Blessed, not defeated, by the Proverbs 31 woman

Meredith Flynn —  April 22, 2014
The example of the Proverbs 31 woman has been misused in the past, Trillia Newbell said. But there's wisdom to be found in her story too.

The Proverbs 31 woman was excellent not because of what she did, but who she adored, Trillia Newbell said.

NEWS | Meredith Flynn

Iconic TV moms June Cleaver and Clair Huxtable were products of their times – 1950’s idealism and 1980’s feminism. The matriarchs from “Leave it to Beaver” and “The Cosby Show” have been idolized by women and by culture as ideals of femininity and, basically, having it all together.

But idolizing those examples, or that of any other cultural icon, leads to condemnation, said Trillia Newbell. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s consultant for women’s initiatives spoke today on biblical womanhood to women gathered at the ERLC’s summit on the Gospel and sexuality.

The June’s and Clair’s of television might see their influence wane as the culture changes, or at least they’ll be replaced by other ideals. But what about the one many Christian women have heard about from the time they were old enough to find Proverbs in their Bibles?

“I already know that many people are tired of the Proverbs 31 woman,” Newbell said of Scripture’s ideal wife. “She too has been idolized. It hasn’t been helpful.

“But no worries,” she assured her audience, “I’m not merely going to be talking about how excellent she is.”

Instead, Newbell talked about why the Proverbs 31 woman is held up as an example of excellence in the ancient poem. It wasn’t because of what she did, but rather who she loved. Near the end of the chapter, we discover she fears the Lord.

“If the call to be a God-fearing woman completely freaks you out, God provides the grace for it,” Newbell said. For Sarai, who laughed when He made her a promise. For women throughout Scripture. Even for the woman in Proverbs 31.


Meredith Flynn


Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.