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A virtuous woman, who can find? We are all too familiar with the Proverbs 31 woman! We strive to be wives, mothers, women like her! It is that lofty goal I think all of us want to attain. But there is another woman we should seek to be like! A woman who can go on to mentor and help mold that Proverbs 31 woman. She is the Titus 2 woman!
We will learn what it means to be a virtuous woman and how we should embrace the role of Christian mentor to the younger generations.
A Letter to My Younger Self
I don’t believe in having regrets. Everything in life is a lesson.
But there is much about my life that I would have advised myself to do differently. I would have learned to cook much sooner (or at all!), I would have learned how to manage finances, the list goes on and on.
There are many mistakes I could have avoided with the benefit of a mentor to guide me, that’s for sure.
Now to be clear, mistakes are ok! We learn from them and grow from them and hopefully pass those lesson on to others! In fact it’s those mistakes we make that DO make us good mentors!
A Virtuous Woman
Proverbs 31:10 says:
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. (KJV)
The word ‘virtuous‘ in this verse is the Hebrew word ‘chayil’and it means:
strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army
It means power and might! A virtuous woman is powerful!
Many people hear this verse and think of virtue as we know it in English. We think of pure and high moral standards, but that is not the word the original language references here with regards to a virtuous woman.
Here it describes great strength like an army!
- She is strong!
- She is efficient!
- She has wealth (not necessarily monetary)!
- She is one tough lady!
We so often think of how a Christian woman should conduct herself but this chapter of Proverbs wasn’t written about a Christian woman. They did not exist at that time! A virtuous woman was referring to a Jewish wife and mother.
I point this out for one reason; Judaism is a matriarchal society.
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Proverbs 31 Woman – A Virtuous Woman in the Home
We hear so much about the Bible speaking of how a woman is to be meek and mild, how she is to be obedient to her husband and this is all true! But these behaviors and standards do not come from a place of weakness or of men wanting to control their wives.
Judaism reveres the woman! In fact, my Jewishness was passed down to me by my mother, her mother before her, her mother before her, and so on. It was not passed through the men but the women.
In fact, the right of return to Israel or ‘aliyah’, the requirements state in the 2nd Amendment of the Law of Return in Section 1, 4B:
“For the purposes of this Law, “Jew” means a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion.”
So when we read in the Bible about how a woman should conduct herself, she is not being maligned or looked down upon. It is to establish authority, not importance.
Too often in our society we view being different as being “less”. We automatically assume if someone has authority over us it means we are lowly. But do you view your children as less than? Do you see them as having less value just because you have authority over them?
We too shouldn’t assume women are looked down upon just because they are under biblical authority as well.
Proverbs 31 Woman – The Heart of the Home
In the home, the man was definitely the head of the household, but the woman was the heart.
The Proverbs 31 woman, the virtuous woman, ran her home like a well-oiled machine. She protected all who dwelled in it and made sure they were provided for. In addition, she controlled funds and real estate dealings and she did it on her own as Proverbs 31:16 says:
“She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.” ESV
She made sure not only her family was cared for, but her servants as well. She was a business woman, a merchandiser, a vintner, a wife, a mother, and a support to her husband and his standing in the community.
It is no wonder with all she does that she is called ‘chayil’.
I Was Not a Proverbs 31 Woman – Never Learned How to Be a Wife
I wasn’t taught how to be a wife and I wasn’t taught how to be a mother. Everything I learned I had to learn the hard way. And oh boy did I make some mistakes along the way! I made some doozies!
I got married at 19 and divorced at 21 with a baby! There was nothing wrong with my first husband or even with our marriage. We are still friendly even today! I just didn’t know how to be married! I didn’t know how to handle conflict.
The day after I got married we got in our VW Bug and drove from New York to Virginia where he was stationed in the military. I was alone for the first time in my life and had no one there to guide me or help me through what were, in hindsight, normal marital issues.
There I was, isolated and alone! My friends and my family were all back in New York and this was WAY before the days of the internet!
I have so much advice and wisdom gained through my trials that would have spared my younger self (and others) so much pain and heartache.
But through becoming a Titus 2 woman, I can help younger women learn from those gains!
Who is the Titus 2 Woman?
You see, we all want to aspire to be Proverbs 31 women but we are not to stop there. Some see that as the end game, the crowning achievement. But it’s not!
She may not be as popular but she’s just as important as her Proverbs 31 counterpart. She is the Titus 2 woman.
We are to learn those lessons in life to be able to go on and achieve what Titus 2 calls us to:
“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2:3-5 ESV
Note it says to be submissive to their OWN husbands. Again, this is in the context of the family structure and not saying women are beneath men any more than our children are lesser human beings because they are under our authority.
Titus 2 Ministry – A Biblical Responsibility
We are to conduct ourselves appropriately so that we can then mentor younger women (whether they be our daughters or younger women within the Church).
Although we may not be able to send those letters back in time to ourselves, we can BE those letters, living epistles if you will, to other women and help them go on to be the wives and mothers they aspire to be!
Christian Mentoring of Younger Women
If I am not actively mentoring Christian women, if I am not actively teaching young women and girls what I have learned from the mistakes I made along the way and I sit back and watch them make those same mistakes, then not only have I failed to be obedient to the Word but ALL those lessons I have learned benefit no one but me.
Even worse, someone could experience a hardship that I could have possibly helped prevent.
It is very difficult to open up and share your failures; your failures as a wife, a mother, a daughter.
It is tough to do!!
But those failures, those mistakes, come with invaluable wisdom gained. Our mistakes are not in vain!!
They could be simple mistakes.
Mistakes like when I was first married, I thought it would be ok to use dishwashing soap in the dishwasher. After cleaning a ton of suds off my kitchen floor I quickly learned that it was not a good plan.
I have shared that nugget of wisdom with my daughters. They will never do that thanks to my experience (and hopefully the fact that they have more sense than I did!).
Then there are bigger, more painful mistakes to share. Those are not as easy or as hilarious as suds on the floor but they are more valuable.
From Proverbs 31 Woman to Titus 2 Mentor
If you are a young woman just starting off in life, then sure, strive to be that Proverbs 31 woman.
Will it always go as planned? No! It’s a challenge! Will you mess up? Plenty! And there is nothing wrong with that!!
It is through those messes that God refines us and makes us who we are so that we CAN share with others through that Titus 2 ministry! He gives us the grace to pull through them and learn from them!
You are a virtuous woman! You are strong and you are fierce, like our Proverbs 31 friend!
Every time you slip up, it will be a lesson that one day your daughter or your niece or a young woman in your church could learn from.
So don’t make becoming a Proverbs 31 woman the goal line for yourself. Make it a stepping stone to fulfilling that much needed, valued, Titus 2 ministry that so many young women need today.
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Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved
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