The book of Proverbs is full of wisdom, guidance, and applicable instruction to live a life pleasing to God. One of the most popular passages from this book in the Bible is Proverbs 31. Proverbs 31 is known for the woman described in the chapter, and in this blog post we are going to dissect what a Proverbs 31 woman truly is.
Did you know that Proverbs 31's target audience was actually the men of this time?This chapter was written to King Lemuel, whom we don't know much about, from his mother. Yes, it is a description of a woman of "valor", but it was written for King Lemuel to recognize the attributes of a Godly woman, from his mother, and to teach him to hold her as a prize once he found her. What most don't know, is starting in verse 10, which is where the characteristics start of a Proverbs 31 woman, the passage becomes a poem. Verses 10 through 31 each start off with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order, essentially an acrostic poem of some sort.
It is vital to remember that this chapter isn't primarily a checklist for a woman, which I believe can be comparison provoking. As we dive into this passage, remember that rather than viewing this as a checklist, we want you to view it as a representation of a "virtuous woman" as described in verse 10. To those lovely ladies reading that aren't wives or mothers, this passage is just as applicable to you. The Proverbs 31 woman is a hard worker, and confident in her identity of being a daughter of the One True King.
Before we dive into the scripture, I want to talk about the context of this passage, because it is so often used in a way that it shouldn't be. Proverbs 31 is frequently used prescriptively and instructively for women to base their character off of. And while Proverbs 31 is indeed a passage that speaks of what is encapsulated in Godly womanhood, it isn't a checklist that every woman needs to complete.
The Proverbs 31 woman loves Jesus with all of her heart. Her faith is evident in the way she lives her life:
"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:26
In her marriage, she is a faithful, loving bride. But first and foremost, she is the bride of Christ, you do not need to be married to be a virtuous woman.
"Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." Proverbs 31:11-12
As a mother, she brings her kids up in a way that teaches them often of the love of Jesus.
"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her." Proverbs 31:28
The virtuous Proverbs 31 woman takes care of herself and her health. She cares for her body and provides a healthy lifestyle for her family as well.
"She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants." Proverbs 31:14-15
She is selfless and has a servant's heart of love and kindness. A Proverbs 31 woman goes out of her way to love others and meet the needs of anyone she can.
"She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:20
The Proverbs 31 woman uses her home and hospitality to minister to others, providing a welcoming environment for those who come in.
"She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27
A Proverbs 31 woman is a hard worker, and a good steward of her time. She also works with willing, or eager hands.
"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands." Proverbs 31: 13
"She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard." Proverbs 31:16
The Proverbs 31 woman is beautiful, but her beauty exudes from her worth found in Jesus.
"She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Proverbs 31: 24-25
As you read and meditate on these verses, and learn more about what a Proverbs 31 woman embodies, we want you to remember that you are worth far more than rubies just like the Bible says in verse 31:25. You may be like many, and have a hard time applying these verses to the modern world.
In the next blog post, we are going to 3 Keys to Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman, and discuss practical and realistic ways you can live out this beautiful, godly example.