The Proverbs 31 woman is often put on a pedestal in the church as a lady with qualities that every Christian woman needs to strive for, with good reason.
But what about the feeling many of us get when those qualities feel unattainable?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve often read this Bible passage under the weight of guilt and inadequacy. After all, the Proverbs 31 woman does it all.
She is talented, hard-working, an entrepreneur, a model wife and mother, loves the Lord with all she has, and even seems to need less sleep than the rest of us.
It’s a little intimidating. Am I right?
But. Maybe we’ve misunderstood this amazing lady and all she represents for us as Christian women. Maybe we’re missing out on some wonderful encouragement God meant for us to have.
Let’s dissect the Proverbs 31 bible verses and look at it from God’s perspective.
It’s 6:30 a.m. My husband quietly tiptoes in and brings me coffee to help me gently transition into the waking world. I’m not a morning person, and he accommodates me. Bless that man.
After my coffee and a bit of Facebook browsing, my feet finally hit the floor (although it takes a bit before I’m fully functional).
I think about how different I am from the woman in Proverbs 31. After all, her lamp does not go out at night AND she rises while it is still night.
All day long, I try. I’m not perfect, but I try to please God, be a blessing to the people in my life, and an asset to our family. I often fail.
I don’t always use my time 100% wisely, and I don’t work as hard in my home or the church as I could. I’m not always loving or kind.
Hence the reason I sometimes feel a bit of a sting when I read about the woman in Proverbs 31.
An Impossible Standard? Proverbs 31 Woman Explained
She seems to be perfect. Model wife and mother. Super talented and entrepreneurial. Giving and creative. Kind and confident. And all of that with hardly any sleep.
Don’t we all want to be her? Yes! And that’s a good thing.
The challenge comes when we feel like we need to be everything in this list, 100% of the time.
The description of the Proverbs 31 woman is more of an overview of her entire life. I doubt she did all of the things on this list in a single day, or even a single season.
She probably wore many hats throughout her lifetime.
One season filled with babies and child-raising, another season filled with work and business, another season filled with creativity and outreach. And all of it done with a heart for God. Honestly, it sounds like the lives of many Christian women I know.
Speaking with my Bible-scholar husband concerning this chapter gave me clarity. The original language indicates that her actions are done at various times and seasons, not all at the same time.
This is proven in verse 16, where it mentions her planting a vineyard. Definitely a seasonal chore.
But we read this chapter as if she is doing all of these amazing things in a single day, and that we could never accomplish this feat.
Don’t we, as women, have a tendency to want to do ALL THE THINGS, and do them perfectly?
I don’t think that is God’s intention in giving us this passage. He doesn’t want us to feel overwhelmed while reading this beautiful portion of Scripture. He is the God of love, not guilt.
I think He wants us to feel inspired. And empowered.
He wants to inspire us to fulfill our potential as women of God. He wants us to see what we are capable of, and the impact we can have on the world.
It’s feminism on a whole new level. God’s level.
He believes in us, and He believes we are capable of great things through His power.
Related Post: 12 Characteristics of a Godly Woman
6 Simple Ways to Be Like the Proverbs 31 Woman
Let’s take a look at all the things God believes that we can do as Christian women. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, let’s read this passage from a different perspective. God’s perspective.
It says: You are made in my image, and You are strong.
Read the Proverbs 31 bible verses below as a description of the things God has in store for your life when you are devoted to Him. I’ve divided this passage into sections and themes for each one to help you apply these characteristics to your life.
1. A Proverbs 31 Woman is Trustworthy
10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
You can be a Proverbs 31 woman by being a lady that others can trust. Even if you aren’t married, you can show your trustworthy nature in every interaction you have with others.
Be known as someone who can be counted on. Follow through on your commitments, value honesty, and above all, do no harm.
Be that person who makes everyone feel good. When you walk into the room, do others feel secure and valued? Embody one of my favorite quotes ever: “Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.”
2. A Proverbs 31 Woman is Hard Working
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
You can be a Proverbs 31 woman by embracing hard work. Don’t let laziness define you. I vividly remember standing around in the kitchen after dinner and asking my dad, “What should I do next?” He said, “Just look around, see what needs to be done, and do it!”
A Proverbs 31 woman doesn’t overthink what needs to be done, wait for someone else, or make excuses. She simply looks around and gets to work.
Related Post: Bible Study for Moms When Life Gets Busy
3. A Proverbs 31 Woman is Strong
17 She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
When did we get this notion that the Biblical view of women is weak or less-than? Society paints that picture, but it’s not reality. God describes the Proverbs 31 woman as amazingly confident and strong!
She believes in herself and her capabilities and uses them to bless the lives of others.
4. A Proverbs 31 Woman is Creative
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
I’ve yet to meet a woman who is not brilliantly creative in some way. Whether it be creating a beautiful home, a vibrant career, a delicious recipe, a work of art, or a gorgeous outfit, women have a special gift of creativity.
What’s your gift? Use it in the Kingdom!
Related Post: How Your Comfort Zone Can Be a Blessing
5. A Proverbs 31 Woman is Loving
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
You can be a Proverbs 31 woman by showing love to others and to yourself. She loves others by using words of wisdom and kindness when she speaks. She loves herself by acting dignified and not worrying about the future (in fact, she laughs at it)!
Because of how much she cares, her family all take notice and appreciate everything she does.
Related post: 10 Prayers Your Kids Need You to Pray
6. A Proverbs 31 Woman Fears the Lord
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
Most of all, you can be a Proverbs 31 woman by fearing the Lord. The women in the Bible aren’t perfect, but the ones who are praised all have something in common: they fear the Lord.
So, what does this mean? It means that, just as a child wants to please their parents, you want to please your God. I love this description of fearing the lord from Proverbs31.org:
To fear the Lord is to feel the weight of His holiness as you love and obey Him. Think of the fear a child has of disappointing her parent — not because she’s scared of getting punished, but because she doesn’t want to displease someone she loves and respects.
You see, when you fear the Lord, you will have a desire to follow His word and obey it. Everything else on this list will fall into place.
If you’ve enjoyed this study on the Proverbs 31 woman, my friend Brittany at Equipping Godly Women is hosting a series on 15 Great Women of the Bible. Some are familiar (like Mary, the Mother of Jesus) and some you may not know too well (like Miriam and Jezebel). This series explores lessons we can learn from each woman. Check it out!
Want clear instructions for incorporating Proverbs 31 qualities in your own life? Grab the free Bible study below! It’s filled with thought-provoking questions to help you become the woman God already made you to be. You can use it for your own quiet time with God, or even in a ladies’ Bible class. Just click the link or image below to download the PDF.
Before downloading this free Bible Study, would you do me a favor? Would you share this post on social media using the share buttons at the bottom of the page? Let’s spread God’s word to as many ladies as possible!
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Have you ever felt intimidated by the woman in Proverbs 31?