Strength as a Proverbs 31 woman. Let’s take a look at Proverbs 31:17 and what it means to have strength as a woman of noble character.
I have an NIV Bible and find that it is a bit easier to understand that some of the other versions, but for this verse, I think it’s important to look at other translations to really understand this Proverbs 31 woman. We’ll examine this verse in depth for the key words in this short, but meaty verse.
Proverbs 31:17 (NIV)
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
Proverbs 31:17 (NKJV)
17 She girds herself with strength,And strengthens her arms.
Proverbs 31:17 (KJV)
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
A Proverbs 31, wife knows how to prepare for her work.. The Hebrew phrase for “she girds her loins” means to prepare oneself for something requiring readiness, strength, or endurance.
The original Hebrew words and meanings for strength and strong are:
Strength: ‘owz (oze) – force, security, majesty, praise:-boldness, loud, power
Strong: ‘amats (aw-mats’) – to be alert, steadfastedly minded, prevail
So, this is saying that she prepares herself with loud, powerful and bold praise. She is strong and knows who she is. She is a child of the King and she knows it!
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How do you “gird your loins” for your day or work? For me, I spend my first thirty minutes of the day reading a devotional, writing scripture in my journal and doing a daily Bible Study. Starting my day in His Word, helps me to keep my focus on Him throughout my day. It is the greatest way to “gird my loins” and prepare me for the day ahead.
The next key phrase in this verse is “strengthens her arms”. The Proverbs 31 woman needs to be strong and have endurance to get through her busy days. I don’t believe that this verse is telling us that we have to lift weights to have strong arms, but, yet by the hard work she puts in daily, she is strengthened. In biblical times, women weren’t going to spin class! Rather, they were strengthened by the hard work of their daily tasks.
In present day, we have so many conveniences that make our tasks less physically demanding, but it is no less important today, to keep our strength up.
We are to take care of the body that God gave us while on earth. Eating right, exercising, getting enough rest. If we are not caring for our bodies, we won’t have the strength to manage everything we need to accomplish. Women are busy! We are taking care of children, cleaning, cooking, laundry, errands, caring for our husbands. If we are not caring for ourselves, how can we have the strength and endurance to care for others?
I’m not saying that you have to go to the gym or avoid cupcakes to be a Proverbs 31 woman. What I am saying is that by taking care of our own bodies, we are better able to handle our ever-growing to-do list. A sluggish, unhealthy woman is less likely to feel strength and feel power (as in the scripture above) than one who is well-rested and cares for her body.
In full disclosure here: I need to lose about fifty pounds and rarely go a day without eating chocolate. I’m a cancer survivor so I have not always been healthy. I know that by exercising and saying no to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups I might be able to shed the extra weight and better care for my body. It’s a struggle. There is no judgement here. I know that God is shining a light on this verse for me for a reason.
(For other ways to take care of your physical and outward self, see this post about Beauty)
How do you strengthen your arms for your work? Is God revealing anything to you in this verse? I encourage you to pray about it and make a commitment to start your day in His Word and take small steps toward a healthier life.
(If you don’t have a concordance or access to Bible commentaries, BibleHub is a good online resource.)
For a deeper look at what it means to be a Proverbs 31 woman in today’s world, consider my book, The Complete Proverbs 31 Woman: A Verse by Verse Exploration of What it Means to Be a Proverbs 31 Woman in Today’s World.