Nechama Leibowitz was born to a cultured Orthodox Jewish family in Riga two years after her elder brother Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who became a famous philosopher. The family moved to Berlin, Germany in 1919. Nechama Leibowitz taught, wrote articles and studied for her doctorate at the University of Marburg, Her thesis was entitled Techniques in the Translations of German-Jewish Biblical Translations. In 1930, after earning her degree, she and her husband Lipman Leibowitz (who was her uncle) fulfilled a dream by immigrating to the British Mandate of Palestine. There Nechama taught at a religious Zionist teachers' seminar for the next 25 years, and also traveled around the country on buses, in taxis and on airplanes teaching Torah and commentaries to teachers, new immigrants, soldiers, kibbutzniks and thousands of ordinary people. In 1957, she began lecturing at Tel Aviv University, and eventually became a full professor. She also gave classes at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and other educational institutions. In addition to her writings, Nechama Leibowitz regularly commented on Torah for the Voice of Israel radio station. In 1956, she was awarded the Israel Prize for her work in furthering understanding and appreciation of the Bible.
In 1983, she was a co-recipient of the Bialik Prize for Jewish Thought.