In the Bible there are many role models for young women. A few more well-known passages are Ruth, Esther, The Proverbs 31 Woman and others. Proverbs 31 is perhaps one of the most recognized passages in the Bible that paints a clear picture of biblical womanhood. It may come as a surprise that for much of my life the significance of this passage was never truly made clear to me. This sheds some light on how little womanhood is discussed in the church as a whole. The argument could be made that for the most part, today’s church is broken. But it is because her families are broken. Women (especially as mothers) are often the “tie that binds” in families. When mothers and wives give up or lose hope, the family as a whole falls apart. Women are meant to be the caring and tending side of families. When that’s gone, the family unit can’t stay together very long. Proverbs 31 shows us what a devoted woman of God who loves her family really looks like. If you haven’t read this chapter yet, do so now.
Proverbs 31 was written by a king about his mother. She made such a strong impact on his life, he wrote about her teachings of wisdom, and her life example. Verses 1-9 demonstrate the kind of advice this mother gave to her son; 10-31 describe the kind of woman that this mother emulated, and probably instructed her son to find as a wife. An interesting note is that verses 10-31 were written as a Hebrew acrostic (the first letter in the first word of each verse corresponds to the letters of Hebrew alphabet in order). This can symbolically show that a completeness of the subject is being discussed.
Below is a rough examination that may help the modern young woman understand this poetic Hebrew passage. After reading the original passage, compare it with the following.
A Godly Woman Teaches with Words And Actions
- Words: She (his mother) taught him the truth and gave him instruction.
- She loves him and asks him to look inside himself (reflection). She reminds him where he came from and whose he is. She asks him to take a closer look at his life.
- She warns him about the devastation caused by promiscuity and loose living, and reminds him of past kings destroyed by such living.
- She informs him that kings live by higher standards and should not drink.
- She taught him the consequences of choices and ramifications of drinking, and that it affects more than just himself.
- She instructs him to give drink as a medicine to those who perish (instead of doing bad with this, do good instead).
- She reminds him that others are hurting and are in poverty. It was tradition to give drink to those who were condemned to death, she reminds him that is it’s purpose.
- She tells him to speak up for those with no voice; to help those who can’t help themselves.
- She says “Lift Your Voice!” (I couldn’t resist) and decide by the truth; defend what is right. Defend the rights of the defenseless.
- Actions: She (a true godly woman) is hard to find and should be cherished more than any wealth imaginable.
- She is trustworthy and her husband never regrets opening himself up to her.
- She has good intentions and is not spiteful in her purposes.
- She seeks out her own work and does it willingly.
- She puts forth effort to do her absolute best at home and abroad.
- She is self-sacrificing and appropriately gives everyone their needs.
- She makes wise choices, is a smart planner, and uses money she saves (not from debt).
- She is a hard worker and does not take shortcuts.
- She finds value in her work and doesn’t hurry to get over it.
- She does her “woman’s work” with both hands without slacking and does not complain.
- She makes an effort to help those in need, she is giving and generous.
- She doesn’t worry about difficult times because she has prepared well.
- She is clothed in purity and righteousness, never to be put to shame.
- She respects her husband and this is known by others.
- She is willing to work and make a living if necessary, and will make arrangements to do so.
- She is spiritually strong and does not worry about tomorrow or the unknown.
- She speaks with wisdom and teaches with kindness.
- She keeps an eye on her family and is not idle toward them.
- She is worthy to have her children’s and husband’s praise.
- She is prized by her husband as “one-in-a-million” and far above average.
- She fears God above all else, and doesn’t place her value in charm or beauty.
- She is to be cherished, love her and praise her both publically and privately, never withhold how proud you are to be hers.
So when is a woman a woman, and not just a girl? When she is able to teach wisdom, her heart is focused on God and righteousness, and she is able to put the needs of others ahead of her own. True women of God are wise, loving, compassionate, submissive to authority, and pure of heart.
It has nothing to do with age, and everything to do with genuine character.