Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Proverbs 31:17

Far Above Rubies

(To read previous posts in this series first, click here.)

Proverbs 31:17 (NKJV): "She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms."

I'm a very literal person, and I'll admit that I had to really meditate on this verse to understand its meaning. I think that going through this verse by verse study has been great for many reasons, but especially because it has made me meditate on what is being taught in each verse. Too often, I allow myself to skim over a verse when reading a particular passage without truly thinking about what is being taught.

Studying the worthy woman of Proverbs 31 really should silence critics who proclaim that the Bible teaches that the woman isn't worthy. Yes, the woman's place and role is different from the man's place and role, but the woman is important, capable, and worthy just as the man is important, capable, and worthy. This section of scripture (Proverbs 31:10-31) starts out (verse 10) by describing the value of the woman who is described throughout the rest of the passage. Proverbs 31:17 describes this woman's strength. Women can be and should be strong.

The inner strength described in this verse is something the worthy woman has to work towards. She actively pursues strength. According to, the term "gird" (another one of those words we don't use in our everyday speech) means "to encircle or bind with a belt." To me, if someone is girding themselves with something they mean business!

Consider, only as one example, the great responsibility of raising children, and the strength alone a woman needs to raise children. In 1 Timothy 5:14, Paul instructs Timothy to teach that the younger women "should marry, bear children, manage the household, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully." Similarly in Titus, Paul instructs Titus to teach that the older women admonish the younger women "to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blashphemed."