6 Important Things Proverbs 31 Do Not Say About Women
By Rachel Dawson
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh for days to come. – Proverbs 31:25
The book of Proverbs is full of practical wisdom based on a good and wholesome fear of the Lord. The last chapter, chapter 31 where this woman is depicted, was an acrostic poem written to advise young men on the kind of wife they should seek. It wasn’t even written directly for women, but we consider it to be that ultimate list of requirements and standards for achieving perfect godly femininity when that was never intended.
There is so much more to say about how we should live our lives as Christian women than what Proverbs 31 includes. I believe there is so much more the Lord desires for us as His beloved daughters than these few verses show us.
Here are 6 things Proverbs 31 does not say about women:
1. We are precious even when we are not a wife. Yes, the woman in Proverbs 31 was married and had children who called her blessed and praised her, but even single women who do not love their husbands and raise their babies are of abundant value in the sight of the Lord. We are always blessed and beautiful.
2. We need other women. We need to be rooted in the communities of other women who run the same race. So often we see women around the world go head to head in an ugly battle of competition and judgment, but we have the great opportunity to meet other women in collaboration, love, support and true friendship. Communities like this change lives and glorify God.
3. We are valuable even if our donations are not for housekeeping. Some women are more of a take-out type than a home chef. Some are brilliant speakers, writers, businesswomen, or teachers, and they hire others to fill in the gaps at home or share those responsibilities with their husbands. Its good. The Proverbs 31 woman was also a successful businesswoman, but we rarely talk about that part. Our work, our art, our volunteerism, our words and our actions have value, whether they produce handmade products and a sparkling clean home or if they look a little different.
4. We have a place in the church and in leadership. I am grateful to live in a time and in a country where I see women on stage leading worship, speaking, teaching, preaching and leading ministries at all levels. The woman in Proverbs 31 speaks wisely and has faithful instruction on her tongue – she is described as a faithful and loving counselor – but her role in a church body is never mentioned. I believe that we Christian women have been blessed with gifts that the church desperately needs, and it is our role to use them to serve the glory of God in our churches.
5. We are called to be advocates of justice and mercy. The woman in Proverbs 31 opens her arms to the poor and stretches out her hands to the needy, and it’s beautiful. As women today, we should do the same. Let’s give, serve, pray and act in new ways to bring hope and healing to the world around us.
6. Our personal walk with the Lord is essential to the work we do and the life we lead. Although these verses say that the woman in Proverbs 31 feared the Lord, it doesn’t tell us much about what her spiritual life was like. The time we spend with the Lord changes us, and making time daily to be in the scriptures, pray, worship, and reflect on all that He has done and is doing is essential to keeping our souls healthy and alive. It is only when we remain in the vineyard that we can bear fruit and prosper.
Wives, let us not hold ourselves to an unattainable standard of marriage, motherhood and housework, but rather fear the Lord in all that we do with gracious and boundless humility.
Editor’s Note: This devotional was adapted from Rachel Dawson’s 6 things proverbs 31 don’t say about women. You can read this song in full here.