Journal Prov 31 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” Prov 31:10-12
Observation: The first sentence is rhetorical; the balance of the chapter is descriptive.
Do single women believers apply themselves to this biblical statement of an excellent wife or do they default to the world’s view of what a wife should be and reject this description?
Analysis: Once upon a time, when I was younger, I wanted to define in my own words what a wife should be—hopefully drawing from the Scriptures. In my so-called wisdom, attempting to exercise husbandly leadership, I tried to declare the “word of the Lord” to my wife.
That went over like a lead balloon.
And it has, year over year, through today. Why? I think it is that MY motivation is suspect…
What does a woman expect from a Proverbs 31 declaration? Why is this section of Scripture not publicly and openly pursued?
Being male, I can read other references in the Word of God and see that many are ambiguous: these references can be applied male or female. It is only where scripture addresses roles and responsibilities of either male or female that arguments boil up.
If I equate these arguments to the level of quarrel, then the principle is clear: “What is the source of the quarrels among you? You want and cannot have…” (James 4:1-2a/b) Did Eve have an unhealthy jealousy of Adam because God’s friendship was with Adam (inferred), and He gave responsibility of care to the Garden to Adam (assigned, c. Gen 2:15)—Eve was a helper to Adam and responsible to Adam? Interesting question, right?
Why do I suppose that females struggle with embracing the Prov 31 stereotype (if they do)? Probably the same reason I struggle with being a godly man: because my inner man resists the things of God and I must fight it and bring it into submission to the Cross.
Perhaps women encounter one emotion that men do not: Suspicion. Suspicion of being taken advantage of; of being 2nd class; of being categorized as and expected to be, handmaidens—which is not the way Christ wants women to be treated by men nor wants women to see that in themselves as disciples.
What Christians cannot do is to have success criteria that is worldly based. “I am a good, strong, successful woman if I am independent from the wiles of man”, a criterion based upon a woman’s independence movement of today’s society. Men cannot do it either; either by supporting worldly influence of “equality/equity” or rolling to the polar opposite of “lording over” the wife in supposed ruling leadership (thinking that this is godly—it is far from being godly).
This subject is worthy of so much study. John Piper collaborated in a book titled “Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” and is a recommended reading on a doctrine called “complementarianism.” An ecumenical document titled the “Danvers Statement” is associated with this book.
Want to kill the flesh? A good start on this subject are these two documents and it will lead into the difficulty in mortifying the flesh: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Ro 8:13)
Prayer: Lord God, I write about the Pv31 woman, but I must speak to myself and my fleshly, sinful attitudes as well. You make it hard for women, much harder than for man (I think), but thanks be to God, the same grace that saves and redeems fallen Man, is what gives strength to put to death worldly and fleshly attitudes of resistance and rebellion.
I am so grateful for Your overwhelming mercy.
Ricky Two Shoes