Monday, June 10, 2013

Godly Woman

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
Proverbs 31:10, KJV

     I honestly don’t feel worthy to write this article on what a godly woman looks like. Because let me tell you, this isn’t a picture of me. But I pray that God humbles and uses me, a hypocrite, to paint an accurate portrait of a godly woman, glorifying to Him.

     A godly woman holds a distinct posture and dress, very set apart from the world. She is clothed not merely with outward apparel, but “with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:4). This doesn't mean God only loves shy people who rarely smile and talk barely above a whisper, but that a godly woman should not be rambunctious and pushy. She is “reverent in behavior” (Titus 2:3-5).
     People should see her and think, “Wow. Where does she get that self-control? How do I teach my daughters to stay so quiet and calm?” not, “Wow. That girl is rowdy. How do I keep my daughters away from picking up on her boisterousness?” Both are influencing. But a godly woman inspires others to act like Christ, not like the world.
     CAUTION: The reason we should act like godly women should NOT be for the purpose of being seen by others! Our purpose is to reflect Christ. We will be seen, yes. But when we are, people should think, “Wow. What a difference. How can I be like that?” NOT “Wow. Look at her. She is so good.” We should direct people to Christ, not to ourselves.
     Proverbs 31:30 points out, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” That is what people see when they look her: the fear of the LORD, not of man. This does not mean she’s dressed frumpily, but she’s dressed in a way that is feminine and humble: glorifying to God and does not cause her brother to stumble, but allows them to look upon her as a sister in Christ. “Respectable apparel,” as 1 Timothy 2:9-10 puts it, “with modesty and self-control…with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” Good works. That is what she clothes herself with if she truly is a Christian woman.

     Now here is an important aspect: a godly woman is submissive. (I could write a whole article on submission, but I can only touch on it now.) “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). Notice how this is not an option. It is a command. Men lead, women follow.
     Submission includes respecting (not slandering) one’s husband and all his decisions and yielding to them (as long as they are not causing you to sin) joyfully without grumbling. In fact, godly women’s submission should be so humble and so great that if their husbands are not believers, they would see the wives’ example and “be won without a word by the conduct of their wives” (1 Peter 3:1). It would lead them to Christ!  
     “Well, I’m not married yet,” you might say. Then you are still under your father’s authority, and you must submit to him (yes, even after you turn eighteen!), and the principles still apply.
     Jesus submitted to His Father’s will, even though He was equal with God. If a godly woman truly desires to reflect Christ, she must also submit.
     The godly woman’s home is, well, the home. She is a keeper at home. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a bad thing. It is God’s design. And she can perform a plethora of pursuits from the home.
     “She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong” (Proverbs 31:17). The verse is saying she does not simply lie inside in expensive dresses and worry about her nails. The Proverbs 31 woman is a staunch businesswoman working attentively along with looking well to the ways of her household. She works with her hands. She considers buying a field and makes a profit from planting. She sews and spins. She makes useful items around the house. She realizes she can sell her sewing, and she does. She is not afraid. She is prepared! She laughs at the future because she knows her hard work will pay off.
     Along with all this, she serves others and gives generously. She is diligent. She does not eat the bread of idleness. She does not spend hours on YouTube rabbit trails (no, that part actually isn’t in the ESV verbatim). She rises early while it is still night (ouch). You can be sure she looks respectable, yet doesn’t spend an hour stressing about her hair. She is trusted and loved by her family. And yet through all this, she submits to her husband and is his helpmeet. He is the breadwinner, but she can still make bread and sell it, too. Unmarried women, the same principles apply to you again; it is possible to stay at home, contribute to the family economy, and still have a respectable life.

     To touch quickly on a few more points, a godly woman “opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26). Not a word of gossip, slander, silliness, or grumbling is heard from her lips. Women are also commanded to teach the younger women, and “teens” are not excluded. Are there girls younger than you? Yes. Teach them. Set a godly example for them.
     The godly woman described in Proverbs 31 does her husband good all the days of her life. All the days of her entire life. This means pre-marriage, too. How? By keeping her heart pure and reserved for him, not flirting with someone else’s future husband, and by learning how to serve and work diligently.
     But above all the devotion to her husband, father, and family, a godly woman is fully dedicated to God. She serves and toils for Him, to glorify Him, to be His light in the darkness. Amidst all the work, she worships the Lord with gladness, devoting her time to prayer and praise, trusting in Him the whole way. He is her reason why.
     Now we are not perfect. We will fail. But we shall repent and strive to be this godly woman for His glory so “the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:5). Let us walk in God’s model of a godly woman, and we will be far more precious than jewels in man’s and God’s sight.


All Scripture references are ESV unless otherwise indicated.

Sources and books for further reading:
The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
It’s (not that) Complicated by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin
Woman after God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George
The Fruit of Her Hands by Nancy Wilson


  1. "And yet through all this, she submits to her husband and is his helpmeet. He is the bread maker"

    I've read Proverbs 31 several times, but I somehow missed the part that said he was the primary breadwinner and that her income was purely supplemental...

  2. Thanks for your comment! I appreciate hearing from readers.

    You are correct in that Proverbs 31 doesn’t specify who the breadwinner is. In fact, there is no Bible verse I am aware of that says husbands should make more money. However, we’re looking at the >ideal model< of a biblical wife.

    The husband is representing Christ, and the wife: His church (Ephesians 5:22-24). Christ provides for His church, not the church for Christ. We can also look at the very first husband and wife: Eve was created specifically for the purpose of a helpmeet for Adam. The wife providing more than the husband can be problematic as the role of provider becomes reversed and the representation of Christ blurred.

    Is it scripturally or morally prohibited for the wife to ever earn the primary income? No, not really. Should the wife never make more than the husband? No, there may be occurrences when the husband is injured, disabled, retired, or cannot find a job at that time. However, what I tried to define in my article is the >ideal< model of a godly woman. Scripture is clear that the wife is the husband’s helpmeet, and their roles should not be confused or their responsibilities overlooked.

    (Also, I meant to say “breadwinner” instead of “bread maker.” Thanks for helping me realize my typo!)