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You Surpass Them All: Proverbs 31:29

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 “Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”

Proverbs 31:29 (ESV)

As we have made our way through Proverbs 31 and the attributes of the ideal biblical wife, some may be overwhelmed by all this amazing woman accomplishes. And, it IS amazing, but I would venture to guess that this incredible woman of faith is not accomplishing every one of these responsibilities each and every day.

Life ebbs and flows, and we have seasons where one responsibility takes greater precedence over another. In some seasons, this noble woman needs to focus far more on motherhood than on entrepreneurship. In other seasons, she will be able to serve on more ministries than others.

I believe that this verse, and all of Proverbs 31, is referring to how a woman carries herself in her role as Daughter of God, wife, and mother over the course of her life. Not a snapshot of one day or even one year, but a reflection of her life as a whole.

image of african american woman praying with text Many Women Have Done Excellently, But You Surpass Them All: Proverbs 31:29 Explored

The detailed picture of this wife as she demonstrates tireless industry, domestic foresight and business savvy overpowers most women. They see her impeccable skills, combined with decorating finesse to create a perfect home.

They see her quiet and gentle spirit, high moral compass, zeal for God and happy husband and they simply give up.

business savvy, sartorial skills, decorating finesse, creative planning, sweet spirit, moral integrity, satisfied husband, spiritual zeal, and happy Sometimes it seems like there is no way a woman can do everything, but the truth of the matter is that if you put your mind to something and have Christ’s strength with yours then anything becomes possible.

Rather than resenting the trial to reach this ideal womanhood, women, should instead, that God for providing us a clear description of a godly wife.

No, you cannot match her skills and finesse in one day or even a year, but over time, with diligent intention, your efforts will accumulate in a life of a woman who will “surpass them all”!

The lazy life-of -leisure that many people live isn’t an option if we want our husbands to feel ““Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”

Don’t give up because it just feels too hard.  God is with you.

Why not be the best? Athletes run to win a prize. Who would rather lose by not “competing” or run to be average or get last place, right?

Crowns are awarded by virtue and self-control. And women who practice those ideals often find themselves with more.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (ESV)

Only Two Opinions Matter

While the last part of this verse states “you surpass them all” indicates that a Proverbs 31 wife displays a level of excellence that is rare, I want to share something important with you.

The only two opinions that matter are God’s, first and foremost and, her husband.

Women tend to compare themselves to other women and to judge other women. We really need to stop doing this. There is enough guilt for women who are, for reasons both in and out of their control, not able to run their homes, their families, their faith lives, as they would like to.

Some women would love to stay home with their children but need to work outside the home. Other women have a desire to homeschool, but either need to work or have responsibilities which prevent them from being able to do this.

A Proverbs 31 Wife is Unique to Her Husband

What works for you and your family, may not work for the family next door. Please don’t judge others for their faith, marriage, and parenting choices. And don’t listen to judgement from anyone else. In the very first post in this series, looking at what a Proverbs 31 wife looks like in today’s world, I addressed that the role of the virtuous woman is unique to her husband.

If you are confident that God is pleased with you or at least you striving to glorify Him while you carry out your role of daughter, wife, and mother, you need to be thankful and let it be. If your husband is pleased with how, you carry out your duties, even better. If Mary at small group takes issue with one of your choices, that is on her. Not you. Put away the guilt, my friend. God knows your heart and your circumstance. THAT is what truly matters.

The woman of noble character is a high ideal for us to reach, but certainly one worth shooting for.

If you aspire to be a Proverbs 31 wife, and to provide for your family through your gifts, abilities, resources, and talents, then your husband and children will be blessed. When your time on this earth has come to an end, you may even hear “well done, good and faithful servant.”

We were created to be our husband’s help meet and to love, care for and support our husband’s in their careers and ministry. You may have heard the phrase “behind every successful man is a woman”. I’m sure that this is even more true if that woman is a Proverbs 31 wife.

Few consider that the influence of the woman of noble character extends beyond the walls of her home.  It actually reaches the entire world!  Yes!

In 1865 William Ross Wallace wrote, “The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.” He wrote that in his famous poem entitled, “What Rules the World,”. In that beautiful poem Wallace celebrates godly motherhood.

He understood the influence that a virtuous woman can have. He may or may not have known that in Proverbs 31, centuries prior, King Lemuel’s mother said something very similar.

Proverbs 31:29 states that the husband of the noble wife will say:

“Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”

Proverbs 31:29 (ESV)

It is also worth mentioning that the godly husband speaks of how his wife has done “nobly.” This word, Chayil (Strong), means to have strength and influence. While he uses it for her exemplary character or virtue, the word is often associated with military prowess or influence.

The husband’s praise of his wife is not only unending, but he also reveals how she shines like a precious gem among all others. His words are full of adoration and flattery for this woman who has brought him so much joy in life.

An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.”

Proverbs 31:10 (ESV)

You may enjoy this sermon by Calvary Chapel Ontario about Proverbs 31:29-31:

For deeper reading on what it means to be a Proverbs 31 wife, see these previous posts here or consider one of these recommended books:

Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be: A 90-Day Guide to Living the Proverbs 31 Life by Donna Partow

Demystifying the Proverbs 31 Woman by Elizabeth Ahlman

Or my book, The Complete Proverbs 31 Wife:  A Verse-by-Verse Exploration of What it Means to Be a Proverbs 31 Woman in Today’s World.

Because of Him,


ESV – “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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Delana Conway

Monday 22nd of May 2023

Hello Susan, I wanted to tell you that your articles have been helping me according to the word of God. I pray that you will excel in all things when it comes to becoming a woman of God, a wife to your husband, and a mother to your children.

Maria Castillo

Monday 29th of November 2021

Hello Susan! Awsome insights into the Proverbs 31 wife. I'm a new grandma and a new widow. Any insights on how to be a better woman of noble character?

All my best, Maria Castillo

Susan Nelson

Tuesday 30th of November 2021

Oh, Maria - please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of your beloved husband. I have dozens of posts on the site about being a woman of noble character - I go verse by verse and have even written a book on the topic. Let me know if you have specific questions or prayer requests. And, congratulations on being a new grandma! It's the best!

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