Proverbs 31: Week 9 | The Wolfe Notes

Welcome to week 9 of our Proverbs 31 journey! This week we're wrapping up the virtue of uplifting and introducing respectful. If you'd like to go back to one of our previous stops, let our "Wolfe Notes" guide you. 

  • In January we examined our value with the help of Proverbs 31 verses 10 and 29.
  • In February we learned what uplifting means by looking at Proverbs 31:11 and 23.
  • In March, we will consider the virtue of respect by studying Proverbs 31:12 and 28.
If you're ready to travel with us, welcome! Grab your March calendar with daily activities, the lamp for your feet (the Bible), and let's get going! We're journeying through the concluding poem of Proverbs and we're so glad you decided to walk along this road with us! Imagine that as we walk, we're talking about the daily activities. Our side of the discussion is outlined below. What would you add? How would you challenge us?  (Ideas that are our thoughts alone are designated with an *.)

A couple in a wheat field with cloudy skies overhead. The definition of respect is overlaid.

*Connections between Proverbs 31:11 and 23.
*Altered Definition of uplifting based on insight from studying the verses.
*I am Uplifting because... (Personally, relationally, and spiritually)
Define Respect and write how you personally relate to it.
Verse One Noting key words and phrases from Proverbs 31:12.
*Literal Meaning An initial, face value, interpretation of Proverbs 31:12.
What is Weird? Investigating something you find odd about Proverbs 31:12.


Between Proverbs 31:11 and 23.
  • Proverbs 31:11 KJV: The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her so that he shall have no need of spoil.
  • Proverbs 31:23 KJV: Her husband is known in the gates when he sitteth with the elders of the land.
  • *HUSBAND: He is secure (v 11) so he can secure others (v 23).
    • Verse 11 focuses on feelings, typically feminine, and the subject of the verse is the wife.
    • Verse 23 focuses on observation, typically masculine, and the subject of the verse is the husband.
    • (Interpreting "her" as Lady Wisdom) When we secure our relationship with God, then we can concern ourselves with securing others. Reminds me of the airport seatbelt and oxygen mask rule.
    • (Interpreting "her" as earthly wives) Our role as wives is SO important. By making our husbands feel secure, they can go out and attend to the security of others.
    • (From a personal standpoint) First plant your fields; then build your barn (Proverbs 24:27 MSG). In other words, establish your foundation well, tarry here - then add on.
    • (From a relational standpoint) Be a foundation for those who God placed in your care. Secure trust so they can launch from you to do the work God has entrusted to them.
    • (From a spiritual standpoint) Keep your foundation in God - the only foundation that won't falter. Then, when you falter, return here. Renew your foundation. From this root, much fruit will grow. 
    • (From an intellect standpoint) Secure God as your source of Wisdom. Commit yourself to looking to Him alone. Then, you will be known for it and sit in good company of like-minded saints.

*Altered Definition

Of "uplifting" based on insight from studying the verses.

to establish a firm foundation in Wisdom (Jesus) so you can
  1. safely gain the trust of others
  2. elevate them spiritually, socially, and intellectually in His strength

*"I am Uplifting"

because... (Personally, relationally, and spiritually)
  • Personally: I reject negative thoughts by reminding myself of who and Whose I am.
  • Relationally: I call out the strengths in others and encourage them in where they are right now.
  • Spiritually: I fix my eyes on Jesus and draw others back to Him.
  • Intellectually: I challenge my interpretations and insights against what God has to say.
*Disclaimer: None of these statements are always statements. Rather, I write them as a reminder that I have done these things successfully before and can do them successfully again.

Define Respect

And write how you personally relate to it.
  • Definitions of Respect from Merriam-Webster
    • an act of giving particular attention: CONSIDERATION
    • to consider worthy of high or special regard: ESTEEM
    • to refrain from interfering with
  • *How I relate to respect
    • Personally: I think I deserve respect and get hurt when people don't respect my time, choices, actions, ideas, etc. in the way I think they should.
    • Relationally: I considered myself respectful to others, but after reading this definition I no longer do. I don't treat the people close to me with high regard or deference but am more likely to treat people I don't really know that way. I tend to tease the people close to me and often insist on my own way. Maybe I am better at considering their needs and refraining from interfering, but then again not when I think my needs are more pressing or when I'm more emotional.
    • Spiritually: If you had asked me this question a month ago, I would have said I absolutely respect God. But as my nephew and I study Exodus, I realize I do not respect Him nearly enough considering all that He's done for us to even be able to access Him as easily as we can. We really take this for granted today. What's more, I expect God to work my way and get upset when He doesn't. Do I consider His needs and refrain from interfering? No. I tend to see God as someone who is waiting for me to interfere, someone who wants to meet my needs not the other way around. 
    • Conclusion: I think it's interesting because my relational and spiritual relation to respect is inverted. Similar to how I related to valuable.

Verse One

Noting key words and phrases from Proverbs 31:12.
  • Phrasing: She / will do him good / and not evil / all the days / of her life.
  • Key Words: good, evil, days, life


*Literal Meaning

An initial, face value, interpretation of Proverbs 31:12.

Her actions always benefit him.

What is Weird?

Investigating something you find odd about Proverbs 31:12.
  1. Why is it all on the woman? For her to treat him well, shouldn't the same be expected of him?
    • The context of this verse is how a wife should treat her husband. (A Ruby in the Rough)
    • How a husband should treat his wife is addressed in Ephesians 5:25
      • "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
      • The implication of this verse is that husbands would do good to their wives as well, out of an act of love.
    • *Reminds me of a personal ongoing lesson: my response is my responsibility. I can't control what others do, but I can control me. And that's the part I need to focus on, for my godly life to speak better than any words. (I Peter 3:2)
  2. Why does it just say all the days of her life? Are her nights cleared for evil? Is there any significance to "day" spiritually?
    • In Psalm 90:4 "a thousand years in your sight are like a day." This verse shows God's eternal perspective and sovereignty over time.
    • *So, spiritually, day implicates an eternal perspective (which includes nights) that are watched over by God
    • "All the days" demonstrates her eternal faithfulness to God and His covenant people. (Ephesians 5:22-24
    • "Not just the days when the sun is shining. Not just the days when he does what he should. Every day!" (A Ruby in the Rough
    • God is good and faithful to His people "all the days" of their lives. Psalm 23:6
  3. What if he dies first? Her life is not over, is she still expected to do him good even when he's dead? 
    • She can do him good by honoring his memory and legacy and by continuing to do good to others related to him - children, relatives, friends, and community. 
    • Remarrying would not dishonor his memory. (I Corinthians 7:39)

Final Thoughts

What revelation most moved you this week? Where did you struggle? 

I was excited to see the connection between Proverbs 31:12 and Psalm 23:6. She does good; God does good. That's a correlation I would love to have made about my actions, wouldn't you?

At a casual glance, I think "Yeah, I got this," but every time I dig deeper, I realize how much I miss the mark. How much I need Jesus. Thank God, Our Father, that I don't have to go it alone, He is endlessly patient and has good planned for me!

Fellow travelers, I pray you challenge yourself in esteem and consideration of yourself, others, and God. Continue praying for God to guide you with His word. Know that He is for you! 

Growing with You,

Are you ready for week ten?

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