The week before Mother’s Day is a good time to look at some biblical characteristics of godly women. If you are acquainted with her, the Proverbs 31 woman comes across as perfect, and everyone (male and female) struggles with some character deficiencies. Therefore, this study could prove quite intimidating or come across as misogynistic. Accordingly, may I suggest that you receive this study in the spirit in which it has been prepared? We all desire to be more like Jesus. Let us all study Proverbs 31 in that light. No one will ever quite measure up to the standards of the Proverbs 31 woman in this lifetime. So let’s give each other some grace; indeed, she’s a tough act to follow! Only through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit can any of us, male or female, attain Christ-likeness. In theological language, attaining Christ-likeness is called progressive sanctification. So rather than look at these passages as a legalistic measuring stick demanding immediate performance, view this study as a tool God can use in his own way and timing to help mature you in Christ, bringing you into a more intimate, personal relationship in which these virtues are born and honed. Proper interpretation of the Old Testament book of Proverbs demands keeping in mind the context of the book. Proverbs is about a king (Solomon, the writer of nearly all of the book) preparing his young son (Rehoboam) for political leadership over a nation. In that specialized context, the future king’s selection of a wife is deemed extremely important. The heir apparent needs to choose (or, by way of broader application of the passage, to be) an excellent wife (cf. Proverbs 12:4, 31:10). Herein, then, the Bible does not omit nor diminish the importance of a political leader’s wife in the course of a nation. Scriptures in the book of Proverbs that address women most specifically relate to a woman who will be or is married to a governing authority. This contextual insight explains why the Proverbs 31 woman is of the highest caliber. Indeed, she sets a standard for the other women in the nation. In the same way that Timothy and Titus set a standard for a male’s leadership in the church, Proverbs sets a standard for a female’s leadership in the state! Accordingly, if you are a public servant yourself or the wife of a governing authority, take note! More broadly, these are transcendent qualities that God desires for every grandmother, mother and daughter. As a young woman, a married lady or a grandmother, what are the virtues of female godliness? What specific qualities should you continue to seek after, polish and emulate? Quoting many Scriptures, the study goes into great detail in examining the desired characteristics, beginning with industriousness. “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands” (Proverbs 14:1). Several other Scriptures echo this quality, and all condemn laziness! Certain cultures, including America’s, increasingly embrace a lack of mental and physical exertion. Characteristic slothfulness, by and large, explains the differences between prosperous and failing nations. Entitlement cultures — socialist cultures, more specifically — especially portend personal slothfulness because industriousness is in no way rewarded. Idleness becomes an idol. The end result of socialism is a climate that disables the scriptural precept of industriousness. It is therefore critically important that the wives of political leaders (if they are not in political leadership themselves) model this attribute of godliness. Numerous Scriptures show that the woman of Proverbs is also capable, prudent, wise, understanding, compassionate, kind, trustworthy, valuable, fruitful and praiseworthy. Looking at the other side of the coin, the study cautions believers to look out for not-so-great women, or what I call the “Eight Bad Babes of the Bible.” First on the list is the licentious woman who lacks moral discipline or sexual restraint. This kind of woman is paraded in Proverbs more so than the others who follow, perhaps because she is so dangerous, especially to officeholders. Licentious people (male or female) destroy marriages. Solomon hammers away at sexual temptation in Scriptures including Proverbs 5:15-19: “Drink water from your own cistern and fresh water from your own well. Should your springs be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be yours alone and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; be exhilarated always with her love.” Examples of other “Bad Babes” include women who are materialistic, contentious, corrupting, discouraging, manipulative and deceitful, all illustrated through copious scriptural references. Among them is Proverbs 25:24: “It is better to live in a corner of the roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman.” Note that these ungodly characteristics are equally applicable to men. A godly woman who invests in her family benefits not only her husband and her children, but society as well. What a high calling! Praise God for his design! Click here to read the full study. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.