The 10 Characteristics of a Proverbs 31 Woman
Proverbs 31 describes a woman that is to be praised because of her Godly character. Originally this is a mom giving wise advice for her son in seeking a woman of noble character. As men reading this, it should bring clarity as to what's important to seek for in a wife. As women reading this, it should brings us clarity in how God made us to be instead of the confusing chaos the world that tells us.
As you read these 10 characteristics I urge you to not be discouraged if you're not currently obtaining these but moreso to look at them as inspiration for what to become like. In our Christian walks, we are told to sanctify ourselves (continuously becoming more like Christ) and running the race until the end (not giving up as it gets hard).
10 Characteristics of a Proverbs 31 Woman
1. Virtuous / Noble Character
Definition = having or showing high moral standards.
"A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies." - Proverbs 31:10
In this first verse, it describes a wife of noble character who is virtuous, a woman who is worth more than rubies. Rubies is something that has been used in the bible to show value for wisdom and a virtuous woman. Take a look at other verses that use this comparison. At the time, rubies were precious stones and worth a lot but not only were they expensive, many atheists held rubies up to have magical powers. In that culture they were worth a lot but here we learn that a woman who has God's wisdom is worth more than all that.
For us, this means we can strive to being steadfast in our moral standards based on what God teaches us. A practical way to do this is by studying His word so we can reflect His characteristics in every situation.
2. Faithful & Trustworthy
Definition = remaining loyal and steadfast.
"Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." Proverbs 31:11-12
A marriage is often compared to the relationship of Christ and the church and we see throughout the bible that the church is called to be faithful (through everything) to Christ. In the same manner, as wives we are called to be faithful to our husbands.
In a practical application this means we follow through on what we say, we set boundaries to protect our marriage covenant, and we don't let intrusive negative thoughts about our husbands to dwell in our minds. We need to respect our husband and be loyal to him.
3. Resourceful & Hardworking
Definition: having the ability and drive to find clever ways to overcome difficulties.
"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants." Proverbs 31:13-15
This may be a harder verse to understand because we don't live in a time where we have to make our own clothes, however, this is showing that she is driven and works hard to provide for her household. That is something we can apply to our own homes. This can mean anything from providing food for our family to clothing and beyond.
In an application sense, we should prioritize (with willingness and diligence) our home and work hard for our family.
Definition = someone who has an idea and who works to create a product or service that people will buy
"She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers." Proverbs 31:16-19
This is a continuation of her resourcefulness but now applicable in business and not only her home. We see that she finds opportunities to make money and applies wisdom in those decisions.
I believe every woman has this desire inside them to be successful and make something profitable but I think it's through a variety of things not one job. This is why I think we have such a hard time sticking to one idea to pursue from photography to selling knitted crafts to problem solving and beyond. I believe God made us to be wise in doing side gigs while our priority is at home. That is backwards from the message the world sends of women rising to the top of careers and being "CEO bosses" while being pressured to not have children or even a committed relationship. It led to a world where it's necessary (in most cases) for both husband and wife to work in order to make ends meet all the while our children are raised by strangers. After talking to many moms out there I find that this isn't the desire we have and it breaks our hearts to be torn away from our children. My hope is that we can find a resourceful way to make ends meet all the while being able to be taking care of our homes. That said, remember this is a goal and not something to be resentful for if we cannot do it at this time.
Definition = freely giving money or help to poor and needy persons
"She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy." Proverbs 31:20
This one is pretty straight forward, we're called to help those in need. I think it's more than just an act and a heart placement to notice those in need first and foremost. To do that we need to be sensitive to those around us and answer those callings God puts on our hearts.
6. Prepared Provider
Definition = properly expectant, organized, or equipped; ready.
"When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet." Proverbs 31:21
This is for all the organization lovers out there! What happens in our lives when we are prepared for something (for example a test in school)? It eliminates that unnecessary fear of what's to come. In the same manner, we can reduce that fear by being prepared for our own family. Women tend to always think of the what ifs and what the future brings but instead of letting those thoughts lead to negativity and fear, we can cultivate them towards good and applying them to solutions for providing for our future. This can look in many ways but one example is having the right groceries in the house for the family or even having backup food in case the grocery stores are out of stock. This can also look like taking the time to create a garden and storing things like grains. It can also mean doing something like taking a class to learn a new skill (like bread-making or sewing).
Definition = clean, well dressed, or decent enough to be seen in public.
"She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. " Proverbs 31:22-25
It's so common in American culture to be comfortable that we see people wearing pajamas in public! Athleisure is a popular trend this year where people wear workout clothes as every-day-wear. We are called to be set aside and dress respectfully. I grew up in Romania where we had to wear dresses to church out of a sign of respect to dress well in the presence of God. It was a cultural experience but something we can use to understand what Proverbs 31:22-23 meant. In verse 24 we see that not only does she present herself well but also her community or employees.
For application purposes I think this means we need to be put together and present ourselves in a worthy manner. Doing this honors our husbands, community, and God. Beyond physical appearance, we learn that she also clothes herself in "strength and dignity," which means her overall appearance and how she carriers herself is what matters.
Definition = having or showing experience, knowledge, and good judgment (from God's perspective)
"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:26
We see hints of this characteristic throughout Proverbs 31 but we see it clearly in this verse. One thing to remember is the world's definition of wisdom is completely different than the biblical definition. Wisdom comes solely from God and knowing Him so when it comes to our application that goes back to the basics of reading our bible and spending time with God.
Definition = having a major impact or effect.
"She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her; “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”" Proverbs 31:27-29
We already learned that she isn't lazy but hardworking in verses 13-15 but now we see that her hard works make an impact on her children and husband. That means she's consistent enough in what she does and has a good attitude about it that people around her notice and appreciate it. Imagine if she complained about her hard work constantly, how would that come across differently? That said, our application here is to work hard with joy because what we do is for the Lord. In Matthew 6, verses 1-2 we learn that it's better for us to receive our reward in heaven than to receive praise on earth. I bring up this verse because we're not doing the right thing in order to receive praise from our family but it's an added bonus when they do.
10. God Fearing
Definition = Fearing God means respecting, obeying, submitting to God's discipline, and worshiping Him in awe.
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." Proverbs 31:30-31
Lastly, and most importantly, she is a God Fearing Woman. I honestly don't think we're able to achieve all the characteristics explained in this passage without first having a healthy fear of God. If we don't respect God first and foremost, then why would we sacrifice our sinful, selfish, nature to work hard? As you set your goal to become a noble wife, remember that it first starts with your relationship with God. The more you get to know God, the more natural these things will come to you and the more you desire Godly things.
Proverbs 31 Woman Moodboard
I thought it would be fun to make a moodboard that inspires us to live in these characteristics. It's something you can download and set as your phone background so every time you glance at it you remember Proverbs 31.