When we are alone in our room praying or reading the Bible we may feel that we are the most marvelous sister on earth. But in the church life we get exposed. We find out, “I am not so perfect. I still have a lot to learn, and a lot to receive.” It is in the church life that we can become a woman of worth who is valuable to the Lord. Now we will consider the virtues of the woman of worth, as described in Proverbs 31, who becomes such a blessing to the Lord and to His testimony.
The Virtuous Woman is Produced by the Work of the Triune God
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.
— Proverbs 31:10
The price of a virtuous woman is “far above rubies.” This means that the virtuous woman is produced by the work of the Triune God. The booklet, “The Virtuous Woman” covers this point in detail:
The portion concerning the virtuous woman begins with an introduction: ‘Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.’“ Actually, every husband should say, “Praise the Lord, I found one! My wife is a virtuous woman.” An elder in a local church who is wise will look at all the sisters and say, “Praise the Lord! The Lord has given us so many women of worth. They are just like rubies.
In Hebrew, the word for ‘price’ means ‘worth, value, i.e. that which is of merit according to a standard, and so considered precious.’ The Hebrew word for ‘ruby’ is ‘paniyn.’ ‘Paniyn’ comes from the Hebrew word ‘pen,’ which means the corner of a house. One Bible dictionary indicates that the real significance of the Hebrew word ‘paniyn’ is unclear. Both the Revised Standard Version and the Old Testament Recovery Version translate ‘paniyn’ as ‘jewel,’ which may refer to any kind of precious stone. The footnote in the Recovery Version shows that the same Hebrew word can also be translated as ‘coral.’ … Therefore, this Hebrew word may primarily be translated as ‘ruby’ and ‘coral.’ Spiritually speaking, a ruby signifies the transformation of the Spirit, a coral signifies the growth in life, and ‘pen’ (corner) signifies the connecting function in a local church.
For a virtuous woman to have a price “far above rubies” is a profound matter. The Hebrew word for “ruby” has three possible meanings. It not only designates a precious stone, but is also related to coral, and to the corner of a house. We already know that a virtuous woman is like a precious stone, because she has experienced the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. But how is a virtuous woman like coral? Coral is something that grows in the sea, yet it is attached to the ground under the sea. In the Bible the sea signifies death. A virtuous woman is like coral, having the ability to overcome all the power of death by being attached to Christ.
A virtuous woman is able to grow in life even when surrounded by death waters. It seems that the church life is filled with death waters, including all sorts of difficulties. But coral grows in the death waters. Outwardly the environment may be difficult, even impossible. But the virtuous woman survives and is still growing. The Lord looks at her and says, “She is a ruby.” She is a precious stone, and she is a living coral. Furthermore, she is the corner of a house. She joins two walls together. In the church life the brothers are like walls. They are the ones who stand. And the sisters are the corners, connecting the walls and keeping the church life together. In speaking of such a sister, the Lord would say, “Here is a virtuous woman, a woman of worth. Her value is far above rubies. She is a precious stone, going through the process of transformation. She is a coral, growing in life and overcoming death. And she is a corner of the church life, keeping the church together. That is why she is so valuable to Me.” This shows us how precious it is to be a sister in the church life.
The Virtuous Woman is Trusted by Her Husband in His Heart
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
— Proverbs 31:11–12
The virtuous woman is trusted by her husband in his heart. “Husband” in this verse can also indicate the leading ones in the church life. First, a husband can say, “I have such a wonderful wife. She has so much love and care. In my heart I fully trust in her.” Then a leading one can also say, “I am restful. In the local church in which I serve, there are a number of sisters who are women of worth. They pray for the saints. They labor for the church life. In my heart I know I can trust in them.” The virtuous woman is a blessing both to her family and to the church life. Sisters, you should realize how important and precious you are! Praise the Lord for the value of a virtuous woman!
Excerpted from The Sisters: The Crucial Element of a Blessed Church Life by Titus Chu