The Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost

“A capable wife who can find?” — Proverbs 31:10

These are the words that begin that infamous passage on the virtuous woman. There may be no other passage in all of scripture that has been used in the harmful and unhelpful ways for both men and women than Proverbs 31:10–31. I will not rehearse the horror stories here… just ask someone who has been through such “instruction” on what a “good wife” ought to be… you will quickly see what I mean. But even though this text has been used and abused by so many, misunderstood by so many more, I am not dissuaded from taking this as my text for Sunday.

As you might expect, I am not going to be addressing this text as some ideal list of what women should be as wives. There is enough commentary out there on that. Rather, I would like to follow a line of thought that I find much more interesting and edifying. The question posed in verse ten sounds quite similar to some of the words of the prophets to the nation of Israel, God’s wife (Ezekiel 16:8–21). It is a question that not only addresses women in some general sense, but perhaps even more pointedly, the community that is to be symbolic “spouse” of God.
It is in that spirit and from that perspective that I would like to look at this passage afresh. If we are to be the bride of Christ, what might this text be saying to the Church? Has God found a “capable wife” in us?

See you on Sunday!




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