Women in the Bible – Lesson 8: Women in the Early Church, As Seen in the Epistles

Women in the Bible Mary

A youth Bible study on Women in the Bible based on the Yale Bible Study.

Lesson Developed by

Jill Olds and Victoria Crook


Prominence of early women apostles

Tips to Prepare

  • If in person, set the room with chairs or around a table for a small group conversation
  • If virtually, schedule in your preferred video platform

Materials Checklist

  • Bibles or copies of the focal scripture
  • Pens/Pencils
  • Paper
  • Whiteboard or large piece of paper
  • Load the video clip “Like a Girl” for everyone to view

Scripture Focus

Romans 16:1-7

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at Cenchreae, so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor of many and of myself as well. Greet Prisca and Aquila, who work with me in Christ Jesus, and who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert in Asia for Christ. Greet Mary, who has worked very hard among you. Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. 


  • Begin with a check in with members
  • Open with prayer


Activity 1: Game

  • Break youth into groups and have them make a list of their favorite tv shows/movies/books. Have them create a list of the group’s top 3 choices.
  • After a few minutes bring them back together with their lists of the top 3 movies, books, and tv shows.
  • Write them down on a white board, or large paper so everyone can see. Designate a group to look up who directed the movies/shows, a group to look up who wrote the movies/books, and a group to look up who produced the movies/shows.
  • Circle those directed by a woman in a specific color, square in another color if it was produced by a woman, and triangle if it was written (including screenplays) by a woman.
  • Look at how many women are involved in the production of their favorite media. Is it surprising one way or another? Why might that be?
  • What about if you changed it from women to Black women, or Indigenous, or Immigrant? How do these results change?

Activity 2: Video

Watch the video clip, “Like a Girl” together



Read the focal scripture and reflect on the following questions together:

  1. What does it mean that women (Phoebe, Priscilla, Mary, and Junia here) were listed as faithful apostles frequently in some of Paul’s letters to the early churches?
  2. What does it then mean to see other texts that do not lift up women?
  3. What does society teach us about such things today? How might we lend our voice to that conversation? (And not just with women, but with any group that has been historically marginalized?)


Send Forth

Close the meeting in prayer (either the leader or a group member).

Yale Youth Ministry Institute