Remember your homework from last week in our introductory session A Wise Woman Builds… A Study on the Proverbs 31 Woman? You were asked to read Proverbs 31:10-31 and list all of the attributes and qualities you saw in the Proverbs 31 Woman. You were then asked to mark those qualities you admire most and to spend some time thinking about why you admire them. If you have not done this assignment yet, please do it now. We’ll wait while you do…
While different versions of the Bible offer difference words to describe the Proverbs 31 Woman, they all still paint a picture of what some versions in verse 10 say is “an excellent wife.”
Before we get into a discussion on her qualities and attributes, let’s first address the fact that this is a description of what King Lemuel’s mother gave him to look for in a wife (Proverbs 31:1-9). Even if you’re not a wife, please know that these qualities apply to any woman desiring to please God. We are all Daughters of the King and make up the bride of Christ. As such, we can know that seeking the qualities found in the Proverbs 31 Woman pleases Christ.
The following list of qualities and attributes are offered as a reference point for discussion, not as an exhaustive list. Your list probably looks at least somewhat different from this one, and that is okay.
Qualities and Attributes of the Proverbs 31 Woman
Virtuous, capable, excellent, valuable, trustworthy, helpful, industrious, creative, energetic, organized, good steward, strong, hard working, caring, courageous, values self, dignified, fearless, joyful, wise, listens, kind, careful, loved and fears God.
Whew! Just making this list was exhausting, let alone striving to be like her. Remember, we live lives of progressive sanctification. In other words, small changes over time will add up to make a huge, holy difference. Also remember that the Proverbs 31 woman is a “composite portrait of ideal womanhood” (Life Application Study Bible), not someone any of us should try to be like in every detail.
We won’t take the time to discuss every quality and attribute today, but we will get to the majority of them during the course of our 2-month-ish study. For now, let’s look briefly at three qualities that seem to blanket who this woman is as a whole and give a solid foundation on which she builds all the other aspects of her life.
(1.) Virtue (v. 10)
(2.) Strength (v. 17 & 25)
(3.) Fear of God (v. 30)
A Wise Woman Builds Virtue
Virtuous means having high moral standards. Some versions say “noble” or “excellent” instead of virtuous. When the word “noble” is used, it is the same word used to describe Gideon when he is called a “mighty man of valor” (Judges 6). Overall, this means to be brave.
As women, we must dive into life and be willing to bravely tackle a lot of responsibility. Being a woman of high moral standards sets us up for successful lives that can astound others just like the description of the Proverbs 31 Woman probably astounds most of us.
A Wise Woman Builds Strength
Two kinds of strength are mentioned in verse 17, which says, “She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong.” The first strength refers to her character, and the second refers to her physical strength. We’re looking at the first kind of strength for now.
A more full understanding of what this type of strength entails comes from reading verse 25, which says, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.” This type of strength includes dignity also and is the type of strength that MacArthur describes as being “wrapped around her.”
Think of this type of strength as the self-discipline and commitment that we as women desire because we know it helps us lead productive lives.
A Wise Woman Builds a Fear of God
The fact that the Proverbs 31 Woman “fears God” is emphasized at the end of the chapter and notably placed at the end of the book of Proverbs. Remember that this virtue was extolled at the beginning of Proverbs as well (Proverbs 1:7), which tells us that this woman was able to live with such wisdom because of this very virtue.
Fear of God means having a reverence and awe (Psalm 33:8), a hatred of evil (Proverbs 8:13) and an obedience to God (Deuteronomy 17:19). Fear of God brings happiness (Psalm 112:1) as well as leads to riches, honor and a long life (Proverbs 22:4) when accompanied by humility. Very obviously, this fear of the Lord gives the very reason this woman exists as the godly standard for all women.
Application & Homework
As we build these qualities in our own lives, we will find that many of the other attributes and qualities listed come as a natural following. For this reason, let’s determine to deliberately and consistently seek to grow toward the example set by this Proverbs 31 Woman.
For study this week, devote at least 10 minutes a day toward our A Wise Woman Builds study. Do this by spending two days in each of the assignments described below, one day reading the material, and the second day reflecting on how God wants you to apply His Truth in your life.
- A huge part of strength and virtue comes from living totally committed lives. Read the article Great Expectations to help in assessing your view of commitment as compared to God’s great expectations.
- Read the book of Ruth and note the qualities of the Proverbs 31 Woman found in Ruth.
- Read the book of Esther and note the qualities of the Proverbs 31 Woman found in Esther.
Next week we will look at how A Wise Woman Builds… Faith. As always, you are encouraged to share any thoughts you have on this study in the comment section below.
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