If you’re familiar with Proverbs 31, and even if you aren’t, it seems there’s always something more to learn about it. Today I’m sharing 10 truths about that Proverbs 31 Woman that you should know.
If you’re anything like me, you really like to dig into scripture and understand it in every aspect possible. Studying Scripture is so important. Sometimes as we read verses or passages we feel like it’s hard to understand so we just move on.
related: How to Study the Bible
Proverbs 31 is a beautiful passage of Scripture that can seem out dated – especially when you read the King James version – I mean what is a spindle and staff anyway and how does this apply to me???
So because the Proverbs 31 Woman is often misunderstood and because as Christians it’s important to understand God’s word and how it can be applied to our lives today, I wanted to share a few things that I think often go over looked when women read the passage of Proverbs 31.
10 Truths About the Proverbs 31 Woman
#1 Words from Solomon’s Mother
Solomon was the author of Proverbs. However, his mother is the one that gave him the advice that we find in Proverbs 31:10-31. It was never meant to be a checklist for women to follow.
It was actually meant to be advice to King Solomon about the woman he should look for. More specifically, the qualities of a woman he should be aware of and take note of.
Even though King Solomon was the wisest man in the Bible, he had quite a few issues that he struggled with. One of these issues was with women. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines. What???!
So although he was wise, he didn’t always follow good advice. His mother shared these words of wisdom with him that we find in Proverbs 31. These words focused on his main downfall which was women.
If we look at 1 Kings 11:1-8 we are told:
“King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites.
They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love.
He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molekthe detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.” 1 Kings 11:1-8 NIV.
I would imagine his mother wanted better for him and gave him some good advice about what to look for in a virtuous woman.
#2 The Proverbs 31 Woman Wasn’t a Real Person
Although it was never meant to be a checklist, Proverbs 31 is a wonderful passage for women to take to heart. We aren’t perfect – that’s why we need Jesus – and we’re all unique and beautiful in our own ways.
We have all fallen short of the glory of God. We all need Jesus in our hearts. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.
However, we can follow the principles of what we find in this passage of Scripture and apply it to our lives today. It’s a wonderful way to define ourselves as modern Proverbs 31 women before God and know we’re on a solid track.
Also, it’s important to point out that this was most likely not a real woman King Solomon’s mother was talking about but, rather an example of one.
It’s always nice to have an example of what it is good. The example is not to make us feel bad, but to give us something to work toward.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12 NIV.
We will never be perfect this side of heaven but, we can look at these traits as a guide on what the Proverbs 31 woman was all about and what we should be strive for as women of God.
#3 Purpose Not Perfection
It’s easy to get caught up in the fact that we might not ever be just like the Proverbs 31 woman. However, when we look at the Proverbs 31 woman explained, we realize that it’s not about being just like her.
All God wants from us is to know that we are living His purpose for our lives. He doesn’t need or require perfection from us! Isn’t that good news?!
God has a purpose for each and every one of us. We shouldn’t strive for perfection so much as we should pray to find the purpose God gave us.
Mike Ward says about finding God’s purpose for your life, “God is God and He works all things, including your life, according to his purposes. Nothing can happen without God ordaining it.
Psalm 57:2 says, “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” This is key in understanding God’s purpose for your life. God has numbered your days and will fulfill every purpose He has for you.
However, our choices and actions also really matter. In some ways, this is a mystery we can’t fully understand, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. We can choose to do things that will bring us more joy and give us more of a sense of purpose.”
We can be perfect in every way but, still not live the purpose God created us for – and that’s missing the entire point of living the Christian life.
#4 The Battle of Grace vs. Works
When we dig deep and see the Proverbs 31 woman explained, we easily think that she did a ton of work! However, it wasn’t the work she did, it was how she handled it…with grace and wisdom. Striving for perfection will wear you out – body, mind, and soul. Perfection is elusive and we all need grace.
Works will not get you into heaven. You can’t do enough, be good enough, check enough off your to do list to earn your way into heaven.
You can be the perfect woman in the world’s eyes and have many wonderful accomplishments as a good person but, if you don’t have God, it’s all for naught.
“For what shall it profit a man [or woman], if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36.
We must accept God’s grace, humble ourselves, and do everything as we’re doing it unto the Lord. God looks upon the heart where as man looks at the outward appearance.
“For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; because you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as your reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 NIV.
In other words, it doesn’t matter how many hungry people you fed if you were doing it for wrong reasons. Jesus said:
“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” Matthew 7:27.
It is by grace we are saved. The virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 is an example of a woman whose life bears the fruit of her faith.
#5 You can be a Single Proverbs 31 Woman
I can’t count the times I receive questions from women who have not married and want to know if they can apply Proverbs 31 to their lives today. You do not have to be married or have children to fully embrace the principles of Proverbs 31.
In the passage of Proverbs 31, the virtuous woman was married with children. However, it was her overall demeanor, grace, and faith that is the focus.
A single woman must still focus on forgetting perfection in the world’s eyes and finding her purpose before the Lord. God’s grace is open to her in every way. She can still have a kind heart, wise head about her, and live by the principles found in the passage.
The Proverbs 31 woman is a beautiful example to all types of women, married or not.
In fact, Paul plainly states: “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.” 1 Corinthians 7:8
As a single woman you have opportunities afforded you to serve the Lord that married women do not have because they have others to care and worry about.
And while you may not be married to a man, you are certainly the bride of Christ! All of the virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman can be directly applied to your relationship with Christ as well as your service to others.
#6 She Doesn’t Do All That Work Alone
When you read the passage of Proverbs 31 is can be easy to feel overwhelmed by all that the virtuous woman does. But she didn’t do it all alone.
“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.” Proverbs 31:15.
Notice here in verse 15 that she has maidservants. This proves two things: women aren’t expected to handle all that work alone and it’s okay to not be able to tackle it all by yourself! Not only did she maidservants, but her children would have had chores to do as well as part of the family unit.
And while we have our own maid servants these days in the form of washing machines and stoves that do a lot of the work for us, we still need to make sure we are delegating tasks to others and managing our homes well so we don’t feel overwhelmed.
This only further shows how much the passage of Proverbs 31 is about the way this woman carries herself with faith and grace, not how much she accomplishes in a day.
#7 The Passage of Proverbs 31 is Relevant Today
Many modern feminists like to argue that Proverbs 31 is no longer relevant to women in this day and age. Although the passage was written many years ago and there were definitely different circumstances surrounding it, there is still much to glean from it.
The point of the entire passage pushes women to be strong, graceful, full of faith, and to focus on their purpose, not their clothes, looks, and how many works they can accomplish in a day.
This is still very much relevant to every woman and always will be no matter how much times passes since Proverbs 31 was written.
“Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.” Proverbs 31:29-31
God’s Word stands the test of time.
#8 All Women are Unique Before the Lord
None of us are exactly the same, right? That means that God doesn’t want you to try and fit yourself into some sort of cookie mold. You don’t have to do everything exactly like I would do it or your best friend or that woman you really admire.
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8
He wants you to take the basics of the Proverbs 31 Woman’s example and apply them to your life. God desires that each one of us use the gifts and talents unique to us for His glory!
#9 She Finds Rest in Jesus and Cares for Her Body
It’s easy to look at the passage of Proverbs 31 and feel like she exemplifies a woman who never rests and works all the time. But this just isn’t so. The problem comes when we don’t take Scripture into the context of the whole Bible.
God made rest vital to the human body. It’s okay to not work yourself to the bone. It’s okay to take breaks when you need them. It’s okay to take care of yourself.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV.
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8 NIV.
While we know that the Scripture says that the Proverbs 31 Woman didn’t eat the bread of idleness this doesn’t mean she never rested or took breaks. She works diligently, yes, and she works without complaining.
However, rest is essential to your physical, spiritual, and mental health. So take time each week to rest your body and rest in Jesus so that you never grow weary in doing the will and work of God.
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” Hebrews 4:9-11 NIV.
#10 Not All of Us Are Blessed in the Same Way
You may notice that the Proverbs 31 woman had a husband who was well to do and respected in his community. This was the mother of a kind talking after all. Not to mention, the virtuous woman had a good side business and great health.
But here’s the thing.
All of us have various circumstances surrounding our life. You may not be blessed with perfect health. Your family may struggle with finances. You may have a child who has special needs. Or you may find that you are blessed with singleness just as Paul said.
And all of that is okay. No matter the situation you find yourself in, you are loved wholly and perfectly by a faithful God. You can live a purposeful life right where you are.
Instead of wishing you had a different life or an easier life, focus on how a virtuous woman handles every aspect of her life with grace and faith.
God looks at the heart of each woman. And while the fruit of your hands may testify of God’s goodness in your life, your faith in Jesus is what will lead you to eternal life.
Actions Steps to Take Today
- Study the principles of the Proverbs 31 Woman and ask yourself how you can apply that wisdom to your own life today.
- Pray and ask Jesus to show you His purpose for your life so that you may live in His perfect will.
- Ask for help when you need it.
- Give yourself grace and take time for rest.
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