Welcome to Lesson 1 of the study “Becoming.” I want to invite you to continue on this journey with me, but before we begin, you might want to have a pen and paper with you, along with your Bible, to take notes and answer questions.
Before I give you our text verse, I want you to do this. Read Proverbs 31:11-28 and make a list of all the adjectives or descriptive words that come to mind about this woman while you are reading the passage. There are no right answers to this one, so you can be as general or specific as you want. If you’re stumped, you can take a look at my list right here:
This is just my list, so I am sure that we have some of the same things or even completely different ones which is totally okay. It just goes to show that you are truly studying the Word, too. Now, I want you to take one word from your list at a time and fill in the blank in the following sentence.
Who can find a ___________________ woman? For her price is far above rubies.
After you finish reading the sentence with the blank filled in, go read Proverbs 31:10, our text verse. Now, unless you chose “virtuous” as one of the words for your list, none of the words will complete the verse correctly. And guess what. That is incredibly encouraging and convicting at the same time.
It’s encouraging to know that being compassionate or trustworthy or strong are not necessarily the things that make you a valuable woman.
It’s also encouraging because her virtuous spirit ultimately stems from her fear of the Lord. Like I said in my first post, every Christian has the ability (and choice) to feat the Lord, so it is possible for you as a Christian woman, wife, daughter, student, sister, grandmother, girl, teenager (or whatever other role you occupy) to become virtuous.
Unfortunately, if you are anything like me, this passage is also convicting because when you actually sit down and think about it, you have probably focused so much on all of these other descriptions about this woman instead of focusing on character. For example, in my list I wrote that she was caring, strong, and frugal. Yes, those are some things that describe her, but they don’t define her. She isn’t valuable because she knows how to clip coupons and save money. Her “price” isn’t “far above rubies” because she exercises every day or takes care of the poor. But, sadly, when I used to read this passage of Scripture, I focused on all the things that she did that I was not doing and thought that was the reason I was not considered “virtuous.”
There is a reason that her virtuous character is the first thing about her that is mentioned in this passage and I believe it is that it is the most important. The Merriman-Webster dictionary defines the word virtue as “morally good behavior or character” or “a good moral quality.”
Virtue is also mentioned somewhere at the end of the chapter. Read verse 29.
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Now, if you know anything about grammar, you would know that the verb phrase have done is in the past tense, meaning it is an action that was completed in the past or that has already happened. Excellest is in the present tense meaning it is an action that is currently going on or that is habitually performed. Now enough of the grammar lesson today. I’m going to tie all of that knowledge in together.
These “daughters” (as the verse calls them) aren’t terrible people. They have done good things. They were even at one point considered virtuous. But for whatever reason, now they are no longer virtuous. In fact the verse says that they “have done virtuously.” They aren’t doing it anymore. So what is the difference between them and the Proverbs 31 woman? The difference is that she is currently being a virtuous woman as opposed to these women who were doing things that were virtuous.
I can only imagine that these women were like me at one point in their lives. They wanted to be virtuous. They wanted to be good Christian women and they wanted to serve God so they tried to do things that would please Him. Now don’t get me wrong. Doing things for God is awesome, but if you are trying to do them in your own power and for the wrong reasons, you are going to become discouraged really quick. I feel as though these women gave up on trying to be virtuous because they had some undeclared notion that being a virtuous woman is some sort of title that you get one day when you have done enough and you “arrive.” But that’s just it. You can never do enough and you can never arrive. And here is why.
If you are doing good things to gain favor with God, you are missing it.
If you are a child of God, you already have favor with Him.
Your motive behind living virtuously should be from your fear of the Lord and your love for Him.
And that is where all of those things that you’re trying to do will become sweeter because you will realize that everything you do is for God’s glory, not to earn favor with Him. This doesn’t mean things won’t be hard. In fact, when you obey God, it will most definitely be hard at times. Just remember that you aren’t responsible for the outcome of a situation. You are only responsible for your obedience to God.
Also, just know that you can never “arrive.”
Living virtuously is a choice and every day action to become more like Christ out of your love and reverence for Him.
As we continue with this study in the next few weeks, I want you to keep in mind that the reason this woman we will read about does anything is that she fears the Lord.
Now what kind of Bible study doesn’t have discussion questions? Here are the questions this lesson. They aren’t mandatory obviously, because I can’t really make you do anything. But if you want to continue to meditate on this verse and these thoughts, you can answer some of these questions or discuss them with a friend who is doing this study with you.
- With this first study, do you think your thoughts on the Proverbs 31 woman have changed? Why or why not?
- From what we have studied, give your definition of virtue in your own words.
- Do you think becoming a virtuous woman is achievable? Why or why not?
- The Proverbs 31 woman is known for being a virtuous woman. Make a list of things you want to be known for. Now, make another list of things you think you are already known for. Are any of these things on either list the same? How do you want the second list to change?
- Second Peter 1:5 is a New Testament verse discussing virtue. What does it mean to you in light of what we learned about virtue today?
- With God’s help, are you committed to changing the way you picture the meaning of virtue?
Here is a free printable version of the study questions!
Proverbs 31:10 – Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
If you don’t have a friend to join you in this study, there is no better time than now to invite her. Share this post on social media, email it to her if she doesn’t use Facebook, or you can even go to lengths of printing it out and using the old fashioned postal system and mail this lesson to her in a letter!