Story of Elizabeth in the Bible: 8 Important Lessons

Women play important roles in the Bible and inspire us as believers. The story of Elizabeth in the Bible is a wonderful example of how waiting on the Lord can often result in blessings we never expected.

Elizabeth’s significant role as the mother of John the Baptist, a prominent Biblical figure who prepared the way for the coming of Jesus Christ, makes her a remarkable woman of faith in the Bible. 

The Biblical account of Elizabeth takes place at the same time as Mary, the mother of Jesus, so it can be easy to overlook. But when we pause to study her life, we find essential lessons that we can apply in our lives today. 

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What is the Story of Elizabeth in the Bible?

Elizabeth in the Bible meaning is “My God is an oath.” It’s descended from the Hebrew name Elisheva, which then became Elisabeth, and means “God’s promise,” “my God has sworn,” or “God is my oath.”

Elizabeth was the wife of Zechariah, and they lived during the reign of King Herod. The couple were both Levites with Zechariah as a priest and Elizabeth being “of the daughters of Aaron.” (Luke 1:5)

Elizabeth was also a cousin of Mary, who was the mother of Jesus. Elizabeth in the Bible was barren and could not have children. The inability to bear a child is a common theme in the Bible. Being barren was viewed as a shame in the past. However, we are told of several women who consistently prayed, and because of their faith in Him and to fulfill His good purposes, God would honor them and bless them with children.

How many times was Elizabeth mentioned in the Bible? This woman of faith who was the mother of John the Baptist is only mentioned in one chapter of the Bible in Luke 1:5-80. The New Testament describes Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah, as both righteous in the sight of God, adhering to all of the Lord’s commands and laws. 

Elizabeth was barren and unable to bear children. She was an old woman and this could refer to anything from late middle age to old age. What’s clear is she was past childbearing age.

When Zechariah was in the temple making an offering to the Lord, the Angel Gabriel, appeared and told him that his wife Elizabeth would soon be pregnant and have a son and that they were to name the baby John. This child would grow up to be great in the sight of the Lord and bring them joy and gladness.

When Gabriel, the angel of the Lord, told Zechariah this, he could hardly believe it since he was an old man. Because of his unbelief, the angel told Zechariah that he would be mute until the birth of John. But that after the fulfillment of the prophecy, Zechariah would be able to speak again.

As foretold, when Zechariah left the sanctuary, he couldn’t speak, and people assumed he had seen a vision. Shortly after this happened, Elizabeth discovered that she was pregnant and went into seclusion for five months. She was so excited and grateful and thanked the Lord for showing her favor and kindness and for removing her shame among the people.

Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.

Luke 1:25 

Six months after Elizabeth conceived, her cousin Mary went to visit her because Angel Gabriel had informed her of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. The angel Gabriel had also appeared to Mary and told her she would carry the Messiah, Jesus Christ! 

Mary traveled to a town in the hill country of Judea to meet Elizabeth at Zechariah’s house. When Mary arrived at Elizabeth’s home, the two women were happy to see each other.  

In a loud voice, Elizabeth called Mary blessed among women, blessed the child she would bear, and addressed Mary as the “mother of my Lord.” She expressed that as soon as the sound of Mary’s greeting reached her, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:41–45)

Before Mary could say anything, the Holy Spirit informed Elizabeth of Mary’s pregnancy. Mary then magnified the Lord and praised Him because she could see that what the Angel Gabriel had said was true and already happening. 

Later, Elizabeth’s baby John was born. Eight days after Elizabeth’s child was born, several neighbors and relatives attended the circumcision ceremony. Since Zechariah was still unable to speak, Elizabeth announced that their baby’s name would be John.

The neighbors asked her about the name, pointing out that none of their family had ever been named John and that Zechariah was the appropriate name. However, Zechariah got a tablet and inscribed the name John on it. Zechariah was able to speak once more after he demonstrated his belief in the angel’s prophecy.

Their son grew up to be John the Baptist, a prophet who prepared the way for the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

What Was God’s Promise to Elizabeth?

To fully appreciate God’s promise to Elizabeth, we need to first answer the question “How old was Elizabeth in the Bible?” While the Gospel of Luke doesn’t provide her exact age, Bible scholars put her age at over sixty years of age as she was described as an old woman. 

Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth received God’s promise of a son. But this son was going to be special. He would reconcile many of the people of Israel with the Lord and proceed before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah to change the disobedient mind to that of the righteous to prepare them for the Lord.

Zechariah was also told that the child would not drink wine or strong drink, and he would be filled with the Holy Spirit even before birth.

The Lord also promised that John, their son, would prepare the way for the coming Lord. In their advanced age, God’s Word was difficult for Zechariah to believe, but it was God’s promise. And it came to pass. 

Why Is Elizabeth So Important in the Bible?

Elizabeth’s pregnancy was significant not only to Elizabeth as the mother of John the Baptist but also to Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. After Mary was told she was pregnant by the angel Gabriel, she went to see her relative Elizabeth. 

Elizabeth’s words and pregnancy reaffirm Mary’s faith and the significance of Jesus’ birth. Elizabeth’s prophecy adds depth and confirmation to God’s redemptive plan. The two women were able to comfort and encourage each other during their pregnancies.

The fact that Elizabeth is descended from Aaron, a priest, highlights her significance in the Bible even more. Being the descendant of Aaron earned her a high level of respect in her community, and her role as John the Baptist’s mother only increased her importance.

Characteristics of Elizabeth in the Bible

Elizabeth in the Bible characteristics are very positive. She honored the Lord and her faith in God was unwavering. Her qualities make her a great example to us as women and mothers. These are her admirable characteristics: 

  • Elizabeth was completely committed to God as she obeyed all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
  • Elizabeth was a righteous woman in the eyes of God. 
  • She was humble and welcomed Mary, recognizing the extraordinary nature of Mary’s pregnancy, as well as, her own unworthiness in the presence of her Lord’s mother.
  • Elizabeth was known for her strong faith and blameless observance of the commandments of the Lord.
  • She waited on the Lord and His promises. She was barren in her old age, yet kept her hope and faith in the Lord. 
  • She struggled with barreness throughout her life, but she never wavered in her devotion to God, showing courage and fortitude in the face of sorrow.
  • Elizabeth was grateful for God’s kindness and mercy. She gave thanks to God that she had a son. 
  • She was full of the Holy Spirit and spoke in a prophetic manner, recognizing the importance of Mary’s unborn child and blessing them.
  • Elizabeth was caring and had a nurturing nature. Elizabeth acknowledges Mary’s great honor of being the mother of Jesus when Mary visits her and bestows blessings upon her. During a time of uncertainty, Elizabeth’s words comforted and reassured Mary. 
  • Elizabeth was respected, she was praised and treated with respect by her neighbors and family.

For more help growing in your walk with God, you’ll want to be sure to check out all these Practical Ways to Get Closer to God Today!

What Can We Learn From Elizabeth in the Bible?

Elizabeth is an inspirational figure in the Bible who imparts important life lessons to us through her experiences. 

As the mother of John the Baptist, Zechariah’s wife, a Levite, and a relative of Mary, the mother of Jesus, the life of Elizabeth is packed with valuable lessons. Elizabeth and Zechariah’s story is similar to that of Abraham and Sarah in the Old Testament, who also had a miraculous conception in their advanced age.

Here are 8 lessons from Elizabeth’s story that we would do well to apply in our own lives. 

1) The story of Elizabeth in the Bible shows that God always fulfills His promises. 

Elizabeth went years without getting pregnant, and she had no idea that God would eventually give her her heart’s desire, but He did. You may be going through a difficult time right now wondering if you will ever receive the blessing you pray and hope for. But God has a plan for you.

He is working and will always fulfill His promises. He is working all things together for your good as you continue to love Him and follow His Word, even though you might not can see it right now. (Romans 8:28)

2) The story of Elizabeth teaches us to be thankful for God’s blessings. 

Elizabeth expressed gratitude and happiness about her pregnancy. Her story shows us how important it is to thank God for all of His blessings, no matter how small, and to acknowledge that He is the source of all great things.

3) Elizabeth’s story teaches us to have strong faith.

Elizabeth believed more than her husband in a prophecy about her pregnancy. She believed her baby would pave the way for Mary’s baby, the Son of God. Elizabeth’s belief in the Word of God prepared her to receive the prophecy for her own life.

 

4) The story of Elizabeth illustrates that God’s timing is perfect.

Elizabeth clearly saw God’s hand in her life and rejoiced in His plan for her. When God gave Elizabeth a baby as an older woman, she could have complained that He waited too long, but rather she rejoiced in the blessing she had received and gave God glory. 

God’s timing is perfect, and His plans are always for our benefit, even if they may not seem like what we hoped for.

God’s timing is perfect, and His plans are always for our benefit, even if they may not seem like what we hoped for.

5) The story of Elizabeth illustrates that God loves us.

God’s immense love for us is something we should never undervalue. God made Elizabeth conceive even though she had been barren and her time for a child was over. Our God is surprising. Sometimes, when we least expect it, He performs a miracle, and our lives are forever changed!

6) The story of Elizabeth in the Bible teaches us to be obedient.

Zechariah and Elizabeth were obedient throughout their lives, and even though they were childless, their faith remained unwavering. They remained obedient even though others were probably wondering what they had done wrong to not be blessed with children.

When we are facing difficulties, Elizabeth’s story serves as an encouragement that God remains faithful and will bless us when we continue to abide in Him.

If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.

Isaiah 1:19

7) The story of Elizabeth teaches us to serve in the church. 

The angel appeared to Zechariah as he was serving in the Lord’s sanctuary. The Lord never lets us down. When we take care of God’s work, He takes care of our needs. 

8) Elizabeth’s story teaches us to please God more than people.

When baby John was born, neighbors and family asked for the baby’s name. Elizabeth told them his name was John, as the angel of the Lord had instructed. However, according to Jewish customs, babies were usually named after someone in the family. But no one in their family had that name.

Elizabeth stood her ground and insisted that John was the right name. 

Elizabeth teaches us that it’s more important to please God than people. This might not make us popular, but there is certainly a reward and power in obeying God. 

But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 2:4
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Learn More about the Story of Elizabeth in the Bible

If you’d like to dive deeper into the story of Elizabeth in the Bible, you’ll want to check out this free resource! 

FREE! Elizabeth in the Bible Resource

Download these Elizabeth Bible Study Questions for FREE! Included are 10 study questions and 5 reflection questions, along with the specific Bible passages to read her story.

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Resources to Learn More about Inspiring Bible Women

If you’d like to study the story and lives of other inspiring women of the Bible, you’ll want to check out this 30-day Bible reading plan and journal >> Inspiring Women of the Bible Study Journal – Digital & Printable!

Be sure to read more from our Women of the Bible Series!


The Bible’s story of Elizabeth is a testament to God’s faithfulness, mercy, and redemptive plan. Despite her age and barrenness, Elizabeth remained faithful, demonstrating the importance of trusting in God’s timing and unexpected plans. 

Her miraculous conception of John the Baptist and prophetic insight into Mary’s unborn child demonstrate the power of God’s plan. There are various lessons we can take away from this strong woman of faith and apply in our own lives. 


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Tinashe Jaricha is a child of God, saved by His amazing grace. Her passion is to encourage moms to grow in Biblical knowledge. She shares Christian living tips and resources at Our God Is With Us.


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