I once read Proverbs 31 and thought, “Wow, no one can be such a women described here.” I mostly thought that because of the women around me who gave their input without studying or even reading the passage!
I would hear comments like, “That is not for today’s women,” or, “That is the ideal woman, and no one can be all those things.” I even heard such things as, “Certainly, God did not intend that for today’s women!”
It saddens me to think that one of the main passages which gives instruction for women was described in this way, and I even thought those descriptions must be true…
As I grew more in the Word and found myself in many conversations over this passage with women who had strong opinions, I wanted insight from the Lord. I wanted this passage — just like the rest of the Bible — to be held as a standard, not disregarded by women today as “not for them.”
So, I decided to study Proverbs 31 for myself to see what God was really saying through this passage…
The Characteristics of the Proverbs 31 Woman Are Attainable for You Through Christ
“An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:10-12).
As I read this, I thought, “Wow! This was not a standard too high to reach. What a joy to be able to be this woman — through Christ!”
This “excellent wife” is not belittling to today’s women, but empowering. For the word “excellent” in this passage is described as a “force, whether of men, means or other resources; an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength:—able, activity, (+) army, band of men (soldiers), company, (great) forces, goods, host, might, power, riches, strength, strong, substance, train” (Strong’s Concordance).
Aren’t these characteristics worth far more than jewels? We wives are not just sitting by complacently as our husbands engage in battle — we are an army and a virtuous, strong, able, active, trained force in which our husbands can trust! Because of the strength and power his wife displays, the husband has everything! When the world turns its back on him, and he is in the battle, he knows that he is not alone. His wife is his support all the days of his life.
Women, you have been freed through Christ to do good ALL the days of your husband’s life! Yes, attempting to display the characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman is impossible to do in your own strength; however, all things are possible when you rely on Christ (Philippians 4:13).
God Created You for These Works
“She looks for wool and flax and works with her hands in delight. She is like merchant ships; she brings her food from afar. She rises also while it is still night and gives food to her household and portions to her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; from her earnings she plants a vineyard. She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She senses that her gain is good; her lamp does not go out at night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle. She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy” (Proverbs 31:13-20).
This section of the passage makes it clear that this woman of excellence is not lazy, but she is one who works with her hands and provides for her family.
She is not bound to the house alone — as some may think a women should be — but she rises to feed her house, and she seeks what they need. Women, I’m not saying this to belittle our husbands, but we women see and think of different things that our family needs…it’s just the way God made us. When the man and woman come together with what they have to offer, it makes the family whole!
“For her lamp does not go out“…Some women think that they have “working hours,” but as I have learned, we need to be ready to give account for the hope that is in us at ALL times. Women, let your light shine for all to see, all the time!
Because she is strong and her husband trusts in her, she makes investments — not only in her family, but also in those around her. She takes care of herself as she takes care of others.
“She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She makes coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future” (Proverbs 31:21-25).
The woman described here is not hidden in rags, saying,”Woe is me, for I do all this for everyone, and then I have rags”; on the contrary, this woman is clothed in “FINE LINEN AND PURPLE” (Now, ladies, this passage is not encouraging you to go buy expensive clothing you cannot afford!). However, you are to have an appearance that you are the daughter of the KING — not for your glory, but for the Father who provides for you and the husband who works hard to provide, also.
Let your heart and mouth be freed to speak kindly of your husband and so that others will see love in your household. And I know as you do, this displays “strength and dignity.” This is another reason her husband trusts her and her children will call her blessed.
“She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: ‘Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.’ Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates” (Proverbs 31:26-31).
I wish we could go deeper in this study and see more about how the Lord loves the women and created her to be free in Him and to shine through the Spirit in order to bring Him glory in all she says and does. But, for now, I will leave you with the last passage I have fallen in love with.
I hope you see that this passage is clearly meant for women even today, more so than when it was written because of the Spirit that lives with in us and gives us strength (1 Corinthians 3:16; Acts 1:8)!
These descriptions of a woman in the time it was written displayed someone who feared the Lord. This woman does not seek glory for herself; rather, she seeks what the Lord created her for…to be a helper to her husband
(Genesis 2:18), to use her nurturing spirit to selflessly take care of her family, and to just have eyes to see those around her who are in need…
Ladies, will you rely on Christ to be the woman He created you to be? Will you walk in freedom and pursue the Lord in your own life, or will you be burdened by what the world says you as a women should be, walking in your own strength?