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Are you a noble woman?”
“That’s for queens and princesses and people like that.”
“Ahhhh, the nobility. Women of noble rank. Royalty, in other words.”
“Do you think a woman could be noble in any other way?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never really thought about it.”
“Me neither, until recently. I’m wondering. Maybe we need to search it out and see just what that word ‘noble’ really means.”
The New King James Version shows Proverbs 31:10 like this: “A virtuous wife who can find? For her price is far above rubies.” The literal translation from the original text renders the phrase ‘a virtuous wife’ as ‘ woman of valor.”
The NIV says: “A noble woman who can find?….” We know that a woman of royalty is not spoken of here, if for no other reason than the work that is done by the woman in this passage. A woman of royalty, noble in rank, would have others doing for her what this woman is doing for not only her family, but others as well. So, what does “noble” mean?
According to the Bible Thesaurus and the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the word “noble” is a noun meaning “one who enjoys rank above a commoner, one of the nobility.” Webster’s Dictionary also adds “a person in a superior position in life.” But the word “noble” is further defined as “the state of being worthy or honorable; elevation of mind or character; degree of excellence; grandeur; a quality suited to inspire respect or reverence; loftiness and grace; impressiveness, stateliness in manner or style; elevation of thought or expression.” Webster’s also adds “being noble-minded”.
So to be noble, one must be different from the ordinary, someone people can look up to with respect, someone whose mind dwells on good things, someone whose actions reflect excellence, doing more than is expected. That brings to mind Galatians 6: 22-23 where Paul lists the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Then in 2 Peter 1:5-7 Peter lists faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly- kindness, and love. Paul says in Philippians 4:8 that we are to think on things that are good, just, true, high-minded (noble), pure, lovely, of good report, and praise-worthy. It also brings to mind 1 Peter 2:9 where Peter tells us we are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people….”
Reading the above passages (and there are many more that could be considered), being a noble woman, a noble-minded woman, is being Christ-like, being pure in thought and mind, thinking and acting in a Christian manner, unlike the world, setting oneself apart from worldly things.
There is no list of “noble women” in the Bible, but from those women we lift up as examples, it can plainly be seen that they are truly “noble women”. Let’s look briefly at a few.
Queen Vashti in Esther 1:12, was truly of noble rank, but refused to lower herself to be viewed by the men at the King’s feast. Not only did she exhibit courage, but maintained her high character, her noble-mindedness. How many women in the world would also refuse to parade herself before men in today’s world? Sadly, too many would do just that for fame and money, or even worse, just for the “fun of it.”
Hannah, in I Samuel chapters 1 and 2, was a noble woman with a strong faith and trust in God, and when God gave her a son, she showed excellence of character by honoring God with the gift of the very son He had given her. She gave her son, Samuel, back to God to be raised for His work. How many mothers would do the same today?
Mary, the mother of our Lord, is said in Luke 1:28 to be a “highly favored one” by God. No doubt it was because of her excellence of character, her love for God, her noble-minded- ness that set her apart from other women. Not that it made her more holy, to be set apart and worshipped as some of our religious neighbors do, but that God was pleased with her character, her demeanor, her attitude, her very thoughts.
The list of women could go on and on with names like, Lois & Eunice, Ruth, Deborah the Judge, Queen Esther, Sarah, Lydia, Priscilla, but there is one I’d like to look at to close out this study. That woman is Peter’s wife.
Peter’s wife is never named, but is mentioned. The reason I mention her is because Peter tells us in I Peter 5:1 that he is an Elder in the Church. What does that have to do with her being a noble woman? I submit to you that an Elder’s wife must be of such character and Christ-likeness, just as her husband, or the husband could not be an Elder. Titus 2: 3 tells us what women, especially older women should be like–”reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things–that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, home-makers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God not be blasphemed.” All of these qualities put her, and us, above the norm, apart from the worldly realm. These qualities help husbands to be deacons and Elders, because they exhibit without a doubt what being a”noble” woman means.
As Christian women, we should strive for all those qualities listed by Titus, Paul and Peter, whether or not our spouse is, or seeks to be, an Elder or a Deacon. We should strive for all those qualities because we love God and want to obey Him, and to be like Him, to be like our Savior. Having those qualities shows we are noble women of God. It shows we are set apart from the world.
But how do we become a noble woman of God? It is not something we are born with, as natural instincts, but are taught and learned through the years. They are things we develop throughout our lifetime. It’s that Christ-likeness, or having the mind of Christ that all Christians should be striving for.
However, being older in years doesn’t mean we are noble, or even noble-minded. There are younger women who have attained some of these traits while there are older women who are still struggling with them. It’s an on-going process in our daily walk to Heaven….something we work on every day. While some of these things are easy for us to develop, there will be something we are always striving to do better. And as humans we slip from time-to-time and must pick ourselves up and go on. But that is just part of the maturing and “perfecting” process.
Being noble, noble-minded, having the Mind of Christ, takes patience, much study and much prayer. It also takes interaction and encouragement from our Christian Sisters. We need each other to help us grow. That association with those who truly are noble women of God helps those who are still striving to be. May we never become weary in our growing and learning, and may we always continue so that we will be known as a “noble woman of God.”
By Beth Turner
Originally printed in the Spring 2012 issue V5N2
Have you ever wondered what your future husband is doing right this moment? What his plans are for the weekend, or how the two of you will meet? Most likely the majority of you will answer, “Yes!” to each of these questions.
The idea of “Mr. Right” weighs heavier on my mind the older I get. Though I am not desperate, I do find myself wondering about, even searching for at times, my future husband. I like to believe that my future husband is wondering about, and searching for me, too! This very thought pushes me to begin developing now, the kind of woman I want my husband to find down the road.
Proverbs 31, a passage we know so well, describes the ultimate wife and mother—Ms. Right. But before we read of her description, we read this short, yet profound question, “Who can find a virtuous but capable wife?” Girls, our future husband longs to find us, but he longs to find us as virtuous and capable women! Of course, we don’t want to let our Mr. Right down! So let’s discover together, what being “virtuous” and “capable” truly mean.
To be “virtuous”, we must be morally excellent. Through out this inspiring chapter we see many examples of moral excellence.
Ms. Right is a woman who can be trusted (vs 11). Good, not evil, follows her (vs 12). She tends to the poor and needy (vs 20). She is full of wisdom, and chooses her words carefully (vs 26). She appropriately fears the Lord (vs 30).
As she lives this virtuous life, she proves capable of many things.
Ms. Right is capable of working hard in the home (vs 13-15). She is capable of working energetically and making wise decisions financially (vs 16-18). She is capable of up-keeping her home, as well as dressing her husband and children (vs 21-22). She is capable of courageously facing the future, including challenges (vs 25). She is capable of earning the respect and admiration of her family (vs 28).
When I read these incredible descriptions of how a wife and mother ought to live her life, I very quickly discover how unprepared I am to be Ms. Right for my Mr. Right. Do you feel this way too?
We are told in Luke 9:11 that if we ask of God, He will give. I want to challenge each of you, and myself, to begin praying that God will mold you into the virtuous and capable woman our future husbands are long to find.
As you begin praying for this transformation, however, be prepared for God to answer. You see, sometimes, when we ask God to develop us into a stronger, kinder, wiser, braver, more trust worthy person, God allows us to face trials and temptations that will give us the opportunity to grow and develop such characteristics. In other words, how we react to trials, how we respond to temptations, and how we deal with hardships now, directly impacts what kind of woman our future husband will find later.
As you find yourselves molding into Ms. Right, ask yourselves the following questions:
“Do my friends and family members trust me?”
“Do I take responsibilities such as homework or chores seriously?”
“Do I enjoy learning and developing wisdom?”
“Am I careful with my words?”
“Do I think before I speak?”
“How do I handle challenges?”
“Do I fear, or embrace, the future?”
“Do I enjoy taking care of other people?”
“Am I evolved in community, school, or church activities?”
“Do I live as closely to God’s word as I can?”
These are just a few modern day questions we can ask ourselves as we strive to grow into a virtuous and capable woman not only for our future husbands, but for our God, also.
God Himself tells us at the end of this chapter that such women will be “praised” and will receive a “reward” (vs 30-31).
Will your Mr. Right find his Ms. Right in you?
By Jennifer Savage
Originally printed in the spring 2012 issue V5N2
Over the summer, my husband and I were blessed to travel to Washington D.C. and see many of the beautiful sights in our nation’s capital. We spent one afternoon walking around the National Cathedral, which is a very impressive building. But as we took in the tall ceilings, the incredible stained glass windows, and all the ornate details and carvings, the building felt more and more empty. I kept remembering the verse in Acts 7:48 that tells how God does not dwell in temples made with hands. Many hands must have worked on the building of that cathedral. But I would guess that this cathedral has never felt the presence of God. The physical building, although beautiful, is simply an empty building.
The Lord asked the prophet Isaiah “where is the house that you will build Me?” He goes on to say “for all those things my hand has made.”God does not need man to build him beautiful and ornate buildings, for he is the creator of all things and does not need to dwell in any kind of man-made temple. Instead, God lives within us. 2 Corinthians 6:16 says that “you are the temple of the living God.” Romans chapter 8 contrasts those who live according to the flesh (or the physical world) with those who have a more spiritual mind. Romans 8:9 says that we should live according to the spirit because the Spirit of God dwells in us.
If we are going to be God’s temple and He is going to live within us, we need to be concerned with how we care for that temple. We need to see ourselves as God sees us. And God does not see our outward appearance. In I Peter 3, the women are encourage not to spend time adorning themselves on the outside fixing their hair and concerning themselves with their clothing and jewelry. Instead, they are encouraged to focus on the “hidden person of the heart.” Just as a building does not need to be adorned with stained glass windows and ornate decorations in order to be pleasing to God, we do not need to be overly concerned about the physical dressings on our temple.
It is possible for us to become so concerned with maintaining our outward appearance that we forget to maintain our “hidden person.” Jesus warned the Pharisees of the danger of focusing only on their outward appearance. They wanted to appear to be righteous on the outside, but inside they were full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Jesus compared them to white sepulchers, which are beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and uncleanness. (Matthew 23:27) We, too, can be guilty of presenting a beautiful outside to the world, while our insides remain sorely neglected.
Living in this physical world, it can be easy to become wrapped up in all the ways we can adorn our physical bodies. We are constantly temped by the latest styles of clothing, shoes, and expensive jewelry. We can spend a fortune on makeup, and hair cuts, dyes, and styling. But as God’s temple, Christian women should not be overly concerned with these things. We should adorn ourselves with the “incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (I Peter 3:4)
A beautiful woman, in God’s sight, let’s her beauty shine from within. She has a loving heart, cares for those around her, works hard, and speaks with kindness and wisdom. These elements of beauty can only grow with time. They do not wrinkle, turn gray, or fade as physical beauty can. A woman who chooses to focus on true beauty can maintain her beauty throughout her entire life.
By Valerie Enoch
Originally published in the spring 2012 issue V5N2
“An excellent wife, who can find?” the proverbs writer says. The Bible gives so many examples of wives throughout history, some good, others bad. We have a duty as women to be excellent wives to our husbands. On the wedding day that most dream of our entire lives, we vow to love, honor, and cherish in sickness and health, for richer and for poorer, ‘till death do we part, but do we mean it? Do our husbands find great value in his bride or is he met with strife and disdain through the trials of life? Let’s examine two different Biblical examples of wives in the Bible, the wife of Job and the worthy woman of Proverbs 31.
Job was a man of great earthly gain but mostly he was a man of great faith. The devil sought to cause his fall and was permitted to destroy Job’s family, wealth and health. Through all of the trials, Job never cursed God but he lost the favor of his wife so much so that she begged him to “curse God and die”. Her disdain was so great towards Job that he later wrote, “My breath is offensive to my wife”. I can’t imagine the sadness this must have caused him. He had already lost everything of earthly value to him through no fault of his own and the one person that should have stayed by his side felt he’d be better off dead. Because of his continued faith in God, he was eventually restored to greater gain than before. How unfortunate that, while he waited on the Lord, his wife turned from him and left him alone.
The Proverbs writer describes a “worthy woman”. A worthy woman’s husband “trusts in her” and she “brings him good and not evil”. She works hard to help her husband and brings him glory and honor in the land in which they reside. She doesn’t seem to be a woman who is about the business of tearing down her husband by constantly telling others his faults; rather, she emphasizes his strengths and loves him in spite of his faults.
The children of America have been deprived of good, upright, Godly fathers for a long time; However, dare I say that American children are also deprived of good, upright, and Godly wives who uplift and support their husbands in the rearing of children? I often hear women complain about everything their husbands don’t do. Television portrays every male as a lazy and stupid oaf. It’s no wonder men today don’t grow up to be the men and leaders that we need them to be. In my role as a childcare provider, I was recently told that a “child will never rise above my expectation of them.” I venture to say, neither will a husband. If we expect them to be mean, unwilling to listen, unable to help, too self absorbed to care, they will be. If we can find the courage within ourselves to put our husbands first in our lives, to trust in them, compliment their strengths, and build them up in a crowd, they will rise to the occasion and become the leaders of our families and a new generation of great and noble men.
Within each wife is great power, the power to build up and the power to tear down. What kind of wife will you be?
By Beth Drake
originally printed in the Spring 2012 issue V5N2
We, as women know that much is expected of us. God created us to be man’s helper (Gen 2:18) and helpers we are. When children are added to the mix, women suddenly become much more than just helpers. In fact, in a study done by Salary.com, “the typical mother puts in a 92- hour work week, and works at least 10 jobs. In order of hours spent on them per week, these are: housekeeper, day-care center teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, chief executive officer and psychologist.” By figuring out the median salaries for each position, and calculating the average number of hours worked at each, the firm determined that the work completed by the average housewife should pay approximately $138,095 per year. Of course, we all know that we are not compensated in this manner. Our rewards come in various ways and some may not come until we leave this earth. Let’s take a look at the “worthy woman” described in Proverbs 31. The worthy woman brings her husband good and not evil all the days of her life (v. 12). She goes to great lengths to provide food for her family (v. 14). She works before the dawn and well into the night to provide food and clothing (v. 15-18). She works vigorously (v. 17), and is not idle (v. 27). Even after all she does for her household, she still finds time to help the poor and the needy (v.20). She is strong and dignified and still knows how to laugh (v. 25). Because of this, her children call her blessed and her husband praises her (v. 28). To sum it all up, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate” (v. 30- 31). Nothing gives me more hope than to know my labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). May we all see the blessings of being wives and mothers, and continue our work for the Kingdom.
‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will set you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ Matthew 25:23
originally printed in the Spring 2008 issue
reprinted in the Spring 2012 issue