Unveiling the Proverbs 31 Woman
One of the most renown descriptions of a godly woman mentioned in the Bible is found in Chapter 31 of the Book of Proverbs. This “Proverbs 31 Woman,” is now a popular coined term which many Christian woman (and men) of our generation consider ideal characteristics of a woman. Like any scripture, however, it can be misinterpreted. For some Christian women, The Proverbs Woman is not an aspiration, but an idol with burdening expectations. So, how should we interpret it? Grab out your Bibles, Ladies. Let’s dive deep into this scripture:
Before we digest what is written, let’s identify who is talking and to whom:
[v.1] “The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him”
The fact that a king, King Lemuel, is writing wise words (or a poem) about a woman, from a woman (his own mother) speaks volume. King Lemuel’s mother instilled in him at an early age the value of marrying a woman. Her influence in his life cultivated his decision-making and, eventually, his leadership over a nation.
Now, let’s pay close attention to the word choice:
[v.10] “Who can find a virtuous wife?”
I’ve noticed that many people refer to this scripture as “The Proverbs 31 Woman,” instead of “The Proverbs 31 Wife.”
The truth is, not every woman will be a wife.
If the Lord has placed marriage and starting a family on your heart, then that’s wonderful! But for other women, that isn’t so. Some may feel led by the Lord to travel the world or dedicate their lives to full-time ministry as single women. The Apostle Paul explains this more in-depth, concerning marriage and those who remain single [1 Corinthians 7].
So, yes, Proverbs 31 has great characteristics of a God-fearing woman, but more so on her role as a wife and mother. Therefore, we must be careful not to misuse this scripture as the “standard checklist” for a godly woman.
Okay, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty! The key factors that stood out (to me) regarding the Proverbs 31 Wife that are aspiring:
[v.10] “…For her worth is far above rubies.”
God knew what He was doing when designed us, ladies. Know your worth.
- HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP
[v.11-12] “The heart of her husband safely trusts her, so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil, all the days of her life.”
Synonyms for trust are “confidence” and “reliance.” The scripture doesn’t just say “the husband trusts her,” but that “his heart” trusts, biblically meaning his mind, being, and conscience. That’s some serious trust! Just as our walk with Christ, their marriage is described as a lifelong commitment of kindness, support, and companionship. Talk about the real hashtag relationship goals!
[v.13-16] “She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. . .She brings her food from afar. . .She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard.”
Instead of being discouraged on what she doesn’t have, she uses what she has, makes a profit, and decides to invest! Whether it’s for a job, or to take care of the family and household, this wife is praised for her ability to make wise choices and productivity.
[v.20] “She extends her hand to the poor.”
[v.25] “Strength and honor are her clothing.”
[v.26] “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”
Selflessness, respectful, kind, and wise. Sounds like King Lemuel’s mother made sure he knew what to look for in a woman!
[v.28-29] “Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband, also, and he praises her.”
[v.31] “Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.”
That is the power of influence. How we carry ourselves, especially around our household and peers, leaves a lasting impression.
Last, but not least, the verse that I believe sums up what any woman reading Proverbs 31 should take into account:
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” [v.30]
While we look to this scripture as the “perfect” woman, we are quickly reminded that our fear in the Lord is what makes us His own. The wife of this scripture is who she is and does what she does because she knows who she serves. Let’s allow that key point to govern our motives and shape our character.
With a B.A in English, Ashley Cottrell has written blogs for Virginia Bride Magazine, Bronze Mag, and has been a contributing writer for numerous other digital entities. Although a Virginia-native, Ashley resides in Puerto Rico fulfilling her passion as a freelance writer. She aims to use her gift of writing to inspire others and share the gospel of Christ. When she's not writing, you can find her nose-deep in a game of chess, Salsa dancing, or making homemade skin care products.