The Proverbs 31 Church

If you’ve been around Christian culture for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard the term Proverbs 31 woman or Proverbs 31 wife. Whether it’s a single guy looking for a P31 or a book written on how to become a P31, the term is thrown around quite often.

Most readers view this passage as a checklist for how a woman should look, act and speak. But, there’s a little more to it than that. Proverbs 31 can be a helpful guide for women as they walk through life. It can teach a woman to be a strong, kind and faithful bride. But it can also teach us all to be a strong, kind and faithful bride.

Through this passage, you begin to see a picture of Jesus and His church.

As we look at Proverbs 31, the first thing to note is that the passage isn’t even addressed to women. It’s a message of wisdom passed down to the king from his mother.

In the first few verses, the mother encourages her son not to find satisfaction in women, because of how they could ruin him. She goes on to tell him not to let substances control him or to numb his pain. Lastly, she closes by teaching her son to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves and to pursue justice on their behalf.

The summary of how the king should live and act ultimately foreshadows the coming of the perfect King, who fulfilled all the requirements set out by the mother. The remaining verses summarize how his ideal bride should live and act, which foreshadows the perfect bride — the church.

The ideal bride for the king should be trustworthy, and a good steward of her time and resources. She should be strong, energetic, wise and kind. She helps those in need and doesn’t fear the future. She isn’t lazy but instead does what needs to be done to provide for those she loves. Most importantly, she fears the Lord.

Yeah, this lady sounds like a boss!

Before you get overwhelmed with what seems to be a crazy to-do list, all these qualities of the P31 woman should really bring you joy. Just like the king is a foreshadowing of Jesus, the portrait of the perfect wife is ultimately a description of the multi-faceted beauty of the universal church.

As the church, we should look and act like the Proverbs 31 woman, not sitting idly but making the most of every moment. More than a list for women to follow, this passage should be a blueprint to the Christian life. Just as the unfaithful bride is described in Hosea, Proverbs 31 shows us a lovely image of the bride of Christ.

Now, the church (which includes us) doesn’t always look like verses 10–31. And that’s okay. Unlike us, Jesus isn’t scrolling through Hinge trying to find the perfect spouse. Jesus is creating and perfecting His bride. Every day, God is sanctifying each one of us individually and altogether, shaping us to be ready for the return of His Son. With faithfulness and endurance, we can reflect the qualities described in Proverbs 31 as we anticipate our perfect King.

Together, we are the Proverbs 31 church.

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