Here is Lesson 1 of our Proverbs 31 Bible Study: She is Clothed with Strength and Dignity. Today we’re looking at what it means to be a virtuous woman and the bride of Christ. You won’t want to miss this!!
Anchor Text: Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is worth far more than rubies. Proverbs 31:10
A Proverbs 31 Bible Study: A Virtuous Woman
The word virtuous might evoke different images in your mind, but usually most people think of a chaste and proper woman when they hear the word virtuous. Yesterday we touched on the fact that in the passage of Proverbs 31, the virtuous woman is sometimes called a few different names.
Let’s take a look at the meanings behind these words.
The word virtuous means: having or showing high moral standards
The word noble means: belonging to a hereditary class with high social or political status; aristocratic
The word noble can also mean: having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals
The word excellent means: extremely good; outstanding
The word capable means: able to achieve efficiently whatever one has to do; competent
If we were to take all of these definitions together, we could surmise that the Proverbs 31 woman has high moral standards and fine personal qualities, she belongs to royalty, she’s very good, and she’s very competent.
I think that’s a pretty good summary of the passage, don’t you? But let’s look at the virtuous woman a little closer.
The Hebrew word for virtuous is “chayil”. Some interesting things to note about this Hebrew word are:
- Parts of speech: masculine noun
- Pronounced: khah’·yil
- Meanings: valor, army, strength, might, ability, efficiency, wealth, force
The word “chayil” occurs 243 times in 228 verses in the Bible and is often used to describe brave men going into battle.
Isn’t that amazing?
So literally translated, the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is a “woman of valor.”
I don’t know about you, but when I think of a woman of valor, I think of a woman who is strong, courageous, and worthy of praise. And that’s pretty awesome!
Valor definition: great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle
This tells me that God looks at virtuous women with respect and gives them honor. He sees them as strong and capable, ready to take on great challenges.
God sees you.
Spiritual Application: The Bride of Christ
Proverbs 31:1 tells us, “The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.”
These inspired words are meant for us today because “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” 2 Timothy 3:16
King Lemuel’s mother was inspired by God to give her son the prophetic words. Words that not only show us what a noble wife looks like, but insight into Christ’s relationship with His bride.
In prophecy, the church is likened to a comely woman or the bride of Christ. “I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.” Jeremiah 6:2 KJV.
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” Revelation 19:7,8 NIV.
God’s true church is the pure woman of Revelation, God’s end time born again people, the bride of Christ.
We see this clearly in Revelation 12:1,2 which says, “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.
How do we know the woman clothed with the sun is God’s people?
It’s important that we remember that the Bible interprets itself. We don’t have to wonder what God’s Word means!
related: Does the Bible Interpret Itself?
The woman was clothed with the sun. The sun represents Jesus. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: The Lord will give grace and glory: No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11
And Malachi 4:2 says, “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; And ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.”
The moon under her feet represents the old sacrificial system of the Mosaic Law. “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” Hebrews 10:1
The crown with 12 stars may represent the 12 disciples and their work of spreading the Gospel in the early years of the church. There were also 12 tribes of Israel. The number 12 can be found 187 times in the Bible with 22 of those references being found in Revelation. It can symbolize completeness or Israel as a whole.
We also see that this pure woman would give birth to a child. Revelation 12:5 says, “She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.”
This baby was Jesus!
Bible Verses about the Bride of Christ
“For your Maker is your husband— the LORD Almighty is his name– the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.” Isaiah 54:5
“You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah for he Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:3-5
“I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” Hosea 2:19-20
“I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.” 2 Corinthians 11:2
Bible Verses about the Bridegroom
“Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.” Mark 2:18-20
“You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:28-30
A Virtuous Woman’s Character
Virtue is often hard to find in our society today, but it’s the virtuous woman’s godly character that sets her apart from the rest of the world.
Going back to our anchor text for today and how the Gospel is found in Proverbs 31:10, we see that the Bible says: “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” His bride is priceless!
Christ is looking for his bride. He’s calling you to come to the wedding feast with him!
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” Revelation 19:7
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle, or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27
Here we see that the virtuous, pure woman, the bride of Christ, makes herself ready for the wedding feast of the Lamb. Christ gave himself up for her! The bride of Christ is a pure woman.
- to make her holy
- washing her with water through the Word
- as a radiant church
- without stain or wrinkle
- without blemish
- holy and blameless
As the Bride of Christ, we need to make ourselves ready to be received by the Bridegroom. Because despite God’s everlasting love and His grace and mercy, we have character work to do!
“It is misleading to say that accepts us the way we are.Rather He accepts us despite the way we are. He receives us only in Christ and for Christ’s sake. Nor does He mean to leave us the way He found us, but to transform us into the likeness of His Son.” – Sinclair B. Ferguson
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”” Acts 2:38
The Parable of the Wedding Banquet
Jesus tells a story in the Bible about a wedding banquet. It goes like this:
Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.
“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
“For many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:1-14 NIV.
You see, we are all called to be a part of God’s church. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 KJV.
He desires that no one be lost! No matter what you have done, you too can wear that spotless white robe of righteousness.
“Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes–who are they, and where did they come from?’ I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:13,14
Practical Application: A Woman of Worth
In the Jewish tradition, the passage of Proverbs 31:10-31 is often sung as a blessing by the husband to his wife, perhaps before the Sabbath evening meal. The words are meant to uplift and bless the wife, not to make her feel as though she can never measure up.
Do you ever feel like you can never measure up? I’m sure we’ve all been there! If you’ve read my testimony, you know that I struggled with guilt and shame for many years.
The good news is that while we all need improvement in different areas of our life, God works with us! And when we fail, He is there! He loves us despite our sin.
Understanding that Proverbs 31 is a beautiful portrait of godly womanhood and not a checklist of checklists or standards for women today is so important!
The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is virtuous because of her faith. Nothing more. And just like our faith will produce fruits, the virtuous woman has strength of character to do all that she does each day with grace.
Jesus tells us that His people will be easily recognized. You know why? Their life produces fruit!
“You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:16-20 ESV.
What are the fruits your faith should produce?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22,23
All that the Proverbs 31 Woman does each day, she does because she has:
- love for God and love for others (Matthew 22:37-40)
- joy in her heart (1 Peter 1:8-9)
- peace that passes all understanding (Isaiah 26:3)
- forebearance and tolerance (Colossians 3:13)
- a kind spirit (Colossians 3:12)
- goodness that come from God (Romans 12:21)
- faithfulness to God and keeps her word (Colossians 3:23)
- a meek and gentle spirit (1 Peter 3:4)
- self-control, temperance, self-discipline (Titus 2:11-12)
The 10 Virtues of the Proverbs 31 woman as I like to describe them are very likely things you already do every day. You may see areas of your life in Proverbs 31 that need improvement. Who doesn’t? Myself included!
- It’s a woman’s faith that makes her virtuous.
- She is a loving and kind wife. Her husband can trust her.
- Her children rise up and call her blessed. She’s a good mom.
- She cares for her body and provides nourishing meals for her family.
- The virtuous woman is faithful to serve out of love.
- She is a good steward of all that God has blessed her with.
- She works willingly with her hands.
- She is a good and thoughtful homemaker.
- The virtuous woman spends her time wisely and uses her time for God’s glory.
- Her beauty comes from within. She honors God with her creativity.
These are all characteristics that you can work on and attain today! And while virtue may be hard to find in our world today, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to live a virtuous, faithful life. In fact, when we place our trust in Jesus and ask Him to come into our hearts, He will help us overcome sin and find victory!
“For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
Jesus is so faithful!
Action Steps to Take Today
- Pray and ask God to show you how you can live out the verses of Proverbs 31.
- Understand that change often happens slowly, but God is ready and able to help you along the way!
- Print out today’s workbook and use it as you study – just fill out the form below.
- Remember that God sees you and He thinks you are worth more than rubies! You’re priceless!
Free Printable Proverbs 31 Bible Study PDF
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