Proverbs 31: Week Forty | The Wolfe Notes

Welcome to week forty of our Proverbs 31 journey. If you'd like to return 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 considered the virtue of respect by studying Proverbs 31:12 and 28.
  • In April, we trained to be hardworking with Proverbs 31:13 and 19 as our instructors.
  • In May, we saw what it takes to be resourceful by examining Proverbs 31:14 and 21. 
  • In June, we developed our caring muscle by exercising Proverbs 31:15 and 22.
  • In July, we practiced being savvy with help from Proverbs 31:16 and 27.
  • In August, we witnessed exemplary behavior outlined in Proverbs 31:18 and 31.
  • In September, we found what being necessary looks like from Proverbs 31:20 and 24.
  • In October, we will exercise strength in Jesus from Proverbs 31:17 and 25.
If you're ready to travel with us, welcome! Grab your October 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 girl in a yellow shirt and braids smiles broadly on a beach. Text overlay quotes Proverbs 31:17

Define Strong and relate to it personally.
Proverbs 31:17 Noting key words and phrases.
*Initial Interpretation of Proverbs 31:17.
What is Weird? Research to answer a question about the verse.
About Strength from various sources.
About Arms from various sources.
Other Versions and writing your own.

Define Strong

and relate to it personally.

  1. having or marked by great physical, moral, intellectual, or economic power.
  2. striking or superior of its kind
  3. effective or efficient especially in a specified direction
  4. not mild or weak; magnifying by refracting greatly
  5. not easily injured or disturbed
  6. well-established
  7. having an offensive or intense odor or flavor (salty)
Personally, I don't identify with the physical or economic parts of one, two, or five. I sometimes associate with definitions three, four, and six. I definitely relate to living with great moral and intellectual power. Hopefully others recognize my "saltiness".

Proverbs 31:17

Noting key words and phrases.
She girdeth her loins / with strength, / and strengtheneth / her arms.

Key words: girdeth, loins, strength, strengtheneth, arms. 

Initial Interpretation

of Proverbs 31:17.

Practically: A woman readies herself to face the challenges of the day. She is mentally empowered and physically able. 

Spiritually: I stand firmly in Christ's truth. I exercise His words regularly, so I am prepared to reach out to others.

What is Weird?

Research to answer a question about the verse.
Why loins and arms? What is the significance of these body parts?

"Gird your loins" essentially means: "sets about work" or "prepares for action". Ancient Israelites would tuck up their robes into their belts, or girdles, to keep the robes out of the way when engaging in physical activity. (See Exodus 12:11.) Akin to rolling up your sleeves or buckling your seatbelt. (Grammarist)

*Connections: To "gird up your loins" and "strengthen your arms" have little to do with anatomy, but rather are phrases that essentially mean: "get ready", and "be strong".

About Strength

from various sources.

Hebrew from Bible Hub
  • oz: strength or might
  • Other Uses: fortress, stronghold, loud, power, stern
Definitions from Merriam-Webster:
  • the quality or state of being strong: capacity for exertion or endurance
  • power to resist force
  • legal, logical, or moral force
  • a strong attribute or inherent asset
  • degree of potency
  • vigor of expression
  • force as measured in numbers
  •  support, one regarded as embodying or affording firmness
"The Strength You Need for Today" by Marshall Segal at Desiring God
  • "The most important things he has called us to do today run deeper and higher than what we typically see and feel."
  • Power and ability to do the supernatural, to understand and explain the word of God, to heal, to do good, to perform miracles, or to witness to Jesus comes from God (Acts 9:22).
  • How you find strength:
    1. In faith (Romans 4:20-21) strength is found deep in your soul by accepting wisdom.
    2. By grace (2 Timothy 2:1) because it's a gift.
    3. From God (Ephesians 6:10) when you give up on relying on your own strength and lean on more of God. "If you feel weak, you do not need more of you; you need more of God"
    4. By equipping His armor (Ephesians 6:11-12) to stand strong against evil
    5. By serving (I Timothy 1:12-13) you don't keep your strength for yourself, you expend it for the good of others.
    6. By speaking (2 Timothy 4:17) with courage and boldness about Jesus.
    7. In every circumstance (Philippians 4:11-13) as much in blessing and suffering; success and failure; health and sickness. " experience a deep and confident joy in him regardless of our weakness and trials."
Scripture from Open Bible
  • Philippians 4:13 KJV: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  • Isaiah 41:10 HCSB: Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will make you strong and I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.
  • Psalm 73:26 TLB: My health fails; my spirits droop, yet God remains! He is the strength of my heart; he is mine forever!
  • I Chronicles 16:11 KJV: Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.
  • Joshua 1:9 NASB: Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
*Conclusions: Gird yourself with strength. Know that God is the source. We are not weak. We are strong. We are courageous. We are kings and priests (Revelations 1:6) for whom God has established great plans (Jeremiah 29:11).

About Arms

From various sources.

Hebrew from Bible Hub
  • zeroa: arm, shoulder, and strength.
  • Other uses: forces, help, mighty, position, power (*ezer: helper)
  • In Proverbs 31:17: Human arm like:
    • 1 Samuel 2:31 NKJV: Behold the days are coming that I will cut off your arm and the arm of your father's house, so that there will not be an old man in your house.
    • Ezekiel 22:6 DRA: Behold the princes of Israel, every one hath employed his arm in thee to shed blood.
    • Jeremiah 17:5 TLV: Thus says ADONAI: "Cursed is the one who trust in man, and depends on flesh as his arm, and whose heart turns from ADONAI.
Definition from Merriam-Webster
  • a human upper limb especially shoulder to wrist
  • power, might
  • a functional division of a group, organization, institution or activity
"Understanding the Everlasting Arms of God" by J.R. Miller at Reasons for Hope
  • Deuteronomy 33:27 KJV: The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.
    •  Isaiah 40:11 KJV: He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
    • Isaiah 46:4  MEV And even to your old age I am He; and even to your graying years I will carry you; I have done it, and I will bear you; even I will carry, and will deliver you.
  • Symbolism for arms: 
    • Protection: kept close
    • Affection: carried, drawn in, held.
    • Strength: everlasting strength Isaiah 26:4. Out of His clasp we can never be taken (John 10:28)
    • Endurance: Unlike humans, His embrace never fails.
    • Underneath: So we can never sink no matter the turmoil.
    • Divine Care: Our security rests in God.
Scripture from Knowing Jesus
  • Isaiah 59:1 NIV: Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
  • Psalm 89:10 MEV: You crushed Rahab like a corpse; You scattered Your enemies with Your strong arm.
  • Isaiah 63:12 MEV: who led them with His glorious arm by the right hand of Moses, dividing the water before them, to make Himself an everlasting name.
  • Isaiah 40:10 KJV: Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
  • Psalm 89:21 NET: My hand will support him [David], and my arm will strengthen him.
*Connections: An arm represents support, resources, strength, ability. A strengthened arm is reliable, we know we can trust it to protect, provide, comfort, assist, pull us up, catch us, save us, and lead us. We are held in everlasting arms. We are safe.

Other Versions

and writing your own.

Phrase by Phrase

  • She girderth her loins: equips herself / draws on / works / gathers / always / wraps around her waist like a belt / dresses herself / puts on / clothes herself / surrounds her waist /gets ready / sets about her work / energetic / arms her waist
  • with strength: might, vigor, energy, work, fortitude
  • and strengtheneth her arms: maketh strong / and firm / powerful / throws herself into her work /works hard / able to do all her work / goes to work with energy / industrious/ reveals that her harms are strong / fortifies /rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started / goes to work with energy / exerts her arms with vigor / strong for her tasks / a hard worker / invigorates
Notably Different Versions
  • CEB: She works energetically; her arms are powerful.
  • CEV: and she always works hard.
  • MSG: First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
  • ERV: She works very hard. She is strong and able to do all her work.
  • CJB: She gathers her strength around her and throws herself into her work.
*Wolfe Stew Versions
  • Wisdom stands strong, prepared to meet the challenges of the day.
  • Christ's Bride wraps herself in Christ's strength, knowing she can face whatever the opposition throws at her because she's leaning on the everlasting arms.
  • Personally: Be strong and very courageous, do not be discouraged or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Be faithful with what you have been entrusted.
  • Relationally: Choose God over popularity. Go into interactions reminded of the powerful love He has for you and prepare to stay faithful to His truths.
  • Spiritually: Christ is my firm foundation. I face today clad in His armor. I can because He is.
  • Intellectually: Accept His word as true. Embrace it in your core. Study it diligently and carefully so you are ready and stand equipped.

Final Thoughts

Are you wearing His armor? Beloved, we need to. To prepare for the evil of the day, we must equip ourselves in Him. Wrap yourself in His truth. Be strengthened by His embrace. He fights for you.

Growing with You,

Ready for Week 41?

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