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Vol. XX No. 4
23 October 2022

BIBLICAL WOMANHOOD

Wives and mothers are very special people. The Bible has a lot to say about being a good wife and mother. Home is not home without a woman’s touch. Titus 2:5 describes women as “keepers at home”—homemakers or home engineers.

In Proverbs 31, we find a very wise woman in King Lemuel’s mother. She was a good mother. She knew that if her son was to succeed in life, he must find a good wife. For a bad wife will do the opposite—she will destroy him (Prov 31:1–3). The son is told not to give his strength to “women” (plural)—to many or any woman, but to just one—a virtuous woman (Prov 31:10). King Lemuel’s mother went on to describe what this virtuous woman is like, and told her son to find such a woman.

So what makes a good wife and mother in light of the Scriptures? Well, the first and most important criterion is that she must be born again, a believer.

God-Fearing Believer

Proverbs 31:30 says that a good wife and mother is one that fears God. A God-fearing woman is one who is regenerate, is spiritually minded and obeys the Scriptures. So the first rule in looking for a wife is: She must be a believer. Do not even consider an unbeliever as a potential spouse. 1 Corinthians 7:39 commands believers to marry “only in the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 6:14 applies, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” A Christian home needs a Christian mother who will bring up her children in the fear and nurture of God from day one. When children are bathed with the Bible, with prayers and psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, they will grow up happy. Good and right Christian values will be imparted. Our children will not grow up confused and lost but Bible-believing and God-fearing.

A good wife and mother is morally strong.

Morally Strong

There may be mothers who are Christians but they are worldly and carnal. Proverbs 31:10–12 describes a model wife and mother as one who is “virtuous” (Prov 31:10). The word “virtuous” here speaks of moral strength. It is the total opposite of the morally loose woman of Proverbs 12:4, “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” Marrying a morally loose woman is like contracting bone cancer! The Hollywood version of a perfect woman is deadly! Christian men, when you look for a life partner, don’t think Hollywood, think Holy Word. A perfect woman is not one who is shapely, sexy, and sensual but godly, chaste, and submissive. It is not outer beauty but inner spirituality that makes a good wife and mother. Prov 31:30 says, “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.”

In Proverbs 31:11–12, we find the godly woman demonstrating her spirituality by fulfilling her God-given role in being a good help to her husband. She looks after the needs of her husband in a responsible and careful manner—“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.” (v11). She does what she can to please and satisfy him in order to prevent him from finding pleasure and satisfaction through unjust means or from some inferior thing—“She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (v12).

In Proverbs 31:23, we find the virtuous woman enhancing the reputation of her husband. There is a well-known saying, “Behind every successful man is a woman.” But it is not any woman but a good and godly woman. The husband of a virtuous woman is so highly regarded that he is “known in the gates” as one of the leaders of the village—“he sitteth among the elders of the land.” The man is able to succeed because he has a good minister of home affairs, namely, his wife. He is able to concentrate fully on his work and do his best because he need not worry about the matters at home (he has full confidence that his wife will do her best to protect and keep the house, and that the children will be fed and tutored properly, etc).

If you have such a woman, “who can find?” (Prov 31:10). In other words: It is hard to find such a woman. If you do find her, treasure her with your life! She is priceless and more precious than all the gold in the world.

What are the other characteristics of Biblical womanhood? In verses Proverbs 31:13–14, and 16–27, we find her frugal, hardworking and resourceful.

Frugal, Hardworking, Resourceful

A virtuous wife and mother does not wine and dine and while her time away. “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” (Prov 31:27). A virtuous wife and mother works hard for her children and husband.

Proverbs 31:13–14 says, “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.” She looks for wool and flax. These are raw materials for making clothes. She ensures that her husband and children are decently and adequately clothed, “for all her household are clothed with scarlet.” (Prov 31:21).

She herself takes care of her own appearance making sure she is well dressed and neat, not unkempt and untidy (Prov 31:22). This does not mean that she puts on make-up, perm her hair, wear designer clothes and costly jewelry but what is described in 1 Timothy 2:9–10, “In like manner also, thatwomen adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”

Not only does she take care of her family’s clothing but also their meals (Prov 31:14). She cooks for them and “worketh willingly with her hands.” The word “willingly” here tells us that she takes a delight in doing the household chores. She does not regard them as chores at all. She does the cleaning, washing, cooking and sewing not grudgingly but willingly with delight and pleasure. Her industry is clearly stated in Proverbs 31:17, “she girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.” She makes sure she keeps herself physically fit and healthy so that she does not fall sick easily.

A virtuous wife and mother is not a spendthrift but frugal and thrifty. She is also not a miser; neither is she careless with her money. She is intent on buying quality stuff at economical prices. She saves as much as she can. Before she makes a purchase, she “seeketh” (Prov 31:13). This word has the idea of research. She does her research, she compares prices and then buys that which is value for money.

A virtuous wife and mother is also very resourceful. Proverbs 31:16 says, “she considereth a field, and buyeth it.” A field or a piece of property is a big-ticket item. It is costly. So before she buys it, she thinks very carefully and prayerfully first. She does her research and calculations. Is it going to bring dividends or is it going to be a white elephant? Note that she buys a property not for her personal collection, but for her use to generate more income for the family. Note that she does not borrow money to buy the land. She does not borrow and does not pay interest. She does not overspend. She spends within her means. She is interested only in risk-free investments. She cultivates the land and makes it fruitful. She does not waste away the hard-earned money of her husband, but rather contributes to the financial well-being of the family.

In Proverbs 31:24, we find how resourceful she is. Here, we find her selling the extra clothes that she has made. Some feminists use this verse to say that the Bible supports woman taking up a career. Nothing can be further from the truth. Even if she works, her work is not outside but inside the home so that her job does not take her away from her children. The care of her home and children is her topmost priority. All the additional work she does to contribute to the household income is not done at the expense or neglect of her family. If she has a career, it is a home-based career. The important thing is this: Family comes first, money is secondary.

Conclusion

Is such a description of a model wife and mother strange to us living in this modern age? It should not. The modern woman might consider Proverbs 31 to be outdated, old-fashioned, and impossible to apply, but not for the woman who is God-fearing and Bible-believing. I am sure all our sisters in the Lord want to be good and godly wives and mothers.

A good wife and mother and homemaker is one who is morally strong, frugal, hardworking and resourceful. Blessed is the wife and mother and homemaker who lives by the standards set in Proverbs 31. What is her reward? “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.” (Prov 31:28–31). JK

Children’s Outing, Marina Barrage, 7 October 2022

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