Here at A Virtuous Woman, I want to encourage women to serve God in every aspect of their lives. Becoming a Proverbs 31 woman is not about being “perfect.” It’s about living life with purpose, diligence, forgiveness, and repentance.
The Proverbs 31 Woman Today
Often women believe that Proverbs 31 doesn’t really apply to our modern lives. Here at A Virtuous Woman, we believe that God’s Word stands the test of time. I wrote the 10 Virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman as the mission statement for A Virtuous Woman, but soon realized that it was more than a mission statement. The 10 Virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman demonstrates how, as Christian women today, we can all be Proverbs 31 Women.
The 10 Virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman
1. Faith – A Virtuous Woman serves God with all of her heart, mind, and soul. She seeks His will for her life and follows His ways. (Proverbs 31: 26, Proverbs 31: 29 – 31, Matthew 22: 37, John 14: 15, Psalm 119: 15
2. Marriage – A Virtuous Woman respects her husband. She does him good all the days of her life. She is trustworthy and a helpmeet. (Proverbs 31: 11- 12, Proverbs 31: 23, Proverbs 31: 28, 1 Peter 3, Ephesians 5, Genesis2: 18)
3. Mothering – A Virtuous Woman teaches her children the ways of her Father in heaven. She nurtures her children with the love of Christ, disciplines them with care and wisdom, and trains them in the way they should go. (Proverbs 31: 28, Proverbs 31: 26, Proverbs 22: 6, Deuteronomy 6, Luke 18: 16)
5. Service – A Virtuous Woman serves her husband, her family, her friends, and her neighbors with a gentle and loving spirit. She is charitable. (Proverbs 31: 12, Proverbs 31: 15, Proverbs 31: 20, 1 Corinthians 13: 13)
6. Finances – A Virtuous Woman spends money wisely. She is careful to purchase quality items which her family needs. (Proverbs 31: 14, Proverbs 31: 16, Proverbs 31: 18, 1 Timothy 6: 10, Ephesians 5: 23, Deuteronomy 14: 22, Numbers 18: 26)
7. Industry – A Virtuous Woman works willingly with her hands. She sings praises to God and does not grumble while completing her tasks. (Proverbs 31: 13, Proverbs 31: 16, Proverbs 31: 24, Proverbs 31: 31, Philippians 2: 14)
8. Homemaking – A Virtuous Woman is a homemaker. She creates an inviting atmosphere of warmth and love for her family and guests. She uses hospitality to minister to those around her. (Proverbs 31: 15, Proverbs 31: 20 – 22, Proverbs 31: 27, Titus 2: 5, 1 Peter 4: 9, Hebrews 13: 2)
9. Time – A Virtuous Woman uses her time wisely. She works diligently to complete her daily tasks. She does not spend time dwelling on those things that do not please the Lord. (Proverbs 31: 13, Proverbs 31: 19, Proverbs 31: 27, Ecclesiastes 3, Proverbs 16: 9, Philippians 4:8 )
10. Beauty – A Virtuous Woman is a woman of worth and beauty. She has the inner beauty that only comes from Christ. She uses her creativity and sense of style to create beauty in her life and the lives of her loved ones. (Proverbs 31: 10Proverbs 31: 21 – 22, Proverbs 31: 24 -25, Isaiah 61: 10, 1 Timothy 2: 9, 1 Peter 3: 1 – 6)
What does it mean to be a Proverbs 31 Woman?
The passage of Proverbs 31 in the Bible was written by King Solomon, based on the advice his mother gave him. In reference, the passage begins:
The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him. Proverbs 31:1
Many theologians believe King Lemuel is a poetic name give to King Solomon. King Lemuel’s mother wanted him to choose a wife wisely and she offered him a list of characteristics to look for in a Godly wife. The passage offers us a glimpse into what being a virtuous woman or being a Proverbs 31 woman might look like.
Who was the Proverbs 31 Woman?
The Proverbs 31 woman was not an actual woman. Let’s be clear. King Lemuel’s mother was describing the kind of woman she hoped her son would find.
Because of this, many people discount the idea that it’s even possible to be a Proverbs 31 woman or they feel discouraged by the seemingly impossible standard set for women in this passage.
I believe that all of God’s Word is useful for instruction, correction, and reproof. I believe that God’s Word is still relevant today. I do not believe that God allowed the passage of Proverbs 31 in the Bible by chance. And I do believe that it’s possible to be a virtuous woman today.
Is it possible to live up to the idealistic portrayal of the virtuous woman?
Yes. But maybe not the way you think. Becoming a Proverbs 31 woman does not mean being a perfect, idealistic woman who can do it all and do it all at once. Rather, becoming a Proverbs 31 woman means that you live out God’s will for your life daily and live each day with purpose.
The Passage of Proverbs 31 | KJV version
Let’s take a look at the passage of Proverbs 31 and see what the Bible really says about her before we move on.
1 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
2 What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman
What does Proverbs 31 mean for the 21st Century woman?
I broke Proverbs 31 down into what I call the 10 Virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman because I believe that these 10 characteristics are how we live out Proverbs 31 today as modern women.
- Faith. It is a woman’s faith and relationship with Christ that makes her a virtuous woman. Becoming a Proverbs 31 woman isn’t possible without faith. We are told that she fears the Lord and she will be praised.
- Marriage. A virtuous woman is a faithful wife. But don’t think that you can’t be a Proverbs 31 woman if you are single! You absolutely can! In fact, as a Christian, you are the bride of Christ. You are called to be faithful to Him first and foremost.
- Mothering. The Proverbs 31 woman is a good mother. We are told that the Proverbs 31 woman’s children rise up and call her blessed. However, that does not mean you can’t be a virtuous woman if you don’t have children!
- Health. As Christians we are instructed to care for our bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.” That really means that we do our best to abstain from those things that might harm our physical health as well as our spiritual health.
- Service. A virtuous woman serves others with a cheerful spirit. She is a willing helper and thoughtful toward others. She reaches out to help those around her while maintaining her priorities.
- Finances. We are told that the Proverbs 31 woman is careful with her finances and spends money wisely. In the passage of Proverbs 31 we are also told that she helps provide an income with her own business. She was smart and financially savvy.
- Industry. A virtuous woman works willingly. She doesn’t eat the bread of idleness – instead she stays busy living out God’s purpose for her life each day. She isn’t lazy, she doesn’t grumble over the task at hand, and she looks well to the ways of her household.
- Homemaking. The Proverbs 31 woman is a good homemaker. We are told she looks well to the ways of her household. This does not mean she did every thing herself! She looks well to the ways of her household. She has help. She is not a slave to her family or home. She is a good manager of her home. She organizes her household in a way that helps things run smoothly so that everything runs smoothly.
- Time. We are told that the virtuous woman spends her time doing what needs to be done. She does not waste time on tasks or activities that would detract from the well being of her family or from her faith. She is industrious and hard working.
- Beauty. The Proverbs 31 woman is well dressed and she provides a pleasant and inviting home for her family and friends. The passage tells us that beauty is vain, but it also tells us that she dresses respectably and takes care with her appearance.
A Woman of Noble Character
The Proverbs 31 woman is described as a virtuous woman or as a wife of noble character. She is also described as a woman of valor.
I don’t know about you, but the word valor conjures up fantastic images in my mind of a strong woman who knows what she needs to do and she sets about doing it. She has a purpose!
valor definition: great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle
As women of valor, as Proverbs 31 women, we are fighting a spiritual battle. Remember, it is a woman’s faith that makes her virtuous – not a list of tasks completed or to do lists checked off. It’s her pliable heart in response to God’s prodding.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
A Woman of Valor
As virtuous women, as women of valor, we are called to put on the armor of God and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11
The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 has great courage. She’s woman on a mission. She is ready, willing, and able to face each task and trial. She knows God is on her side.
And if God is on her side, who can be against her?
“And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things?
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:30-39
The Proverbs 31 Woman is clothed with strength and dignity. “Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” Proverbs 31:25. “
Proverbs 31:17 says she, “..girds her loins and arms with strength.” As a woman of valor, she is spiritually strong. She wears the belt of truth: “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth.” Ephesians 6:14 KJV.
The New Living Translations says it this way: “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.”
She is ready to go to battle for those she loves and she wears the armor of God. Ephesians 6:10-18 says,
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
Who is the Proverbs 31 Woman?
We’re not talking about the perfect Pinterest mom. Or the perfect wife. Or the perfect Christian woman. We’re talking about a woman who knows who she belongs to and every good work comes from living a faithful life guided by Scripture.
Proverbs 31:30 says, “Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.” She isn’t worthy of praise because of what she does but because of how she does them.
Remember, all have fallen short of the glory of God. You need not strive for perfection. In fact, striving for perfection this side of heaven will leave you feel empty time and time again. God made each of us unique.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
You can be a Proverbs 31 woman – you simply need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He came and died for you that you may have eternal life, and ask Him to forgive your sins. Then, love Him with all of your heart, mind, and soul!
“…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
The Proverbs 31 Woman and Grace
We are also talking about a woman who understands grace. Grace for herself and grace for others. Without Christ, we are nothing. We can’t be good on our own. But with Christ all things are possible. One of my personal favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
I love this verse because it means I don’t have to do it alone. I have Christ on my side. It’s His blood that covers my life with grace – not because I deserve it, but because He loved me enough to die for me! And when I stand before God on the judgement day, I don’t have to stand there naked. Instead, the robe of righteous will cover my sins.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
We are told that the Proverbs 31 woman doesn’t fear the snow because her family is covered in scarlet. Jesus’ blood covers us and we have nothing to fear.
“She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.” Proverbs 31:21
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
And part of living out a life of Grace is also extending that grace to others.
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:6
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13
“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:15
You Can be a Proverbs 31 Woman
Just as faith is what makes the Proverbs 31 a virtuous woman, it is your faith that redeems you. We can all be proverbs 31 women. You can be a proverbs 31 woman. You don’t have to feel like a failure. You don’t have to feel like you will never measure up. In fact, God says you are already His! All you have to do is believe.
Being a Proverbs 31 Woman isn’t about being perfect or trying to live up to a list of impossible standards. It’s about living with purpose. And your purpose, ultimately, is to serve a risen Savior.
How to Apply Proverbs 31 to Your Life Today
1. Commit your life to Christ. Allow Him to come into your heart and lead, guide and direct your steps. You want to give up your own selfish desires and ambitions and die to self.
“The steps of a good [wo]man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” Psalm 37:23
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20
“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Acts 2:42
2. Pray and study God’s Word. When you pray and study and allow your every though to be taken captive, you are strengthening your faith and girding your loins, ready for battle. You can also study the 10 Virtues of the Proverbs 31 woman and determine how God would have you implement them in your own life.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105
“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Revelation 1:3
“You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows.” Job 22:27
“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” James 5:13
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41
3. Keep His commandments. We are called to obey Him. As Christians, we will desire to live an obedient life. That does not mean will we never make mistakes. But it does we will make it a priority in our life to grow and strive to improve. And when we do make mistakes we will ask for forgiveness.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
“The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” 1 John 3:24
“If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15
“”I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
4. Study the virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman and ask God to show you how you can implement them in your life.
“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” Proverbs 31:10
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7
5. Accept God’s grace in your life and let His love shine through you. As women of virtue, we are called to share the Good News with others and be a light in a dark world.
“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in[a] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:20-24
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
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