A Different Focus: Proverbs 31
Sure. We’ve all heard of the “Proverbs 31 Woman,” but what about everything else in the chapter?
If we start at verse 1, the basis of the letter is to be instruction for kings. Right off the bat, kings are instructed to not waste time on “women who ruin kings.” In addition to that, kings shouldn’t “guzzle wine or crave liquor” (some translations simply say “drink wine or take strong drink”… implying total abstinence from alcohol.) Finally, prior to the more popular verses, kings are instructed to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…” In other words, be just defenders of the lowest of their subjects. It is then that the focus shifts to this “Proverbs 31 Woman” thing.
As amusing as it is to see how our culture has taken Proverbs 31 and made the very thought of it solely about the characteristics a Christian woman should strive for. I sometimes read this chapter and wonder if that’s what the point was to begin with. Because when you flip it and actually take this chapter as it is written, it is equally useful for men in leadership to read. After all, how many Christian leaders in America overlook these things when choosing a wife? I’d say most of them.
How many sex scandals do we hear about in the news? How many pastors’ marriages end in divorce because of lack of attention to priority and biblical advice? Probably not as many as we might think, but because they are so controversial, they become big news! And the people who followed these leaders become spiritually damaged in the process.
I guess what I’m saying is this. While Proverbs 31 is a fantastic list of goals for Christian women to strive for, it is just as useful for men who are in positions of Christian leadership. And if our leaders decided to seek for these things above things like physical attraction, the Church in America would probably be a much healthier place than it currently is.
Originally published January 31, 2013.