Proverbs 31: Week 1 | 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.

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. )

A red, sparkly border with the words Building Background for Proverbs 31 in the middle on a white background.

Define Wisdom

  1. 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.
  2. *Personal definition: Wisdom is the practice of making righteous choices. 

Wisdom Personified

  1. 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
  2. As Jesus (Bible Hub commentary on Proverbs 8:22)
    • 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)
  3. The Source of Wisdom (Bible Hub resources on Proverbs 2:6)
    • 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.

Build Background

  1. 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.
  2. Time Period (BibleRef)
    • Between 970 and 697 BC 
    • During the years of Solomon and Hezikiah's reign
    • Circulated widely in 700 BC
  3. Genre (Got Questions)
  4. Audience (Bible Hub resources on Proverbs 31:1)
    • Motherly advice to her son
    • Solomon's advice to his son from his mother
    • Advice for any king (*or person for that matter)
  5. Purpose 

Relate to Helper (Genesis 2:18Got Questions)

  1. 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).
  2. * In studying Proverbs 31, a helper should seek wisdom in how best to respect and complement her husband.

Relate to Keeper (Genesis 2:15, 24 Got Questions)

  1. Role of a Keeper
  2. * In studying Proverbs 31, a keeper should seek wisdom in how best to lead and love his wife.

Relate to Church 

  1. Verses about the "Bride of Christ"
  2. 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.
  3. Summary of Communion Symbology: Brant Hansen, in Blessed are the Misfits, parallels communion with Jesus' proposal to the Church. In Hebrew tradition, after presenting his proposal (or covenant) which included the price he would pay for his bride, the bridegroom would offer a glass of wine to the woman. As a sign of acceptance, she would drink the wine. Then, the bridegroom would go and prepare a place for her and return to marry her at an unexpected time. During communion, when we drink the wine, we accept Christ's proposal. (Chapter 2: "Together, Yet Apart")
  4. *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).

Define Valuable (Merriam-Webster)

  1. Worth a good price.
  2. Having desirable characteristics or qualities.
  3. 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.

Final Thoughts

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,

Ready for Week Two?

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