my own faith, these women showed a great strength even though they seem to be submissive to their husband it was not a submissiveness that you would think. It's more of a working relationship with one another.
Liz Neering
Appalling. The prologue alone features opinions stated as fact, revisionist history, bashing of women in the military, the assertion that women are weak, and the insistence that feminism's message is that 'women aren't extraordinary.' The author's personal belief that women are to be meek, subservient childbearers comes across loud and clear. Any other message is utterly drowned out.
Rachel M.
This Bible study is pretty interesting. MacArthur does a good job of putting the lives of these Biblical women in context from both the historical and cultural views. However, I do not agree with all of his assessments because a lot of them are based on speculations that seem too outlandish for me. Also,some of the discussion questions at the back of the book are shallow.
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John F. MacArthur, Jr. is a United States Reformed 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 as...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.” 13 likes
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