Week 5 of 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 virtue of the Proverbs 31 woman; in February, that virtue is UPLIFTING. Below summarizes where our journey has taken us so far.

  • Week one set the background for our study and defined valuable. 
  • Week two began our examination of Proverbs 31:10. 
  • Week three finished our interpretation of Proverbs 31:10 and introduced Proverbs 31:29.
  • Week four delved into Proverbs 31:29 research and interpretations.
In week five, we are wrapping up the virtue of value and introducing uplifting. What follows are our notes and thoughts about these topics. (Our personal thoughts are denoted by an *asterisk. Please do not read them as definitive answers; we are seekers too.)

A brick wall surrounds a gate in the background. Text overlay features two definitions of uplift.



Contents:
*Connections of Proverbs 31:10 and 31:29.
*Altered Definition Redefine valuable in light of your learning.
*I am Valuable Describe your value personally, relationally, and spiritually.
Define Uplifting Read the definition and write how you relate to it.
Verse One Note key phrases of Proverbs 31:11.
*Literal Meaning Write, without using other sources, what this verse is saying at surface level.
What is Weird? Identify, then research, something that strikes you as odd about this verse.

*Connections

Of Proverbs 31:10 and 31:29.

Proverbs 31:10 KJV: Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

Proverbs 31:29 KJV: Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
  • "A virtuous woman" vs. "many women" 
    • The first phrase hints at rarity; the second abundance
    • The search vs. the choice
    • Caution vs. discovery
    • Lost vs. found
  • "Virtuous" vs. "virtuously"
    • Adjective directly describing a specific person vs. an adverb that describes actions
    • Jesus & grace vs. law and works
  • "Woman" vs. "daughters"
    • mature vs. young, still growing
    • only one vs. several
    • Jesus vs. all others that seek this position but fall short
  • "Who can find" vs. "have done"
    • Quest vs. findings
    • Defining the purpose vs. understanding the data
    • Introduction vs. conclusion
  • "Her" vs. "but thou"
    • Target objective vs. conclusion
    • Hypothetical vs. actual
  • "Price is far above" vs. "excellest them all"
    • Vague vs. ultimate
    • General vs. specific
  • "Rubies" vs. "them all"
    • Both speak to high value
    • Possession vs. character
While both verses speak of a woman highly valued because of her virtues (WISDOM!), the first defines the search query (WHERE DO I FIND IT?) and the second resolves it (JESUS IS THE ONLY ANSWER). 
  • Personally: We are all seeking to be that highly-prized, virtuous "woman." 
  • Spiritually: We find the answer in Jesus. 
  • Relationally: We spend our lives guiding others to the same answer through transformation of ourselves by submission to wisdom.

*Altered Definition

Redefine valuable in light of your learning.

Valuable: a definitive proclamation of your worth - appraised by God; paid by Jesus.

*I am Valuable

Describe your value personally, relationally, and spiritually.
  • Personally: There is only one me. God carefully crafted me with my virtues to serve the people around me, in this place, at this time.
  • Relationally: Others depend on me, and my unique virtue set, to help them through this life - emotionally, relationally, physically, and spiritually - as I depend on them. We're not meant to walk alone.
  • Spiritually: God chose me; Jesus paid for my redemption. Now, I am seen as an "all fair" daughter (chosen nation) of The King and a spotless bride-in-waiting to His Son. 

Define Uplifting (from Merriam-Webster)

Read the definition and describe how you relate to it.

transitive verb
  • to lift up: ELEVATE
  • especially: to cause to rise above adjacent areas (when referring to the earth's surface) 
  • to improve the spiritual, social, or intellectual condition of
noun
  • influences intended to uplift
  • social movements to improve especially morally or culturally
*Overall, I see myself as an uplifting person, yet know I can do better especially when I am flustered or am in unfamiliar social situations. I don't intentionally uplift in all areas here mentioned - spiritually, socially, and intellectually - but more as opportunity arises. I commonly am deflated by an expected but not received uplift from others.

Verse One

Note key phrases of Proverbs 31:11.

The heart / of her husband / doth safely / trust in her, / so that he / shall have / no need / of spoil.
Key words and phrases: heart, husband, safely trust, no need of spoil

 

*Literal Meaning

Write, without other sources, what this verse is saying at surface level.

She is completely trustworthy; he lacks nothing!

What is Weird?

Identify, then research, something that strikes you as odd about this verse.

Why is trust linked to his needs? When I think of needs immediately my mind goes to physical things: food, water, shelter, etc., which are often provided by monetary means. How does trust in a spouse lead to no need for more? 

  • A trust, financially defined (Charles Schwab) is "a fiduciary arrangement that specifies how your assets are to be distributed," without a court. A trust can take effect before death.
    • *This definition of trust (while certainly not related to this verse) interested me because we are entrusted with an inheritance in Christ, portions of it take effect before death, and no court is needed.
    • *Furthermore, this trust directly relates to financial needs: a way to care for our loved ones financially. So, if his heart safely trusts in her, in her he finds all his assets. His assets are not monetary but relational. He is complete in her.
  • I John 4:18 ESV There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
    • *No fear; Complete trust; Perfect love.
    • *Imagine what can be accomplished when your foundation is such.
    • *When I asked the Mr. if he thought trust was a need and how it could meet all your needs, his answer was, essentially, this verse: "Because when you trust, there is no fear."
  • Jeremiah 17:5 & 7 NIV This is what the Lord says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him."
    • *Perfect support for "Lady Wisdom" being the virtuous wife. Only when we trust God, are we blessed. God is also the only source of perfect love.
    • *Should we trust our spouses? Yes! But even our spouses make mistakes. When we trust God with all our heart, then when your spouse (or you!) errors, your relationship need not spoil because your trust was not in your spouse alone. You did not lose all you deposited in the trust safe because you've been banking on God. Your future is secure with no need of spoil!
  • *Yet our goal is to work toward being trustworthy by demonstrating perfect love:
In the end, we don't have to worry about our needs. Through a joint focus of growing in Christ, we are safe and secure in each other. No fear! We will make it together. 

Final Thoughts

That concludes our "Wolfe Notes" for this week. Follow along with us on our GROWTH for Today calendars as we continue learning to be uplifting in February.

I do not know why I am surprised every time that my Bible study points back to Jesus being the answer. But I am. The virtuous woman no one can find? Jesus! The way to trust your spouse? Jesus! Put all your trust in Him; He is faithful. What took you by surprise this week?

As I walk toward the uplifting virtue, I hesitate. There are many complications here. My tendency is to grow conceited (struggling to lift up another when they rarely return the favor), judgmental (reserving encouragement because of actions or viewpoints I oppose), and inauthentic (sticking with surface level or generic instead of character-based or specific encouragement). How about you? What is your struggle when you think about uplifting others?

Continue reminding yourself of your immeasurable value and practice leveraging it to uplift others, perhaps especially when it's difficult for you. Remain in prayer that the Holy Spirit guides us to understanding how to uplift others and presents us with opportunities to practice it. 

Growing with You,

Ready for Week 6

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