From Virtue to Valor
This month’s blog is author’s choice, so I decided to share about what I have been contemplating after reading an excellent blog article about the biblical role of women. While reading the article, I was intrigued by the fact that the word “virtuous” in Pro. 31:10 is not a full and accurate expression of the meaning in the text. According to my dictionary.com app virtuous is defined as: moral excellence, goodness, righteousness and conformity of one’s life and conduct and ethical principles and lastly manly excellence. When I started on this blog journey, I thought that the “virtuous” woman was a woman who discovers herself in the light of the Word of God. I think that is still true, however, with new light comes a new perspective.
The Hebrew word in the Proverbs 31:10 translated as “virtuous” in our bibles is Strong’s H2428 chayil. The word chayil is defined by Strong’s as strength, might, efficiency, wealth and army. In the Hebrew Masoretic Text, Proverbs 31: 10 is Eishet chayil mi yimtza? A woman of valor who can find her? So there we have it. Our KJV virtuous woman is a Hebrew woman of valor. In the original text the word is more closely translated as valor. According to dictionary.com valor is defined as boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle, heroic courage and bravery.
So which is it, virtue or valor? More importantly, how does this contrast in translation affect our spiritual perspective as Christian women? In my brief time studying scripture from the original Hebrew text, I have found a picture of women that are more highly esteemed, especially in regards to their spiritual insight and leadership. I believe more and more Christian women are discovering a new, true identity in scripture that is not defined by the “traditions of men” that make the power of God of no effect. (Mark 7:13) I think this identity is more closely associated with being a woman of valor as opposed to a woman of virtue. It is definitely a work of God’s Spirit in us and upon us to empower us to fulfill His plan for our lives.
Virtue is no cakewalk. Honestly, except for the cleansing blood of Jesus, I don’t even make the top three definitions for virtue. And frankly, I am not that clear on what “manly excellence” is. That being said, the definition of woman of valor is personally more appealing. As a Christian woman, I want to be bold and determined. I want to walk in the character of Christ, that is His virtue not my own. I choose to be identified as a woman of valor, as opposed some poorly translated version of human virtue or manly excellence.
How does the saying go? When you know better, you do better. Since, I now have insight into the more accurate translation of the text, I want to encourage us all to embrace our God-given identity. We can all choose to see ourselves in the light of the Word as it is accurately translated. We can move from virtue to valor. We are women of valor because that is who Our Creator destined us to be. Many of us may not yet identify with that woman, but if we give the LORD enough “time”, He helps us to discover her. We are women who are strong and determined. We are women who are discovering our gifts and using them to glorify our Father. We are women who are partakers of the divine nature of Christ: His character at work in us by the Spirit. We are wives, mothers, sisters and daughters. We are servants and leaders. We are pastors and teachers; prophets and apostles.
We are women of the Kingdom who are part of the army of God.
Finally, as the author of that excellent article so aptly put it …as “eishet chayil”…we are a “force”. Those Hebrew words are Holy Spirit inspired words. It is what it is. Time for us to own it! As we move into 2016, as God ordained women, I pray that we each take our place in His Kingdom. Be encouraged Pro 31 women you are women of valor.
Grace and peace, Ronda.