The Proverbs 31 Woman is Not the Doctrines of Womanhood

The Proverbs 31 Woman is Not the Doctrines of Womanhood

For International Women’s Day, Dale Partridge put up the following post on his Instagram account:

These qualities of a godly woman are great and supported biblically but many women were up in arms over it and took him to task. One woman named Rachel wrote, “This image of a biblical woman isn’t incorrect, it’s simply incomplete. Where is the Proverbs 31 description of a woman who is a busy, independent, entrepreneurial, respected leader in her home and community? Cherry picking verses to portray women as simply meek homemakers does a disservice to them. This post isn’t wholesome in its portrayal of God’s Word on his ladies.”

Dale responded this way, “Rachel, the Proverbs 31 women is not the doctrines of womanhood. It is the description of a godly woman. However, she was a wife and mother. Her ministry was centered in the home. The New Testament doctrines for womanhood supersede the OT principles. So yes, Proverbs 31 is a great and very relevant passage for women. But it is not doctrine like these other passages. These other passages mentioned above are commands. Which is much different than the poetry of Proverbs. If that makes sense.”

It does make sense, Dale, and it saddens me to see women taking men on so boldly and rebuking them so openly. It shows the lack of respect women have for men these days, in my opinion. I believe Dale is 100 percent accurate in his definition of godly womanhood. The commands to women that he listed are all in the Bible. The Proverbs 31 aren’t commands and she wasn’t known for being a leader in her home and community, that’s for sure! What was she known for? “She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31:27). Her life revolved around her home and her family; for it was her husband and children who rose up and called her blessed.

The Proverbs 31 woman was not a career woman. She didn’t work for a boss and leave her children in the care of others all day. Rachel is the one who is cherry picking verses as many women do today in order to make exceptions to God’s clear commands for women. They will search scripture to find women who they believe are disobeying God’s clear commands in order to prove that His commands aren’t correct. This isn’t how we are to read and study God’s Word, women. We are to read it to find out what God’s good, and acceptable, and perfect will for us is and it’s clearly spelled out in Dale’s post above and in the books that were written for the Church age in which we live (Acts through Revelation).

But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
1 Peter 3:4

29 thoughts on “The Proverbs 31 Woman is Not the Doctrines of Womanhood

  1. Another thing people don’t seem to remember about the Proverbs 31 woman is that she is not an ordinary woman. This is the advice given to a king by his mother for what he should look for in a queen. A queen has servants to handle daily chores and might very well have to handle property for her husband as part of helping him. She wasn’t a business woman. She was handling private property for her wealthy husband. Thus, she wasn’t leaving her home to engage in commerce but rather handling her own estate. This was all part of being a keeper at home. She also had time to do those kinds of things because she had servants to do the grunt work. That’s not the situation of most women today. So while she’s a useful model in some ways, not every part of her life is analogous to us.

    1. I completely agree with you, Lindsay, and there are no commands to us in this chapter. She’s a great example to us in many ways but it’s far different than the specific commands that we, in the Church age, are specifically given.

      1. She stayed busy for someone with slaves
        (v. 12) working with her hands
        (v 13) finding materials to work with her hands
        (v 14) getting food from far away
        (v 15) getting up early and portioning out food
        (v 16) engaging in commerce buying a field – likely a public transaction. No pantsuit needed just common sense, her husband’s trust.
        (v 18) reflecting that her stuff was quality
        (v 19) working with her hands again
        (v 20) giving to the poor
        (v 21) preparing her house for weather
        (v 22) making herself coverings of tapestry
        (v 27) does not eat the bread of idleness

        So it seems she’s not lying around eating bonbons. I think the less like an earthly queen a woman is the more she can find inspiration in Proverbs 31 womanhood.

  2. “Where is the Proverbs 31 description of a woman who is a busy, independent, entrepreneurial, respected leader in her home and community? Cherry picking verses to portray women as simply meek homemakers does a disservice to them.”

    “Rachel is the one who is cherry picking verses as many women do today in order to make exceptions to God’s clear commands for women.”

    Psychological Projection 101, Accuse the other party of what you, yourself, do. This so common a tactic these days. Rachel and many christo-feminists use it well in the church, sadly. Few pastors, these days, recognize it and call it out for what it is. Consequently, these pastors have small congregations.

  3. I really love this article! It remindes me of a wonderful seminar I attended back in 1980! It was called, “The Vertuous Woman,” Seminar. As I recall it covered and taught all the sound doctrines of biblical womwnhood! I wish it was still around! This is why I love, “The Transformed Wife,” site so much! It is biblicaly sound! I know because I have read it, and lived it for 39 years now! I am so thankful to our LORD that you, Lori, take the time, and care enough to wrtie these articles, and endure the abuse you do! There are those of us ladies who truly appreciate your work! I am greatful to the LORD for you! Bless you!

  4. Some have objected to the statement: “The New Testament doctrines for womanhood supersede the OT principles.” A quote written by Dale. Perhaps instead of the Word supersede in this phrase we might substitute the word “illuminates” or “surpasses” and we can find a distinction between not doing away with the rich truths of the Old while giving the New Testament its rightful place as God’s preeminent instruction manual for the Church.

    We can agree that “The scriptures are not to be pitted against each other, nor are we limited to only the New Testament for instruction. But the reality is what Dale has written that the doctrines of womanhood are not being taught in Proverbs 31; even if one sees the Proverbs 31 woman as a terrific example of what a godly wife should look like as industrious and hardworking, always looking well to the ways of her family and household. We must take the Proverbs 31 woman and adorn her with the clear teaching of the New Testament on Biblical Womanhood. Only then will we find a woman who meets not only the list of doctrines taught by Peter and Paul for the godly wife and mother but God’s ideal for womanhood.

    As you are well aware, many women want to view the Proverbs 31 woman as the first of the egalitarian Christian feminists, and such a view was never God’s intent or instruction. They want the Proverbs 31 woman, as they create her to be, to be a strong independent woman making independent decisions, going to work each day outside the home, or running a business. Blend this woman with the clear commands of the Word and we will have God’s ideal wife and mother.

    Ironically, the feminists want to find some shred of evidence that God’s intent with the Proverbs 31 woman is contrary to the clear words He has given in the New Testament on the doctrines of Biblical Womanhood. This ‘make-believe” entrepreneurial woman does not need to be gentle and quiet of spirit, sexually pure, submissive to her own husband, modest, a keeper at home or helper to her husband for she bought a field and planted a vineyard. She works hard all day to make merchandise and sell it to help provide for her family. All terrific examples of an industrious wife, and a woman who is fully supportive of her husband and children, but Proverbs 31 cannot be seen as trumping the clear words of instruction on the doctrine on Biblical Womanhood of the New Testament. It would be very poor hermeneutics to say that an illustration or example is on equal footing with clear admonitions or commands given by God through the apostles upon whom the church is built.

    There is little or no doctrine in Proverbs 31, especially as compared to the admonitions of the New Testament. This is not to say that we do not get many, or perhaps most, of our doctrines originating in the Old Testament but becoming clear and specifically instructional in the New Testament.

    All this to say that we stretch it too far if we say that the words of God in the New Testament supersede the Old as there are still rich doctrinal truths that come to us as we study the Old Testament. But certainly, the New Covenant supersedes the Old one, as a New covenant built on the lifeblood of a risen Savior who lives inside every Believer, which is a radical departure from the works-based righteousness of the Old Testament. The Old Testament gives rich meaning to the New, but the New Testament is the primary guide for the Church. We meld the whole of God’s instruction manual together the best we can, all the while knowing that we live now in the New Covenant age, not in the Old. If there is seeming disagreement between the Old and New, the New clear commands must win out. Supersedes no, but illuminates and takes priority over the Old, yes.

  5. We have had IWD propaganda posters all over my office lately alongside cult like women’s team building events. The poster has the “No well behaved woman ever made history” quote with the pictures of mouthy rebellious trashy women of history. One of those “darlings” was Margaret Sanger, the heroic champion of infanticide… I guess that’s the female equivalent to “Hitler did nothing wrong” I would love to replace that poster with the Dale Patridge poster. I just hope more men wake up and carefully decide to not hire, and never mentor women again.

  6. Lori, what would happen in this situation. We know that Godly Christian women should not teach scripture to men. But say that she teaches English to men and women at a community college. Is this ok?

  7. I’d like to add a point to Dale’s poster.
    A biblical wife:
    Puts out for her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:2-5)

    Genesis teaches us that the woman was intended by God to be both a helper and a mate to her husband. Withholding sex from your husband is sexual immorality, not just a breaking of your vow to be his, “to have and to hold”.
    If you have withheld sex from your husband you need to repent, turning from your sexual immorality, by confessing your sexual sin against him, and then go and sin no more. God says so. Either you choose to follow God or you don’t. Why even bother studying and working to emulate the Proverbs 31 woman if you are in open rebellion against God already. Will “empowerment” save your soul from hell? Will Jesus want as part of his bride, a woman who refused to put out for her husband, when God sent His word, to us, commanding it?
    Matthew 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    1. I find this response really scary. Sex is a part of marriage, so I could understand being concerned if your partner didn’t want to have sex for an extended period of time, and gently broaching the subject to find the underlying reason. But choosing not to have sex on any given day, even if it’s just because you’re tired or don’t feel like it, isn’t sexual immorality. It’s entirely any person’s prerogative to say no to sex they don’t want. Being married doesn’t mean having an all access pass to your partners body. Insisting on sex that your partner doesn’t want to have is emotionally harmful, abusive, and even illegal. I hope you stop using Scripture, which I find beautiful, to justify this behaviour.

      1. The Bible commands that we don’t deny each other sex. It has nothing to do with how we feel. It’s deciding to obey God or not. We do many things we don’t “feel” like doing but we do them anyway because we are God-fearing and responsible people.

      2. Being married doesn’t mean having an all access pass to your partners body.
        It does in a Christ following marriage. And it is a beautiful thing set up by our loving God.
        1 Corinthians 7:4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

        Insisting on sex that your partner doesn’t want to have is emotionally harmful, abusive, and even illegal.
        LOL Your poor husband! Apparently you’ve passed a law against him getting sex when you’re not in the mood, maybe because he disobeyed you, or Etc.. He must be so glad he chose you as the only woman to meet his sexual needs. /S What is he supposed to get out of choosing marriage with you, to offset your ever ready claims of harm, abuse, and rape? This Feminist refusal of yours to meet your husbands fleshly needs is just a selfish sin. Please spare us the list of all the “legitimate” excuses you are prepared to use to get out of having sex with your husband. It would just be insulting towards him, and revealing of your own selfish contempt of your vows. Where there is a will, there is a way.

        I hope you stop using Scripture, which I find beautiful, to justify this behavior.
        So, scripture is beautiful to you, just not worth following?
        Sex between a husband and wife is a beautiful thing God has already sanctified through marriage. If you’re into beauty why would you be so ugly and selfish as to defraud your husband of this beautiful sharing of intimacy and thereby put both of you further into temptation? You being tempted to continue despising, and immorally sexually defrauding your mate, and he being tempted to find a more willing mate, and despise his bondage to a sexually stingy defrauder.

        Lori, Thank you for your comment. You are exactly right.

      3. Ashley, others have addressed the un-biblical nature of your post. There’s a lot to review there, not going to add what has already been stated.

        If there truly, truly is abuse happening in your home, obviously one should seek help and protection from the abuse. Trusted family member, God-fearing families at Church etc.

        If it is helpful, Lori has a marvelous post on her old blog that addresses this topic from a biblical perspective (not the worldly one preached in the indoctrination camps of public schools, media and HR departments) and through which the vehicle for the message is a woman:
        https://lorialexander.blogspot.com/2014/06/never-defrauding-him-sexually.html

    2. 1 Corinthians 2 is written to both wives and husbands. The wife does not have power over her body but neither does the husband have power over his body. While a wife should never be flippant or selfish in her denial of a sexual interlude she also should not be condemned for a refusal either. Not if we take scripture as a whole. Demanding that 1Cor 2 means all access sex can feed selfishness in the husband and assists him in sinning against his weaker vessel. A woman is not a machine that is never exhausted, ill or utterly drained. Yes our culture allows many women far too much control over their husband’s sex life but the answer is not to take scissors to scripture and never let a wife refuse a single instance of intercourse. We are the weaker vessel demanding sex without boundaries for our weakness is not scriptural. Please teach in this topic with mercy and consideration for what God himself calls the weaker vessel.
      I practice what I “preach”. I only refuse advances if I have a legitimate reason. My husband consistently blessed our sex life.

  8. This is an interesting post with a lot of good points. But I don’t understand Lori, what you have against women disagreeing with men on the internet? Especially about a woman’s topic? Just because a person is a man, doesn’t automatically make him right. Often, men have different opinions about the exact same topic, so how can a man be right simply because he’s a man? I don’t understand this at all. What do you believe is wrong with a woman respectfully disagreeing with a man on the internet?

    1. I just don’t believe it’s our place to do so, KAK. If a man writes something I disagree with, I ask Ken to respond to him. Women are not to teach men in the churches so I take this over to teaching men anything about the Lord and His ways. It just doesn’t seem feminine to me, either.

  9. This is good. I am always wanting to learn more and where I fit in as a Woman, my roles and what’s expected of me Biblically especially because I am a Christian. Thank you for shading light on this.
    Sharon.

  10. What I love about the Proverbs 31 woman is not the unattainable goal of a virtuous woman that I felt I could never live up to, but the fact that in her submission and servitude, she is being a reflection of Christ. In every instance of her providing, she was like Christ. For example, she reaches her hand out toward the needy…. Christ is our ultimate example of servant hood in that He healed the sick, fed the poor and paid the ultimate price for sin by giving His up his life. So, the example of the Prov. 31 woman is a beautiful reminder of how to be more Christ like in our everyday lives
    in all we do and say… definitely not a support of feminism.

  11. I am a working lady not yet married.l intend on working once my kids attain full school age at around 7 years. Our education system is such that once a kid is around 10 years ,they can be in school until 5 pm.Is it writing to go back to work if your kids are no longer in household 100% of the time?

    1. God commands that young women be keepers at home. If you are working outside of the home, something will be neglected since we were never created to do it all. It’s usually the marriage and then the children.

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