Many women who study the Bible are probably familiar with the description of the “Proverbs 31 Woman”. Proverbs 31:10-31 describes a number of characteristics of a woman who lives in God’s will. I don’t know if the author of this passage in Proverbs was describing an actual person, or just an ideal, but it definitely sounds like a lot to live up to.
Now, I am not going to suggest that women everywhere should look exactly like this woman. Of course, I believe that it is good for men and women everywhere to follow God’s will, and to find their purpose and power through Him. However, there are several reasons why I’m not going to address my female readers with some sort of guilt trip for not always doing everything that this passage describes:
- There is more than enough shaming going on in this world, especially to women, and I believe that – when we let Him – Jesus Christ rescues us from shame. After all, others’ opinions about us aren’t nearly as important as His.
- I’m a guy, and even though I believe that anyone can share the truth of the Bible, I would much rather have women study this passage with other spiritually-mature women.
- While the principles of the Bible hold true, not all of the specific activities described in it necessarily fit in today’s world. In addition, I consider Proverbs to primarily be a book of wisdom, rather than doctrine.
- That wasn’t the goal of my article!
Instead, I encourage you to read through that passage (Proverbs 31:10-31), and then I’ll let you know what I’d like to say about it. Here’s a few verses to get you started:
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
She is more precious than rubies.
Her husband can trust her,
and she will greatly enrich his life.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:10-12 NLT
While considering this passage the other day, I realized that my own wife (of more than 24 years) really does live out many of the principles in these verses. So, I thought that it would be good to publicly acknowledge that, and to thank her (in front of the Internet and everyone) for remaining faithful to God’s direction.
Let’s take a look through the larger passage, and compare to what my wife does:
- Verse 10: “virtuous and capable”. Check! My wife provides a strong example of righteousness, not just to her family, but to others in the community.
- Verse 11-12: Trustworthy and “enriching” to her husband’s life, bringing him (me) good. Definitely! I know that I would struggle with a lot of things in life without my wife. The amount of good that she has brought me – including the fact that she tells the truth and keeps her promises – is immeasurable.
- Verse 13 (and 19, 22, 24): Spinning wool and flax. Well, not exactly, but she has sewn a number of things for our household, from curtains to COVID face coverings.
- Verse 14: Bringing in food from afar. Technically, she doesn’t go out and get our family’s food from overseas, but she does make sure that we have plenty to eat. She sometimes delegates the grocery shopping, but I am not nearly as efficient as she is when it comes to knowing where things are at the store.
- Verse 15: Cooking breakfast and planning work for others. Breakfast in our house is usually pretty simple, but my wife is a great cook. And, although we don’t employ any support staff (unlike the proverb, here), she definitely keeps track of what we need to do, empowered by the “great calendar” in the kitchen.
- Verse 16: Purchasing land and planting it. While we aren’t in a situation where it makes sense for us to buy fields, she is quite the gardener, and keeps both flowers and food growing on our property every year.
- Verse 17: Hard-working. It’s fair to say that my wife out-works the rest of us in the family some (most?) days. Our children and I try to carry our fair share, but my working from home more this year has shown me all of what she actually does in a week.
- Verse 18: Smart and business-savvy. She and I have an agreement: she keeps the books and pays the bills, and I try to stay on top of larger things, like investments. I know that I got the easier side of that deal!
- Verse 20: Helping others. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen my wife turn down an opportunity to help (whether for a neighbor, friend, or the local church congregation), when she was able. That’s over and above the help that her family needs.
- Verse 21: Ensuring that everyone has the clothes they need. Keeping 3 teenage boys in suitable clothes for each season is a challenge, but she pulls it off.
- Verse 22: Dressing well. In my opinion (and through the polite compliments of others), my wife is attractive, while still choosing to be modest.
- Verse 23: Enabling her husband to be respected. I don’t know what other people say about me when I’m not around, but I know that my self-confidence and success took a major turn for the better after we got married.
- Verse 25: Strength, dignity, and confidence. These absolutely define her.
- Verses 26-27: Wisdom, patience, and hard work. Again, my wife demonstrates these properties (often when I don’t), and seems to grow stronger in these areas over the years.
- Verse 28-29: Spoken well of by her family. I hope that this article counts for some of that, but I’m pretty sure that our children know that they have a great mom, too.
- Verse 30: Fearing God. This is probably what has made all of the difference in her life with regard to everything above. Having come into our marriage with a similar faith, we – combined with shared experiences, both good and bad – have kept it growing over the years.
- Verse 31: Recognition. I hope that this little article provides my wife with some well-earned recognition. I’m not the only one who expresses appreciation for all that she has done, but I’m the one with this website to post it!
She will tell you that she’s not perfect. After all, that’s the very foundation of the Christian faith: none of us are perfect enough for salvation, and so we need Jesus’ sacrificial gift to take care of that. However, she’s the one for me, and I am grateful that God placed her in my life.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.