You probably know Proverbs 31 portrays the “virtuous woman,” but have you ever considered why God would spend an entire chapter in the Bible detailing the model woman yet no such list exists for the man? To answer that question, consider the character traits this remarkable woman displays: business acumen, intelligence, sophistication, independence, strength, resilience, and entrepreneurialism, just to name a few.
Now ask yourself the question: “Are these traits normally encouraged in women?”
Men are almost universally encouraged in them, but except in a very few cultures for relatively tiny durations, the answer for women is a resounding no. In fact, these characteristics have generally been beaten out of women, both culturally and physically. Culture has a way of demanding conformity––even if they are not physically compelled to suppress these traits, women who display them are ostracized as “too masculine,” as if men had a monopoly on strength. There is a mountain of evidence that supports this conclusion, but I need only submit one damning piece of evidence from scripture itself: the word translated in Proverbs 31:10 as “virtuous” in the King James, or “excellent” in the NASB, is translated 201 times to mean essentially “elite valiant warrior” and only three times as “excellent”––and only for women.
In other words, even the most popular English translations of the Holy Bible has been manipulated to wall-off women from their birthright in Christ as capable, strong, and valorous warriors!
This stereotype of women as only tender shrinking fawns is dangerously alive in the Christian Church, which instead should be the ultimate champion of their greatness.
Where there is “neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free,” we are all united into a single extraordinary calling. Unless women are permitted and––still more––encouraged with great urgency to become strong and virtuous leaders, the Church cannot possibly achieve its calling to see “on earth, just as in heaven.” Could it be that God inspired Solomon to wrap these virtues in female form specifically and in such detail because he knew true womanhood would be cloaked from view through the ages by pig-headed paternalism? Perhaps God knew that women needed to hear it just for them: “Be complete. Be strong. Be all that I placed within you.”