Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study worksheet 06-Mar-2016
Theme: Wisdom for Living
Topic: The Virtuous Woman
Main Texts: Proverbs 31:1-31
Key Verse: Proverbs 31:10 –“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” (NIV)
While it is clear that the first nine verses of Proverbs 31 were written by King Lemuel, some commentators suggest that the rest of the chapter were not his, because of the apparent sudden change in topic. We will however take the view that the entire chapter was written by Lemuel, as a record of his mother’s counsel to him. In the first nine verses, she warns Lemuel against (a) immorality – chasing after women will sap a king’s strength (v3) and (b) alcohol as the judgement of a drunk is impaired. (v4–7). Then she instructs him to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves (v9).
1. Do you consider mothers in a typical family setting to be sufficiently involved in proactive counselling and training of their sons, or do you think they tend to leave it to the fathers?
2. Let some men share specific counsel give to them by their mother, which they have found valuable in life. One of the challenges many young men face is how to identify a “good wife material” among their female associates. They fear falling into the wrong hands and many would keep searching without knowing what they are really look for. From verse 10, Lemuel’s mother gives what reads like a guide to a young man seeking a wife. Young men may well consider this passage a checklist! Verses 10 – 12 speaks of her character: She has to be of a noble character such that her husband can stand tall and not fear that she would embarrass him. In some cultures, she would be said to have had “good home training”.
3. List some specific practical examples of what, in your culture, one would observe in a girlnthat would make a wife of “noble character”. In verses 13 – 19, Lemuel’s mother notes that a “good wife material” would be illustrious, working hard like the livelihood of her family depends on her! “She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. … She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family … 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.” (Pro 31:13-17 NIV)
4. How does this profile of a virtuous woman compare with the expectations of the average spinster in your community, and how do these expectations affect their prospect of marriage? Lemuel’s mother notes that the virtuous woman also: reaches out to the poor (v20), is great at housekeeping (v22,27), is a model to her children (v28), and her children and husband cannot but openly commend her (v28-29).
5. How can a woman be all these without feeling that she has been turned into some kind ofslave whose role in life is just serving her husband and others?
Father, help your daughters in our midst to be the best you meant them to be – to be women of virtue that find grace and favour with you, their families and others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.