1 Timothy, chapters 4-6

“[…] I desire the younger widows to marry, to bear children, to manage a household, to give no opportunity to the opposer to criticize.”
~1 Timothy 5:14

I have mixed feelings every time I read this passage.
Why did Paul’s advice differ from that given to the women in Corinth ten years earlier? (1 Cor. 7:8,9)
Why did Paul assume that a younger woman was incapable of controlling her sexual desires to the point of remaining single? (1 Tim. 5:11)
Christian women in the first century did not have less help from God’s holy spirit to exercise self-control, so it seems to me he made a rather sexist assumption. (Gal. 5:22-24)
While I can understand that some women who had originally felt hopeless and asked for the congregation’s material assistance might eventually backtrack on their choice and decide to remarry, it is a bit irritating that Paul would state that choice as a matter of fact. (1 Tim. 5:12)
It does seem that he was more concerned with protecting the congregation’s reputation than he was with advocating women’s rights.
While I struggle to see beyond my scope of modern millennial culture, the 2011 Watchtower, July Study edition, points out: “Paul’s words are directed to certain ‘younger widows,’ but the principles he mentions apply to all of us.”
The article goes on to explain that when we keep ourselves busy with good works, we are less likely to do harm to others, for example through gossip. (1 Tim. 5:13)
Paul also stressed the need for extended family members to care for each other first. (1 Tim. 5:16)
So whatever Paul’s reasons were for wording his instructions the way he did, the principles underlying his advice are timeless.

Mark, chapters 13 & 14

“Let her alone. Why do you try to make trouble for her? She did a fine deed toward me.”
~Mark 14:6

Mary’s strong appreciation for spiritual things has always impressed me.
Myself coming from a culture that, like ancient Jewish culture, assigns value to a woman based on how industrious she is within the home, and personally not being inclined to cook, I have always easily identified with Mary’s personality.
On the occasion in which Jesus taught at their home, Mary was picked on by her sister, Martha, for sitting at Jesus’ feet instead of helping her serve. (Luke 10:38-40)
Now, five days before his death, Mary takes an extremely costly bottle of genuine nard and pours it on Jesus’ hair and feet.
This time she is criticized by Jesus’ own disciples. (Matt. 26:6-9; John 12:2-5)
According to the Jewish Talmud, women were not supposed to be well-versed in spiritual matters, and we are not aware of any precedents of women closely following a prophet. (Sotah 3:4)
Still, Mary set an excellent example of being spiritually conscientious and maintaining a balanced view of material things, all while not letting others’ negativity discourage her.

2 Kings, chapters 19-22

“Go, inquire of Jehovah in my behalf, in behalf of the people, and in behalf of all Judah concerning the words of this book that has been found […]”
~2 Kings 22:13

Josiah was a 26 year old king who had an earnest interest in doing things God’s way (2 Ki. 22:2).

When his scribe, Shaphan, brought him the book of the Law (evidently the original book written by the hand of Moses), he formed a committee to find out what God’s words meant in terms of Judah’s future (De. 31:9).

The committee, despite being made up of prominent men, did not visit any well-known male prophets of the time, despite their vicinity (Jeremiah, Nahum and Zephaniah).

Instead, the committee inquired of the prophetess Huldah. (2 Ki. 22:14).

Huldah’s insight into the reading of the prophecies was never questioned but rather, taken as God’s word (2 Ki. 22:20-23:3).

King Josiah’s humility was hence blessed as he was spared seeing Jerusalem’s destruction or having it collapse under his reign (2 Ki. 22:18-20).

How do I react when given sound advice by a spiritually mature woman?

Do I think she is overstepping her role in the congregation by personally giving me suggestions that typically only congregation elders or overseers give?

When a person delivers God’s message to me, it should not matter that they are male or female, so long as it is God’s word that they are relating.

Other women who prophesied on behalf of Jehovah: