What is a Proverbs 31 Woman? Biblical Characteristics of Wisdom

Many women are eager to know how to become a Proverbs 31 Woman. We desire to be godly women who honor our husbands, and we want to be mothers who our children will one day “rise and call blessed”. 

But before we can truly understand the biblical traits of the model Proverbs 31 Woman, we need to look at two other women in the book of Proverbs who often go unnoticed and unmentioned.

proverbs 31

Three Powerful Women in the Book of Proverbs

The book of Proverbs is filled with rich gems of wisdom and understanding. These are not just wise sayings from thousands of years ago—they are the very words of God himself.

We will all benefit greatly by spending time digesting the truths in this book. 

In this post we will study three powerful women highlighted in the book of Proverbs. The foolish woman of Proverbs 7, wisdom personified as a woman in Proverbs 8, and the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31

As you glean through the pages of Scripture, ask yourself:

“Which woman am I?”

The Foolish Woman

The attributes of the foolish, unwise woman of Proverbs 7 are clearly seen in the passage below:

At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice. I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment.

He was going down the street near her corner, walking along the direction of her house at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in.

Then came out a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. (She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home; now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.) Proverbs 7:6-12

Here is a picture of a woman who has no fear or reverence for God. She is foolish and unwise, loud and defiant. Her attitude, demeanor and disposition are reflected in her clothing. She is dressed like a prostitute—with crafty intent. 

And what are her intentions? She aims to allure, seduce, and entice her lovers, the youth who “lacked judgment” (vs 7). With her sexy outfit, smooth speech and bold initiation, she lures her bait into an adulterous rendezvous. 

“Come, let’s drink deep of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love! My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey…” Proverbs 7:18-19. 

Of course, we would all shun her behavior and admit that this is not a woman we want to model our lives after.

But this woman is everywhere. 

On billboards, commercial ads, store windows, movies, sitcoms, computer screens…Our culture subliminally sends us the message that she is the epitome of womanhood.

proverbs 31 woman

“Who needs boundaries?” she shouts. “Be your own woman, have sex with whoever you want to! 

Flaunt your sexuality. Do whatever you want!” 

The culture is saturated with this Proverbs 7 Woman. Everywhere we turn—she lurks at every corner. Many women have bought the lie of this woman; the same lie that the serpent told Eve—that we are better off without God

The folly of the Proverbs 7 woman perpetuates the lie that we can do whatever we want, whenever we want, no matter the cost. But what our culture doesn’t tell us is that a life without boundaries is a life of bondage. 

The way of the Proverbs 7 Woman always leads to death:

Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, heading down to the chambers of death. Proverbs 7:24-27

Where have you seen traces of the Proverbs 7 Woman in our culture? What messages does she promote? How have you been negatively influenced by her message?

The Proverbs 8 Woman–Wisdom’s Call

What we need to combat the lies of the culture around us is the wisdom from God’s Word to walk a different path. 

In the very next chapter, wisdom calls out to those who are willing to listen. Wisdom, personified as a woman in chapter 8, beckons all to come and learn from her.

Rather than lurking the street corners in foolish promiscuity, she makes her stand beside the city gates to promote a different message:

The one who heeds the words of this woman of wisdom walks a very different path from the foolish woman in Proverb 7. The words of wisdom from the Proverbs 8 Woman are direct words from the mouth of God.

God speaks what is true.

His words are just and right.

Those who heed the call of wisdom from Proverbs 8 are those who truly desire to follow God’s Word.

The Proverbs 31 Woman–A Woman of Wisdom and Virtue

The woman described at the end of the book of Proverbs is a woman who has embraced wisdom’s call. She is the essence of true biblical womanhood. 

Proverbs 31 portrays a woman of virtue, a woman who fears the Lord. She is a jewel, worth more than rubies (vs 10). 

She is the exact opposite the Proverbs 7 woman of folly. 

She is kind, compassionate, a wise business woman and a faithful homemaker. She is a woman of wisdom, and her speech is full of instruction (vs 26). 

Her attitude, demeanor, and disposition are also reflected in her clothing—“she is clothed in fine linen and purple” (vs 22). She is not dressed immodestly, but like the royalty she is! 

Not only is she appropriately clothed physically, but she is clothed spiritually. 

“She is clothed with strength and dignity.” (vs 25). 

Her strength comes from a Source outside of herself. Because she is confident in who she is as a child of God, her inward dignity and self-worth are reflected in her outer garments. She does not need to dress in a way that dishonors herself, her husband, or her God.

 She is clothed in dignity. 

The dictionary defines dignity as “nobleness, honorable, excellence; grandeur”. 

The Hebrew word for dignity is in this passage is hadar, which is translated as magnificence, ornament of splendor, beauty, excellency, honor, glory, and majesty. 

Rather than walking in shame and disgrace, she is a dignified woman of splendor and honor. How is she able to live in such beauty?

 She has chosen the path of wisdom. 

Have you been positively influenced by a Proverbs 31 Woman in your life? What character qualities does she possess that you most admire?

Walking as a Woman of Wisdom

How do you walk as a woman of wisdom in speech, dress, and in your attitude? Look at the following verses to see what God’s Word teaches about how to walk as women of wisdom. 

In Attitude: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5

In Speech: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

In Dress: “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety…” 1 Timothy 2:9a

In which of these areas does the Lord desire you to walk in more freedom and wisdom?

The Proverbs 31 Woman: Clothed in Wisdom

Proverbs 9:10 states that:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

What is the fear of the Lord, and how is that connected to the wisdom of the Proverbs 31 Woman?

The fear of the Lord can be defined as the reverence, respect, awe, admiration, value, honor, and worship of God (source). 

In Proverbs 31:30 we observe this:

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

A Proverbs 31 Woman is a woman of wisdom because she respects, honors, and reveres the Lord.

Have you, like the Proverbs 31 Women, taken time lately to truly ponder the wondrous works of our Lord? Have you stopped to stand in awe of the Creator of the universe, and his immeasurable love for you? 

Have you truly valued his Word and his ways above your own? Have you grasped the depths of his grace, that he took your sins and shame upon himself—for you? Have you knelt in worship and adoration of the One who holds all power in his hands?

 This is the fear of the Lord. This is wisdom. 

Bask in the incredible greatness of our God, and allow him to wrap you in his magnificent garments of strength and wisdom!

Praying to be a Proverbs 31 Woman

Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman is not about checking off a list of do’s and don’ts in order to live a life of godliness and biblical womanhood.

A Proverbs 31 Woman starts with a desire to have a heart of wisdom–the heart of a woman who desires to honor God in every aspect of her life.

In Conclusion

Many people overlook the fact that there are three women in the book of Proverbs we need to closely observe. In order to truly grow as a Proverbs 31 Woman, we must understand these other women in the book of Proverbs.

We must reject the example of the foolish woman in Proverbs 7 and embrace the wisdom from Proverbs 8 that comes from the fear of the Lord.

A true Proverbs 31 Woman heeds the words of wisdom from Proverbs 8, and can truly apply those wisdom principles in her dress, speech, demeanor, family, and her entire life.

I pray that we as women in this culture are true women of wisdom, and allow the radiance of our splendor and dignity to shine in this world!

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