Building Background on Proverbs 31 | The Wolfe Notes
Our 2023 GROWTH for Today journey guides us through the description of the Proverbs 31 woman. If you haven't joined yet, we'd love to have you. Each month, we're focusing on a different trait of the Proverbs 31 woman; in January, that trait is VALUABLE.
*Personal definition: Wisdom is the practice of making righteous choices. As Jesus (Bible Hub commentary on Proverbs 8:22) The Source of Wisdom (Bible Hub resources on Proverbs 2:6) Time Period (BibleRef) Genre (Got Questions) Audience (Bible Hub resources on Proverbs 31:1) Purpose * In studying Proverbs 31, a helper should seek wisdom in how best to respect and complement her husband. * In studying Proverbs 31, a keeper should seek wisdom in how best to lead and love his wife. Compilation of Verses: The church is the Bride of Jesus Christ betrothed by God. As we are prepared for unification, we are to remain faithful and pure. All the while, we are rejoiced over by the Father and loved by Christ. *The church should study Proverbs 31 to seek wisdom in how best to serve as Christ's bride through respecting and complementing her betrothed (Jesus).
Find here our notes for week one, where we set the background for our study and defined valuable. (Our personal thoughts are denoted by an asterisk. Please do not read them as definitive answers; we are seekers too. )
- Proverb's Purpose (Proverbs 1:1-3)
- To gain wisdom and instruction.
- For understanding words of insight.
- For receiving instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity.
- As a Woman (Got Questions)
- Not to be taken literally; poetic device.
- In Hebrew, wisdom is a feminine noun - Solomon possibly drew inspiration from this
- Lady wisdom contrasts sharply with the immoral prostitute - *relatable to Solomon's male audience
- Comprehending Proverbs 8:22
- The Lord possessed (originated, created) me (*wisdom)
- in the beginning of His way (creative activity) - *creation
- before His works (things made) of old (in time past).
- *Wisdom was created by God before anything else.
- Cross References to Proverbs 8:22
- John 1:1-2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. (*The Word here referencing Jesus - see John 1:14.)
- Colossians 1:17 He (*Jesus - Colossians 1:13) is before all things, and in him all things consist (are held together).
- Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethern.
- Other verses pointing to Jesus as Wisdom
- I Corinthians 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
- Luke 11:49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: (Reference to when Jesus spoke in Matthew 23:34)
- Proverbs 2:6 For the Lord giveth wisdom out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
- James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
- Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
- Author (Bible Hub resources on Proverbs 31:1)
- Proverbs 31:1 The words of King Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
- King Lemuel, meaning "unto God", might be King Solomon (see Pulpit commentary) and if so, the words would be from Bathsheba (see 2 Samuel 12:24)
- King Hezekiah is another possible author.
- Between 970 and 697 BC
- During the years of Solomon and Hezikiah's reign
- Circulated widely in 700 BC
- Poetry, specifically an acrostic - each verse begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet
- Encomium - poem of praise, like Proverbs 8, 1 Corinthians 13, and Hebrews 11
- Motherly advice to her son
- Solomon's advice to his son from his mother
- Advice for any king (*or person for that matter)
- To list qualities of a virtuous woman to aid her son in finding a good wife, which in turn would help his rule (Bible Study Tools)
- To instruct her daughters on qualities of integrity (Bible Study Tools)
- To poetically conclude Proverbs in depicting Lady Wisdom (Nana Dolce, A Clay Jar, The Gospel Coalition, and Living Theologically)
Relate to Helper (Genesis 2:18 & Got Questions)
- Role of a Helper
- Work to strengthen or fill-in his areas of deficiency. (Solution to deficiency)
- Complement him, work with him not against him. (Becoming one.)
- Know there is no one better for him. (Ideal partner)
- Enjoy time together. (Companion for relationship)
- Submit to him in honor to God (note final paragraph).
Relate to Keeper (Genesis 2:15, 24 & Got Questions)
- Role of a Keeper
- Leave his mother - the relationship with his wife is now first priority.
- Cleave to his wife - learn her ways, seek to understand her, make choices that reflect her value.
- Become one with his wife - commit to acting as one unit through all areas of life.
- Protect and care for that which God entrusts to him.
- Lead in love toward God, regardless of cost to self.
- Verses about the "Bride of Christ"
- The church is loved by Christ the same way a husband is to love his wife. (Ephesians 5:25-27)
- God betrothed us to Christ alone; we are to remain pure. (2 Corinthians 11:2)
- New Jerusalem is prepared as a bride. (Revelation 21:2)
- Your maker is your husband. (Isaiah 54:5)
- God rejoices over us as a groom over his bride. (Isaiah 62:5)
Define Valuable (Merriam-Webster)
- Worth a good price.
- Having desirable characteristics or qualities.
- Of great use or service.
*From a human perspective, I feel like I most relate to the third definition but not the first two.
*But when thinking about how God sees me, it's the opposite. I relate to the first two and not the third. He's already paid the price for me, it was costly, but He paid it so we could be united. He says I am "worth a good price" and He's making me like Him. Through His work, I will "have desirable characteristics or qualities suitable" for Christ's bride. But I don't know if I'm of "great use or service" to Him.
That concludes our notes and interpretations for week one of the Proverbs 31 character trait of VALUABLE. Find all weeks on our January GROWTH for Today calendar.
The discovery that most excited me was that Bathsheba might have authored this poem. The fact that it came on the heels of me finishing a book on Bathsheba certainly increased the excitement factor.
I keep struggling with the idea of roles and I am praying that my interpretation of them does not offend you. I'm still trying to figure it out, so please do not think that I am giving you a list of who you should be and what you should be doing.
As I am, I hope you remain in prayer that the Holy Spirit guides you to an understanding of your value - personally, relationally, and spiritually - and keeps your mind open to accepting Truth.
Growing with You,
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