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The Proverbs 31 Woman is one of the most misunderstood people in the Bible. Here are 5 things you need to know about the Proverbs 31 woman before you do your next Bible study. Proverbs 31 describes the virtuous woman in the Bible we all long to be…but will fall short of, if we don’t understand the heart of the message.
Pretty much any Proverbs 31 woman Bible study you read is going to talk about the virtuous woman in the Bible, reveal a few things you might not have known about the purpose of the chapter, and then share how to apply those principles to your life.
And for good reason. That’s kind of the point of a Bible study: to learn more about the Word and put it to work in your own life.
But Christian women today have a love/hate relationship with the Proverbs 31 woman. Some are daunted by her, others are inspired by her. At different times, I’ve been both. What about you?
But when it comes down to it, there are 5 simple things you need to know about the Proverbs 31 woman.
1. The Proverbs 31 Woman’s Identity
The Proverbs 31 woman is one of the most misunderstood people in the Bible…because she isn’t actually a person. When you do a Proverbs 31 Bible study, that’s the first thing you need to know.
When you look to the virtuous woman in the Bible as your example, you’re holding yourself up to an ideal – not a reality. And that’s dangerous, because you will always fall short of an ideal.
The first thing you need to know about her is that she isn’t real; she is an ideal and included in Scriptures to encourage and inspire us, but she wasn’t a real woman doing all of those things all of the time.
The virtuous woman in the Bible isn’t really a woman at all; she is intended to be ‘type’ for all godly women to follow…but not fall short of.
2. The Proverbs 31 Woman’s Purpose
The Proverbs 31 woman was never meant to be your role model, but rather a story told to a son by a mother who wanted him to appreciate a godly wife.
The purpose of Proverbs 31 was instructional. It was written a poem so that it would be easy to remember and it was intended to guide a king’s choice in choosing a godly helpmeet. So teach it to your sons, Mama. Encourage them to pursue a godly woman who is virtuous.
But also teach them to love her with grace and not highlight her shortcomings. The Proverbs 31 woman describes a woman well seasoned and experienced; a young wife would need to grow and experience years before being able to model all of the Proverbs 31 virtues.
In some families on Shabbat, the husband will read the passage in Proverbs 31 over his wife to honor and appreciate her. He will literally honor the bride of his youth as the virtuous woman in the Bible; how beautiful!
The second thing to remember about the Proverbs 31 woman is that she was created by a mother (inspired by God) to instruct her son in how to choose a godly wife. As moms, we need to remember this and teach our sons about the women they will someday marry – both how to choose them and how to honor them.
The virtuous woman in the Bible is a model to hold before our sons, to teach them what to pray for, look for, and celebrate when they find her.
3. The Proverbs 31 Woman’s Habit Tending
A look at the Proverbs 31 woman’s ministry is truly daunting if you feel like you have to measure up to this Biblical standard right now. But a grace-filled look at Proverbs 31 makes it clear that she was a seasoned wife who had spent years cultivating her own life and heart.
She was a blessing to her husband and children, respected in the city, and well thought of by those she did business with. While it might be easy to pull from that that she was a business savvy entrepreneur (which she certainly was!), it’s more important to realize that long before she tended vineyards, she tended herself.
She applied Biblical principles in her marriage, motherhood, and ministry and that is what lead to such fruitful results.
The third thing to remember about the Proverbs 31 woman when you read through this Scripture is that while her appearance is never mentioned, her godly heart is. The Wise Mama told her son to look for what really matters in a wife and to appreciate the things of eternal value.
The virtuous woman in the Bible was one who knew where true value was and invested in that.
As women, we should take our cues from this and spend more time in prayer than on primping and more time cultivating our character than our wardrobe. It’s time to tend the habits that feed our soul and bless God and our families more than anything else.
4. The Proverbs 31 Woman Ministry
What exactly is a Proverbs 31 ministry, anyhow? I’ve heard so many women over the years refer to different projects as their Proverbs 31 woman ministry.
I suppose it makes us feel better when we can slap a label on our homemaking that makes it sound sweeter. But why do we need one?
The ministry of the Proverbs 31 woman wasn’t buying and selling fields or trading with merchants or selling her wares. It wasn’t helping her husband’s career. It was honoring God.
The fourth thing you need to know about the Proverbs 31 woman is that her ministry wasn’t about her accomplishments at all; it was about eternity. Her virtues, her business, and her awesome talents were simply fruit of a heart that honored God and ministered in the ways He directed.
The virtuous woman in the Bible prized relationship over accomplishment. She lived a “Martha life” with a “Mary heart.”
You can’t go wrong when you love God and obey Him. Don’t let anything else distract you and keep you so busy you forget what matters most.
5. The Proverbs 31 Woman Is All About Becoming
So many times we look at where we want to be in life and lament that we aren’t there right now. But the Proverbs 31 woman is all about becoming.
It takes time to mature in the Lord and cultivate those virtues in your life. As it says in The Ultimate Guide To Becoming A Proverbs 31 Woman,
The truth is that it’s about embracing God’s grace, bearing God’s image, and fulfilling God’s call on your life. The Proverbs 31 woman shines Jesus brightly.
It’s about becoming more like Jesus. It’s not focusing on virtues or skills or activities. That is the final and most important thing you need to remember about the Proverbs 31 woman.
If you remember nothing else about her, remember that the virtuous woman in the Bible is a beautiful example of what we ought to become: a Jesus-reflecting, image-bearing, fruitful woman of God.
The Next Proverbs 31 Woman: YOU
So are you up for it? Are you ready to to be a modern day virtuous woman? Are you ready to join the ranks of the Proverbs 31 woman army?
It’s comprised of women just like you who love God and their families. It’s made up of women who love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and long to make God happy with their faith. It’s an army that will change the world, one marriage and one generation at a time.
—–> And you are a Proverbs 31 woman when you cultivate your heart with the Word and prayer and live a life that bears the fruit of Scripture and love. You can be the virtuous woman in the Bible today.