Acts 21:9

Virgins which did prophesy (parqenoi prophteusai). Not necessarily an "order" of virgins, but Philip had the honour of having in his home four virgin daughters with the gift of prophecy which was not necessarily predicting events, though that was done as by Agabus here. It was more than ordinary preaching (cf. Ephesians 19:6 ) and was put by Paul above the other gifts like tongues ( 1 Corinthians 14:1-33 ). The prophecy of Joel ( Joel 2:28 ) about their sons and daughters prophesying is quoted by Peter and applied to the events on the day of Pentecost ( Acts 2:17 ). Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:5 gives directions about praying and prophesying by the women (apparently in public worship) with the head uncovered and sharply requires the head covering, though not forbidding the praying and prophesying. With this must be compared his demand for silence by the women in 1 Corinthians 14:34-40 ; 1 Timothy 2:8-15 which it is not easy to reconcile. One wonders if there was not something known to Paul about special conditions in Corinth and Ephesus that he has not told. There was also Anna the prophetess in the temple ( Luke 2:36 ) besides the inspired hymns of Elizabeth ( Luke 1:42-45 ) and of Mary ( Luke 1:46-55 ). At any rate there was no order of women prophets or official ministers. There were Old Testament prophetesses like Miriam, Deborah, Huldah. Today in our Sunday schools the women do most of the actual teaching. The whole problem is difficult and calls for restraint and reverence. One thing is certain and that is that Luke appreciated the services of women for Christ as is shown often in his writings ( Luke 8:1-3 , for instance) before this incident.