There’s a woman named Anna in the Bible, who was a faithful follower of God. She is the first woman that the Bible records, other than Mary, to see Jesus after his birth. Anna was a special woman with an intimate relationship with God.
Have you heard of Anna in the Bible? She is only mentioned in just a few verses in the New Testament, so it’s easy to miss her story. While we don’t have a lot of details about her, there are valuable lessons to learn from this remarkable woman. Let’s dig in!
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The Story of Anna in the Bible
The story of Anna in the Bible is found in Luke 2:36-38. If you have never read it, please take a few minutes to do so now.
When Jesus was just eight days old, Mary and Joseph brought him to the temple in Jerusalem to present him to the Lord and offer sacrifices required by the law of Moses. After receiving a blessing from a devout man named Simeon, they are approached by Anna.
The Bible doesn’t give us a lot of details, but we do know these things about Anna. After only 7 years of marriage, her husband died, and she spent the next 84 years as a widow. That’s a long time to be alone. But instead of wallowing in self-pity, Anna dedicated her life to pleasing the Lord.
Characteristics of Anna in the Bible
Anna in the Bible was also a:
- prophetess of “a great age” (super old). A prophetess was a woman who declared the things that were revealed to her by God about future events or hidden things. She was a female foreteller or an inspired woman. Because of her role as a prophetess, Anna had a platform, and she used it for God’s glory and not her own.
- persevering woman. She endured hardships and served the Lord despite them. Anna never gave up or used her difficulties as a reason to opt-out of service to the Lord. Even in old age, Anna was faithful to worship the Lord and do the work of the ministry that had been entrusted to her.
- present in the temple day and night. She was not a fairweather fan. Anna was loyal to the Lord. Her steadfast presence in the temple shows her desire to be near to God.
- persistent and prayerful woman. Anna sought the Lord continually. She also fasted, which shows her commitment to holiness and determination to see her prayers answered.
- passionate proclaimer of Christ. Anna actively pointed people to Jesus. She acknowledged Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah. Anna didn’t keep the truth to herself but shared it with others. She was confident in what God had revealed to her and didn’t cower in fear of ridicule or rejection.
The Meaning of the Name Anna in the Bible
When I do a Bible character study like this one, I always look up what the person’s name means in Blue Letter Bible. It is my absolute favorite Bible study tool because there are so many cool features like the Interlinear Concordance, which gives the Hebrew (OT) or Greek (NT) definition of every word in the text.
The meaning of the name Anna in the Bible is grace. Grace is the unmerited favor of God.
Anna witnessed grace in the flesh, with the arrival of the Savior of the world, and then became a witness to the world of the gift of grace. Her life was a testament to the sustaining grace of God that is sufficient for all of our needs. 2 Corinthians 12:9.
“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” 2 Corinthians 9:15
4 Lessons From Anna in the Bible
As soon as Anna saw Jesus, she recognized Him as the Redeemer. This shows that she was sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Anna had a deep connection to God because she dedicated her life to seeking His face and worshiping Him.
We can often be dull of hearing, or ignorant of the promptings of the Spirit. Sin, self-focus, pride, and busyness all contribute to this distance between us and the Lord. If we want to be women of God who make an impact on the kingdom, then we must diligently seek God, daily. And we must regularly repent of sin, to keep our hearts clean so we can maintain sweet fellowship with Jesus.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
Lesson #1 from Anna in the Bible: Be faithful to the Lord
Life is not easy. We all face hardships. With those difficulties come disappointment, and sometimes depression. We can be tempted to throw in the towel or stray from the Lord. But it is during those hard times that we need to draw nearer to the Lord for help and hope.
Lesson #2 from Anna in the Bible: Be prayerful
Anna prayed night and day. She was consistent and persistent in her petitions to the Lord. That takes discipline and intentionality. The Bible says that we have not, because we ask not (James 4:2), and that we should pray without ceasing (1Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer keeps us humbly dependent on the Lord to meet our needs, to bring victory, to give us discernment, and to reveal the truth. Prayerful women are peaceful women (Philippians 4:6-7)!
Lesson #3 from Anna in the Bible: Be watchful
Anna was waiting for the Messiah. She was watching for His arrival. Jesus came the first time as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, but He’s coming back again as the Lion of the tribe of Judah to execute judgment on those who have rejected Him. Jesus admonished believers to watch and pray as we wait for Him ( Mark 13:33).
Lesson #4 from Anna in the Bible: Be a witness
Testify of the goodness and grace of God! There are so many hurting people in this world. People who are searching for love in all the wrong places, trying to find peace and fulfillment in things that can never satisfy. Only Jesus can meet the deep needs of our souls, and only Jesus can give us new life on earth and eternal life in heaven. Be like Anna and tell people about Jesus.
“And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” 1 John 4:14
Prophetess Anna in the Bible
Anna in the Bible was a widow who worshipped the Lord and was a faithful witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. She persevered through the trials of life, was persistent in prayer, and pointed people to Jesus. Anna had a close relationship with God and teaches us how to be devoted disciples as well, regardless of our age or life circumstances.
God will reveal amazing things to us, and use us in mighty ways to spread the gospel if we are willing to be used by Him. Let’s be intentional to follow the example of Anna in the Bible and be women of worship, who watch for the Lord and are witnesses of His amazing grace. Let’s be intentional to seek the Lord and share Jesus, today!
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:3
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