Elizabeth in the Bible is one of the heroines of faith in the Scriptures whose life reflected strong trust in God in the middle of challenging experiences. Like many women of faith, she had her fair share of fertility struggles. Her very old story speaks to us from the pages of the Bible, offering us fresh encouragement for each day and period of trial in our lives today.
Who was Elizabeth in the Bible?
Elizabeth is popularly known as the mother of John the Baptist and the wife of Zechariah, a priest. Her story is very much tied with the story of Mary and the birth of Jesus because of the importance of John the Baptist in the life and ministry of Jesus.
Elizabeth in the Bible verses
The story of Elizabeth was mentioned only once in the Bible. The Scripture passages are Luke 1:5-26 and 39-41. She isn’t mentioned again in Scripture.
Characteristics of Elizabeth in the Bible
The qualities of Elizabeth in the Bible are so positive. When compared to matriarchs like Sarah or Rachel, Elizabeth glows with godliness in a way that make her the perfect example of Christ-centered living and god-honoring motherhood.
Let’s see what she was like.
Elizabeth was barren
Elizabeth was barren. We are not told how long she had been married for but clearly it was long enough for her to get old enough to forget about ever getting pregnant. She was human after all so we can guess that she must have experienced some disappointment.
The first and greatest is that womanhood was defined by motherhood back then. So, it was the one desire most women had. But that reality eluded her for decades. Also, she could not provide an heir for her husband.
Plus she was automatically disqualified from being the one to mother the Messiah. Every Jewish woman who believed the prophecy of the first advent of Jesus prepared themselves to be the one to carry him into the world.
As a woman of faith this must have been hard. But….
Elizabeth was completely committed to God
The Bible describes Elizabeth and her husband as more than just good people. They were considered righteous, obedient, and devout.
Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. Luke 1:6
Elizabeth obeyed the commands and requirements of the law of the Lord. Her obedience wasn’t just action. Her heart was in it. She loved God. Her obedience flowed from that love which propelled her faith.
Along with following the laws of God, there was one other evidence of her obedience. When her baby was born, she named him with the name God gave her.
Back then, it was customary for boys to get their fathers name but in this case, God had other plans. And since her husband could not speak at the time, Elizabeth was sure to tell everyone that her son’s name would be John.
Elizabeth had strong faith
Elizabeth had extraordinary faith. She had more faith than her husband. At her age, when her husband arrived home and told her she would have a baby, she had no doubt that the prophecy would be fulfilled.
She clearly knew the prophecy that there would be someone to prepare the way for Jesus. She believed the prophecy that her baby would prepare the way for Mary’s baby.
When Mary turned up, she acknowledged that Mary’s baby was greater than her baby. Elizabeth believed God’s word about his plan of salvation and that faith prepared her to receive the prophecy over her own life.
Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
Luke 1:41 says
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth lived a life controlled by the Holy Spirit. Every aspect of her life was saturated by Him.
I suspect this was already the case or God would not have picked her to be the mother of a child who was filled with the Holy Spirit before he was even fully developed in the womb or born.
(More later on how we know she was filled with the Spirit of God).
Elizabeth was humble
When Mary showed up at her house Elizabeth exclaimed:
But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Luke 1:43
Her response to Mary’s presence suggested that Elizabeth felt great privilege and honor. She knew that Mary was pregnant with Jesus.
She knew that Mary’s presence was very much God being with them. And she was truly humbled by that fact.
Elizabeth was a good mother
Nobody can argue this! To have raised a son like John the Baptist could have been no easy task.
Having a child born already filled with the Holy Spirit means that as a mother you have to be diligent about teaching Scripture and walking him through developing a consistent prayer habit.
Then helping him to understand his purpose and calling is a whole other story.
Based on how John turned out, we know she did a stellar job!
Lessons from the life of Elizabeth in the Bible
As I said already, Elizabeth is such a beautiful character in the Bible. Just reading and studying about her and her life gives me a sense of peace. She is really a woman of faith in the Scriptures to emulate.
So, what can we learn from Elizabeth in the Bible?
You have been empowered to live above the darkness in this world
Elizabeth lived during a time of serious spiritual darkness. The religious systems were highly political and corrupt. People did what pleased them.
The Israelites had gotten swallowed up in ungodliness. People performed the religious rites out of routine and tradition but there was no real commitment from their hearts.
Any of that sounding familiar?
This is what Elizabeth had to contend with. Yet, she and her husband were called righteous in the eyes of God. Elizabeth was shining bright in the darkness.
This world is getting darker by the second. But God has empowered you to live above the darkness. Each day, work on spending time with God so that like Elizabeth, the Holy Spirit can be poured out in your life.
God wants your heart my friend.
Don’t let church attendance and participation become just routine or tradition. Let it be a true act of heartfelt worship. Let your obedience to God be based on love and faith, not just a routine.
Don’t stop serving God, even if you are experiencing disappointment
Elizabeth was disgraced because of her being barren. The Jews had the belief that if a married woman could not have children, God had taken away her blessing. Like Rachel, she felt her disgrace deeply.
When her husband told her she was going to have a baby, Elizabeth said:
“The Lord has done this for me…In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” Luke 1:25
But notice, even while she struggled with her disgrace, Elizabeth never stopped serving God with her whole heart and living in obedience. Despite the lack of the blessing of motherhood, this did not interfere with her relationship with God.
Remain obedient and faithful to God even if and when your heart is aching. God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we want.
Those days of infertility were rough but Elizabeth still served God.
God was still good. He’s good whether we get what we desire or not. He’s Sovereign and all wise. He’s still God and He still deserves our worship. This is not always easy to accept but as we keep going, God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.
God wants to be able to trust you
For Elizabeth to have been chosen to carry a baby filled with the Holy Spirit before birth is truly amazing.
God had been observing the way she was living her life and knew she would be faithful to being just the kind of parent John the Baptist would need to ensure he fulfilled the purpose for which he was born.
Can God trust you with a special mission?
Beloved, God has some big plans for your life. He has a vision and a mission for you. No matter what that looks like, it is a holy mission because everything we do is worship.
Whether you want to seek higher education, start a business or non-profit or LLC, initiate a mentorship program, travel the world…
Whatever it is, God wants to be able to trust you with the plans for the desires he has put on your heart.
Once he is confident He can trust you, the doors will begin to open for you to carry and nurture and birth that special and holy thing.
The Holy Spirit wants to be with you in practical everyday things
Because she was filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth was able to discern that Mary was pregnant with Jesus. All Elizabeth knew was that her baby was to prepare the way for Jesus and introduce Him to the world.
Mary got a direct prophecy from the angel about Elizabeth being pregnant but Elizabeth got no prophecy about Mary. Yet, the moment she laid eyes on Mary, before Mary opened her mouth to say anything, the Holy Spirit revealed to her the holy pregnancy of Mary.
Her own baby leaped for joy in confirmation of the Holy Spirit’s revelation. When we become God’s friend, he opens to our spiritual eyes the things that are hidden from others.
Scripture says :
“The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant”. Psalm 25:14
If you want success as a mom, success in your marriage, success in your career, success in school, success in business, seek the Holy Spirit.
He will lead you, guide you, give you wisdom. He will reveal what’s happening behind closed doors at work. He will show you who to befriend and who to stay away from.
He will guide you towards everything you really need advice about. He will tell you what to do, how to do it, when to do it. I know this because I have had these experiences.
Seek the Holy Spirit. Let Him into your life some more. You just can’t lose.
Be a woman of faith who can be a safe space for other women of faith
Elizabeth recognized that Mary’s faith played an important part of her receiving the promise of carrying the Messiah. And she affirmed Mary’s faith.
She said to Mary:
Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:45
Get with people whose faith is like yours. Find yourself among those who are like-minded and like-hearted. Find the tribe that can support your purpose, your call, your faith.
You may have something to offer that will help other women to uplevel the godly life they are trying to live. Elizabeth did this for Mary.
Mary knew that only Elizabeth would understand her crazy faith story of getting pregnant without the involvement of a man. That’s one reason she traveled 80 – 100 miles to visit Elizabeth.
She needed to talk to someone who would not cause her to have to defend her faith story or purpose.
We need people who will help us hold up our faith by believing God right alongside us.
Depend on God to raise your children
Prior to Elizabeth getting pregnant, she had a solid relationship with God. It was her faithfulness with her own spiritual life that qualified her to be the mother of the forerunner for Jesus.
John the Baptist was to have a specific lifestyle in preparation for his life.
He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:15-17
Elizabeth was literally given the very career of her son. She knew exactly what would have been needed to prepare him.
Have you thought about asking God to reveal the future of your child to you?
A little crazy, right?
Elizabeth had a godly home fit to raise a spirit-filled child. John had an extraordinary call on his life. The priesthood was corrupt, the Pharisees were legalistic and hypocritical.
The Holy Spirit who revealed the pregnancy of Mary to her must have been with her as she raised John. Giving her wisdom. Providing her with the right kind of guidance.
The times were evil and the influences were ungodly but Elizabeth dared to be different.
FAQs about Elizabeth in the Bible
Here are a few quick fun facts about Elizabeth. The more the merrier, right?
The Meaning of Elizabeth in the Bible
The name Elizabeth in the Bible means God is my oath or My God is an oath. The name is a celebration of God’s faithfulness
How old was Elizabeth in the Bible when she gave birth?
The Bible only tells us she was old. There is no specific age. However, it is clear that she was old enough for a pregnancy at her age to be strange and miraculous.
Elizabeth and Mary in the Bible were cousins.
Elizabeth and Jesus would also be cousins as well but from different generations. John the Baptist and Jesus were second cousins.
Was Elizabeth in the Bible a prophetess?
Elizabeth was not a prophetess but she grew up in a family where all the men were priests. Plus she was married to a priest.
We know all the men in her family were priests because she was from the tribe of the Levites and they were the priesthood among the Israelites. These men did not usually marry women outside of their tribe.
Who was Elizabeth’s son in the Bible?
John the Baptist was the son of Elizabeth in the Bible.
Who was Elizabeth’s husband in the Bible?
Elizabeth’s husband was Zachariah (also called Zacharias). He was a priest.
Final words about Elizabeth in the Bible
In this post, we have looked at Elizabeth’s life with fresh eyes. What a legacy of faith she has left for us to follow.
We learned that although she struggled with getting pregnant, she kept nurturing her faith and her walk with God. Worship was more than ritual and routine for her; it was all about relationship.
Because of that, the spirit of God saturated her life. God could trust her with the huge responsibility of raising one of the greatest prophets of the Bible. Elizabeth was a safe space for Mary. She was so humble even when dealing with a younger family member.
I hope you can find a good sermon on Elizabeth in the Bible to help you marinate in the lessons from her life.