Philip was an evangelist in the early church (this Philip is not Philip the Apostle who helped an Ethiopian eunuch find his way to Jesus). Philip the evangelist had a house in Caesarea, is mentioned several times in the book of Acts, and had four prophesying daughters. Acts 21:9 says, “Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.” Let’s see what we can learn from these four women who only get a short line in the Word.
1. Philip’s four daughters were virgins. This is significant because many girls aspire to get married. They dream for years of starting their own families. Many girls also grow up and reach the ages of thirty, forty feeling unfulfilled because they haven’t found their Prince Charming or their knight in shining armor or their Boaz.
There is more to being a woman than marriage and motherhood. Even before a husband and kids, women were made for God and no other person or thing will be able to fully satisfy us until complete satisfaction is found in Him.
In 1 Corinthians 7:8-34, Paul writes about some of the benefits of being unmarried. If a woman is married, she is not only responsible to God, but also to her husband and children. If a woman is not married, she is only responsible to God. Since Philip’s four daughters fall into the latter group, we can conclude that they were totally committed to the things of the Lord.
2. Philip’s four daughters used their spiritual gifts to minister to others for God. To say that the Bible gives scant description about them would be an understatement. We don’t know the names of Philip’s four daughters. Besides prophesying, we don’t know what else they did, but with a little imagination we can guess that they taught others in the early church. They certainly took care of their father and the guests who stayed at their house. Perhaps they accompanied their father on more than one of his many mission trips.
On her blog, Margaret Mowczka has an interesting post on Philip’s four daughters. She writes: “There is no doubt that Philip’s daughters were highly esteemed; Eusebius (a Christian historian) refers to them as “great lights” or “mighty luminaries”. The daughters held a unique place in the early church. They seemed to exercise their ministry gift freely and powerfully, and they were in demand. We should not underestimate their leadership and influence.”
So, we don’t know much about them, but we do know that they existed. Their legacy lives on today through the shout-out given to them in the Bible. Perhaps Christianity is indebted to these nameless daughters for their faithful work in the ministry. Whatever gifts(s) God has given us, whether it be prophecy or not, may we use it in service to others for His glory.